Green Party MP Keith Locke hopes that National Party leader John Key will be phoning President George Bush ASAP with Mr Key’s good news that the war in Iraq is over, and that coalition forces can continue to withdraw their troops.
“I must confess I was surprised to hear Mr Key tell Morning Report this morning why Iraq had been omitted yesterday from National’s foreign policy document : ‘Frankly, the war in Iraq is over,’ Mr Key told Geoff Robinson. “The war was over in a very short period of time, and you’ve now got a situation where the main coalition forces are looking to withdraw their efforts out of Iraq.’
“Until Mr Key put me wise, I had assumed the US and its coalition allies were bogged down fighting an intractable insurgency in Iraq that had seen a surge in US troop numbers earlier this year. The deaths of 805 US troops and at least 13,600 Iraqi civilians this year alone were obviously due to some other cause, and Congress must have been deluded to recently endorse an extra $150 billion for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Mr Key’s upbeat vision on foreign policy enables him to see no real divergence between National’s foreign policy stance and the Government — even though Labour makes the foreign deployment of New Zealand troops explicitly dependent on the existence of a UN mandate, while Mr Key doesn’t. Most people would see that as a huge difference – but these are clearly the sort of negative people who lack National’s firm conviction that peace has broken out in Iraq.
“I look forward to hearing Mr Key resolve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis next week, and move on to resolve global poverty by Christmas,” Mr Locke says.