It looks as if Kim Beazley might just possibly be developing some backbone on Iraq. On radio 2UE yesterday he said:
“We’ve got to get out of Iraq,” and called on the occupying nations to
“think through very carefully the consequences of still being there” –
strong words for loquacious Kim.
that Beazley’s point is broader than Mark Latham’s “troops home by
Christmas” policy, which was the starting point of yesterday’s
discussion. Latham was just talking about Australian troops, which are
important for us but in the big scheme of things are irrelevant. What
Beazley is saying is that the whole American-led presence is
He is therefore, very tentatively, coming
around to the view that public opinion woke up to some time ago: the
occupation is feeding terrorism rather than fighting it. It’s a
striking example of the public seeing things that their leaders refuse
to. Both here and in the US the opposition seems scared to touch the
issue, and the commentariat have convinced almost the entire political
class that “troops home by Christmas” was a negative for Latham,
despite the lack of any evidence at all.
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Beazley of course has prior form. The Latham Diaries
(page 213) record the 2003 caucus debate on the war, with Beazley
supremely confident of the existence of weapons of mass destruction:
“We may yet oppose this war, but understand this: when it is over the
Iraqi scientists will be on international TV pointing and saying ‘there
it is, there it is’. That is the political price we will have to pay.”