Boy, it looks like the Socialist victory in Spain opened the floodgates for bailing out on Iraq. South Korea is backing out on its commitment to send 3000 troops to Iraq. Poland’s President is talking about checking out early, and other countries have been making noises about throwing in the towel as well. One thing I’ve wondered about is whether the utility of the small deployments from coalition countries is magnified because when a country sends a small detachment, they send highly trained and/or specialized troops that can contribute at a high level. Only a small percentage of US troops are trained for the sort of nation building work that occupation of Iraq demands, the rest are people trying to adapt to the situation as best they can. You’d think that if Spain sends a few thousand troops, their skills would be highly relevant to the task at hand.
In other news, Slate had a whole battery of Spain-related stories today. They reported that Spain’s Socialists aren’t socialists, that the bombings weren’t really about Iraq, and that Spain’s demands for keeping its troops in Iraq aren’t absurd or even out of line with what the Bush administration wants.
Update: I made a mistake in mentioning South Korea above. They have refused to send their 3,000 troops to Kirkuk due to security problems, but they will still be sending those troops elsewhere in Iraq.