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What is a Coalition?
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Also in Slate, Fred Kaplan calls the coalition "a joke", saying:

Second, about those 31 coalition members: All told, according to the report, they're contributing about 24,000 troops. The British alone are supplying about 8,000. So the remaining 30 countries have a total of 16,000 troops in Iraq—an average of just over 500 troops per country. The United States has about 130,000 troops over there—more than five times as many as all the other 31 countries combined. (For a full list of the countries involved—which include such powerhouses as Albania, Azerbaijan, and Tonga—click here.) This is not a coalition in the recognized sense of that word.

Hmm...well, Merriam-Webster defines a coalition this way:

a temporary alliance of distinct parties, persons, or states for joint action

That sure as shit sounds like what we have.

Kaplan, however, disagrees:

Compare those figures with these: During the 1991 Gulf War (according to U.S. Central Command's official history of that conflict), 37 other nations took part, sending a total of 800,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, as well as 300 combat support battalions, over 225 naval vessels, and 2,800 fixed-wing aircraft. Those aircraft flew 112,000 sorties and dropped 87,000 tons of munitions on Iraqi targets. Among the nations sending at least one army division were Egypt and Syria. Now that's a coalition.

As I've pointed out before, in Gulf War I, U.S. troops made up about 86% of all forces. Couldn't one argue that because we comprised the overwhelming majority of troops, that it wasn't a real coalition?

And I'm sure the 138 deaths from coalition members would appreciate being called "a joke". This, from the party that's going to strengthen our alliances and bring in new ones.

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