Ed Morrisey has an interesting post up today on NATO in Afghanistan and who is and is not carrying their weight.
Britain and the US have received years of criticism for the foray into Iraq to resolve the 12-year standoff there rather than commit more troops to fight the terrorists of the Taliban. However, when the subject of that fight comes up, the defense ministers of the NATO alliance suddenly find a lot of excuses as to why they cannot contribute troops for the mission. Liam Fox, the shadow Defence Secretary, puts it rather bluntly: “Too many of our European partners are now pocketing the Nato security guarantee but leaving UK taxpayers and the UK military to carry the cost."
NATO currently has 35,000 troops in Afghanistan. The US provides 27,000 of them, followed by the existing British contingent of 5,500. That leaves around 2,500 troops contributed by the rest of our partners in the war on terror, many of which have placed restrictions on their deployment in combat areas. That's less participation than we had during the invasion of Iraq.
Perhaps we should end our NATO alliance and look for more suitable partners for security. The Eastern European nations appear more rational about the threat to freedom coming from Southwest Asia these days. The traditional NATO nations, save the UK, appear to have decided that the doctrine of unity among members has little to do with them. The US should pull itself out of Western Europe altogether and let them provide for their own security, paying their own bills and organizing their own policies rather than continue subsidizing ennui.
The British force in Afghanistan will soon be increased to 7,000 as Ed mentions and it is worth noting that while people complain that the British have seen significant drawdowns in Iraq and American forces have not...the British have not repudiated the mission. In spite of incredible political pressure Tony Blair has stood by his decision to go to war. It is also worth noting for all those folks out there on the left critical of the British for pulling down troops in the relatively peaceful southern regions of Iraq...that the same complaining, harassing, and backstabbing left Bush has to deal with here in the United States also exists in the UK. In spades. It is amazing he has been able to do as much for the cause as he has.