Multilateral withdrawal from unilateral invasion

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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:30 am

Forces that occupied Iraq unilaterally are now leaving in non-unilateral fashion:

Italy will pull its 3000 troops out of Iraq, the Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, announced … Australia, against the tide, said last month it would increase its force in Iraq from about 400 to 850 …

The departure of the 3000 Italian troops, the fourth-largest contingent after the US, Britain and South Korea, follows the decision of Poland, another key European ally of the US, to withdraw several hundred of its 1700 troops in July and the remainder by the start of next year.

Ukraine and the Netherlands have both begun withdrawing their 3000 troops, the Netherlands despite US pressure not to do so. Bulgaria announced on Tuesday – after a Bulgarian soldier was accidentally shot by US forces – that its 450 troops will leave by the end of the year.

Before the war: bad that no countries supported the US. After: bad that all the countries that supported the US no longer support the US.

Besides Australia and Britain, obviously. It still isn’t unilateral.

Posted by Tim B. on 03/16/2005 at 10:48 AM
    1. Perhaps I’m wrong, but it seems to me that these were the troops not actively engaged in combat.  Perhaps the functions they performed are gradually being taken over by the Iraqis?  I fervently hope so, because I don’t want things to get tougher for our guys than they already are.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 03/16 at 11:38 AM • permalink


    1. European troops expressed dismay at the lack of sex camps and demanded reassignment to UN peacekeeping operations…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/16 at 11:46 AM • permalink


    1. Thank God we’ve made it this far without the Italians chucking their rifles and surrendering to some pita bread cart.

      Posted by Supercat on 03/16 at 12:22 PM • permalink


    1. Or as Maureen Dowd would say, you let go of the leash for one second and the poodles are off like a shot…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/16 at 12:24 PM • permalink


    1. richard, supercat, the European troops have been performing quite well.  The multi-national forces in Iraq generally do not deserve disrepect; the Europeans specifically do not deserve it.

      Having said that, please recall that Secretary Rumsfeld said, earlier this year, that Iraqis have to take charge of their own destiny.  This is part of that destiny.  We can’t hold their hands forever.  And shouldn’t if we could.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 03/16 at 12:58 PM • permalink


    1. The reports I read said that Italian withdrawl is contingent on Iraqi preparedness to take over the functions provided by the Italian military.

      Under that standard, everybody is withdrawing. Even Australia, the US, and Britain.

      Posted by byrd on 03/16 at 01:32 PM • permalink


    1. Hmmm.

      The question I have, and haven’t found an answer, is what exactly did these troops do?  From what I understand a number of these contingents do not at all engage in any patrols or operations.  Additionally it seems that a number of American forces have to be detailed to actually protect these yokels.  So aside from the fiction that they’re useful, what good were they at all?

      IMHO These withdrawls just reinforces the viewpoint that many Americans have of Europeans.  Useless and worthless as allies who are willing to fight to the last drop of American blood.

      Frankly I don’t think we’ve seen the bottom yet of American-European relations.  The bottom is somewhere where America withdraws all military forces and tells Europe to go f**k itself and if anyone nukes them, good riddance.

      Harsh, but a lot of my friends, and I, feel that way.

      Posted by ed on 03/16 at 01:36 PM • permalink


    1. Things seem to be going very well in Iraq at the moment.

      The Americans should put in place a withdrawal plan.

      Posted by Rob Read on 03/16 at 01:37 PM • permalink


    1. ed, they perform a number of functions, including explosive ordinance disposal, construction, logistics (e.g., transportation, not a minor mission in Iraq), medical, etc.  Some support Coalition forces, some support Iraqi reconstruction.

      Some—like the Japanese—aren’t allowed to engage in combat, since the Japanese Constitution was written to forbid foreign combat operations.  That’s why other nations protect them.  Which, by the way, includes other American forces being protected by Coalition troops.  It’s not all one way.  Sorry, no link, but I’ve picked that up from various news stories, nothing official.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 03/16 at 02:39 PM • permalink


    1. Yeah, we fooled ‘em good, real good. Yet but another Mission Accomplished along the road to world domination – by Freedom, that is. Bring it on.

      Posted by J. Peden on 03/16 at 03:18 PM • permalink


    1. Notice that these countries quit and go home the first time one of their soldiers get killed.  Makes me wonder what would have happened if they had used that standard during World War II.

      Comrade Stalin, remember Igor?  Well, today he was killed by a German Tiger tank.  Ran right over him.  Refused to stop.  It’s a very sad thing, no?”

      Yes, yes.  Well, that’s it.  Tell the army, we’re giving up.

      Posted by wronwright on 03/16 at 03:25 PM • permalink


    1. I think we’re being a bit harsh here. The hardest part of the mission is done (hopefully). We have no reason to expect a European presence in Iraq indefinitely. Remember, the leaders of these countries provided support against the overwhelming wishes of their populace. We should be grateful. If nothing else, their presence, however small, indicated support and gave the lie to our action being “unilateral.”

      While most of the contingents may not have been in situations where they were taking fire, I’m sure they were providing some needed logistical and reconstruction support.

      And Supercat, please remember that the only hostage to show angry defiance to his captors was an Italian. “I’ll show you how an Italian dies!”, after tearing the mask off of his murderer, was one of the most inspirational things I have ever heard. Also remember that the Italian surrender meme is from the WWII era, and I submit that a soldier in arms under Mussolini and allied with Hitler who surrenders the first chance he gets is sensible and honorable.

      I say thanks to all who were there with us, and to those that remain there, continuing thanks.

      Posted by Dave S. on 03/16 at 04:16 PM • permalink


    1. Actually the word is that the US will be withdrawing about the same number of troops in the next few weeks (a whole brigade).

      If they are withdrawing becuase of appeasniks at home and loss of a secret agent in a friendly fire incident – shame on them.

      If they are withdrawing becuase the number of attacks have dramatically decreased and Iraqi security forces are carrying a greater and greater role everyday – good on you boys and have one on me.

      Posted by Blue on 03/16 at 04:33 PM • permalink


    1. Blue and The Real Jeff S have it pretty much right. We shouldn’t be so rough on people who stood with us when the lunatic fringe was so vocal and had the upper hand.

      That said, I recall reading (I wish I could remember where; damn this CRS) that the one and only time Spanish forces came under attack they ran into a building and hid while the Marines shot it out with the terrorists for 12 hours. The grunts won and the Spaniards ran home.

      Posted by Gary from Jersey on 03/16 at 05:08 PM • permalink


    1. I’m with JeffS—the Italians were there at the begining, and they stuck it out through the worst of the fighting afterwards. I don’t see any need to ridicule them for getting an exit plan in place.

      Posted by Otter on 03/16 at 05:47 PM • permalink


    1. Oh, I have no problem with nations withdrawing their troops at an opportune time.  And I strongly agree that we should show our appreciation to their standing beside us (and maybe a bit behind us).

      My problem is withdrawing troops when the least bit of adversity happens.  It reinforces the idea that inflicting a certain threshold of pain, the threshold differing depending on the country involved, will result in troops leaving and add to the possibilty that the bad guys can retake control of the country.  This is a bad message to be sending to terrorists and insurgents.

      Posted by wronwright on 03/16 at 06:12 PM • permalink


    1. Comrade Stalin, remember Igor?  Well, today he was killed by a German Tiger tank.  Ran right over him.  Refused to stop.  It’s a very sad thing, no?�?

      Yes, yes.  Well, that’s it.  Tell the army, we’re giving up.

      That beats the Corrie reply – “Tell the army, we’re suing Panzer Gellenschaft!”

      Posted by Nightfly on 03/16 at 06:30 PM • permalink


    1. The Italians don’t intend to withdraw any troops until at least September, and then only “in consultation” and if Iraq is getting up to the task of defending itself.

      Also, Bush has a withdrawal plan.  He has put it out there repeatedly, it’s just that the MSM won’t regard it as a plan unless it has a hard deadline, which he has refused to set on the grounds that it will only cause the terrorists to try to hold out past that date.

      Bush Iraq Withdrawal Plan:  When Iraq can adequately defend itself and a legitimate government asks, we will leave in good order.  The legitimate Iraqi government gets to decide when it can defend itself.

      There.  That’s not so hard, is it?

      Posted by JorgXMcKie on 03/16 at 06:31 PM • permalink


    1. I was thinking the same thing last night while watching Lateline, listening to sarcastic Canadian geek, Norman Hermant, go through all the nations who will be withdrawing troops in the next 12 months…I said to myself…so much for unilateralism!

      Posted by Brian on 03/16 at 06:55 PM • permalink


    1. Yes, go ahead and make fun of your allies.

      Look here for example:

      “One Polish Soldier Dead, Six Injured in Iraq Attack (8/21) WARSAW (Reuters) – One Polish soldier was killed and six injured when a booby-trapped car exploded next to their convoy near the Iraqi town of Hilla on Saturday, an army spokesman said. The soldier’s death brings the number of Polish fatalities in Iraq to 14 since Poland took charge of the 8,000-strong multinational force in the south-central Iraq stabilization zone last September. The attack on the convoy—19 trucks carrying medical and other supplies and their military escort—was the third on Polish forces in recent days.”

      You can find an overview of coalition casualties by countryhere.

      Posted by werner on 03/16 at 08:18 PM • permalink


    1. Wow, werner, you mean they die just like people do?

      I couldn’t resist. But werner is right in a way, guys; try to keep the “Cowardly dagoes suck!” screams down to a dull roar. I’m not so sure this withdrawal has all that much to do with the Sgrena fiasco. And remember your sources: the same news media that we’ve been fulminating against for their manipulation and outright lying when it comes to reporting on current events.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 03/16 at 08:43 PM • permalink


    1. The real JeffS — Actually, I was referring to Berlusconi and Blair.  The timing of this announcement seems very opportunistic to me after the Sgrena fanfarronade and with the Brit elections coming up.

      BTW — wronwright.  My boss is back in town so you’ve got a shot at more first posts; can’t get to the computer at work…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/16 at 09:23 PM • permalink


    1. I’m not sure I’ve ever posted, although I read this blog every day. I just want to say a HUGE thank you to our always, I mean ALWAYS, steadfast ally, Australia. You’re the best, you’ve never let us down, you have always stood with us. I like the British very, very much, but I love the land of Oz. Hugs and kisses from NYC.

      Posted by PM on 03/16 at 09:24 PM • permalink


    1. PM :

      Ta very much.

      Just remember though that we’re doing this for the most selfish of reasons : National Interest.

      The Grown-ups here broadly agree with the Bush Doctrine, the one that states that 9/11 was caused by too much Stability of Oppression and not enough Democracy in the world.

      We’re glad the US agrees. It makes it a lot easier with you guys on our side.

      BTW has anyone ever told you recently how amazing the whole of NYC was on that terrible day? Not just the FDNY and NYPD, but I’m, talking about how ordinary New Yorkers behaved, helping others, etc. I dips me lid to you.

      Posted by Zoe Brain on 03/16 at 09:47 PM • permalink


    1. That’s OK, richard.  I just wanted to point out that not all Europeans are Euroweenies.  I know that it’s hard to remember that, given the fervor with which the genuine Euroweenies gleefully demonstrate their idiocy.

      Thanks for the link, werner.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 03/17 at 01:04 AM • permalink


    1. Rob Read – here is your withdrawal plan:

      When the bad guys stop car bombing, kidnapping and mudrering – then we’ll leave.  Otherwise if the bad guys keep seeking matrydom, we are more than happy to oblige.

      Not hard to understand, is it.

      Posted by Razor on 03/17 at 01:08 AM • permalink


    1. Andrea:

      ’m not so sure this withdrawal has all that much to do with the Sgrena fiasco. And remember your sources: the same news media that we’ve been fulminating against for their manipulation and outright lying when it comes to reporting on current events.

      And right you are.  Folks, remember that it’s the news media talking here!  Besides, I read a follow-up story somewhere today that said the Italians were pulling out because they had Iraqis ready to take over their functions.  Isn’t that when we ALL said we would pull out?  This could very well have nothing to do with that Sgrena harridan.  This could very easily have MORE to do with the MSM raising hell just because they can!

      I wish I could remember where I saw that follow-up story!

      Posted by mamapajamas on 03/17 at 01:27 AM • permalink


    1. Word now is Berlusconi is Backtracking on the pullout now…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/17 at 02:00 AM • permalink


    1. Go here and read some of the Palestinian propaganda if you wish to see how the game is played. bulletins new.htm#press

      Posted by blogstrop on 03/17 at 06:59 AM • permalink


    1. aebrain – Of course you’re acting in your own national interest, aren’t we all? Clearly, I should have said “ a HUGE thank you AND most grateful appreciation from NYC that the great land of Australia continues to choose to fight for our shared value of living in free societies rather than sitting back and watching as chaos envelopes us all, unlike so many of our alleged allies ( I’m not taking a shot at Italy here, so please, no flaming, those who have my contempt KNOW who they are)Thanks also for your very kind words re 9/11. I wish I were worthy of your praise, but I’m afraid all I did that morning was stand around on the street in abject terror and confusion. Our great Mayor and all our incredible, oustanding emergency responders deserve all credit, they were and are the best mankind has to offer. I truly couldn’t have got through that day with my sanity intact were in not for their leadership, courage and sacrifice. I know you Oz people share those same qualities, and we are proud to stand with you. Here’s my lid dipped right back to you.

      Posted by PM on 03/17 at 09:04 AM • permalink


    1. Hello Werner!
      You’re right! Our European friends who joined us in the liberation of Iraq were a big slap in the face to the likes of Chirac and Schroder. Not-to-mention the valuable role they played on the ground, and the truly heroic sacrifices they made!
      Berlusconi’s statement seems to me, a bit like smoke and mirrors. Essentially meaningless and crafted only to appease certain elements of the Italian electorate and to deal with the pressure created by recent events.
      Sadly, the opportunistic Schroder owes his position to the U.S. lead invasion. If it hadn’t been for that, and his shameless appeals to anti-Americanism during the last German election campaign, he would have been consigned to history by now. Oh well, nothing can save him this time. Imagine that, a German leader whipping up hatred to get himself elected???

      Posted by Brian on 03/17 at 08:41 PM • permalink


    1. I feel bad when I hear Americans thanking us for helping them. THEY’RE the ones taking all the heat over Iraq. I’m just incredibly grateful that someone was willing to say enough’s enough and stand up and do something. Despite what is said now, at the time, EVERYONE believed Saddam Hussein possessed WMD and this problem had to be dealt with. And even if he didn’t have WMD, he didn’t comply with 17 chapter 7 U.N. resolutions and was rightly forced to do so.  I remember how relieved I was when our Prime Minister committed Australian forces to this undertaking. An undertaking if left to the rest of the world, would NEVER have happened, just like Kosovo, just like Afghanistan!

      Posted by Brian on 03/18 at 12:46 AM • permalink


  1. Hey Brian – Please don’t feel bad, as aebrain says, it’s a national interest thing! Actually, it’s a humankind interest thing , but some just don’t, or won’t, get it. Anyway, it’s quality of allies that matter, not quantity. Please also don’t think we actually expected any support from most of the “world” in particular the EU, they’ve hated our guts for years, WANT us to fail at everything we do and we know it, so it was no real surprise. What was unexpected is the depth of their stupidity, as they’re the ones living in the immediate proximity of a lot of potential grief. As far as the UN goes, the less said about that giant waste of our prime real estate, the better. It should really be moved elsewhere, like Brussels, we’re in dire need of parking space here.

    Posted by PM on 03/18 at 08:11 AM • permalink