Japan Puts Off Iraq Troops (WSJ)

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Nov 13 23:20:58 MST 2003


 (Back during the anti-nuclear struggle,
there was a saying "One nuclear bomb can
ruin your whole day." And people STILL
don't like liberators who come bearing
bayonets.

("About 128,000 U.S. troops are currently
stationed in Iraq, along with about 25,000
soldiers from about 30 other countries.
But outside of Britain and Poland, which
police large sectors of Iraq, most of the
other donating countries don't have the
military capacity to operate a divisional
command. Some countries, such as Pakistan,
India and Turkey do have the capacity but
appear to have lost the political will to
make it happen," says the WS Journal.

(And what they call the amendment they'll
put into the Iraqi constituion authorizing
the US to intervene, the "Condy" amendment?

(It looks like now the Japanese government
is realizing it may be one thing to vote
to support the US war on Iraq, but it's
possible some Japanese soldiers might
actually get SHOT there because some of
Iraq's people don't like the idea that
they should be occupied by the US of A.
Those Filipinos and Cubans didn't like
it a hundred years ago, either. Indeed,
Washington's occupation of Japan wasn't
exactly a popular thing in Japan, either.)
================================================

WALL STREET JOURNAL
November 14, 2003

THE FIGHT FOR IRAQ


Japan Puts Off Iraq Troops

NATO Expresses Misgivings,
But South Korea Seems Ready
BY CHRISTOPHER COOPER, SEBASTIAN MOFFETT and GREG HITT
Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

As the U.S. mounted a second night of strikes in Baghdad
aimed at countering the stepped-up attacks of Iraqi
guerrillas, some American allies were re-evaluating their
pledges of sending troops.

A day after the deadliest attack of the Iraq occupation
struck Italian soldiers, Japan put off its small troop
commitment, and officials at the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization said any U.S. hopes of a bigger role for NATO
troops in Iraq were dimming.

The best news for Washington came from South Korea, where
the Pentagon did appear on the verge of completing a deal
to get help. South Korea said Thursday it is willing to
send as many as 3,000 combat troops to Iraq to possibly
relieve some American troops when they begin rotating out
of Iraq next year. But even the South Koreans stressed that
their contribution, which had been expected, won't grow any
larger.

That figure would be enough to field a divisional command
and control a sector of the country. Pentagon officials
have said such a force could be used in northern Iraq, a
relatively calm region currently overseen by the Army's
101st Airborne division, which is scheduled to leave Iraq
next spring.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who is touring the
region and is scheduled to visit South Korea on Sunday,
said he won't put the hard sell on South Korea to send more
troops. "My pattern on these things is to let the world
know what we'd like," Mr. Rumsfeld said. "Each country has
to do that which fits their circumstances."

Mr. Rumsfeld will hear a different story in Japan, where he
is expected to arrive Friday. In a turnaround of mostly
symbolic impact, Japan said it won't send noncombat troops
there anytime soon. Its parliament passed legislation last
summer clearing the way for noncombat troops to be sent to
Iraq, and Japanese media have reported that the first of as
many as 700 would arrive in mid-December.


'If Circumstances Permit'

"We could send the troops if circumstances permit," Chief
Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda, the government's chief
spokesman, told a news conference. "But there is no such
situation." Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi added that
conditions in Iraq require monitoring. "We will decide
after closely watching the situation," he said.

In Brussels, the NATO officials said the alliance is likely
to stay away from Iraq for the time being and focus its
finite military resources on stabilizing Afghanistan
instead. The mounting coalition casualties are clearly
adding to the reluctance. "The mood [about NATO going to
Iraq] is not upbeat," said one European ambassador.

The responses suggest that America's foes may be enjoying
some success in their apparent effort to use guerrilla
attacks to scare off any potential allies who might help
the U.S. smooth out its occupation of Iraq. That puts an
even higher premium on getting Iraqis themselves to take
more control of their own affairs. But after high-level
meetings in Washington aimed at speeding up that process,
it isn't yet clear exactly what form or path that effort
will take.

The Bush administration, eager to calm Iraqi anger with the
occupation, is speeding up the timetable for Iraqi
self-rule. At the White House Thursday, National Security
Adviser Condoleezza Rice said local Iraqi leaders "are
clamoring for it." Domestic support for President Bush's
policy also is eroding. In the latest WSJ-NBC poll4, 60% of
respondents said the Bush administration underestimated the
strength of the Iraqi opposition, up from 44% in July.
Though they still supported the U.S. action to remove
Saddam Hussein from power by 63%-34%, that ratio is
narrower than the 69%-27% they expressed in July.


Forcing an Answer

Ms. Rice said the need to take time to write a constitution
is forcing an answer to how government power can be
transferred more quickly to Iraqis in the meantime.
"Clearly, the governing council has felt that the timeline
is fairly long for a permanent constitution," Ms. Rice
said. "So that poses a dilemma, which is how do you get
authority and responsibility transferred to the Iraqi
people."

Officials are discussing creating a new Iraqi assembly,
with members selected through direct elections or some sort
of national caucus. The assembly would then pick a prime
minister and a cabinet from among its members. The White
House cautioned, however, that final details have yet to be
worked out, and will ultimately be decided by members of
the current Iraqi council, in consultation with U.S.
administrator L. Paul Bremer. "They'll decide on a course,"
Ms. Rice said. "But the course will have to be an Iraqi
course."

U.S. forces, meantime, have mounted a high-profile
operation aimed at the insurgency. For the second day in a
row, numerous explosions were heard in Baghdad, and U.S.
forces attacked an empty dye factory on the outskirts as
part of "Operation Iron Hammer." Meanwhile, the death toll
from Wednesday's suicide bombing in Nasiriyah grew to 31.


Last Hope

South Korea might represent Washington's last hope for
getting a substantial donation of troops to help out. In
early September, Pentagon officials asked South Korea to
donate the troops. Though the Pentagon didn't specify a
number, one official said the U.S. had asked South Korea to
look at Poland's contribution of nearly 3,000 troops as a
model.

Poland oversees a broad swath of southern Iraq with about
12,000 other troops donated from other countries. "We're
not suggesting a minimalist approach here," the Pentagon
official said. "South Korean forces are incredibly
capable."

The South Korean government already has donated some 700
noncombat soldiers to Iraq.

About 128,000 U.S. troops are currently stationed in Iraq,
along with about 25,000 soldiers from about 30 other
countries. But outside of Britain and Poland, which police
large sectors of Iraq, most of the other donating countries
don't have the military capacity to operate a divisional
command. Some countries, such as Pakistan, India and Turkey
do have the capacity but appear to have lost the political
will to make it happen.

--Philip Shishkin in Brussels contributed to this article.



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