Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Iraq War: The coalition gets less willing

Italy to Begin Pullout of Troops from Iraq by Daniel Williams and Caryle Murphy Washington Post 03/16/05

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, one of the United States' most ardent supporters on Iraq, said Tuesday he intended to begin withdrawing his country's troops in September. That makes Italy the latest country to announce that it will reduce or eliminate its military contingent in the U.S.-led force.

Gosh, do you think that might have something to do with the Sgrena incident?

Official White House orders to the Patriotically Correct say that has nothing to do with it:

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Scott McClellan advised reporters not to make a cause-and-effect link between Berlusconi's decision and the Baghdad shooting incident. He played down the significance of a possible Italian withdrawal, saying it would be keyed to the ability of Iraqi forces to assume more responsibility and would be carried out in coordination with allies.

Italy isn't the only one, of course.

On Monday, 160 Dutch soldiers arrived home as part of a phased withdrawal. On Tuesday, Ukraine welcomed back more than 130 members of its 1,500-person force and has said it will complete its pullout by October. Poland is planning to remove a few hundred of its 1,700 soldiers this summer and the rest by early 2006.

Funny thing.  Those Italians just didn't seem to appreciate American soldiers carelessly shooting their nationals.  Despite the official White House line, I'm guessing that the Freepers and the Foxists are already digging around for insults to start routinely applying to the Italians: they're all still Fascists; they're cowardly and incompetent; they use too much olive oil; whatever.


fdtate714 said...

Will we have to call Italian sausage Freedom sausage?

purcellneil said...

It is time our Troops came home too.  Long past time.  Once Saddam was captured, and we were satisified that there were no WMD stockpiles, we ought to have packed it in.  What good we think we are doing is beyond me.


bmiller224 said...

Norman Solomon also argues for immediate withdrawal:

<< Sometimes, an unspoken assumption among progressive activists is that the occupation of Iraq must be tolerated for tactical reasons -- while other issues, notably domestic ones, are more winnable on Capitol Hill. But this acceptance means going along with many of the devastating effects of a militarized society: from ravaged budgets for social programs to more authoritarian attitudes and violence in communities across the country. >>


I haven't been giving a lot of thought to the exit strategy, because I don't Bush and Cheney and Rummy have any intention of completely wihdrawing.  They're lookin for permanent bases there.  I doubt they will be able to reduce the troop levels much below where they are now until Republican politicians start to panic at having the Iraq War albatross around their necks.

I think it's important to remember that Bush & Co. have created a situation where there is no genuinely *good* outcome that's realistically possible from the US point of view.  It's a question of minimizing the damage at this point.  Bush bet the farm with the Iraq invasion.  If the optimistic assumptions didn't play out right - and that didn't come close to happening - it was going to be a losing proposition.  And that's what we've got.

One exit plan that would work would be to set a firm phase-out deadline and make sure the new government knows that they will have to fill the security and military gaps created as the American troops are drawn down.  But Bush has no intention of adopting such a policy right now. - Bruce