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A blog on terrorism, democracy and international politics

Saturday, January 17, 2004

The truth about the Coalition of the Willing 

In 2002 and early 2003, I was mildly opposed to the idea of an American-led invasion of Iraq. I had my reasons, but these reasons were progressively whittled down while points in favour of the war accumulated. By the time of the invasion, I was strongly in support, and I have spoken to a number of other people who describe the same trajectory in their thinking.

The most frustrating aspect of being nominally opposed to the invasion of Iraq was the sort of company in which I found myself. Many in the anti-war crowd were systematically dishonest, shamefully tasteless and/or willfully ignorant. Such people can be found clinging to the running-boards of many causes, but in this case they were in the driver's seat.

Most appalling of all was the systematic bias in alternative and mainstream media, which took every opportunity to deride the American-led effort as unilateral, bullying and opposed by the more 'civilised' Europeans. Dozens of articles and websites emerged, ridiculing the "Coalition of the Coerced" [PDF] or "Coalition of the Billing", or describing the opponents of dictatorship as "war criminals". This refusenik response was pre-scripted. The war effort was always going to be "dominated by a few large, wealthy countries" or "composed of insigificant countries that couldn't possibly contribute anything", or both. Every effort was made to present the members of the coalition as being half-hearted, resistant or bribed into participation. Britain was presented as isolated and opposed by 'Europe'.

Note: I included the picture here, but for some reason it doesn't show up. Perhaps blogspot doesn't allow pictures for free accounts. Please click here to see the map.
The Coalition of the Willing in Europe.
Blue: supported the invasion. Red: Opposed.

On closer inspection, all these arguments proved to be Pilgerisms or outright lies. My response was to produce a list of the countries involved, a colour-coded map of Europe demonstrating that France, Germany, Russia, Belgium and Greece were isolated, and a list of links refuting many of the common fallacies about the Coalition. In contrast to the anti-war webpages, I let the facts speak for themselves.

This page was the most popular on Perspectives on World History and Current Events for 2003, being referenced from discussion groups and weblogs around the world. It was vitally important that this debate took place, and was well informed. The truth about the Coalition of the Willing will fight against a wall of lies in our history books for decades to come.

I have provided this blog entry because PWHCE does not have a comments feature, and I would like to facilitate further discussion of the historical question of the composition and nature of the Coalition that invaded Iraq in March 2003. (Note that the Coalition of the Willing page concerns itself primarily with the Coalition at the time of the invasion.)
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