Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Partnership, by Greg Sheridan

I only made it half way through Sheridan’s fan rap on the Australia-US alliance. Frankly, I find it hard to take the book seriously, especially in light of what’s now going on in Iraq. How could he bring out such a book at such a time?

Of course now the pro-war crowd say things were merely done wrongly in Iraq. Bad management. Rummy got it wrong. Yet with good management, all would have been good. Surely any nong knows that there are always unpredictable results when you go to war.

For example, it’s amazing how Hillary Clinton supported the war in Iraq, she voted for it, but now puts herself forward as an aggressive critic of the way it was carried out. What any of this means is anyone’s guess. If twice as many people were killed, but it was deemed a success, then I guess that would change everything.
It seems to mean that the costs of war are always worth it when the war is won. By voting for the war, Hillary Clinton is in part responsible for the death of some 3000 of her own countrymen, not to mention the untold thousands of Iraqis.

Anyhoo, back to the alliance:

How can we be alliance partners when we are so under represented? When you compare how many troops the UK and US have to what we contribute, you’ll see how we should have heaps more troops out there fighting.
For example, Wikipedia says we currently have 1300 troops, this for our 20 million population. The US has 132,000 troops, for a population of 250 million. If the US was contributing what we contribute, they'd only have around 15,000 troops there!

It seems to me that John Howard told Bush he’d be a part of the war in Iraq, but that our involvement would be more tokenistic than anything else, that politically he could not sustain our troops being exposed to any real danger, or afford to make too big a military contribution. No wonder Howard has been able to stay in power and support such an unpopular war.

I must confess that this is not really a fair review of Sheridan’s book, as I read barely a third of it. Who knows, maybe the rest of it was terrific, although I doubt it.

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