Labor leader Kevin Rudd has described Australia's involvement in the war in Iraq as the country's greatest error on national security in more than 35 years.Rudd is either not as smart as he likes to think, has a view that Australians are not that smart and won't work out what he's saying is bollocks or is getting really bad advice.
He called for Prime Minister John Howard to announce an exit strategy for Australian troops before this year's federal election.
"I think it's high time we had from the prime minister a clear-cut statement of his exit strategy for Iraq," Mr Rudd told the Nine Network.
"Are we going to go into the next election with him saying 'just trust me'.
"He did that last time and he said he wouldn't increase troop numbers, then he increased them by another 500 after the election."
Mr Howard on Sunday again declined to fix a timetable for the withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq but Mr Rudd said he should.
"I fear this on national security, this has been the greatest single misfire and miscalculation of Australia's national security interests since Vietnam," he said.
"Mr Howard always seems to say 'trust me, I'm safe hands'.
"If Iraq is a barometer of the future on national security, I get really concerned about the lack of balance if we go forward with Mr Howard if he wins the next election."
How, exactly, was Vietnam a great threat to our national security interests?
We didn't expect the Viet Cong to follow us home. We didn't expect them to target Australian interests around the world.
Australia did understand that the threat of communism to peace in the region, which was quite correct, as the three million subsequent victims prove.
Rudd also fails to mention the war in Afghanistan, which preceded Iraq by about 18 months. Isn't this war also a threat to our national security interests? Isn't the goal to fight Al Qaeda wherever they are? Isn't that why we're now fighting in Iraq and the US has made strikes in Somalia?
The war may not be popular but one thing that Australians know and that is that it must be prosecuted until Al Qaeda is utterly destroyed in an meaningful sense.
It would be nice if we could get that done by Christmas but if not then we must continue the fight.