Friday :: Sep 16, 2005

Coalition Of The Wilting


by pessimist

No matter how many words George spews over the corporate-dominated airwaves, only in America does he fool even a portion of the populace that he know how to lead - and that number is shrinking:

Katrina Erodes Support In U.S. for Iraq War
Bush's Rating as Crisis Manager Declines in Poll as Pessimism About the Economy Grows
September 15, 2005

Hurricane Katrina has accelerated the erosion in public support for the Iraq war as President Bush's core of supporters dwindles and economic pessimism turns Americans' attention inward. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll [PDF] shows that cutting spending on Iraq is Americans' top choice for financing the recovery from Katrina. Shaken by high gas prices and bracing for further jolts, Americans have turned negative about Mr. Bush across the board -- on handling the economy, foreign policy, and even the war on terrorism. The president's overall approval has fallen to a record-low for Mr. Bush of 40%, reflecting a shrunken core of base supporters. That promises to have repercussions for his domestic agenda on issues like Social Security, taxes and immigration, and leaves Mr. Bush with a steeper challenge on his most significant second-term priority: using American power and resources to transform Iraq and the broader Middle East.

It used to be a common retort that if one didn't like things the way they are, one could vote with one's feet and go elsewhere. Several of King George's 'allies' are doing that very thing - beginning with Tony The Lap Poodle, whose nation provides the largest contingent of non-American occupiers of Iraq:


Britain to cut troop levels in Iraq

The British Army is to start pulling troops out of Iraq next month despite the deteriorating security situation in much of the country, The Observer has learnt. The main British combat force in Iraq, about 5,000-strong, will be reduced by around a third by the end of October during a routine rotation of units.

The cuts will occur in the combat elements of the deployment - the 5,000-strong infantry and armoured brigade that is committed to the provinces of Basra and Maysan. Both Basra and Maysan have seen heavy combat recently, with some units sustaining up to 35 per cent casualties, and remains restive.

The forthcoming 'drawdown' of British troops in Basra has not been made public and is likely to provoke consternation in both Washington and Baghdad. News of the troop withdrawal comes at a difficult time for Blair, with the publication yesterday of leaked documents suggesting that he was warned a year before the invasion that it could prompt a meltdown.

The third-largest force in Iraq, South Korea's - despite opposition from conservatives - is also reported to be drawing down:

The mandate has been extended for a year once already. "The government has not studied the extension possibility in depth yet, but we will make a decision by taking into account the achievement of the deployment, U.S.-South Korea and South Korea-Iraq relations, national interests, the security climate in Iraq and the international community's approaches," Mr. Yoon said. "The decision will be submitted to the National Assembly around November."

This way to the egress.

The exodus continues:

Number Four Sees The Door

Italy Iraq troop reduction on track-Belusconi

Rome has the fourth-largest contingent there after the United States, Britain and South Korea. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Friday Italy now had some 2,900 troops in Iraq following the withdrawal of some 300 soldiers on Sept. 6 as planned. Italy's lower house of parliament voted during the summer to keep troops in Iraq at least until the end of the year.

Number Five Wants To Drive

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Australia won’t be boosting its troop level beyond the 2,000 or so soldiers it already has in Iraq.

Number Six Hits The Bricks

Polish convoy attacked in Baghdad

Poland plans to withdraw its 1,500 Iraq troop contingent from Iraq by the end of this year.

[This could change if Bu$h meets Poland's 'price'!]

Number Seven Leaves Bu$h 'Heaven'

Netherlands to withdraw troops from Iraq

The Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Jan Peter Balkenende announced the withdrawal of all Dutch troops from Iraq. All 1350 military personnel are expected to be back home before mid March.

Number Eight Opts To Wait

Japan will decide on pulling troops from Iraq after constitutional referendum

Japan will wait to decide whether to withdraw its 600 troops from U.S.-led reconstruction efforts in Iraq until after Iraq's constitutional referendum, the Foreign Ministry said Friday. The commitment, coming amid reports that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi would like to bring the troops home by next summer, is a sign of support for Tokyo's biggest ally, the United States. "We have to take into consideration the political situation after the Iraqi government is established," a ministry spokeswoman said on condition of anonymity, citing ministry rules. "At this moment there is no final decision."

Number Nine Draws The Line

Bulgaria May Stay in Iraq after End-2005

Bulgaria's parliament, which has the final say over Bulgarian troop deployments, approved in May a government plan to withdraw the country's 450 troops in Iraq by the end of the year. It was also decided that the troops in Iraq are reduced to 370. Bulgaria's new Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev has said the country will withdraw its troops from Iraq by the end of the year, stepping back from the socialists' vow to pull out the soldiers sooner.

Number Ten - 'Home, You Men!'

Norway election winner says will pull out of Iraq
September 15, 2005

NATO ally Norway has about 20 soldiers in Iraq in staff officer positions within the British and Polish contingents and in NATO training for Iraqi forces. Norway did not support the U.S.-led war in Iraq, saying there was no clear U.N. mandate for an invasion, but sent soldiers after Washington said the war had ended.


Things are getting bad when troop discipline breaks down:


4 Georgian Servicemen Expelled From Iraq

Four Georgian soldiers have been expelled from Iraq. A report by Georgia’s Alia daily says that they were either involved in a fight or were selling drinking water to Iraqi civillians.

Well, which could be worse? Selling drinking water, of course! Fighting is why they are in the army in the first place!

But, in the final outlook, when your 'host' says it's time to go home, shouldn't you listen, George? Isn't it getting bad when someone else is nagging your husband that it's time to leave, Laura? And what about when prominent political allies (at least, that's what they used to be) agree that you overstayed your welcome? Do you need to ask Condi's permission for this one too?

And we all were supposed to see you as a leader!

HA!

Lead this, you poser!


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