Federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd says the Howard Government’s engagement in Iraq has proven to be Australia’s greatest foreign policy failure since the Vietnam War.
Mr Rudd was commenting on a new intelligence report in the US that warns a premature withdrawal of coalition forces in Iraq would propel that country into much deeper chaos with chilling regional implications.
The report also says the situation in Iraq is more complex than the straightforward term “civil war” implies.
Mr Rudd says Australia must boost humanitarian and economic assistance to the Iraqi people if it is to find a way out of the mess.
“In order to deal with some of these civil and sectarian problems, in addition to boosting other elements of Iraq security namely its border security system, we can do that by providing constructive positive alternative forms of security assistance,” he said.