Australian leader refuses to say how long troops will stay in Iraq

October 12th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Australian leader refuses to say how long troops will stay in Iraq

Media: The Associated Press
Date: 12 October 2006

CANBERRA, Australia - Prime Minister John Howard on Thursday refused to say
how long Australian troops will likely stay in Iraq, and rejected a new
estimate that nearly 655,000 Iraqis have died because of the war.

Howard was asked to put a time frame on Australia's military deployment
after the U.S. Pentagon said Wednesday that it plans to keep the current
level of soldiers in Iraq through 2010.

"I'm not going to commit us to a particular date," Howard said on Australian
Broadcasting Corp. radio.

"I will commit us to keeping forces there while there is an important job to
be done, and while our role in helping to build the capacity of the Iraqi
forces to provide security cover is needed," he said.

Howard sent 2,000 troops to support American and British forces in the Iraq

Later Thursday, he echoed U.S. President George W. Bush in dismissing
research from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Al Mustansiriya
University in Baghdad, which reported that almost 655,000 Iraqis had died
from war-related causes.

"It's not plausible; it's not based on anything other than a house-to-house
survey," Howard told reporters, adding that the methodology was "absolutely

"It's an unbelievably large number, and it's out of whack with most of the
other assessments that have been made," he said.

The figure, released Wednesday on the Web site of the medical journal The
Lancet, was based on a nationwide extrapolation of a survey, conducted by
doctors, of 1,849 households in Iraq.

The researchers, reflecting the inherent uncertainties in such
extrapolations, said they were 95 percent certain that the real number lay
somewhere between 392,979 and 942,636 deaths.

Even the smaller figure is almost eight times the estimate some others have

Australia now has 1,300 troops in and around Iraq. Their deployment is a
potential key issue in elections due late next year, with the opposition
Labor Party pledging to withdraw most of the Australian forces.

There are currently 141,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, including 120,000 Army
October 13th, 2006  
He might lose his job if he don't come clean now or pay dearly for not being forthcoming about how long Aussie troops will be in Iraq.

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