The incredibly shrinking Coalition of the Willing just got smaller.
Tony Blair of Britain announced plans to withdrawal an additional 1,600 troops, resulting in a force of about 5,000 by the summer. (Britain's orginal deployment totaled 45,000.) And Denmark's 460 troop commitment expires in June, and Lithuania is set to bring its 53 troops home.
These countries join a long list of nations that have opted out, or have significantly reduced, their troop commitments to the U.S. Iraq occupation.
Unmoved by the disintegration of the coalition, Vice President Dick Cheney vowed to stay the course and inject more American troops into Iraq's Civil War. He made his comments while in Japan, a world economic power in which the U.S. maintains 50,000 troops (at a cost to U.S. taxpayers in the $100s of millions) some 60 years after the defeat of Imperial Japan.
If the planned changes (i.e., U.S. build-up and the announced withdrawals) proceed as planned, the reduced coalition will look largely as follows:
US -153,000 (92% of the total)
UK - 5,500
South Korea - 2,300
Poland - 900
Georgia - 850
Australia - 900
Romania - 600
El Salvador - 380
Bulgaria - 150
other countries - 800 (approx.)
According to GlobalSecurity.org, these are the nations that have already opted out of the coalition: Hungary, Nicaragua, Spain, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand, Tonga, Portugal, Singapore, Norway, Ukraine, Japan, Italy, Slovakia