The Coalition of the Willing Just Got Less Thrilling

|

Well it sort of makes sense that, as the US signals a pullout from Iraq in 2006, some members of the coalition of the willing are hotfooting it out of the Middle East. Ukraine and Bulgaria have announced they are getting the hell out of Dodge Baghdad. And Poland is cutting back on its presence too.

More details here.

NEXT: Global Surveillance — You Know, for Kids!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Well this process got started way back in ’04 with the withdrawal of Spanish forces followed by the Filipinos.

  2. So what is the problem here? Do you want these troops to stay? Do you want the USA to stay? I thought the quicker the ‘foreign’ troops got out of Iraq the better?

  3. Oh my god, not Poland! Please, not Poland.

  4. Not one to pass up an opportunity for a good Polish joke, but they are the fourth largest non-US contingent in Iraq with 1,500 troops just behind the UK, S. Korea, and Italy.

  5. First of all Cicero, screw yourself. Second of all, Poland did what was asked of them, and is ready to reduce their troops, and concentrate on strictly training of the Iraqi troops. It is a role that they had for awhile now together with the Italians (in the sector). They do not need 2,500 soldiers to train troops. Besides Poland will soon take over the NATO forces in Afghanistan, so they need to relocate some troops which trained in ?peace keeping missions?. Their troops with this type of experience are stretched thin in Bosnia, Kosovo, and even South Korea (Not sure but they might have pulled out of South Korea). Ukraine and Bulgaria pulled out because the UN mandate runs out in January, besides they too completed their mission. So people do not make this what it is not. No one is running, they have accomplished their task, and honored their agreement with the US. Besides for Bulgaria and Ukraine is tough financially to keep those troops in Iraq. Poland alone spend over 200 mil for keeping a relatively small force there. They can afford that, but the other two have a hard time. So please let?s not make this out into something that it is not.

  6. ajrok,

    Invest your Polish pride in any of the multitude of worthy endeavors such as those from Poland’s dynamic private sector, but not that the Polish government got hooked into taking part in a needless US government war based on neocon lies.

  7. OK, forget Poland. 😉

    “So people do not make this what it is not. No one is running, they have accomplished their task”

    Expect to see a lot of this language over the next year.

  8. mark,

    No problem. Good on them. I’m jealous.

  9. @ Joe
    I agree with you Joe, you will hear a lot of it, because that?s what happened. Polish ran zone is stable, there are no terrorist attacks there, and they can shift their role to concentrate completely on training. I wonder why people like yourself want America to fail in Iraq. Why are you so bitter? I bet you are one of those people that gets happy every time American soldier dies, or Iraq civilians are blown to pieces by these Muslim fundamentalists, just so you can feel better about your anti-war stand.

    @ Rick Barton

    It is funny how the whole thing evolved into Bush lying about the WMDs. Yes the evil neo-cons conspired with CIA, MI5 and even Russian ( anti-war nation) intelligence agencies to lie about the WMDs. Even African nations which reported sales to Iraq of uranium, conspired with the neo-cons. Please stop repeating what some hippie said on tv, and stick to facts.

  10. “I bet you are one of those people that gets happy every time American soldier dies…”

    zzzzzzzzzzz…

  11. Gee, nobody has EVER called joe a terrorist sympathizer before! That’s SO original!

  12. It’s worth pointing out that the Polish soldiers are remarkably well trained and very professional. The special forces (GROM) that the post-Communist government established are highly respected.

  13. The anti-war folks have done a fine job of setting expectations so that no matter what happens, we will be seen to have lost in the Mideast.

    Every pullout, even long-delayed drawdowns and RIFs that are part of the plan for increasing Iraq’s autonomy, is portrayed and will be seen as the US and its allies running from the mighty and triumphant fascist/Islamist jihad.

    Thanks, guys!

    Answer honestly now, which would be worse in a global sense – US victory in the Mideast, or US defeat in the Mideast?

    I’m genuinely curious as to what the folks who oppose the war really believe. I’d like to think that they would prefer US victory, but view it as highly unlikely, but so much of what they do and say seems more consistent with believing the world would be better off if the US was chased from the Mideast with its tail between its legs.

  14. RC, the same (about setting expectations so that we will have won no matter what) can be said for the pro-war folks, as the administrations shifting purposes and rationales have shown.

    I for one think it wouldn’t be a disaster for the U.S. to “win” (however that is currently being defined by hawks), however, I am uncomfortable for the same reason why I would be uncomfortable to see a welfare program, or a war on drugs program, achieve a success: It only reinforces the belief of those who believe in social engineering through government fiat. I don’t want soldiers (or anyone for that matter) to die, nor do I want people to live in poverty, or be addicted to drugs. But the bigger problem to me is rooting out this belief that our government’s guns and tanks are the solution to every problem.

    As a parallel – was “losing” in Vietnam the worst thing ever? Listen to the vietnamese now – they love us (generally) and hate their communist government. That’s the kind of shift we need in the middle east – for the people to recognize that their real enemy is their governments and not us. However, as long as we have troops over there, and we support financially and otherwise their governments, we will at least be seen as the easy scapegoat for everything that is wrong.

  15. what they do and say seems more consistent with believing the world would be better off if the US was chased from the Mideast with its tail between its legs.

    I’ve seen perfectly honorable suggestions by libertarian doves that the US would be better off in the long run, screw the world.

  16. Yeah, remember those anti-war folks saying that the war was one of preemption, necessary to defend ourselves from weapons of mass destruction?

    Or when the anti-war folks said that the outcome of this war would be a liberal democracy that would bring peace, prosperity, and human rights to Iraq, which would then shine like a beacon for other nations in the region?

    Or when the anti-war folks said the torture chambers and rape rooms were closed, and that Iraqis wouldn’t have to fear the knock at the door in the night?

    Or when the anti-war folks said this war would reduce terrorism?

    Oh, wait, that was President Bush.

    Why does George Bush hate America?

  17. “Every pullout, even long-delayed drawdowns and RIFs that are part of the plan for increasing Iraq’s autonomy, is portrayed and will be seen as the US and its allies running from the mighty and triumphant fascist/Islamist jihad.”

    That’s certainly the description the pro-war contingent puts on calls for ending the war. It has nothing to do with the position of those actually arguing such a position.

    RC, you’re as incapable of understanding your enemy and responding appropriately as Donald Rumsfeld.

  18. I’ve spent three years telling you what anti-war people actually believe, and have dozens of others, including multiple Reason staffers, RC.

    If you were genuinely curious, you’d know by now.

  19. ajrok:

    I wonder why people like yourself want America to fail in Iraq.

    It’s not a question of America failing, it’s about our government. And our government already has failed. They’ve sent thousands of Americans to be killed and crippled without just cause. Iraq wasn’t a threat to our security. The best thing that could happen now is for the government to cut the losses and end the occupation before the neocons successfully agitate for an attack on Syria using Iraq as the base. This is the neocon’s goal in maintaining the occupation.

    I bet you are one of those people that gets happy every time American soldier dies…

    Shame on you for saying that to joe! The only way to end the killing of American soliers is to bring them home now. It’s you who oppose this!

  20. That’s certainly the description the pro-war contingent puts on calls for ending the war.

    And your pre-emptive dismissal of the explanation for the drawdowns (see, e.g. Expect to see a lot of this language over the next year)is inconsistent with my characterization how, exactly? Do you believe that we are drawing down because we are winning, or because we are beaten?

    Your rhetoric indicates the latter, joe. If so, then I stand by what I have said. If not, then you need to clarify or withdraw your preemptive dismissal of the “official’ explanation for the troop drawdowns.

    If you were genuinely curious, you’d know by now.

    Its just that, when the possibility of success is pre-emptively dismissed, and future actions are positioned to guarantee the perception of failure, it makes me wonder.

    I don’t doubt that the anti-war people are pushing for the result that they think will be best for the world (and, in some cases, the U.S.). I believe, in other words, that they are acting in good faith in that sense. Some of them unquestionably believe that a defeat for the US in the current endeavor is the optimal outcome for the world (and perhaps for the US as well). Much of the rhetoric of the rest is curiously ambivalent about their preferred outcome.

    Everyone wants the US out of Iraq, including the neocons. The only question is, on what terms? The anti-war folks want us out on terms that will be perceived as a defeat (and thus will become a defeat in actuality).

    Some, with their pre-emptive dismissal of the possibility of success, are doing what they can to ensure that whatever happens it will be seen as a defeat. Thus, Congressional Democrats, eager to position “Bush’s” war as a failure, have seized on little-noticed plans for a draw-down next year, and have made noisy demands for a draw-down next year to get our “failing military” out of the “quagmire.”

  21. For an example of an anti-war person who wants us out on terms that will be a defeat, I refer you to Rick Barton:

    The best thing that could happen now is for the government to cut the losses and end the occupation

    Now, is Rick in favor of the US prevailing in the current struggle? I would say no, since his preferred course of action is incompatible with US victory and indistinguishable from US defeat.

    Is this because he believes victory is impossible, or undesirable? I don’t know; hence my question above.

  22. RC:

    Now, is Rick in favor of the US prevailing in the current struggle?

    To what struggle do you refer? Also, there can be no victory in a fight that should never have been joined.

    What likely outcome in Iraq do you foresee that would justify anymore American casualties?

  23. ajrok:

    Even African nations which reported sales to Iraq of uranium, conspired with the neo-cons.

    Which African nations corroborated that forgery, which has neocon fingerprints from the Pentagon’s OSP all over it? Provide links.

    Yes the evil neo-cons conspired with CIA…

    It was exactly cuz the CIA wouldn’t confirm the lies for war that the neocons in the Pentagon’s OSP manufactured evidence.

    Please stop repeating what some hippie said on tv, and stick to facts.

    You can’t possibly be informed by many facts and write what you have on this thread. Try this, it’ll help you: http://www.antiwar.com/

  24. Also, there can be no victory in a fight that should never have been joined.

    Interesting claim.

  25. “Do you believe that we are drawing down because we are winning, or because we are beaten?”

    Neither. The drawdowns that are happening now represent long-planned reversions to the pre-election levels. The drawdowns to come will be based on domestic politics and the hard realities of our military’s capacity to act.

    Your problem is that you insist on using the word “defeat” to describe a sitation in which we decide that continued action isn’t worth it. We went in under false pretenses, and the mission we set out to accomplish is moot. If a prosecutor drops a case because he discovers his primary witness was lying, he hasn’t lost the case. If he continues to try it, despite not having any witness, and the jury comes back “not guilty,” then he’s lost the case. This is the defeat I’m trying to avoid.

    “Everyone wants the US out of Iraq, including the neocons.” No, they don’t. The neocons were quite clear about the fact that they wanted a permanent military presence in Iraq, to replace the one they left behind in Saudi Arabia. Pressure on Syria and Iran – you’ve made that argument yourself.

    If you don’t want a pullout to be perceived a defeat, maybe you should spent less time explaining why every decision to leave represents a defeat and capitulation – particularly the ones that do not. It is people like you, constanting using the language of appeasement and surrender, who threaten to create that perception, and you do so for your own domestic political gain. Knock it off! The consequences of such a perception could be nearly as bad as you make them out to be.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.