Sept. 6 - Australia's former Prime Minister John Howard who was visiting the U.S. on September 11th, 2001, considers events over the following 10 years. Paul Chapman reports.
PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL As the carnage unfolded on September 11th 2001, John Howard was Prime Minister of Australia and on a visit to the U.S. to meet President George W. Bush. Howard was addressing a news conference in Washington as Flight 77 ploughed into the Pentagon. SOUNDBITE: John Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia, saying (English): "While we were doing the news conference the third plane, Flight 77, drove into the Pentagon. We pulled back the curtains and we saw the smoke rising and we knew then, beyond any argument, that this was a concerted terrorist attack on the United States." The day after the attacks Howard and his party were the only gallery visitors as the U.S. House of Representatives held an emergency debate. His gesture of support earned him an ovation. He's praising George W. Bush's leadership in the aftermath of the attacks. SOUNDBITE: John Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia, saying (English): "History will vindicate his great success in keeping American free from a further terrorist attack because we should remember in the days following, weeks following September 11th, the uppermost fear in the minds of most Americans was that there would be another attack. They didn't talk about if, they talked about when and where, and it's to Bush's great credit that he gave the leadership and took the decisions which meant that the further attacks did not happen." A decade on, Howard says he has no regrets about his decision to join the wars in Afghanistan and later Iraq. Latest opinion polls suggest growing numbers of Australians believe their forces should be withdrawn from Afghanistan. Howard says not. SOUNDBITE: John Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia, saying (English): "Well it was certainly worth fighting and i do believe it can be won. I believe what's more slow though the progress seems to be, it is being won. It would be a big error for the allies to pull out prematurely. Pakistan is more unstable than it was 10 years ago. If we left behind an ambiguous situation in Afghanistan the impact of that on the terrorist cause in Pakistan, which is a nuclear-armed country, could be quite dramatic." Howard went on to win national elections in November 2001 and again in 2004, before losing his seat three years later. Paul Chapman, Reuters