George W. Bush ally a believer, praises 9/11 response

In 2009, former President George W. Bush presented former Australian Prime Minister John Howard with a Medal of Freedom — the highest civilian award given in the U.S.

Australia’s former Prime Minister John Howard, a surprise witness to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, believes former President George W. Bush deserves more praise for his response and for stopping further attacks.

In an interview to mark a decade since the attacks, Howard said he has no regrets about joining the war in Afghanistan, cautions against an premature withdrawal of troops, and said history will vindicate Bush’s response to the new threats.

“The decisions I believed were right,” Howard said. “I still believe they were right, and I believe history will vindicate them.”

The events of Sept. 11 came at the halfway mark of Howard’s term as prime minister, and had a profound impact on his next six years in office, propelling national security to the equal top political issue alongside economic management.

The attacks helped cement a close personal and political alliance between Howard and Bush, who named Howard a “man of steel” for his steadfast support of the United States, and fundamentally re-shaped the Australia-U.S. military alliance, which had been the bedrock of Australia’s security for 50 years.


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