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Australian PM says US Congress vote on Iraq aids Al-Qaeda
Apr 26 10:44 PM US/Eastern
The US Congress' vote to push for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq was wrong and will bring comfort to Al-Qaeda insurgents, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Friday.
The Democrat-dominated US Senate on Thursday passed legislation which set a timeline for the recall of US troops from Iraq, where the US has been engaged in a bloody war since March 2003.
US President George W Bush has vowed to veto the law.
Howard, a staunch Bush supporter who has also committed troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, said the vote by the US Congress was "probably not helpful to the general situation in Iraq."
"I think it is wrong, and I don't think it is doing anything other than giving great comfort and encouragement to Al-Qaeda and the insurgency in Iraq," Howard said.
"They are looking at all this, they read newspapers, they see it on television and they say, 'The American domestic resolve is weakening, therefore we should maintain our resolve.'
"If there is a perception of an America defeat in Iraq, that will leave the whole of the Middle East in great turmoil and will be an enormous victory for terrorism."
The US bill, passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, comes against the background of plunging public support for the war which has claimed the lives of more than 3,300 US servicemen and women.
I don't understand why this is so difficult for some others to accept or understand.
"When, in the history of war, has a nation that decides to retreat, printed up a schedule of that retreat and handed it to its enemies?" [asks Rudy Giuliani] Giuliani said at the event, hosted by the Civitas Institute, a Raleigh-based conservative think tank.