US veteran joins chorus of outrage at Howard:
John Murtha, a decorated Marine veteran who is close to military commanders, and who galvanised leading Democrats into demanding a phased withdrawal from Iraq, said he appreciated that Australia had been a good ally, but that it was US soldiers whose lives were being sacrificed in Iraq and US taxpayers who were paying for the war.Never mind, Johnny. I'm sure your little mate George Dubya has got your back, right? I mean, mates always stand up for each other, right? Err...?
"John Howard is trying to interfere in an election and that's uncalled for," he told CNN. "I agree with Barack Obama that if Mr Howard believes it is so vital for coalition forces to stay in Iraq, he should find a way to send more Australian forces." ...
Mr Murtha disputed Mr Howard's claim that a withdrawal of US forces from Iraq would hand a victory to al-Qaeda.
"The Iraqis will deal with al-Qaeda as soon as we are gone," he said. "They don't want them in the country and al-Qaeda will be gone once we have withdrawn."
The White House spokesman, Tony Snow, said Mr Howard was "free to say what he does", but made it clear that the Bush Administration did not want to get involved in the slanging match between Mr Howard and leading Democrats.
Mr Snow said President George Bush had not spoken to Mr Howard since January 9.