Coalition of the Unwilling: Final Edition?

Aug 19, 2010

For many years on my personal blog, I monitored the disintegration of the “coalition of the willing” in Iraq. My last post on this topic was apparently in December 2008, when the United Kingdom announced that it was soon withdrawing its final troops from Iraq.

Prior posts had documented the exits of Australia (2007), Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia (2007), Japan (2006), Italy (2006), Poland, the Netherlands, Thailand, Hungary, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Norway (2005), Ukraine (2005), the Philippines, Spain, and Honduras (2004).

Now, the U.S. has withdrawn its last combat troops from Iraq. Officially, combat operations end on August 31.

And, according to the latest public opinion poll, the American public is aligned with President Obama. Neither the public nor President is willing to support the combat mission in Iraq. In this latest survey, nearly 70% of Americans opposed the war in Iraq, an all-time high.

The “good” war in Afghanistan is not faring much better in the public’s view.

Unpopularity with the war in Afghanistan also reached an all-time high in CNN polling with 62 percent saying they oppose it.

According to the survey, the public does not think much of the Afghani government.

Despite this view, U.S. commander David Petraeus is not planning a quick withdrawal from Afghanistan:

“I didn’t come out here to carry out a graceful exit or something like that,” Petraeus said

Obama has consistently claimed that U.S. combat troops will exit that war next summer.

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Rodger A. Payne is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Louisville. He serves on the University’s Sustainability Council and was a co-founder of the Peace, Conflict, and Social Justice program. He is the author of dozens of journal articles and book chapters and coauthor, with Nayef Samhat, of Democratizing Global Politics: Discourse Norms, International Regimes, and Political Community (SUNY, 2004). He is currently working on two major projects, one exploring the role of narratives in international politics and the other examining the implications of America First foreign policy.