Voice from the Commonwealth Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts
"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams
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Should war come to Iraq, a U.S.-led military force could include everything from a British armored division and a Bulgarian chemical-biological protection unit to a team of Latvian military doctors and a Danish submarine.
U.S. officials have not said publicly how many states make up what President Bush has taken to calling a "coalition of the willing," meaning those nations that would assist in overthrowing Saddam Hussein.
But officials say at least 40 nations - mostly in Europe and the Middle East - are in talks with the United States about providing combat forces and support units, as well as basing rights and refugee assistance.
"Every contribution is important, from the smallest clinic to the largest troop contribution," said Jim Wilkinson, a spokesman for the Tampa, Fla.-based U.S. Central Command, whose area of responsibility includes Iraq. More than 40 nations have sent military representatives to Tampa.
A core group of eight nations, led by Britain and Australia, has pledged either combat forces or support units should the president decide on war, officials said. Some states are not yet willing to publicly declare their intentions, citing operational reasons or concerns about domestic opposition to a war with Iraq.
Meanwhile, there is a more extensive list - an "elaborate matrix" in the words of one official - of what countries will offer under differing circumstances, with or without a second Security Council resolution. Dozens of countries are being consulted about how they can contribute to the effort, officials said.
Poland has marines and special forces aboard ship in the Arabian Sea, said Boguslaw Winid, deputy chief of mission at the Polish Embassy here. And there have been discussions between Poland and the United States about "hypothetical increases" in Polish forces should there be war in Iraq.
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