Monday, August 08, 2005

From the comfort zone

From the Crikey daily email:

Hugo Kelly writes:

No doubt the PM's office will have acquired a transcript of Peter Cosgrove's pre-recorded appearance on Enough Rope tonight. Not least because there's a touch of the Lathams about the former defence force chief's prescription for our troops in Iraq – get them out by Christmas. Check it out here.

OK, Latham wanted the troops out last Christmas, while Cosgrove is projecting to 2006. But the rationale is eerily similar. Cosgrove believes training up the locals and then withdrawing our troops would remove one motivating factor for terrorist attacks: our military presence in Iraq.

Of course, when federal police chief Mick Keelty suggested such a link between the Iraq invasion and terror attacks a while back, he was swiftly slapped down by the prime minister and, er, the head of the defence forces, Peter Cosgrove, as Mungo MacCallum points out here.

But now he's left the military, Cosgrove feels no compunction to toe the party line. It's amazing how a new job outside government can loosen the tongue. Here it is, in black and white: "I think we've got to train the Iraqis as quickly as we can and to a point where we take one of the focal points of terrorist motivation away, and that is foreign troops."

And how quickly that should happen? "I figure that if we could get that done by the end of 2006 that would be really good." Who reckons Cosgrove would have publicly provided this kind of advice if he was still wearing the khaki?

Yeah, what would you know Cosgrove!?! Crazy armchair General.