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Build your own coalition

Yesterday, I set off a bit of a firestorm when I took on some of the anti-war crowd's stock arguments. That little piece gave me fodder for quite a few followup pieces, and I might live "high off the hog" on that one for days. But the first one is in response to brianD and nick, who seemed offended that we didn't have enough international support for the initial invasion.

Well, shall we go to the facts?

In the initial invasion of Iraq, we were the predominant force. The overwhelming majority of combatants were Americans. But we hardly went alone. 47 other nations all supported us, a good quarter of the members of the United Nations -- just to cite a landmark. And of the original 48, 23 still have forces in Iraq.

Yes, the vast majority of these forces are, have been, and will be American. This is only natural. We are the only nation who COULD provide the sheer magnitude of force needed. There simply is no alternative -- if we didn't do it, it simply wouldn't be done. (Whether we should or not is another question.)

So, let's go back to that original list of 48 nations. The critics say we should have had more international support. So who wasn't on that list that we should have held out for? I challenge the critics to name a few names.

But first, I'll save them some effort and weed out a few nations.

China - We definitely didn't need to help the Chinese to gain any useful experience in modern combat, nor any close-up and personal experience and familiarity with our weapons and tactics. They get plenty already, having bought huge chunks of it during the Clinton administration.

France - Was actively opposing the invasion. Tried to bribe African nations to oppose the war, told the newly-liberated nations of Eastern Europe that it was "a good time to shut up," took piles of bribes from Saddam's Oil-For-Food funds, has stated repeatedly that its foreign policy should be aimed at "counterbalancing" America. Besides, as former Department of Defense official Jed Babbin put it, "going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. You just leave a lot of useless noisy baggage behind."

Germany - Another recipient of Saddam's Oil-For-Food largesse. Also Constitutionally forbidden from sending combat forces out of the immediate area.

Israel - Get serious. Their NON-participation was the best thing they could do for all parties in the first Gulf War, even after Saddam launched missiles on them. Any good they might have done on the scene would have been vastly overwhelmed by the political backlash.

Russia - Despite Bush's repeated statements of trust of Vladimir Putin, I don't like the idea of him getting any taste of military adventurism. Besides, we tried to cooperate with them on something similar in the Balkans -- and that ended up with General Wes Clark (you might have heard of him) nearly starting a war when they decided to make their own rules.

Turkey - We sincerely tried to get them on board. Colin Powell worked his best magic on the Turks. But at the last minute, they held us up for a huge bribe to cooperate. It was because of their intransigence that a goodly portion of our planned invasion force was stuck on ships at sea, racing for the Persian Gulf at their best speed, when they decided at the last minute to veto the use of their territory for a northern front. Besides, they did support us, to a certain extent.

So, who's missing? Whose contributions would have made the difference between "working with the community of nations" and "going cowboy?" Quite frankly, I don't see any large empty seats.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Build your own coalition:

» bRight & Early linked with First Cup 03.21.06

» Demonrats linked with The Coalition of the Willing

» exvigilare linked with Not exactly with bells on

Comments (34)

Of course, the point you ar... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

Of course, the point you are ignoring jay tea is what outstanding moral barometers Russia, China, France and Germany have historically been.

Or maybe France, Russia, an... (Below threshold)

Or maybe France, Russia, and Germany were just too smart to get involved in this quagmire.

As far as Turkey wanting a "bribe" how much money did George Bush promise countries like El Salvador to participate?

You guys are so full of shit, and now it's becoming painfully (for you) obvious to the American public.

You are, of course, correct... (Below threshold)

You are, of course, correct: the three major players (Russia, Germany, and France) are all profiting by Saddam's regime, selling him illegal weapons and weapons technology. They won't join any effort to remove him from power.

You forgot Senator Kerry's suggestion.

In the early days of his campaign, he noted that the Indian government had a large army that they would be willing to send to help us. Then he stopped talking about it. Probably someone on his staff informed the foreign-policy wiz that sending troops from a predominantly Hindu country that is constantly fighting skirmishes with its neighboring Muslim country was a really stupid idea. Muslims in general and the Iraqis in particular would have considered this a huge insult. Furthermore, Pakistan would have immediately volunteered to send troops of its own or watched its citizens sneak over into Iraq to kill Indian soldiers.


Jay - Awesome as a... (Below threshold)

Jay -

Awesome as always. And the prompt defense (with no facts) by nick was entertaining.

But I wanted to ask, for the purpose of education, could you go back and edit your post to include the links to the various facts you present. I believe them, and occassionally use them, but I just don't have (haven't had) the time to compile them.

(Assuming you have had them time and still have them on your HDDs.)

Thanks. Oh, and nick, keep up the excellent parroting, er I mean, work.

nick, you are a sharp one.<... (Below threshold)

nick, you are a sharp one.

Gmoney, nick's only sharp b... (Below threshold)

Gmoney, nick's only sharp because his only point is on his head. France, Germany, Russia and Canada have proven over and over if you want Socialist support on a topic you have to pay for it with bribes.

The only thing that is "obvious" is that the left can't bear to tell the truth about Iraq and has to resort to lies distortion and a propaganda firm call ed the Press to try and regain power...regardless of the outcome to the people of Iraq or how it impacts the US.

...one other thing...Jay Te... (Below threshold)

...one other thing...Jay Tea...you forgot, today the Iraqi Army and Police represents another on the ground ally that is NOT being reported. We heard over and over again when then was only one brigade....now that it is the majority (I do believe they are now larger than the US forces, but may be off on that) we hear squat.

Oh, France, China and Russi... (Below threshold)

Oh, France, China and Russia got involved all right.

On Iraq's side. Take a look at the graphic here.

Germany - not so much.


Excellent JLawson, the grap... (Below threshold)

Excellent JLawson, the graphics coincide exactly and proportionately to the willingness of these countries to contribute to the house cleaning in Iraq..

Still beating that the Oil ... (Below threshold)

Still beating that the Oil for Food "scandal" drum?
Please, you could'nt get a cup of coffee right.

How could such a theft occur without complicity?

What you (diliberately) overlook-- is a distinction of significance: the U.N. is being attacked for the policies and failures of particular member nations. The Oil for Food Programme was not some concoction of Kofi Annan's. It was created by a vote of the members of the Security Council. And every aspect of how the program ran--what goods were allowed, the monitoring procedures, the transfer of funds, everything--was explicitly established by the members of the Security Council. Kofi Annan did not have a vote; but the United States and Britain did, and they approved of every resolution and decision that determined how the Oil for Food Programme worked. Whatever critics may say, "the U.N. bureaucracy" did not design a program that handed over cash to Saddam Hussein. The fifteen members of the Security Council--of which the United States was by far the most influential--determined how income from oil proceeds would be handled, and what the funds could be used for. The U.N.'s personnel operating the Oil for Food Programme did not set these policies. They simply executed the program that was designed by the members of the Security Council.


The task of policing oil smuggling fell to the Multinational Interception Force (MIF) - which was led by and predominantly made up of the Fifth Fleet of the U.S. Navy.

There was plenty of money to be made by U.S. companies during all this, did they do their patriotic duty and stop profiting from it?

Ah, one more thing -weren't Iraqi oil revenues supposed to pay for this war?

One other counter argument ... (Below threshold)

One other counter argument to the left's constant whine that there weren't enough troops on the ground after the initial invasion; didn't our "ally" Turkey prevent the US from using their land and air space to bring in troops from the North? Consequently, we could only attack from the South and had to move through Bagdad North (with a small number of US Special Forces and Kurdish fighters [from the North]) to finish the initial invasion. At the same time many Iraqis looted Bagdad. So it seems to me, we would have had many more boots-on-the-ground if it weren't for Turkey... our "Ally."

The only country I would ha... (Below threshold)

The only country I would have added was Canada, who probably would have joined us if Bush hadn't decided to put tariffs on their goods. International trade economics is NOT Bush's strong suit.

Ed:It's funny how ... (Below threshold)


It's funny how the Canadians were all upset about the lumber tariffs, but still, to this day, have rules setting a very small maximum quota of the amount of foreign TV and other entertainment that can be put on Canadian airwaves. If that "tariff" were removed, the US would end up with billions more in trade with our northern neighbors - in our favor...

France/Turkey - we might ha... (Below threshold)
John Anderson:

France/Turkey - we might have accommodated Turkey's request, but except it would not have helped - France told Turkey that if the Coalition was allowed to use Turkish property to stage into Northern Iraq, entry into the EU (Common Market) would be scrapped, killing over a decade of work. Not that complting has done Turkey any good, it looks like the time-frame has gone back up from two years to ten or more.

France also (ie, Chirac) also stated in January 2003 that it would not under any circumstances support invading Iraq, a harder stance than Russia.

DDT: "Ah, one more thing -weren't Iraqi oil revenues supposed to pay for this war?'

No, that was the so-called conclusion given by the no-war-for-oil crowd. The administration never said so, but quietly acknowledged that, as has happened, Iraqi oil would keep going where it had been under Saddam: Europe, China, and Russia.

So how large are these forc... (Below threshold)

So how large are these forces from other countries are we talking about? Take a lookat pages 15 and 16 here. Granted, this is recent data, but I think it shows how much support there actually is for this war.

A massive 16% of troops are committed by countries other than the US. When Great Britains 8,000 are taken out of the overall number of troops each country is contributing comes to about 500 troops.

Besides you're arguement is based off one of popularity. Just becasue other countries "bought in" so to speak, doesn't prove your arguement.

My html skills aren't very ... (Below threshold)

My html skills aren't very good. :)



A massive 16% of troops ... (Below threshold)

A massive 16% of troops are committed by countries other than the US. When Great Britains 8,000 are taken out of the overall number of troops each country is contributing comes to about 500 troops. - Hove

...and that represents the actual available power each country has, in modern terms. Of all of the countries in the world, very few have anything like the expeditionary power that the US can apply. This is because so may Western countries are, well, cheap, and decided back in the 1960s that the US would do all of the hard work when it comes to things like this and instead spent money on various socialist schemes to keep the proles in line (which doesn't seem to work, incidentally).

For a comparison, Canada (which has no real commitments anywhere) had to beg for air transport to the tsunami zone last year, weeks after the US already had tens of thousands of troops on site.

Screw combat commitments - most countries can't even reliably deploy their troops inside their own borders...

Uhh Hoves the whole concept... (Below threshold)

Uhh Hoves the whole concept behind the coalition was to bring what you can. England is the ONLY nation in Europe that has the logistics capacity to support that large (and heavy) of a force overseas.
France can't do it.
Neither can Germany.
They could handle very small numbers of troops (as long as they were of the light kind like the Germans have done in Afghanistan) So quit belittling the contribution nations like El Salvador, Poland, Australia, Japan and many others have given because for them it IS significant.

"You are, of course, correc... (Below threshold)

"You are, of course, correct: the three major players (Russia, Germany, and France) are all profiting by Saddam's regime, selling him illegal weapons and weapons technology."

As far as scandals go, as I recall, Austrailia received the biggest kick back from Saddamm. Kind of destroys the theory, but hey believe what you want.

And yes Jay, when you spout lies and falsehoods, it's bound to stir up attention. Sometimes I think that's the point of this blog. Definitely brings in the people and ad revenue.

Actually, no. Your "recoll... (Below threshold)

Actually, no. Your "recollection," as usual, is more made-up pseudofacts.

According to how you do the accounting, it's either France (with lots and lots of direct corruption in the form of oil for food vouchers to various politicos, along with a big influx of cheap oil for heating and such) or China (which was doing a lot of the work in the oil fields for future influence and a reliable oil source) or Germany (which sold lots of prohibited tech to Iraq over the last couple of decades).

Really?Says here t... (Below threshold)


Says here that the Australian Wheat Board was the largest recipient from the entire Oil-for-food scandal. (Which by the way, the US was involved in)


Is that a "pseudofact?" (No)

jp2:The source is ... (Below threshold)


The source is certainly suspect, but even taken at face value, the article says that AWB was the biggest Company to take bribes, not talking about politicians or countries.

Were did Saddam's weapons come from? Try this article: http://www.heritage.org/Research/MiddleEast/wm217.cfm
(lots of footnotes from good sources). The illegal missles Saddam fired at the US were from France. His chemical weapons program: parts from Germany and China. Hell, after the war was over, the French and the Russians wanted to know when they were going to get their money for weapons THEY delivered just before the war started.

jp2,You have got t... (Below threshold)


You have got that exactly backwards. AWB was not a recipient, but rather someone who paid Iraq kickbacks to be able to do business. The recipients were ones who were given oil allocations which they could sell. You know, like George Galloway. Or the Communist Party in Russia.

Funny how the media focuses on an Australian wheat company, and the American Bay Oil, both who paid kickbacks to be able to get Oil-For-Food contracts from Iraq, yet largely don't report on all the politicos who received actual bribes from Iraq.

I guess corruptly buying influence doesn't make the news, but corruptly buying the right to do business does.

Not to mention, of course, ... (Below threshold)

Not to mention, of course, that jp2's much-vaunted UN also found that the AWB wasn't the recipient of bribes.

What it comes down to is that the bribes to places like France et al were used to help extort cash from organizations like the AWB.

Regardless, it blows away t... (Below threshold)

Regardless, it blows away the theory that the countries who benefitted the most financially from Iraq were the ones who didn't want to go to war. The US was caught up in a lot of bribery as well.

But hey, I commend the countries who stayed out of this disaster. Smart move.

Upon further review, I thin... (Below threshold)

Upon further review, I think you chaps might have a point. I made a mistake in thinking that the AWB was a government program. It is not. Apologies.

While I still don't believe that sales had anything to do with peoples hesitancy in supporting this horrible war, it is certainly an acceptable theory. Again, apologies.

Note, for example, that acc... (Below threshold)

Note, for example, that according to the news stories, the guy who got most of the money was from, well, Syria.

As for the "apologies," you might note that pretty much everything you've said here eventually comes down to someone distorting the real story to make the side of the US look bad, while glossing over the fact that folks like yourself have been (and still are, for practical purposes) supporting a dictator or backing a whole bunch of vicious religious fanatics who would just as soon cut your head off as look at you.

For starters, stop reading those stupid socialist web sites - they're seldom within shouting range of the truth.

I watched the movie "The Ba... (Below threshold)

I watched the movie "The Battle of Britain" this afternoon and the thought occured to me:

Was Churchill a "failure" because he couldn't get the United States involved in the war against the nazis before Dec, 1941?

Was Britain "going it alone" in the "quagmire" that was the early years of World War II? After all, Britain had no real allies, and the Commonwealth forces were pretty much a fraction of the total British armed forces.

Doc: I don't think that is ... (Below threshold)

Doc: I don't think that is a valid comparison since Germany was an actual threat while Iraq was not. But in a sense, it could be said that he failed to get the Americans involved earlier.

I don't think that is a ... (Below threshold)

I don't think that is a valid comparison since Germany was an actual threat while Iraq was not.

...except for that pesky "funding terror groups all over the frigging world" thing that you keep conveniently forgetting. We keep adding to the list the more we go through the files. Most of this stuff wasn't any sort of secret, anyway - the Palestinians used to put up posters of Saddam for giving those big piles of cash to the families of suicide bombers who blew up Israelis.

But, of course, jp2 doesn't care if a bunch of folks on the other side of the world get killed by bombs bought with Saddam's cash, as long as none of them go off on his front lawn. And maybe not even then.

How was Germany a threat to... (Below threshold)

How was Germany a threat to us in 1942? THEY didn't bomb Pearl Harbor. Why WERE we fighting Hitler in North Africa while we left Tojo alone? He was the mastermind who'd arranged the sneak attack that killed over two thousand Americans, yet we put the bulk of our efforts into fighting Hitler. Tojo had a large navy that could have staged an invasion of Hawaii or even California.

In contast, Germany's navy was tiny; not likely that they were going to invade the east coast, was it? Germany wasn't even working on building up its navy except for the U-boat fleet, which didn't pose a serious threat to our national security. Even if they'd thought about a direct attack on the United States, Britain had Hitler contained,(1) and later Stalin became Hitler's main worry. Think about all those troops, aircraft, ships, etc. that we pulled out of the Pacific to go deal with Hitler, who really hadn't done anything to us. Roosevelt even called it the finger strategy and explicitly said that we'd fight Germany with 9/10 of our resources and handle Japan with the other 1/10. How many thousands of Americans died because of his incompetent strategy?

And while I'm on the subject of FDR, let's talk about his other bungles. Why did our airmen go to war in planes that were no match for the Zero and the Me-109? When the Marines went ashore on Guadalcanal, they didn't even have good maps of the island because he didn't see to it that they were adequately prepared. Our men had no good training in jungle warfare even though it was obvious that this was the type of environment in which they'd most likely have to fight the Japanese. Why did GIs in the ETO frequently have to "up-armor" their Sherman tanks with sandbags because they were so vulnerable to German tank and AT gun fire? And how did Roosevelt blow the intelligence about Pearl Harbor so badly? He had PLENTY of warning that the Japanese were going to attack; anybody could have guessed that they'd attack our biggest base at Pearl Harbor. The man should have been impeached!

Get the point? All these arguments are essentially true, and might easily have been made by anybody with RDR (Roosevelt Derangement Syndrome) in 1942. Happily, most Americans recognized that we had a war to win. Even Hollywood got into the act, serving up movies like "The Flying Tigers" and "Wake Island" instead of "Syriana" and "Fahrenheit 9-11".

As I noted on another post, we have the comfort of a long span of years to help us see clearly what a menace Hitler was to us even though Germany was far from a direct threat to the United States. Unless, of course, he'd developed the Bomb, but we know now that Germany's Bomb program was in serious disarray and it isn't at all likely that they would ever have developed nuclear weapons. Another intelligence blunder!

And what about perhaps the most glaring blunder (if you can call it that) of all: that Japan wouldn't have surrendered without our dropping the Bombs? It wasn't a blunder: it was pure racism and vindictiveness that caused Truman to order the Bombs dropped, the same kind of racism that led Roosevelt to illegally round up thousands of innocent Japanese and herd them into concentration camps, where thousands died from neglect. It was the same kind of racism that led our men to almost never take Japanese prisoners, and to brutally mistreat those who were captured. Truman should have known that Japan was finished by mid-1945 due to our submarine blockade, but instead we murdered tens of thousands of Japanese civilians when we dropped the Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki FOR NO GOOD REASON. That ignorant little hat salesman should have been hauled up before the UN as a war criminal!

(1) In his history of the Second World War, Churchill indulges in some minor grousing about Americans crowing over having won the war, as if it was the USA alone that did it. While he admits that the US was carrying the lion's share of the load in the Pacific, it was Britain that bore the heaviest burden among the western allies until after June 6, 1944. Natch, nobody's efforts against Hitler match the efforts and sacrifices of the Soviets...

Docjim505 - you fail to not... (Below threshold)

Docjim505 - you fail to note that Hitler declared war on the US immediately after Pearl Harbor, which of course was before 1942. Did that make him a threat yet?

My heart's not into defending FDR or Truman, but fair is fair. Roosevelt's mishandling of the economy made sure that we had plenty of idle manpower and industrial capacity for Lend-Lease and later full-scale war production. Roosevelt might have expected Pearl Harbor attacks, but if it took word from him to prevent it then that's a problem in itself. As it was, Pearl Harbor was more worried about sabotage than airborne attack, and the very actions that helped control sabotage left it especially vulnerable.

Re the Sherman tanks, you have to fight with the army you have. Moral - keep up defense spending and R&D during peacetime so you have a better chance of avoiding problems like this.

As for Truman, calling him a racist won't fly. He's the guy who did the most to integrate the armed forces. And the intel he had available told him that hundreds of thousands of Japanese were going to die if the mainland were invaded based on what had been observed at Okinawa - civilians were herded off cliffs instead of being subjected to the ungodly atrocities their govt told them the Americans would commit. So while Truman couldn't save Japanese civilians from their govt, he could spare American troops if he invaded with Fat Man and Little Boy instead.

Incidentally, although Truman is well regarded now, he got plenty of lip in his own time. I suspect that much the same will occur with GWB.

J Bowen;My points ... (Below threshold)

J Bowen;

My points exactly; my post was written very much tongue-in-cheek using the same kind of language and "logic" that the lefties use when assailing Bush and the war in Iraq.

docjim505 - sorry, I'm havi... (Below threshold)

docjim505 - sorry, I'm having trouble calibrating my BS detector. God knows it gets a workout. Now if you'll excuse me I'm gonna go buy a bridge...






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