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September 23, 2004
Bush Gets NATO To Train Iraqis In Baghdad

In a coup that will act to deaden John Kerry's latest Iraq broadsides, like calling the visiting Prime Minister of Iraq a liar, George Bush won agreement from NATO to supply training for new Iraqi security forces in Baghdad:

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization agreed Wednesday to expand the training of Iraqi security force officers at a facility outside Baghdad in preparation for planned elections in January.

The compromise agreement, overcoming resistance from Germany and France, will expand NATO's training mission in Iraq from about 50 officers to as many as 300 personnel, the alliance said. The accord, announced at NATO headquarters in Brussels, was reached after weeks of debate and opposition from members who have opposed the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. ...

France, Germany, Belgium and Spain have said they would not contribute personnel to the training program. Among those countries, Spain had a 1,300-member troop contingent in Iraq, but its Socialist government withdraw the force after taking power in April.

France expressed particularly strong opposition to the training. President Jacques Chirac and top cabinet officials declared that the addition of more foreign troops in Iraq would not solve the country's security problem. France had offered to train Iraqi police officers, but only outside of Iraq. Germany had made a similar offer to conduct training in the United Arab Emirates.

Neither France nor Germany explain why Iraqi security problems would show no improvement with the addition of more forces but that removing them for training would somehow be more effective. I suppose that's the EU version of "less is more". In reality, the four countries offered nothing more than excuses. None of them have any interest in helping Iraq to its feet and would love nothing more than to see the US fail in its attempt to use democracy as a solution to terrorism. In fact, they made NATO stipulate that non-participants would pay none of the cost of the official NATO mission, a petty and somewhat cowardly act.

One of the more interesting developments in the story appears in the last paragraph, and it should be required reading for those, like John Kerry, who think that European participation in Iraq would resolve the purported troop shortage:

In addition to worries about getting dragged into Iraq's violence, some NATO members expressed concerns that the alliance was overstretched, with ongoing missions involving 7,500 NATO troops in Afghanistan and 18,000 in the former Yugoslavia.

We have over 150,000 troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, and all of the NATO members have just 25,500 deployed anywhere ... and they're overextended. And the other dirty little secret is that the NATO countries lack the transport capabilities to get much more of their troops anywhere else in the world; they rely on the US for that. Simply put, outside of training, NATO involvement in Iraq or anywhere else only has political use. Militarily, involving NATO would be pointless.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 23, 2004 12:39 PM

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» Training Iraqi Troops from Slant Point
Bush scored a major victory today by getting NATO to commit to training Iraqi security forces. John Kerry today threw out an idea of his own (audio, starts at 2:45). Let me give you an example. Put a bunch of Iraqis on a 747 and... [Read More]

Tracked on September 23, 2004 2:52 PM

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