Cindy’s Coalition Broadens; The Bush Brigade is Dissolving ©

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They buried their son on Monday August 15, 2005; they mourned for a day more.  Then, the parents of fallen soldier, Marine Lance Corporal Edward Schroeder II, spoke out.  They meet with the press, on Tuesday, August 16. Through the media, Paul Schroeder and his wife Rosemary Palmer pleaded with the President.  They said, Please “send more reinforcements to Iraq or withdraw U.S. troops altogether.”

Ms. Palmer spoke tearfully.  Irritably she stated, Mr. President “We feel you either have to fight this war right or get out.”  The soldier’s father expressed his belief; his son and other Marines are “being misused as a stabilizing force in Iraq.”  Mr. Schroeder continued, “Our comments are not just those of grieving parents.  They are based on anger, Mr. President, not grief.

Anger is an honest emotion when someone’s family has been violated.” His wife added accusingly the idea of “staying the course is” is rigid and not realistic.  The mother said the “war has gone bad.”  America’s young are dying.  She offered “Whether he leads them out by putting more troops on the ground or pulling them out – he can’t just let it continue.” Nevertheless, the President does.

When asked of the Schroeder-Palmer remarks, the office of our Commander-and-Chief said he declines to comment.  The White House reminded the press and the public that the President addressed this issue last week.  Allen Abney, administration spokesman offered, Baby Bush stands by his earlier statements.  He will do as Rosemary Palmer declared he could not, he will carry on the war effort just as he has.

For the Commander-and-Chief, the Schroeder’s be damned.  Cindy Sheehan, the mother of fallen soldier Casey Sheehan be cursed, all those that support a change in strategy, according to the President, know nothing.  Yet, these know nothings are growing in numbers.  They are building a broad coalition; the Bush alliance is disbanding.

Since August 7, 2005, Mrs. Sheehan has been holding vigil.  She is waiting for the President to speak with her, not as he did in June 2004 when she was one of many, merely the “Mom” of a fallen soldier.  She wants a genuine meeting, a give and take; she is not interested in obligatory gestures.  She stands strong in protest, just outside the Bush Ranch in Crawford, Texas.  Support for Cindy Sheehan is growing.

[Tonight, candlelight vigils are being held throughout the country for Cindy and Casey Sheehan.]

In the recent media meet with Paul Schroeder and Rosemary Palmer, the couple spoke of Mrs. Sheehan.  They stated, “We consider her the Rosa Parks of the new movement opposing the Iraq war.”  Sheehan, the Schroeder-Palmer family, and other military families are uniting.  They are joining the activists and the peaceniks.  As casualties are mount as American boys and girls come home in body bags, a new coalition gains ground.  This one asks for peace, demands action, and does not promote greater aggression.

Families such as the Schroeder and the Sheehan’s want the President and the Pentagon to present an exit strategy, to propose a new plan. For these families and for others, it is clear, the current policy is flawed; it is not working.  Daily deaths in Iraq are evidence of this.

The parents of young Edward, young Casey, and the parents, wives, sons, and daughters of other American soldiers believe, the battle was bad; though it was not as awful as victory. The President declared the war a “success” in May 2003.  However, since that date, more soldiers have been killed.  The slaughter increases each and every day.

Currently, there is greater rebellion, greater strife, and less unity in Iraq.  The elections did not bring democracy as the President proclaimed; they brought division.  Americans are beginning to realize this.  They see the war on their televisions; they read of the rebellion in their newspapers, and, most importantly, as the bodies of their beautiful babies arrive home in flag draped coffins, they know that this war was not worth the effort. The toll is too high.

Citizens in the United States are waking up.  They accept reports that the administration lied. The public now believes that we entered the war on false pretenses.  There were no Weapons of Mass Destruction.  We the people of the United States were led to believe that Saddam Hussein attacked the World Trade Towers and that he was the enemy.  However, they learned.  He was not the man behind the attacks.  King George II knew this all along.  He lied.

In recent months, polls show that US citizens wants out of this war. Nearly three-quarters of Americans think the number of casualties in Iraq is “unacceptable.”  Six in 10 say the war was not worth fighting. More than four in 10 believe the US presence in Iraq is becoming analogous to the experience in Vietnam. Perhaps most portentous for President Bush, 52 percent said war in Iraq has not contributed to the long-term security of this nation.  America is not safer.

See The Washington Post Poll Finds Dimmer View of Iraq War, by Dana Milbank and Claudia Deane

Not only are citizens in this country rejecting the war and expressing a desire to leave, those in other nations are as well.  In other nations, the people spoke out sooner and leaders heeded the calls.

After the bombings is Madrid on March 11, 2004, the people of Spain protested loudly.  Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero took action.  The Spanish leader pulled troops out of Iraq in April 2004.

On November 4, 2004, Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany made an announcement.  He too, declared withdraw.  All 300 Hungarian troops stationed in Iraq would exit by the end of March 2005.

Poland announced several weeks earlier, it would start to reduce its 2,500-strong contingent in January 2005.  The Polish were considering a complete withdrawal by the end of year.

On the same day that the Schroeder-Palmer family spoke of the need for an exit strategy, the main opposition party in Japan declared their own. The party leaders stated, should they win the upcoming election, they too will plan a pullout from Iraq.

Italy has stated that they will withdraw from Iraq. The Italian government plans to begin removing troops in September 2005.  Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told Rai state television the pullout would take place “in agreement with our allies”.  Italian forces comprise the forth-largest foreign contingent in the US coalition.  They have 3,000 troops in this war-torn nation.

There have long been rumors that the United Kingdom is considering an exit.  The majority of people in the UK have never supported the Iraq war.  Millions were protesting on the streets of London before Bush/Blair released the first bomb.

In truth, the Broad Coalition that Bush spoke of never existed. Ivo H. Daalder, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies wrote of this in the Brookings Daily War Report, March 24, 2003.  In his exposé titled, The Coalition That Isn’t, Daalder, offered,

Take the list coalition countries the White House is updating daily. Sure, there are some important allies aside from Britain?”notably Japan, South Korea, Spain, and Italy as well as number of “new” Europeans. Only three countries of these allies are actually contributing combat troops and capabilities (2,000 Australian troops, a Danish submarine and naval escort, and 200 Polish troops and refueling ship)?”all in all less than one percent of the total number of troops in the region. The rest of the list is a motley crew of supporters?”including such powerhouses as Afghanistan, Albania, Macedonia, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau.

No, the big-bad-broad-coalition never was, and with time, the sham of it will no longer be.  Each day it becomes leaner, not meaner.  However, fortunately, the true coalition is building; it is growing behind parents such as Cindy Sheehan, Paul Schroeder, and his wife Rosemary Palmer.  May the coalition for peace be our guide and just as in the childhood rhyme, may the big “cheese” stand, alone.

I refer you to an excellent resource.  The Global Policy Forum.

Wikipedia, Multinational force in Iraq, is also a good source of information.

US and Coalition Troops in Iraq, June 2005 offers an interesting story.

Possibly the best resource is IRAQ INDEX, Tracking Reconstruction and Security, in Post-Saddam Iraq, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Booking Institute may be the best resource.  The following statistics are taken from this source.
COALITION CONTRIBUTORS and the numbers of MILITARY PERSONNEL IN IRAQ.

As of May 6 – June 15, 2005
• US 150,000
• United Kingdom 8,000
• South Korea 3,600
• Italy 3,000
• Poland 1,700
• Ukraine 1,650
• Georgia 850
• Romania 800
• Japan 550
• Denmark 530
• Bulgaria 400
• Australia 400
• Remaining 17 coalition countries 1,520

Update . . . You may wish to visit MaxSpeak. On Thursday, August 18, 2005, he wrote of another call for withdraws from Iraq.  Wisconsin Senator, Russ Feingold, made this request. Max muses; will this be the position of others in the 2008 election. Please read 08.