Howard on Iraq: potential electoral strategy for the ALP

February 14, 2007

Although a bit player in the Iraq war and only contributing troops to Iraq to affirm the Australia-US alliance, Australia’s policy towards the Iraq war is one of the key elements in Australian national politics, and it will probably be one of the core elements in this years federal election, if not directly, then as a proxy for the ability of each party to make good decisions in government.

I don’t know what a good approach to the situation in Iraq is, but the recent Parliamentary stoushes on the Iraq war offer an opportunity for the ALP. Howard is clear on what he thinks constitutes a bad policy on the Iraq war (withdrawal of coalition troops), but he doesn’t know what is a good policy, ie how to win it.

The following electoral lines immediately emerge: “Howard’s way to win in Iraq: hope” or “Hope: Howard’s policy on Iraq”. Read the rest of this entry »

On media and blog coverage of the Iraq war

January 13, 2007

Just a short comment – it seems to me that quite a bit of media coverage (eg at CNN and the SMH)  and blog discussion (eg at Larvatus Prodeo) about the Iraq war and the recent policy to “surge” the number of troops is about whether the US population and politicians support the policy, not about ways in which the situation in Iraq can be improved. Of course, many media reports are more “standard” (eg this BBC story), but I’m surprised at what seems to me to be misplaced energy.

I’d like to see more discussion about how the situation in Iraq can be improved.

Darfur dead higher than thought, Islands appear in the receding Arctic

September 16, 2006

From Scientific American I just noticed two particularly interesting stories: a very sad one: Darfur Dead Much Higher than Commonly Reported  and this one: Polar bears drown, islands appear in Arctic thaw.