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June 26, 2004
Labor Down Under Puts Target On Australia

Leaders of the Australian Labor Party have already forgotten the lesson of Madrid and have pledged to unilaterally withdraw from Iraq if given a majority in their upcoming elections:

An Australian Labor Party opposition pledge to withdraw troops from Iraq will present a major challenge to US ties if his party wins office in elections later this year, a senior party figure has warned. ... The policy has become a key issue in the election, with the government accusing Labor leader Mark Latham of anti-Americanism and reiterating its policy of remaining in the US-led campaign "until the job is done".

Spanish Socialists made essentially the same argument and were trailing in the polls until helpful terrorists killed 191 Spaniards and changed the outcome of the election. One has to wonder if that thought has even occurred to the Australian Labor's leadership. After all, scores of Aussies lost their lives in an al-Qaeda bombing in their backyard just 20 months ago, and AQ openly operates a lot closer to their shores than ours.

Beyond that argument, AQ killed 88 Australians and Labor proposes to simply sit out a major battle against them. Regardless of whether one considers the Iraq phase a "distraction" from the war on terror or a major component -- and the NY Times article yesterday clearly shows Iraqi collaboration with AQ -- no one doubts that al-Qaeda is in Iraq now, chiefly in the presence of Abu al-Zarqawi and his minions. Labor doesn't endorse a principled stand on international conventions; they argue for retreat, a chance to hide under the covers and hope the bad men go away. It worked for the Spanish Socialists, at least for the election, but Australians sadly delude themselves if they think a withdrawal from Iraq will make the terrorists love them. After all, the Bali bombing occurred well before Iraq, demonstrating that even if the Laborites don't want to make war, war is being made on them.

It took us ten years and 3,000 dead civilians before we learned that lesson, and even today some of us haven't learned it. Despite the blatherings of Labor leader and NSW Premier Bob Carr, we're not "ultranationalists", we're simply unwilling to pretend we're not being attacked, and to die in mass quantities while France and Germany dither. Let's hope that Australians don't put themselves in the position of having to learn the hard way that war has already been declared on them.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 26, 2004 8:24 AM

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