First, the suggestion that Howard has a secret plan to pull out of Iraq. My cynical response:
Click your heels and say it with me:”I DO believe in fairies!”Given that the US military has already acknowledged they are drafting withdrawal contingency plans, South Korea is pulling out, and there is a big question mark over Gordon Brown's plans, it would actually be irresponsible if the Australian military was NOT quietly developing their own withdrawal plans. Mind you, keeping things in perspective: it would take months to get all the US soldiers out of Iraq, but the entire Australian military and diplomatic presence in Iraq could be evacuated with less than two flights!
Bush and Blair have both gone to elections hinting that the troops might come home very soon after the election. Same shit, different arsehole.
I think this plan was deliberately leaked to the Murdoch press so that anyone who wants to believe Howard will pull out after the election can do so without too much cognitive dissonance.
The other big News Ltd story is yet another Galaxy poll, commissioned by the Courier Mail, which shows Howard's War On Aborigines backfiring. Remember, Galaxy helped create the miracle poll lift for Howard, which already seems to have evaporated. The Murdoch press acknowledges that "after 11 years in office, Mr Howard has a credibility problem with some voters". 60% of voters, actually!
Credit where it is due: Tim Dunlop has a decent post on this poll, including some pressure on his corrupt warmongering employer's disgraceful editorial team.
So is there still time for a leadership challenge? Bryan Palmer suggests a likely election date of 20 Oct - 8 Dec, which gives the Conga Line a window of opportunity. Maybe while Johnny is busy strutting his stuff at APEC? But I doubt a new leader would make much difference at this stage.
In other news, who planted the latest UK bombs? Craig Murray is keeping an open mind.
The Carlyle Group makes a move on Virgin Media. It's all about controlling the message, remember.
The Iraqi Oil Ministry decided to hike prices of fuel in response to calls by the International Monetary Fund. That'll go down well on the streets of Baghdad, won't it? There are already big protests after fuel prices rose in Iran.
Another 100 Afghan civilians were killed in another US airstrike. Robert Fisk has another good look at the never-ending war:
The Taliban are themselves mostly Afghans, and the idea that the British Army is in Afghanistan to protect the locals from each other is a truly colonial proposition. It's what we said about the Northern Irish in 1969. Anyway, I thought we destroyed the Taliban in 2001. Wasn't that the idea at the time? Isn't that what Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara, our new man in the Middle East - who will grace us with his first visit next month - said back then?And Juan Cole has joined a new group blog: Informed Comment Global Affairs. I hope he wont be scaling back his excellent work at Informed Comment.