Wouldn't it be rather strange and even a little bit frightening if it turned out that a Leaked letter from Bush's GOP party was dictating talking points to our own PM John Howard? Well, here's the letter in question:
We are writing to urge you not to debate the Democratic Iraq resolution on their terms, but rather on ours.Curiously, this is exactly what Australian PM Howard has been doing in the past few days: refusing to articulate a plan for "victory", or even an exit strategy, while relentlessly yabbering on about the threat of terrorists and the global repercussions of a US withdrawal.
Democrats want to force us to focus on defending the surge, making the case that it will work and explaining why the President's new Iraq policy is different from prior efforts and therefore justified.
We urge you to instead broaden the debate to the threat posed to Americans, the world, and all "unbelievers" by radical Islamists. We would further urge you to join us in educating the American people about the views of radical Islamists and the consequences of not defeating radical Islam in Iraq.
The debate should not be about the surge or its details. This debate should not even be about the Iraq war to date, mistakes that have been made, or whether we can, or cannot, win militarily. If we let Democrats force us into a debate on the surge or the current situation in Iraq, we lose.
Like TPM's Greg Sargeant says:
Never mind how all this might impact the troops who actually have to go to Iraq. Healthy priorities, huh?And never mind how it impacts on the Iraqi people we are supposedly there to "liberate" either. Does Howard really think he can get away with another eight months of this? Or is he just stalling for time and probing for weaknesses in his Labour opponent?
The GOP letter is dated 13 February, 2007, presumably an early morning release, wheras Howard has already been using these same talking points for the past few days. But there is every reason to believe that Howard's office is in touch with the very people who produce such letters for GOP senators and congressional staff. Indeed, it prompts one to wonder exactly what VP Dick Cheney will be discussing with Howard when he visits Australian next week. Talking points for the looming attack on Iran? Or retirement plans with the Carlyle Group?
(As a final coup de grace, the GOP letter ends with a recommendation to read "America Alone" by Mark Steyn, a man whose work Alexander Downer is known to favours at bedtime).