All right, we've got the official accounting about the "36 nations" cited last night by President Bush "who have troops on the ground in Iraq." And it still
doesn't add up.
According to a National Security Council official, our tally of 34
was slightly off. We had been including the U.S. as a contributor to MNF-I, and we had forgotten the island nation of Tonga. Additionally, the White House relied on two other nations contributing forces to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq -- Canada and New Zealand -- in addition to the Figians. So there you have it: 26 in MNF-I; seven in the Nato non-combat force; and three guarding UNAMI. Thirty-six!
Only... not. First, Canada withdrew
its single soldier to UNAMI in June. (New Zealand does
contribute its own soldier -- that's soldier, singular -- to UNAMI, along with, one hopes, bootleg DVDs of Flight of the Conchords
.) Second, the aforementioned CRS report
(pdf) notes that Tonga has withdrawn its force from Iraq; and, accordingly, MNF-I no longer includes Tonga
on its list of coalition members. Additionally, globalsecurity.org
isn't sure whether Hungary has anyone in Iraq as part of the Nato force. (No one's answering the phones at the Hungarian embassy in Washington, either.) And, lest we forget, Iceland is sending its press aide -- apparently not really a soldier
-- home from Baghdad on October 1.
But assume the White House is correct on Hungary. And also concede that Iceland isn't out yet
. Still, by the accounting of the White House, at least two of the nations the president cited last night aren't in Iraq in any capacity anymore.
For the record, here's the White House list of how it counts the nations "in" Iraq:
Countries with troops on ground in Iraq
5. Bosnia and Herzegovina
7. Czech Republic
9. El Salvador
14. South Korea
25. United Kingdom
United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (Not listed are countries that are providing forces in other categories)
3. New Zealand
NATO Training NTM-I