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For the record

April 18th, 2004

Ahmed Chalabi, being interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and urging that Australian troops remain in Iraq had this to say (emphasis added).

I think that we wasted a year now. The security plan for Iraq that was put forward by the Coalition has collapsed. We must face this fact and we must involve Iraqis right away in the training and the recruitment of the police. I believe that a year to 18 months of hard work on the right track will be sufficient to train an important and significant security force.

Obviously, this assessment suited Chalabi’s argument on the day, but it’s closer to the truth than anything anyone else associated with the Administration has been willing to say.

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  1. April 19th, 2004 at 06:01 | #1

    Fix intro par: “urging that Australian troops remain in Iraq“, or something similar.

  2. John Quiggin
    April 19th, 2004 at 08:13 | #2

    Fixed, thanks

  3. April 19th, 2004 at 17:45 | #3

    (While we’re being pedantic, isn’t it the Australian Broadcasting Corporation these days?)

  4. Harry Clarke
    April 19th, 2004 at 20:39 | #4

    Despite your point Chalabi requested the Aussies remain in Iraq a point that John Howard has seized on in attacking Mark Latham. Given Chalabi’s position this is probably understandable but it does provide context for the rest of the statement. The Americans want to exit and would be happy to transfer police power to Iraqis. But this is difficult when Iraqi police refuse to intervene in stopping those intent on obstructing democratic reform in Iraq. I think Mark Latham should look squarely at the difficult situation in Iraq and rethink.

  5. Brian Bahnisch
    April 20th, 2004 at 00:06 | #5

    Speaking of the US exiting, Immanuel Wallerstein’s latest commentary is interesting. While he sees the Bushies as continuing to dig themselves even deeper into an already deep hole, he thinks the exit could happen quite suddenly.

    Surely Bush will see the hazards of an open season on Americans in the months before the election. And as one expert said recently, they still don’t know who they are fighting.

    Wallerstein’s final warning is that if they decide to go, then whoever is shooting at them may well continue shooting at the departing helicopters, unlike Saigon where the Viet Cong stayed their hand.

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