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Issue 576, 7 December 2007 - Union Campaign Smashed Howard

One of Bush's staunchest allies gone

IRAQ MAY not have been one of the key issues in the election campaign, but it was an aspect not lost on international observers, particularly the US media.

The Los Angeles Times said that "the Bush administration lost one of its staunchest political allies" in John Howard. And the Chicago Tribune subtitled its report "Long-serving leader was strong Bush ally".

The New York Times report, with the title "Ally of Bush is defeated in Australia�" said that "Mr Howard's defeat, after 11 years in power, follows that of Jose Maria Aznar of Spain, who also backed the United States-led invasion of Iraq, and political setbacks for Tony Blair of Britain".

George Bush commented that he had lost a 'good friend'.

While Kevin Rudd's promise to withdraw combat troops means that two-thirds of Australia's military personnel currently in Iraq will stay, Howard's defeat is a further political blow to the US occupation.

With so few allies left, it is getting harder and harder for the US to justify the Iraq occupation to its own citizens. There are many flaws in Rudd's rhetoric around the 'war on terror' - such as his support for the war in Afghanistan. But when the new prime minister of one of the US's strongest allies argues publicly that the war was a mistake and that the troops should get out it strengthens the anti-war case being put by activists in the US and everywhere.