My Beautiful Wickedness


Laboring under delusions
September 2, 2007, 9:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This Labor Day, I’m thinking about that most endangered group of US workers – the troops in Iraq. (Ok, so guys in Afghanistan are having no picnic either.)
Roughly 3,750 of our country’s soldiers have been killed. At least 62,000 have been wounded, fallen ill, or have been injured. More than 35,000 of those have required medical evacuation out of Iraq.

This weekend, I’ve been once again hearing about the so-called “Coalition” of forces. So I thought I’d dig around and see who is actually in the Coalition these days and what the relative strength of the international commitment might be.

Here’s the current numbers, as close as I can get them:

US – 166,000 troops
Great Britain – 5,500 troops (1600 to be withdrawn by end of 2007; the rest to be withdrawn in 2008)
Australia – 1500. Maybe. 550 in country, around 1000 more in region.
South Korea – 1200. They plan to pull out in January 2008.
Poland – 900. They plan to pull out in January 2008.
Romania – 405 old secret police guys. They are the ones doing the interrogating and some of the spying.
El Salvador – 300, of which most will be withdrawn by January 2008.
Georgia – 300. Have planned to send more troops since March, but no reinforcements have arrived.
Azerbaijan – 250. No one knows for sure what these guys are doing or where they are assigned.
Denmark – 180. Maybe. Conflicting reports on this indicate that they may be down to 55.
Bulgaria – 120 in region (not in Iraq though).
Albanians – 120 guys. Albania says that it’s in for the duration. For what that’s worth.
Mongolia – 100 troops. Maybe. Some analysts believe they’ve withdrawn.

Ten other countries have sent troops that collectively total about 300 service personnel and officers.

So, let’s do the math.

In 2004, there were 138,000 US troops and 25,000 non-US troops. That was 163,000 total troops and non-US forces constituted 15% of the support, if we don’t count the nearly 100,000 private military contractors employed by US companies like Halliburton and Blackwater, USA towards the US contribution to the war.

In 2007, 166,000 US soldiers are stationed in Iraq and 11,175 soldiers have beeb supplied by everyone else, tops. So the total troop involvement has gone up
to 177,000. However, the total support from non-US forces is down to around 6%.

That’s still excluding what is now an estimated 120,000 private military contractors in Iraq. (I personally think the number is more likely to be somewhere around 95k. Still, that’s a whopping big lot of mercenaries operating outside the Uniform Code of Military Justice and Congressional oversight, huh?)

Fewer than 8,000 of those non-US troops plan to be deployed by February 2008. That means that the percentage of non-US soldiers and support staff will be hovering right around 4%. Again, that’s leaving out any of the guys that are doing Army work without actually being answerable to the Pentagon.

Some coalition. It’s an American war with the Brits riding on the running board.

As a people, we may not be able to wrest the reins of this war out of the hands of a delusional president, but at the very least, let’s not continue to share his delusions about international support. We are in this war functionally by ourselves. We are more isolated and more vulnerable to attack than we were when we started, only now we have completely overextended our military, sapped our morale, and expended whatever moral capital we had wastefully and foolishly.

It is way past time to get our heads around that old German proverb that translates roughly into “Better a thing that ends badly than a bad thing that never ends.”

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1 Comment so far
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And, that’s the part I truly do not get (I understand the old snake Biden’s “We don’t have 60 votes,” nuts and bolts reason why veto’s aint happening yet)

But *why* not?

It’s horrid if we leave and horrid if we stay.

But if we leave in a practical *as soon as is logistically possible* way…

Fewer of us die.

You know me. Ugly pragmatism at it’s worst.

*Fewer* bright young American people *die.*

I don’t think they should be punished because America looks like a trigger happy nation running on “cowboy diplomacy.*

Jeebus. Just get out, have the next Prez’s speechwriter work for months on a nuanced speech about the road we want to work forward to try and repair *some* of the damage to our rep, and *the damage we’ve done* and move forward….

It sounds like I’m insensitive to the Iraqis left behind… I don’t want them harmed further, but I don’t know specifics on how to avoid that. I also don’t speak to that because t I don’t know any answer…there has to *be* one, I just don’t know it.

Comment by imfunny2




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