Anti-war sentiment growing. Kevin Rudd should have his mind concentrated on an early election and it has nothing to do with global warming nor the legacy of the global financial crisis. What he needs is to get his re-election out of the way before anti-war sentiment starts to split his own party asunder. The allied casualties from Afghanistan are rising and with them is coming greater questioning around the globe about what the hell other countries are doing there. Take a look at some of this week’s front pates from the British press:

There is something particularly moving about that London Daily Telegraph front page with its 200 pictures of the dead but the words in some of the others are pointed as well. The Guardian on its front page writes of growing fears in Whitehall that support for the war is waning. The Daily Mail had Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth under furious attack last night after trying to put a positive gloss on British deaths in Afghanistan.

He was accused of”‘false optimism” and “wild predictions” for saying our troops will be off the front line within a year. Mr Ainsworth spoke after five more soldiers died at the weekend, taking the toll to 204. Critics said he hit the wrong tone on a sombre day — particularly when he refused to accept any blame and accused his opponents of making “cheap political points”. The father of one dead soldier said the Government had ‘blood on its hands’.

How many dead Australian soldiers will it take before sentiments like that start being expressed here? Not many methinks and the criticism will start coming from the side of politics anti-war sentiment traditionally comes from — the Labor Party side. A good old fashioned Labor Party barney on a question of national security is the one thing that could derail the Kevin Rudd election victory train. A prudent Prime Minister would be grabbing another three years for himself as soon as possible.

Obama in black and white. Listen in to Republicans talking on CNN, let alone Fox News, and you would think Barack Obama is leading the United States into rack and ruin. The antagonism is amazing with his modest, but admittedly expensive, health care changes described as the work of some kind of socialist devil. Nevertheless it is noticeable that almost all of the opponents are white — something very obvious from the Gallup poll approval ratings.

Clearly there are still two Americas — with southern whites having very different views about a black president than do blacks and hispanics.

Peter Fray

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