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Downer's Iraq deja vu.

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Robert McClelland MP Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Federal Member for Barton

13 September 2007


Foreign Minister Alexander Downer today said in a 2UE radio interview that real progress is being made in Iraq. He stated:

“I think at long last, after a big struggle, real progress is being made on the ground in Iraq and just as we are making progress there.”

Mr Downer repeated his comments again today in Parliament. In fact he has been talking about making progress for quite some time.

• “Significant progress has already been made” in Parliament on 25 May 2004 • “Steady progress is being made in Iraq” in Parliament on 15 June 2004; • “I think that as a country it is making progress” in Parliament on 30

November 2004; • “I’m delighted with the progress that’s been made” in an AM interview on 31 January 2005; • “Iraq as a country has made considerable progress” in Parliament on 20

June 2005; • “Progress is being made” in a Washington DC doorstop on 19 September 2005 • “They have made good progress” in Parliament on 17 August 2005; • “They are making some real progress” in an ABC radio interview on 23

June 2006; • “Progress is being made” in his Meet The Press interview on 2 July 2006; • “They've made good progress” on the AM program on 26 October 2006; • “I think progress has been made” in a New York doorstop on 18 January


• “Progress is gradually being made” in a 2UE interview on 22 February 2007;

Regrettably it seems the wish has become the master of the thought.

At least 75,000 and possibly up to 600,000 people are dead. Some 2 million people have been driven out of Iraq and nearly as many have been internally displaced.

Oil production has been slashed. Iran has been emboldened. International terrorism has been made worse.

Furthermore the Iraq war has already cost Australian taxpayers over $2 billion and the bill is rising. And this month the independent US Government

Accountability Office found that the Iraqi Government has failed to meet 15 out of the 18 benchmarks on political and security progress.

Australians hear plenty of rhetoric from the Howard Government about Iraq.

What we have never heard is an acknowledgement of the errors they have made in the past in Iraq or the fact they have no idea where they are going in the future.

Contact: Tom Cameron 0417 147 932