Britain To Reduce Troop Levels In Iraq, As The "Coalition Of The Willing" Shrinks Some More
The Bush Administration doesn't use the term "coalition of the willing" much anymore to describe the multi-national effort in Iraq and Afghanistan -- in part because the coalition is falling apart.
Great Britain isn't planning to leave just yet, but it does have one foot out the door. Defense Secretary Des Browne told BBC News yesterday that his nation's 7,000 troops would be significantly reduced by the end of 2007.
While not planning a full withdrawal, Browne said, "I can tell you that by the end of next year I expect numbers of British forces in Iraq to be significantly lower by a matter of thousands."
"Coalition of the willing" always seemed to be an odd term, especially for the spin-happy Bush Administration, home to so many "Luntzian" phrases. (It was apparently pilfered from President Clinton, who used it to describe a United Nations mandate.)
It makes you wonder why a country would be unwilling to fight in Iraq (such as: Iraq had nothing to do with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.)
From the start, the state department admitted that only a few of these countries are providing any major military presence in the Gulf, notably Britain and Australia.
But look at the nations that have exited the coalition: Singapore (in 2004), Nicaragua (2004); Spain (2004); Dominican Republic (2004); Honduras (2004); Norway (2004), Philippines (2004); Thailand (2004); New Zealand (2004); Tonga (December 2004) Hungary (2004); Portugal (2005); Moldova (2005); Netherlands (2005), Ukraine (2005), Bulgaria (2006), Japan (Joly 2006), Norway (2006), Italy (2006) and Poland (planned for December 2006).
Additionally, Australia, South Korea, Georgia and Denmark have each reduced their troop levels. And Britain will be next.
Here's a question: Does the Bush Administration, or its neocon friends, ever wonder why so many countries have become "unwilling?"