Monday, November 14, 2005

Coalition of the Willing-to-Cooperate-On-Their-Own-Terms

Bush really had broad multilateral support for this war, didn't he? Besides the mine-sweeping monkeys and promise from Haiti to dispatch counterterrorist voodoo witch doctors, we got willing commitments from Spain (until the costs came home), Japan (which constitutionally cannot fight aggressive war), and various other tokens. The fact of the matter is, everyone committed troops and resources on their own terms. This was not a grand, united coalition with a shared plan of attack and reconstruction.

There is now talk of Britain's considerations for a pull-out plan. That's fine, we've talked about it too. But what is striking is that nowhere in these media releases is there any mention of a more broad pull-out plan. Nowhere are there statements like "Iraqi troops will begin to fill in where British and United States troops once stood." If there is going to be a draw down of "coalition" troops, there should be a proportional draw down of all represented states' troops. Never in the Administration's addresses on the coalition was there mention of hierarchy. Bush's 40 nations were, in his presentation, all equal in contribution and worth. By committing troops and resources they should, principally, be seen as equal contributors. However, when it comes to declaring the job done, we start to see a hierarchy emerge. This is where we separate the men from the boys, so to speak. Or maybe I should say, this is where we separate the responsible and obligated from the lap dogs. This is not a criticism of Britain's decision, it is merely a critique of the conduct of the war. The nature of our coalition-building mentality has led to outcomes where our unilateralism is truly exposed. As the interests of our allies change or are exhausted, they leave as they please. The idea of shared triumph and sacrifice is nowhere to be found.

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