Major General Alan Stretton, the Australian Army No 1 man during the Vietnam War, warned Prime Minister Howard that by sending another 450 soldiers to Iraq, when other countries are pulling out, the politician would be reinforcing disaster.
Stretton considered the decision to deploy more troops was irresponsible, and forecast another Vietnam debacle for Australia. He added:
"I was taught that you never reinforce disaster, and that's what the government is doing. We had the same policy in Vietnam. The idea was when the war started to go against you, you put a bit more in. Look where that ended up. This will go the same way."
Challenging Howard’s assertion that the proposed despatch of more troops has been in response to Japan’s request to protect the latter's non-combat troops there, many political analysts stated that Britain and the US, desperate because of the Coalition of the Willing is fast becoming the Coalition of the Dwindling in Iraq, have collaborated to politically ambush Australia, and twisted arms to make her accede to the military top-up.
70% of Australians are against Howard’s intention.