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Waiting For Togo

Did you see Bush's speech last night, announcing the start of hostilities? This line, in particular, leapt out at me: "These are opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign. More than 35 countries are giving crucial support."

Thirty-five?! Just yesterday Powell said we had 45 nations (but admitted that a third of them "for one reason or another, do not wish to be publicly named"). What, did ten nations just not show up last night? "Okay, we're rolling in seven minutes, people. Has anyone seen Bulgaria? Bulgaria? Anyone? What about Azerbaijan? Goddammit, Azerbaijan totally said they'd be here."

The full roster of "willing" (and nameable) nations, by the way, is

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.

I like how Turkey magically became an ally, despite the fact that they turned down a 30 billion dollar bribe to use their bases. Do you think the US stuck Turkey on the list just so they'd have a number divisible by three? Without them, Powell would have had to say "We have the support of 44 nations, but 34.0909090909091% of them do not yet wish to be publicly named," and then, shit, you might as well call the war "Operation Story Problem".

Plus, most of these guys aren't even sending troops. This sounds like one of those coalitions that college roommates form, the kind where they all swear they are "willing" help clean up the house before moving, and then, on the 31st of the month, they contribute by leaving a half-empty can of "Easy Off" on the kitchen counter and mysteriously disappearing for the day.

And I'm just talking about the known countries. What's up with those that "do not wish to be publicly named"? I mean, not to put too fine a point on it or anything, but how much can you possibly contribute to a war and still expect to remain anonymous? On the "Coalition Of The Willing Sign-Up Sheet" I imagine these nations writing, like, "New Zealand: Will root for you."

Posted on March 20, 2003 to Politics


The other ten nations were watching a special Wednesday edition of 'Survivor' and were caught off-guard. I'm sure they'll be ready when the ground war starts. After all, Must See TV is a repeat this week.

Posted by: Duane on March 20, 2003 10:37 AM

Canada: Will send napkins.

Posted by: Aristophanes on March 20, 2003 11:11 AM

France: you've already got our fries and toast, what else you want?

Posted by: K on March 20, 2003 11:40 AM

For what it's worth: here in New Zealand it is Super12 Rugby season, and so we are all rooting for our footie teams, not the war. :)

Posted by: leen on March 20, 2003 12:07 PM

I read somewhere that San Marino has pledged its full support and will be sending stamps so that the troops can write home.

Posted by: thanks on March 20, 2003 12:14 PM

Thank you for bringing this up. I heard Rumsfeld talking about the "coalition" attack and all I could think was, "What, you've got a mouse in your pocket?" After poking around through newspapers and the Web I finally found the Other Country that is sending troops to Iraq: Australia. So, apparently, it's Us and Australia. Go team!

Posted by: Carny Asada on March 20, 2003 12:16 PM

Hey, who needs Turkey when you've got Australia? Little-known secret - the Aussies kicked ass at Gallipoli, man!

Posted by: Nick on March 20, 2003 1:24 PM

Oddly, the Turks are listed as part of the coalition because they are letting us overfly their airspace, but the French are not listed even though they are also letting us overfly their airspace.

Apparently, attitude counts for a lot here.

Posted by: alkali on March 20, 2003 1:42 PM

Don't leave out Atlantis--they are way on board with this. Apparently as an incentive we've offered to refloat them, with James Cameron to film the project as a three-parter for the Discovery Channel, and possibly even an IMAX deal.

They are sending no troops, just a few chests of golden tridents.

Posted by: jerry on March 20, 2003 1:46 PM

The Turkish defeated the Australians (and everyone else) at Gallipoli.

By the way, has anyone here actually TRIED golden Trident? If you ask me it tastes like urine smells, so I'm not sure how it is going to freshen breath.

Posted by: Rob Cockerham on March 20, 2003 2:23 PM

Brilliant. I was comparing Bush and Co. to a psycho husband who went on a bender but comparing the 35 (plus 10 mystery guests) to the roomates who disappear when it is time to clean the house--that's perfect.

Goddamn Bermuda. They were late with the damn rent last month and haven't paid their phone bill since December.

Posted by: Miel on March 21, 2003 1:28 AM

Russia has leased some of its Antonovs to the UK so we could fly equipment out to the invasion. Why aren't they mentioned?

Also (sorry to be pedantic), Eritrea has relatively recently been invloved in a major, and pointless, desert war that lasted several years and caused the deaths of (hundreds of) thousands of people. They and Ethiopia have been given lots of arms by countries around the world. They might have been more relevant than you think. However they have their own problems at the moment with a major drought that everyone seems to be ignoring. Maybe they've joined in the hope that someone notices? After all, the $163million needed to avert a million deaths starvation is roughly the cost of firing 100 tomahawk missiles (about 60 have been fired so far).

And don't knock the French too much for not joining in, they have a lot of troops tied up in the Ivory Coast, thanks to their own diplomatic tactlessness. Just like Bush, Chirac has to deflect public attention away from his own domestic problems by playing big international statesman.

Posted by: Adam on March 21, 2003 1:41 AM

Great news! Actually, the tyrant ruling Eritrea is closer to Saddam than Bush.

Posted by: Kimsen on March 21, 2003 1:44 AM

Wel i'm pissed with all the anti war fukas coz obviously we need to go to war and wipe them out, they're a fuked race and need to be tamed.
It's either we kill a few civilians or them bomb us and we lose thousands, I know which one i'd choose!

Posted by: Mad War fanatic on March 21, 2003 2:48 AM

Your list is wrong. On the final list Bulgaria was replaced by Iceland.

Turkey has lost over 100b over the last 10 years because of the sanctions - so the 10b is not a bribe, it is compensation.

Posted by: Anonymous on March 21, 2003 4:09 AM

I didn't compare him to Bush, I compared Chirac to Bush. Nice to know though, that the the "coalition of the willing" contains tyrants who are "closer" to the person they are overthrowing.

Posted by: Adam on March 21, 2003 8:28 AM

I like how France has offered assistance in cleaning up Iraq should Saddam use chemical weapons. Which they claim he doesn't have.


Posted by: Laurie on March 21, 2003 8:54 AM

What is even more hilarious is that nations who have obviously "pledged their support" (whatever that means), such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain, have asked to remain off the official list (this fact in itself has been widely reported, eg, New York Times). Uh. Okay. They are the people we totally WOULD have invited to our party, but...uh. Okay.

I used to live in Bahrain. I am full of strange stories (as in, what it is like to visit a "Mexican Restaurant" in Saudi Arabia) should you need them. I don't know why you would. I'm just saying. Oh so very off topic now. Stopping now.

Posted by: mimi smartypants on March 21, 2003 10:58 PM

I think the main point is that we don't NEED anyone else with us to utterly kick ass and take names.

Our navy is as large as the rest of the worlds combined.

Our military budget is larger than the several next largest put together.

Having The Weasels on board wouldn't have changed things one bit as far as military force was concerned.

All of this Scares the Shit out of everyone else.
Fine, let them wet their diapers.

The UK and Japan are the only ones on that list truly of any consequence (for troops and rebuilding money, respectively). Oh and maybe the Australians, their special forces are pretty good.

You'll also note that we have the British, Scots and Irish fighting with us, how many times have all of THEM been on the same side of ANYTHING?

Posted by: David Mercer on March 22, 2003 4:57 PM

I've compiled a list of the "coalition of the willing" partners alongside their citation for human rights abuses by either Human Rights watch or Amnesty International. Of the fifty plus nations in the coalition, only 10 have no human rights issues at the moment.

Read the report here

Posted by: Chris on March 22, 2003 10:37 PM

Isn't "rooting" slang for sex in New Zealand? I know that in Australia it is. Which would make that an extra-special contribution to the war effort.

Posted by: sugarkane on March 23, 2003 6:26 AM

"do not wish to be publicly named" Aren't these what Rumsfeld calls the "unknown knowns" or is that the "known unknowns" It's all so confusing.

Posted by: Norm Jenson on March 23, 2003 1:44 PM

What I really want to know is why France is not on the list they are allowing over-flights.

Posted by: Norm on March 23, 2003 1:48 PM

What hasn't been mentioned here so far is the fact that even those few nations who actually support the US in this war (by more than just appearing on this "list of the willing"), do have populations who are on the most part opposed to this war.
I mean, look at the Bush's closest ally, the UK: some 50% of the people are against the war. This really puts this list in perspective, imho.

Posted by: Ian on March 24, 2003 5:55 AM

And, after bombing the Iraqi nuclear reactor some years back, Israel is not on the list because...? Maybe they're afraid of stepping on toes.
Also, in lieu of her fashion show at the Oscars, we should send Joan Rivers to Iraq. Or France. Or both.

Posted by: Dan on March 25, 2003 9:04 AM