Sunday, November 25, 2007

Howard goes down

Desperate to grab a few more minutes of almost-fame, John Howard attempts to insert himself into the conflict. The Herald Sun of Australia reports the bully boy down under has declared that "the tensions on the Turkey-Iraq border will not help the west's battle for democracy in Iraq." That 'battle' was lost long ago but Howard's days in office may be numbered and he needed to play lapdog one more time in public.

"Iraq snapshot," October 25, 2007.

John Howard, Australia's Prime Minister. A Bully Boy wanna-be. As significant and important to the Bully Boy as Stacey Q was to Madonna. "When we're together it's like/ hot coals in a fire/ Hot baby/ My body's burning so come/ on heat my desire/ Come on come on . . ." As much as he embarrassed himself on the international stage, Howard may as well have pantsed the Bully Boy in public and planted a big, wet one on his butt.

While the study and the numbers are discussed, John Howard, prime minister of Australia, appears to think the Iraq war is all about him. That might be a good thing since no WMDs have been found and that claim, and all the others, have been revealed as lies. However, Ian McPhedran (The Daily Telegraph) reports Howard is stating that if Australia leaves Iraq "then it is good enough for the Americans and the British to do the same. . . . The present reality is if we pull out and the Americans pull out and the British pull out . . ." The answer to that long winded sentence to nowhere is, as George McGovern noted on The Morning Show today, no one knows for sure. But Howard seems convinced that he is the last glue holding Blair and Bully Boy together.

"Iraq snapshot," October 12, 2006

John Howard, always good for a few laughs and he actually provided Senator Barack Obama with the only moment in his presidential campaign worth applauding:

Where there are no sane comparisons to be made there is John Howard. Howard is not just (for now) the prime minister of Australia, he is the last of the Bully Boy defenders who got on board with the illegal war and (for now) still holds his official title. Now Howard didn't get way on board with actual troops. In fact, his loud mouth and hyperbole appear to be a desperate attempt to compensate for that and prove he can waddle with 'the big boys.' While he talks big, he sends very few troops. (Australians would not put up with him increasing the troop levels and they may not be putting up with him much longer as the election looms.) But Howard loves to shoot the mouth and this year decided the thing to do was to interject himself in US politics as he went on attack against US Senator and 2008 Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.and the Democratic Party claiming their victories in 2008 would be a windfall for terrorists and terrorism. "Barack Obama: Warmonger" (Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report) has made embarrassing steps repeatedly though the Sammy Power crowd tries so hard to prop him up. In this instance, dropping Chicken Sop for the Soul and leaving aside the I Talk Tough rhetoric, Obama actually scored points -- against a world leader. (It should have been a tip off to his chaotic campaign, but they're all so lost.) Noting that the loud mouth John Howard liked to talk big but has only provided approximately 1,000 troops to Iraq (that would be approximately 159,000 troops less than the US), Obama declared Howard should put up or shut up, send 20,000 more troops into Iraq, because "[o}therwise, it's just a bunch of empty rhetoric."

If only Howard could have continued to play comic foil to Obama, the senator might have had a campaign that lived up to all the heavy panting from the press. (The Nation was supplied with oxygen tanks to allow them to continue their heavy panting without fear of passing out.) As early as July 2005, public calls were being made for Howard to "face up to the consequences of going to war in Iraq." Who made that call? Kevin Rudd. Kevin who?


That would be Kevin Rudd (above) the just elected Prime Minister of Australia. In March of this year, the writing was no longer on the wall, it was etched in the eye balls as a poll found that 68% of Australians -- already strongly against the illegal war -- felt that the best description for Howard was "arrogant." Rudd's already disappointing with reports that he's only calling for "combat troops" out of Iraq (Australian soldiers -- Diggers -- have largely protected embassy staff and avoided combat so we're looking at a con game). But after the tiny ogre that was John Howard, anything may be seen as an improvement.

A number of outlets attempt to scramble for the meaning of Saturday's election returns, to explain the 'great upset.' That's largely due to the fact that they couldn't cover Australia in real time and that includes independent media. Special credit goes to Deepa Fernandes and WBAI's Wakeupcall Radio which provided real time coverage of the Australia's own Hurricane Katrina -- one of the few outlets to do so, big or small. Conventional wisdom in the US is that Katrina revealed the Bully Boy had no clothes on and shifted the entire dialogue. For Australia, that moment was the Jake Kovco's death and the aftermath. No one could ever explain why Kovco died. (Not even the official inquiry.) No one could explain why a loaded gun was carried back to the barracks. No one could explain why the crime scene wasn't sealed or why the clothes Kovco had been wearing were destroyed. Before those questions lingered in the air, there was Howard's hand picked Defence Minister Brendan Nelson playing Chatty Cathy with the press and issuing one contradictory statement after another. And, of course, there was the moment when the Kovco family arrived at the airport to greet the body of Jake Kovco -- the first Australian soldier to die in the illegal war.

What did they find? Not Jake Kovco. They found, in Kovco's casket, Juso Sinanvic, a Bosnian carpenter. Where the hell was Kovco? The government took a bit of time to figure that one out. (They also took nearly a month -- even with Howard publicly proclaiming he was personally involved -- in returning Sinavic's body to his family.) Trying desperately to get Kovco's body returned for ANZAC Day, Howard and his people were all over the media talking about the sacrifice Kovco made, talking about how much Australia appreciated it, hailing the young man (25-years-old) as a hero. The Kovco family went to the airport to greet Jake's return only to discover that whoever was in that casket wasn't Jake.

It was a shocking moment, an offensive one, for many Australians and underscored that the Howard government was good at issuing lofty statements but lousy at actual governance. The Howard government was never able to provide the people with an explanation of how that happened. Even the summer 2006 inquiry consisted of a lot of finger pointing and no real answers.

Similar moments occurred for other military families and while Howard strutted and boasted in public, he was losing the confidence of the bulk of Australians.

With Tony Blair out, Howard was sure he would be the new 'best girl.' He'd certainly waited in the wings, yucked it up, sung the praises of the Bully Boy. But in the end he was left pining. Now he's left out in the cold.

If he's missed for anything, it will be for the non-stop yucks he provided to outsiders (we realize it wasn't easy for Australians to laugh -- realize and we sympathize, believe us, we sympathize).

With him gone, who will provide the chuckles? Who can't forget, for instance, Howard speaking publicly about a letter he'd just penned (August, 2008) to the puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki stating "Iraqis should follow the example of their nation's Asian Cup-winning soccer team". Laughable then since all the soccer team didn't return to Baghdad and those who did had to be heavily protected. Laughable now since last week started with the reports that three members of the Iraqi soccer team and an assistant coach were in Australia requesting asylum.


Though he was an international shame, he'll always have the memories of holding hands with the Bully Boy. Even then, Bully Boy was turned away from him.
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