November 25th, 2005

Alition of the Still-In?

by Philip Baruth

The Coalition of the Willing — always a misnomer, always a fig-leaf — is now dissolving at a torrid pace. Italy, Norway, South Korea, Britain, and several other countries have all begun to telegraph their exits in no uncertain terms. rumsfeldAnd like any patchwork, pulling out one piece inevitably loosens others. The Guardian in late September: “Britain has already privately informed Japan - which also has troops in Iraq - of its plans to begin withdrawing from southern Iraq in May, a move that officials in Tokyo say would make it impossible for their own 550 soldiers to remain.”

Now, putting aside those 120 Mongolian soldiers Bush recently flew several thousand miles to be photographed thanking, can anyone — even hard-core mainstream media types — persist in calling the soldiers there “Coalition forces”? Isn’t it pretty much just an “Alition” at this point?

An Alition of the Still-In?

And is one member of an “Alition” technically an “Alito”?

Next to go: When US officials were asked this past week about the homegrown Iraqi call for a pull-out timetable, they were quick to cite UN authority for the country’s occupation. So expect UN attempts to rescind that authority to multiply in the next few months, particularly in the General Assembly. At what point do we just come right out and say it: Coalition be damned, UN be damned, authority and international law and Iraqi sovereignty and partners be damned — we broke this baby, and she’s all ours.