My jaw dropped the other night when Bush spoke about the "broad coalition" that is supporting his war in Iraq. Now the State Dept. has come out with a list of 30 countries that they say are backing the war effort:
Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Uzbekistan. The State Department listed Japan as available for "post-conflict" support.
Of course, the only ones backing up their stated support with actual troop deployments is the UK along with a "token 2,000 troops" from Australia. It is kind of a stretch to include Turkey on the list as well, since they are not allowing U.S. troops to use bases in that country and is also sending its own troops into the Northern Iraq/Kurdish territory in in spite of repeated U.S. requests that they stay out.
The real story, however, is how world opinion of the U.S. has fallen sharply in recent months. The NYTimes is reporting today that opinion polls by the Pew Charitable Trust show "a serious disconnect" between Americans and their traditional allies. While 59 percent of Americans say they support a war against Iraq, only 39 percent of Britons and 13 percent of the Spanish favor military actions. Gee, aren't those our two biggest allies and they don't seem to have anywhere close to majority support of their home populations. The survey also showed that favorable opinions of the U.S. have fallen sharply in many countries including Germany where just 25 percent had a favorable opinion of the U.S. compared to 61 percent last June. In France, the numbers have fallen from 63 percent a year ago to 31 percent today, and in Italy it fell from 70 percent a year ago to 34 percent today. Wow! Just imagine what they will think if things don't go exactly as planned during the next several days.