In a strongly worded foray into US politics today, Mr Howard said an Obama victory in the presidential election would be disastrous for the war on terrorism.
“I think he’s wrong. I think that will just encourage those who want to completely destabilise and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and a victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for an Obama victory” Mr Howard said on Channel 9.
“If I were running al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory not only for Obama but also for the Democrats.”â€¦
Mr Howard said the US could not win the Iraq war before March 2008, so an Obama victory would mean defeat for America.
“If America pulls out of Iraq in March 2008 it can only be in circumstances of defeat” Mr Howard said.
“There’s no way by March 2008, which is a little over a year from now, everything will have been stabilised so that America can get out.
Here’s the video:
Obama, of course, if elected wouldn’t start serving until Jan 2009, but the PM’s point was understood. So well understood that not only has Obama responded critically, but Australia’s Labor party is trying to have Howard censured for his comments about the Senator from Illinois. Howard, however, is not backing down:
Prime Minister John Howard has spent Question Time defending his statement that Al Qaeda would be praying for US Democratic Party hopeful Barack Obama to win the presidential election.
Mr Howard has criticised Senator Obama, who is seeking the Democratic nomination, for calling for US troops to be out of Iraq by next March.
Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd has accused Mr Howard of acting against Australia’s interest.
“That great party, the Democratic Party of the United States, this Prime Minister has said effectively is the preferred party of terrorists,” he said.
Mr Howard has refused to apologise.
“If America is defeated in Iraq, the consequences for the West will be catastrophic,” he said.
Mr Rudd says Mr Howard has been grossly insensitive by lecturing US presidential candidates, but a censure motion against the Prime Minister was defeated on party lines.
Mr Howard says it is true that his words have been scrutinised around the world, but he says he has not damaged Australia.
“I don’t apologise for criticising Senator Obama’s observation because I thought what he said was wrong,” he said.
Keep on keepin’ on, Mr. Prime Minister!
Hat tip: Gateway Pundit, who has more links on this story.
Update: Via Pajamas Media, here’s a short video of Howard’s response to the criticism of his remarks from the Aussie Labor party: