Monday, June 2, 2008

Coaltion of the willing loses another member

In a less than widely noticed move, Australia formally ended its combat operations in Iraq Sunday. It lowered the Australian flag from its position over Camp Terendak in the southern Iraqi city of Talil. Australia, long a stalwart United States ally, only had 550 combat troops stationed in Iraq. But the symbolism is another humiliating kick in the crotch for the Bush administration's all to aptly named, coalition of the willing. The Australians, long members of the Commonwealth, are considered an integral part of the English speaking alliance, to American eyes, perhaps below only England and Canada. Australia troops were among those of only five countries that fought alongside America during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Australian troops have fought alongside American troops for more than 60 years on three continents. The Australians continue to maintain 1,000 troops as part of the NATO mission to Afghanistan.

The coalition of the willing to provide combat troops in Iraq has dwindled to the United States, Great Britain and in a funky geopolitical hedge, the Republic of Georgia.

Compare this list of coalition members released by the Bush II administration in 2003, with the list compiled by Reuters in April 2008.

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