Twice Refused

Our second biggest ally in Chimpy’s Vanity War refuses Rumsfeld’s plea — TWICE — to help train Iraqi security forces.

The Bush administration has asked Australia to consider “embedding” Australian army troops with Iraqi army units as the US-led coalition moves to recast its future military presence in Iraq.

The outgoing US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, first raised the issue of increased Australian involvement in training Iraqi forces with Defence Minister Brendan Nelson several months ago.

The Pentagon’s proposal would involve placing small numbers of Australian soldiers in Iraqi units in a training role to help lift their overall operational capability.


Dr Nelson responded to Mr Rumsfeld’s letter by saying Australia’s defence force was heavily committed in East Timor and the South Pacific and also engaged in a long-term expansion of its own army.

But Mr Rumsfeld wrote again to Dr Nelson late last month urging him to reconsider the “embed” idea in a slightly modified form and stressing the huge challenge facing the coalition in Iraq.


Senior Australian government sources said last night there was little enthusiasm for the “embed” proposal put forward by Washington, but no final decisions had been taken.

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