Thursday | July 10, 2003
Troops? What troops?
By Steve Gilliard
Donald Rumsfeld told Congress that he would be more than happy to have German troops join the US in Iraq. Too bad he didn't ask the Germans first.
Rumsfeld OKs German troops in Iraq
WASHINGTON - US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said this week he would support French and German troop deployments to help stabilise Iraq, but German defence officials rejected the possibility unless there were a UN mandate.
He added he would have "no problem" with a formal request for troops deployments from NATO alliance partners. "Indeed, I'm very pleased that NATO has been assisting and is currently discussing assisting in additional ways," he said.
"As long as the stabilization in Iraq does not carry a UN mandate, there is no reason for Bundeswehr troops to participate," a spokesman told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
Why do we need German troops?
Consider the state of the Army, the service most affected by the nation's foreign commitments. There are still upwards of 150,000 soldiers in Iraq, plus 10,000 in Afghanistan. Some 5,000 remain on peacekeeping duty in the Balkans.
Add in 25,000 GIs based in Korea, plus other foreign stations, and the deployed total is close to 250,000.
This global peacekeeping force must be generated from an active-duty Army of 480,000, plus 550,000 reserves. At the least, the strain may play havoc with training and leave. At the most, it could cause many tired and homesick personnel to leave the service
Oh, and the Germans aren't the only ones not eager to jump into our mess in Iraq.
July 8: Pakistan will not send troops to Iraq until the security environment there improves or the Iraqi people choose to welcome foreign troops, well-placed defence sources told Dawn on Tuesday.
Pakistan has been considering US and British requests for troops for peacekeeping operations in Iraq, but recent consultations at the highest level here have led to the conclusion that it is not a favourable time to do so, the sources claimed.
Key members of the establishment remain open to the possibility of Pakistan contributing to the stabilization force, but only when the Iraqi people wish for such a contribution. "Given the uprising against the US-led coalition forces in Iraq and the internal anarchy there, sending our troops at this time would be like jumping into fire," remarked an important official involved in the consultative process.
In the meanwhile, desperate for bodies, Viceroy Jerry forgets to play nice with the Indian Ambassador sent to check out the situation.
NEW DELHI: In a sign of Washington’s keenness to get India to commit combat troops in Iraq, its National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice apologised to Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal over the lack of an American reception for a senior Indian official visiting Baghdad recently.
Rice even shot off a written directive to US top civilian administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer asking him to make amends. Bremer is said to have glossed over an earlier message from Washington to meet R M Abhyankar, Secretary (Asia, North Africa), who was in Iraq on a recent reconnaisance trip.
In the end, the Indians are tempted, but the opposition to the war and the reaction of Indian muslims might lead India to make the same decision the Pakistanis just made. Which is to leave the Americans hanging.
Now they need help? Kinda late to invite more targets to the party.Posted July 10, 2003 07:42 PM