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Coalition 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 under review.

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 country.

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.

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