President Bush said, “Other nations around the globe have stood with us….In the next for years, my Administration will continue to build the coalitions that will defeat the dangers of our time.”
There goes that talk about coalitions again. Does anyone else remember the 2003 State of the Union address? President Bush announced, “If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm, for the safety of our people and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.” Two years ago, we were set to lead a coalition into Iraq; our allies on the “coalition of the willing” list were much publicized even though “only a few” of the countries in the coalition were “providing any major military presence in the Gulf.” The reason why we are back to building coalitions is that:
FACT: The once heavily touted 45-member “coalition of the willing” list has been scrapped and replaced “with a smaller roster of 28 countries with troops in Iraq sometime after the June transfer of power to an interim Iraqi government.”
FACT: Spain has withdrawn its troops in Iraq.
FACT: The Netherlands has withdrawn its troops in Iraq.
FACT: Hungary has withdrawn its troops in Iraq.
FACT: Ukraine is expected to withdraw its troops in Iraq soon.
FACT: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Philippines, Thailand, and New Zealand are some more countries “which had troops in or supported operations in Iraq at one point but have pulled out since.”
And of the remaining countries:
FACT: “Polish military officers, who command the multinational division in south-central Iraq, have said their reduced numbers…could force them to cut the number of provinces they patrol — a decision that may force the US to fill the gaps.”
FACT: “Several allied countries, many of them eastern European, that were part of the original ‘New Europe’ group backing the Iraqi war have said they will either completely withdraw or substantially reduce their forces in Iraq after the January 30 elections.” FACT: “Several western European NATO members — including France, Germany, Belgium, and Spain — [have refused] to participate in the alliance’s new training mission in Baghdad.”