Friday, May 30, 2003
Other Countries Say 'Hell No'
USAToday -- The Pentagon's search for troops from other nations to replace U.S. soldiers in the force that is stabilizing postwar Iraq has fallen short of expectations, and U.S. officials face the prospect of keeping more U.S. forces in Iraq than they had hoped, diplomats and military officials say.
Despite efforts to prod other nations to send troops -- and a United Nations resolution on May 22 that cleared the way for countries to begin contributing soldiers to the postwar effort -- the United States and Britain have gotten promises of just 13,000 troops from two dozen countries, according to diplomats for the affected countries. The first significant arrivals could come in July.
That's much fewer than the tens of thousands of troops U.S. planners want. There are about 150,000 U.S. troops and 15,000 British troops in Iraq, along with a smattering of soldiers from other nations. Pentagon officials had hoped to begin substituting troops from other countries for some U.S. troops as early as next month, when they had expected to send home most of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, which will now stay on.
As long as we are tied down ocuppying Iraq, we can't go blundering elsewhere.