Vital Signs

Democracy for Whom?

With the peace in Iraq proving as messy as the war, the Bush administration has spent a year desperately trying to get other countries to send troops for occupation duty.  Brazil, Egypt, and India said no; Japan temporized, before sending in 550 soldiers for “humanitarian” duty.  The kidnapping of one Filipino truck driver caused the Philippines to withdraw 56 soldiers in a  rush.  In August, Thailand began pulling out her small contingent.

Notably, no Muslim nation—outside of minuscule Albania, which sent in forces with no equipment—has sent troops to patrol Iraq.  Pakistan, with jihadists active in its western provinces and multiple assassination attacks on President Pervez Musharraf, said no.  A Saudi initiative went nowhere.  And Turkey, with one of the largest and perhaps the most competent militaries in the region (outside of Israel), is a source of contract trucking services, nothing more.

It is surprising that an administration supposedly full of adults has proved so ineffective in enlisting allied support.  It is bad enough to jump into an unnecessary war; to bungle the peace at every turn, however, is almost criminal.

Last fall, Secretary of State Colin Powell went calling in Turkey.  After much hemming and hawing, and Washington’s approval of $8.5 billion in loans in September 2003, the Erdogan government recommended a dispatch...

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