23 July 2003

Howard on the Solomons: he just cannot help himself

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

If Australia had failed to intervene in the Solomons Islands the Pacific nation might have become a haven for terrorists or drug runners, Prime Minister John Howard said today.

The vanguard of an Australian-led military and police peacekeeping force will arrive in the Solomons tomorrow as part of an effort to restore law and order in the troubled pacific nation.

Mr Howard said Australia was sending the force at the request of the Solomons parliament, and had a responsibility to help countries in its own backyard.

"If we do nothing and the country slides into further anarchy, and then it becomes a haven for evildoers, whether they're involved in terrorism, or drugs, or money laundering, or anything else, we will rightly be condemned, not only by the Australian people, but also by countries around the world," Mr Howard told the Nine network.

"This is our patch and we do have a special irresponsibility here, and we're doing it in a very careful deliberate cooperative fashion.

"We're not throwing our weight around, but we're willing to do our fair share of the heavy lifting in an area that the rest of the world sees as very much Australia's responsibility."

Note the use of 'evildoers' imported directly from the USA. Note also the attempt to conflate the Solomons intervention with Iraq despite the clear differences. Oh yeah, and the typo of the year in boldface.

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