Australia is America's biggest ally after Britain.
After America (population 300 million) and Britain (population 61 million), Australia (population of just 20 million) sent the largest number of troops to Iraq during the 2003 war -
Howard's Barack-ing for Obama
By TOM HARVEY
February 12, 2007
Anglosphere: Australian Prime Minister John Howard - Australia was the third biggest contributor to the Iraq invasion after America and Britain
AUSTRALIAN PM John Howard has criticised US presidential hopeful Barack Obama for saying US troops should withdraw from Iraq next year.
Their 3-day running spat over is turning in to more of a running battle.
His comments came soon after Mr Obama officially announced he would seek the Democratic Presidential nomination.
Mr Howard said al-Qaeda should be "praying as many times as possible" for an Obama victory in the 2008 elections.
But Mr Obama reacted by saying Australia should increase its troops in Iraq, if Mr Howard was so concerned.
Mr Obama will contest the Democrat presidential nomination.
Here's the full tit-for-tat in the Barack-Howard spat::
In a live televised interview John Howard said:
"If I were running al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory not only for Obama but also for the Democrats."
He added that Obama's stance on Iraq "will just encourage those who want to completely destabilise and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and a victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for an Obama victory".
When questioned on his tirade, Howard said: "That is absurd, what I have done is to criticise Senator Obama's views on a particular issue, and I don't retreat in any way."
Praying for a victory ... Anti-war Democrat hopeful Obama has come under attack from the Australians
Obama, in Iowa a day after formally announcing his candidacy, responded to Howard’s initial comments by saying he was flattered that one of Bush’s close allies had chosen to single him out for attack.
He then challenged Howard on his commitment to the Iraq conflict, noting the United States has nearly 140,000 troops in Iraq compared to Australia’s about 1,400 forces in the region.
“So if he is ginned up to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest that he calls up another 20,000 Australians and sends them to Iraq,” Obama said.
“Otherwise it’s just a bunch of empty rhetoric.”
Far from satisfied, Howard denied having a political motive when he said terrorists in Iraq would be praying for Democratic hopeful Barack Obama to become U.S. president.
He then responded to Obama's comments in a a radio interview saying:
"Australia’s troop commitment is very significant and appropriate; given the country’s relatively small population of about 20million."
Stay tuned for their ongoing battle.