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Backpedal fast, Johnny!
July 5, 2007 3:04 PM   Subscribe

PM John Howard denies Iraq-oil link
posted by andihazelwood (37 comments total)

 
I like John Howard. He reminds me of what an irrelevant nincompoop George Bush would be if he led a medium sized country.
posted by rhymer at 3:22 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


"We have never hidden our desire for Polish oil companies to finally have access to sources of commodities," Mr Cimoszewicz told the Polish PAP news agency. Access to the oilfields "is our ultimate objective," he added.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:22 PM on July 5, 2007


"We are not there because of oil and we didn't go there because of oil. We don't remain there because of oil. Oil is not the reason.

That is absolutely correct. Control of the country on which you must place the drillhead is , otherwise that bunch of oil is but a lake of uselessness.
posted by elpapacito at 3:22 PM on July 5, 2007


Is this something I'd have to be aware of a world outside of America to understand?
posted by nasreddin at 3:26 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


"We are not there because of oil and we didn't go there because of oil. We don't remain there because of oil. Oil is not the reason."

But you know, just as an aside, if you have some oil and your willing to give it to us, that would be ok. Just so we understand that it's not why we are still there, but we wouldn't be put off by getting some oil out of the deal.
posted by quin at 3:32 PM on July 5, 2007


background: The Defence Minister said yesterday that Australia 'has Iraq oil interest'
posted by bhnyc at 3:40 PM on July 5, 2007


I heard that he's also shocked, shocked that's there's gambling going on in Rick's casino.
posted by orthogonality at 3:57 PM on July 5, 2007


WEZ
They kill us, we kill them! Kill them! Kill them! Kill! Kill!

LORD HUMUNGUS
Be still my dog of war. I understand your pain. We've all lost someone we love. But we do it my way! We do it my way. Fear is our ally. The gasoline will be ours. Then you shall have your revenge.

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:06 PM on July 5, 2007


I believe him. He said "We are not there because of oil PRICES."

That's true. We are there becuase of oil itself, however.
posted by tkchrist at 4:19 PM on July 5, 2007


The HMAS Anzac will work with other coalition ships in guarding two major Iraqi oil platforms - 20 June 2007. Someone had better tell the sailors that the Prime Minister has just changed their mission...
posted by Jimbob at 4:21 PM on July 5, 2007


Probably best to have just put it in this thread.

But anyway. The Ruddster's having a field day.
posted by wilful at 4:25 PM on July 5, 2007


I believe him. He said "We are not there because of oil PRICES."

For those unfamiliar with the style of the Lying Rodent, he specialises in this kind of equivocation. Technically, what he says is generally correct. However, he knows full well that people are going to misinterpret his statements - this one would be parsed by most as "we are not there because of oil". If anybody tries to trip him up later, he weasels out of it by referring to the literal meaning of the statement: "I was talking about oil PRICES, not the oil itself..."
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:34 PM on July 5, 2007


The Ruddster's having a field day.

He sure is! He's having so much fun that he has plenty of creative power left in reserve to embiggen the English language:

"They've compounded the oil problem as a consequence of their engagement of the war through the emboldenment of Iran," [opposition leader] Mr Rudd told ABC Radio today.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:40 PM on July 5, 2007


Oh dear. Kevin's speech writer must have slept in this morning.
posted by Jimbob at 6:00 PM on July 5, 2007


To be honest, Iraq is not exactly pumping oil at record rates. I think even Texas pumps out more crude than Iraq these days.
posted by caddis at 6:13 PM on July 5, 2007


Iraq is not exactly pumping oil at record rates

this wasn't a 2Q07 play . . . this was a generational-scale enterprise.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:25 PM on July 5, 2007


It seems to me that Australia is there simply because the US is there. Australia has always fostered a very close allegiance with the US. It wouldn't have mattered who was in power, Australia would have followed the US over the brink anyway. Australia helped in Gulf War I, as well, when Labor was in power.

As an expat Australian, this bothers me. Is it that Australia is militarily indefensible, so it needs a big friend?
posted by Coventry at 8:02 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is it that Australia is militarily indefensible, so it needs a big friend?

Militarily indefensible against who? Indonesia? Plenty of men, but very antiquated military hardware, in my understanding. Plus, they're too busy fighting fires back home, with about two dozen guerrilla / separatist wars raging at any point in time.

Apart from that, we already have defence treaties with the US, have followed them into every single overt war since WW2 (we were the only others in Vietnam, I believe), and, most crucially, Pine Gap is apparently an integral part of their global electronic surveillance systems. It could well be that they need us more than we need them.

Anyway, one bright side of the Defence Minister's gaffe is that Howard might think twice before going for a photoshoot on the USS Kittyhawk, which is in Sydney Harbour at the moment.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:14 PM on July 5, 2007


Flicking past the Sunrise program this morning, I'm pretty sure I caught images of Howard adressing a crowd of US sailors... maybe it's too late.
posted by Jimbob at 8:17 PM on July 5, 2007


Speaking as a pragmatist, Australia is all alone in the ocean down there, with potentially hostile (and definitely unstable) neighbours to the north. While Australia's Iraq adventure is unfortunate at best, what choice does a small country of 21 million people occupying a not-easily-defendable territory have but to ally with the US?

I've always hated the American "without us your country would be the smallest airstrip in the Soviet Union" mentality, but Australia just doesn't have NZ's option of being an unaligned state (NZ being located far from any external threat), and must rely on the US for support.

The downside is that the current Aussie government is essentially neo-colonial in nature (Northern Territory, Papua, Iraq)...
posted by KokuRyu at 8:18 PM on July 5, 2007


While Australia's Iraq adventure is unfortunate at best, what choice does a small country of 21 million people occupying a not-easily-defendable territory have but to ally with the US?

Yes yes..but I'm pretty sure someone (US Ambassador? Some US General?) came out last year and stated the Australia-US alliance wouldn't be damaged if Australia withdrew from Iraq. I really don't think we remain in Iraq to keep the US happy. We remain in Iraq to try and save face.
posted by Jimbob at 8:29 PM on July 5, 2007



Yes yes..but I'm pretty sure someone (US Ambassador? Some US General?)

Vice President Dick Cheney said this on his visit to Sydney.

The defense treaty between Australia and America that replaced the ANZUS treaty (when NZ refused to allow US nuke warships to dock) is not like other treaties e.g. NATO.
Most treaties say the other party will declare war if on the aggressor if they subject is attacked.
The AU< ->USA treaty does not have this requirement, allowing the US to look the other way if, say, an expansionist China who held a lot of US debt wanted to secure coal and iron from a sunburnt country.
posted by bystander at 8:39 PM on July 5, 2007


The US Ambassador also weighed in with this kind of implied threat in the leadup to the most recent Federal election, when the opposition was pushing the line that we want a deadline for withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. Remember that US Ambassadors are not typically career diplomats, but appointed by each incoming President. In other words, very much Bush's man.

I'm not entirely sure why NZ is safe, but we are vulnerable. Amongst other things, Australia is indeed enormous, but most of the country is an uninhabited wasteland, like Darwin, for example. The population centres would be no larger than Manhattan, in total, and thereby quite easily defensible. We could let any invaders camp out in the desert until they are decimated by dropbears, and wage sporadic guerrilla warfare out of the extensive networks of wombat warrens.

The mineral resources are more widely spread, and therefore more difficult to defend, but I can't see how anybody could exploit them without total air cover. China might be the only country in the region capable of pulling it off, but would they really risk the international backlash, and would they bother if they can just trade consumer goodies for primary resources?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:49 PM on July 5, 2007


Gazes out his window at the wasteland...
posted by Jimbob at 8:56 PM on July 5, 2007


remember not to leave the safety of your humvee without putting on your anti-dropbear armour...
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:11 PM on July 5, 2007


I doubt anyone seriously expects that Australia would be invaded by Indonesia or China. But, if you accept the possibility that a destabilized Indonesia is a prime staging ground for terrorist who threaten Australia, and if you accept the assumption that Australia may need to take unilateral action (cruise missile strike, commando raid) to get rid of the threat, then having the US as an ally is a definite strategic advantage.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:12 PM on July 5, 2007


The actual logic behind our unquestioning alliance with the US has always been somewhat questionable, however there are two real benefits:
1) latest toys
2) sigint

Benefit 1 is a bloody joke, since they sell us shit ships at full price yet wont let us sell them any, and have obviously informally refused to sell us the F-22.

Benefit 2 is something that really not many people can form an informed view on, since I doubt many of us here have the relevant security clearances. But I am told it is valuable, but we do play our part in a quid pro quo there, as a member of the UKUSA community.
posted by wilful at 9:33 PM on July 5, 2007


You forgot the septic tanks selling us shit tanks.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:39 PM on July 5, 2007


I miss the image tag. This just cries out for a caption.
posted by wilful at 9:46 PM on July 5, 2007


"Oh, c'mon, mate...be a sport. Can't we please pretend I just landed this thing on the carrier?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:11 PM on July 5, 2007


Steve Bell nails it.
posted by Artw at 10:21 PM on July 5, 2007


But, if you accept the possibility that a destabilized Indonesia is a prime staging ground for terrorist who threaten Australia

more like Aussies would like to vacation/conduct biz on the Pacific Rim w/o getting blowed up all the time.

So said partnership in Bush's version of the GWoT is something of a mixed bag I would argue.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:43 PM on July 5, 2007


I think it started in WWII, when Australia was ready to give everything north of Brisbane to the Japs as they were swimming around in Sydney Harbour and flying over Darwin, but the US saved us all with their blessed nukes. They saved our ass! So we give them Pine Gap and our unwavering loyalty for life, including our presence in their stupid wars.
posted by goo at 12:52 AM on July 6, 2007


While Australia's Iraq adventure is unfortunate at best, what choice does a small country of 21 million people occupying a not-easily-defendable territory have but to ally with the US?

Do you seriously think that if push came to shove and Indonesia invaded Australia, the US would jump to Australia's aid?

For 30 years, the Australian military has been planning to fight that war alone. With Iraq going on, there's even less chance of the US helping now then there was in the past. Fortunately, the Indonesians have their own problems.
posted by outlier at 12:55 AM on July 6, 2007


This John Howard fellow, he is the leader of Australia?
posted by Slap Factory at 10:53 AM on July 6, 2007


Founder of Iraq Oil Workers Union Rejects U.S.-Backed Oil Law as "Robbery"
posted by homunculus at 1:55 PM on July 6, 2007


This John Howard fellow, he is the leader of Australia?

No. He is the follower of America.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:32 PM on July 6, 2007


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