Sep. 14th, 2007

36?

Sep. 14th, 2007 04:46 pm
davehogg: (Default)
The success of a free Iraq matters to every civilized nation. We thank the 36 nations who have troops on the ground in Iraq and the many others who are helping that young democracy. - George W. Bush, Sept. 13, 2007

Let's see how we get to 36. The United States (1) and Iraq (2) are obvious. The official website of the Multi-National Force - Iraq (MNF-I) lists Albania (3), Armenia (4), Australia (5), Azerbaijan (6), Bosnia and Herzegovina (7), Bulgaria (8), the Czech Republic (9), Denmark (10), El Salvador (11), Estonia (12), Georgia (13), Japan (14), Kazakhstan (15), South Korea (16), Latvia (17), Lithuania (18), Macedonia (19), Moldova (20), Mongolia (21), Poland (22), Romania (23), Singapore (24), Slovakia (25), Ukraine (26) and the United Kingdom (27).

According to a report delivered to Congress two months ago, Japan's troops are now are stationed in Kuwait, and South Korea and Lithuania have announced plans to leave. Slovakia and Moldova have 11 soldiers each. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Macedonia and the Ukraine all have fewer than 100.

And we're still nine short. The State Department's Sept. 12 status report lists the same 27 countries as having "forces in Iraq", but boosts it to 34 by counting the following as supporting "Iraqi Stability Operations": Fiji (28), Iceland (29), Italy (30), Netherlands (31), Portugal (32), Slovenia (33) and Turkey (34).

Those countries are helping with the training of Iraqi police forces through a NATO effort:

NATO is involved in training, equipping, and technical assistance - not combat. The aim is to help Iraq build the capability of its government to address the security needs of the Iraqi people. - NATO website

There's a total of 140 people involved in this program, so we aren't talking about big numbers. Iceland has one guy, and he's going home on October 1. Turkey has two. Portugal has 10. Italy and the Netherlands have around 10. And remember, these aren't combat troops - they are police trainers.

Lastly, Canada (35) and New Zealand (36) each had a liaison officer stationed with the UN mission in Iraq, although Canada's has actually gone home.

So "36 countries" actually means the Iraqis, the Americans, and exactly three other countries with 1,000 or more soldiers - Australia, the United Kingdom and South Korea. The Koreans are expected to be gone by the end of the year, but Georgia is planning on going from around 800 soldiers to about 2,000, so it will still be three.

Put another way, the "international effort" is 93% American.

[EDIT: After I spent two hours doing this, the White House just released their list of 36. Let's see how I did. They didn't count the United States or Iraq, so I was two short. They count Tonga, which the Congressional Report and MNF-I both say has completely withdrawn, and they also count Hungary as part of the NATO program, but they aren't on NATO's own list.]

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