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.