Vice President Dick Cheney celebrated the Australian government’s commitment to the Iraq war (1,450 troops) on Thursday, saying “the whole world respects you for it.” But Australians certainly don’t: More than two-thirds of the nation’s population want a withdrawal.


“Having tasted victory in Iraq, jihadists would look for new missions” in Afghanistan and beyond, he said.

Australia currently has about 1,450 military personnel based in Iraq or involved in Iraq-related operations.

[Prime Minister John] Howard – who faces an election battle this year – is under strong domestic pressure to announce a withdrawal of Australian forces.

An opinion poll earlier this week suggested that more than two-thirds of Australians want Mr Howard to announce a date for withdrawing troops or to order an immediate pull out.

But Mr Howard has instead offered to send an additional 70 military advisers to help train the Iraqi army.

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