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Jason Holliston
Thursday, November 13, 2003  
Status Of The Coalition

Let me start with this: bravo to the Italians. A couple days ago, they got a mouthful of the bitter job we've been slogging through ever since major combat operations were over. A terrorist suicide bombing killed 18 of their number, and they immediately resolved that they would not be deterred by the will of the minority in Iraq -- they would stay and help the effort to build a modern, safe, and free Iraq. Even Premier Silvio Berlusconi's opposition members publicly announced their resolve in this matter. It shows you, I think, how different some European countries are from others (read: the French). Also, you don't hear much about the solid British thinking about pulling out early.

Flip the coin: now let's look at Japan. Another WWII Axis member and reformed democracy (helped through the perseverance and strength of the United States, remember), has said that they'll delay sending troops to Iraq for policing duties. Thanks, guys. South Korea has decided to limit their contribution to the Coalition to 3000 troops, and has told their existing 464 troops on the ground not to leave their bases. Another big thanks from the U.S.

Its incredible how short memories are, both political and public. After 57 years of extending our military protection to these Asian countries, and finally asking them to step up and help in an obviously noble cause, they balk out of fear. Shame on you both. Does Japan think for a second that China or the Soviet Union wouldn't have liked to have them as a client state at some point during that history, but was deterred by our fighting forces? Does South Korea think for a second that they would be a democratic country -- not a starving, totalitarian Stalinist state -- if it wasn't for our sacrifices in Korean War and our existing human "tripwire" currently stationed there? For shame! The older of the citizens in this country should remember what it was like to live in a post-war environment. They both suffered from uncertainty, fear, hunger, death of loved ones, and looting -- in other words, the same problems that the people in Iraq have dealt with recently, or do deal with now. They should be some of the first countries to step forward and offer their assistance, but instead we ask, and they "reconsider".

All I ask of our leaders is that they remember this. I'm not asking for some vindictive response, or some sort of a temper tantrum, but just remember. During the past couple years, I think our friends have stepped up to the plate and done a great job, and others have not. The lines are being redrawn, and I hope they don't ignore those lines.

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