"Weapons of Mass Deception"


White House Scraps 'Coalition of the Willing' List

Friday, January 21, 2005; 7:27 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House has scrapped its list of Iraq allies known as the 45-member "coalition of the willing," which Washington used to back its argument that the 2003 invasion was a multilateral action, an official said on Friday.

The senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the White House replaced the coalition list with a smaller roster of 28 countries with troops in Iraq sometime after the June transfer of power to an interim Iraqi government.

The official could not say when or why the administration did away with the list of the coalition of the willing.

The coalition, unveiled on the eve of the invasion, consisted of 30 countries that publicly offered support for the United States and another 15 that did not want to be named as part of the group.

Former coalition member Costa Rica withdrew last September under pressure from voters who opposed the government's decision to back the invasion.

On Friday, an organization from Iceland published a full-page advertisement in the New York Times calling for its country's withdrawal from the coalition and offering apologies for its support for U.S. policy.

The United States, backed by major allies, including Britain and Italy, invaded Iraq in March 2003 on the premise that Saddam Hussein posed a grave threat because he possessed weapons of mass destruction, or WMD.

The Bush administration acknowledged this month that it has abandoned its search for WMD without finding any biological, chemical or nuclear weapons.

Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice, who was national security adviser to President Bush at the time of the invasion, told a Senate panel this week that the administration had made some bad decisions in Iraq.

Nearly 1,370 members of the U.S. armed forces have been killed and another 10,500 have been wounded in Iraq since the invasion.

Unofficial estimates put the civilian Iraqi death toll at between 14,000 and 100,000.

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Milton Frihetsson, 03:30


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