Tuesday, December 27, 2005

More Allies Stay the Course...

I previously reported that our allies in Iraq continued to stand with us. Now there is more good news: Poland is staying in Iraq through 2006, reversing a previous decision to withdraw.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Reuters on Dec 27:

"The last Ukrainian and Bulgarian troops have left Iraq, and Poland plans deep cuts in its deployment next year ... Poland's deputy defense minister said Tuesday that Poland would reduce troop levels in March, from nearly 1,500 to 900"

Spin it however you please, but to me its hardly "good news" when two so-called allies are heading for home and a third has one foot out the door.

This is not Poland "staying the course". This is Poland sharply reducing its commitment. This is Poland laying the groundwork to exit gracefuly some time in the near future. This is the right wing trying to convince us that the world supports us because the governments of x number of countries have "agreed" to provide contingents of troops towards efforts in Iraq, even though:

a) in most of these countries, the electorates strongly oppose involvement in Iraq - nothing like spreading the spirit of dictatorship, er, uh, democracy abroad, eh Mr. Bush?

b) Most of these governments have been bribed, arm-twisted or otherwise had undue influence exerted upon them in order to secure their cooperation. The number of "partners" in our "coalition" is hardly a barometer of either the war's popularity, morality, righteousness or anything else the Bush administration would have us believe. And it is very suprising that they point to the numbers of "partners" we have in this effort, considering what a truely low number it is, all things considered. But more on that later...

Furthermore, the contingents of troops supplied by most of these countries are token, at best. If you want to see just how token these contributions are, here's this list from the Washington Post-


The above chart is a bit old (Feb 25, 2005), but a) I imagine these numbers have either held steady or declined since and b) it serves to illustrate the truely token level of troop commitments from our "coalition partners".

And I put the words "coalition partners" in quotes for a reason. It is not a "coalition" or a "coalition of the willing" as some have suggested. By all accounts it would be more appropriate to lable it a "coalition of the bribed, paid off, intimidated and bullied".

Case in point - this article from the Christian Science Monitor (http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1008/p01s02-woiq.html), dated October, 2003, we see the following regarding US efforts to secure Turkish troops for Iraq:

"Last month the US agreed to make loans of up to $8.5 billion available to an economically struggling Turkey. Even though the US says the loans and the sending of troops to Iraq are not directly linked, it does say the loans are contingent upon "cooperation" on Iraq."

Note this occured well after Turkey declined to allow us to use their country as a staging point to invade Iraq from the North, before our initial invasion. This despite the massive foreign aid package we were offering Turkey at the time in exchange for their help.

Even back to Poland itself - quotes from this article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/09/AR2005120901816.html) in the Wasington Post, dated December 10, 2005:

"Poland has asked for additional U.S. military assistance to modernize its own forces as it considers whether to extend the presence of Polish troops in Iraq next year, according to Polish and U.S. officials."


"Although Warsaw has stopped short of conditioning its Iraq decision on the request for aid, it has made it clear that the two are linked..."

Yet more... (this time from here http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EH01Ak02.html)

"The inducements - including weapons and increased military aid - have apparently been offered to at least three countries whose troops Washington desperately needs to bolster the fledgling multinational force in Iraq and relieve the pressure on US forces in the war-ravaged country."


"The Indian government, which withdrew its offer of 17,000 troops under heavy domestic political pressure, is being lobbied once again with an offer of sophisticated military equipment."


"The London Financial Times said on Tuesday that the Bush administration has also pledged to relax the sale of dual-use technology to India in return for that country sending troops to Iraq."


"The Washington Post reported that some of the countries were providing troops only at a cost to US taxpayers."


"The Bush administration has agreed to pay $240 million in support costs to the Polish contingent of about 9,000 troops. The costs will cover airlift transportation, meals, medical care and other expenses."

and finaly this...

""The Bush administration is doing the right thing in looking for additional help in Iraq," said Natalie J Goldring, executive director of the Program on Global Security and Disarmament at the University of Maryland. "But the US government should be seeking that help through the United Nations. Instead, US political and military leaders are once again trying to buy countries' cooperation with weapons transfers and military aid," she said. "

So its not as if these countries came to Iraq out of the goodness of their own hearts, or because they thought it was the 'right thing to do' in the first place, or because they support what we're doing. They're there for their own benefit - benefits that the American tax payer is providing.

Its too bad that these under the table deals do not receive more publicity. If Mr. Bush had any sense of honor, he'd tell us himself - "You see, my fellow Americans, this is what the United States had to do to secure Poland's cooperation in Iraq..." etc etc etc. Then the American voter might come to understand what it truely means to have a large number of "partners" in Mr. Bush's "coalition". Maybe Mr. Bush cannot afford to *loose* the support of some of these countries, but I contend that for the rest of us - for the American tax payer - we cannot afford to *keep* their support.

4:43 PM  
Blogger Fred K said...

Wow, you have a lot to say there. You should be blogging.

I find it a bit hard to follow your argument. One one hand you say it is "hardly good news that two allies are heading for home" and the rest of the post casts derision on the costs of the allies that are staying. Which is your position: allies good, or allies bad?

And yes, we are helping our allies with money and other things that they want. That's what allies do. I don't have a problem with that.

I also reject your assertions that the allied troops are not supported by their populations or that the gov't didn't choose to be there because 'it was the right thing to do'.

I did have (thanks GWB) a problem with the money that Saddam's Iraq was funneling to his allies in the UN, France and the political Left via the ill named oil for food program. I also had a problem with the money Saddam sent to the families of Palestinian suicide/homocide bombers. But I no longer have the problem.

8:14 PM  

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