of the Wilting
March 28, 2003
By Justin Hill
One of the most outrageous aspects of this war in Iraq is
the administration's distortion of the truth to purposely
lead Americans astray. Take the so-called "Coalition
of the Willing," for example. Americans have been led
to believe that this war is no longer unilateral and it is
backed by a large multinational coalition - one larger than
that of the first Persian Gulf War, according to Secretary
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. But Rumsfeld's statement is based
on a complete diversion from the truth.
Currently our coalition is made up of forty-six countries
from around the world and according the White House website,
"includes nations from every continent on the globe."
(Did someone forget about Antarctica?) The list certainly
contains world powers such as the United Kingdom, Australia,
and Japan. The list also includes stable strong countries
like Italy, Portugal, Spain, Singapore and South Korea. All
of these countries are representative democracies. All of
these countries also had extremely large anti-war movements
and chose to bow to America rather than represent their populace.
These countries back America, but only the United Kingdom,
Australia, Poland and Spain have devoted troops to this war
(although Spain's troops are not for ground combat). According
to Dana Milbank in the March 25 Washington Post, Poland
initially denied supplying troops but pictures have revealed
a limited number of special forces in Iraq. Denmark has supplied
a submarine, but the role of the submarine in the desert is
Here's where the list begins to wilt.
There are six unarmed countries counted by the White House,
some of which would be a challenge to locate on a map. Palau,
Costa Rica, Iceland, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, the
Solomon Islands, and Afghanistan are countries the White House
has included in the coalition. According to Ian Williams at
AlterNet (March 25), three of those countries are completely
dependent upon the United States for funding and defense.
Most of the countries included in the Coalition of the Willing
are supporting this war through rhetoric only, although, the
Washington Post wrote, "Morocco's weekly al Usbu' al-Siyassi
claimed that Morocco has offered 2,000 monkeys to help detonate
land mines." Although this is a highly speculative assertion,
it would be one of the larger contributions by a coalition
The majority of the countries supporting the war are doing
so for economic or diplomatic reasons. Bulgaria, Albania,
Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania
and Slovakia are either trying to gain membership into NATO
or are relatively new members who must stand strong with NATO
powers to ensure their relevance within NATO. Along with the
NATO countries, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan all rely
on America in the case of a threat from their Russian neighbors.
The South and Central American countries of Colombia, Dominican
Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama are
all trying to align themselves to be included in the George
W. Buhs's Free Trade of Americas plan, which will supposedly
be a boon to their economies. Lastly, many African countries
with deplorable human rights records and shaky U.S. relations
rely on the United States for aid and support and have signed
on to keep from losing the support they need.
Among the countries in the coalition, the Department of State
warns Americans not to visit seven of them because they could
be killed or kidnapped. Turkey is listed but should be considered
questionable after they denied America the right to use their
bases to launch an incursion from the north. Eritrea made
the cut along with Ethiopia who does not have the resources
to provide for their own citizens. Taiwan is even listed -
but Taiwan is not officially a country.
According to Milbank the first Persian Gulf War consisted
of thirty-four countries that provided military support. That
coalition would have been over one hundred by the accounting
standards employed by the Bush administration. Declaring this
coalition larger than the one assembled by George Bush Sr.
is an insult to all those involved in the diplomatic efforts
prior to the first Gulf War.
This is a coalition of necessity to most countries. They
have no choice. In the first Gulf War, Yemen lost funding
from America after they voted against the UN resolution authorizing
a war to liberate Kuwait. The Coalition of the Willing are
not countries willfully and actively supporting this war,
but instead choosing to sign a piece of paper to avoid angering
the American power brokers.