The Incredibly Shrinking Coalition
By Siegesmund von Ilsemann
Things are getting lonely for the Americans in Iraq. More and more of their friends are leaving. But with the Iraqi army not ready to take over, it looks like US forces will have to stay for a long time to come.
Italian President Silvio Berlusconi's announcement came as a surprise to his own cabinet ministers and a snub to his friend in Washington. Berlusconi announced on Italian television early last Wednesday that he plans to begin withdrawing Italian troops from Iraq by as early as September. A comment he made a few days later -- that the withdrawal would, of course, be coordinated with Italy's allies -- did little to lessen the impact of his initial announcement: The "coalition of the willing," with which US President George W. Bush wanted to liberate Iraq, is beginning to crumble.