President Bush claims that 36 countries "have troops on the ground in Iraq."
First, recognize that most coalition troops "operate in a non-combat capacity, except for the British." Almost all the deaths have been British (more than all the others combined).
Second, understand that without a precise explanation of how they achieved that number, Bush's statement appears quite inflated (by about 70 percent). I can find no definitive list of participating countries at the multi-national task force website (or anywhere else, for that matter -- the Pentagon stopped keeping a list earlier this year and the State Deparment list is woefully out-of-date). Also, see FactCheck.org
I've spent much of today pouring through news reports -- and my research suggests there are only 20 countries with less than 11,000 troops left in the "coalition of the willing."
What follows is the original research. Please give me a link (use the comments feature) if I've missed any:
The Christian Science Monitor reported there were only 28 nations supporting the Iraq effort, providing about 20,000 soldiers. Only 10 (about 1/3) countries had more than 150 troops (decreasing number of troops): Britain, South Korea, Italy, Poland, Australia, Georgia, Romania, Japan (humanitarian aid), Denmark and el Salvador.
According to GlobalSecurity.org, there were only 21 nations contributing armed forces to the Coalition in Iraq. They were (alphabetical) Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.
There were about 15,000 coalition troops. The biggies: Britain (7,100 troops), South Korea (2,300), Poland (900), Australia (800) and Georgia (800, pushing for NATO membership), and Romania (600). South Korea later cut theirs in half and plan to withdraw all by year's end. Britain, too, is bringing soldiers home.
Those states providing at least 100 soldiers included Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Mongolia, el Salvador. The Council on Foreign Relations says 25 countries, but it doesn't explain what the other four are. [I'm guessing they have included Denmark, Japan, Singaore and Ukraine -- a March report from the Department of State.]
Today, Brookings pegs the number of coalition troops at less than 12,000.
Compare: August 2007, the US had between 155,000 and 157,000 US soldiers in Iraq.Originally posted 14 Sept 2007 at 03.55; updated at 18.02