More an Antique Roman than a Dane …

Denmark announced that it would withdraw its ground troops serving under British command in Basra, as other countries review their participation in the coalition force.
Lithuania, which has 53 soldiers in Iraq serving alongside the Danish battalion, also said it was considering a pull-out.
The Romanian Defence Minister said that Bucharest would take a decision on the presence of its 600 soldiers in Iraq, mostly serving under British command, in the next few days. But President Traian Basescu, who is also under pressure to announce a withdrawal timetable, warned that a hasty pull-out of the international coalition forces “would cause chaos and the division of Iraq”.
Poland has already announced that it will bring home its 900 troops by the end of the year, and Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Japan and New Zealand have already withdrawn their troops.
South Korea, which has a contingent of 2,300 troops in the northern city of Arbil, intends to withdraw half by April, and its parliament is calling for a complete pull-out by the end of the year.

Wither the coalition of the willing? Mark your calendars: 100 days until solitude …

Say Anything …

Military chiefs had been pushing for much bigger cuts in the number of British troops in Iraq than those announced yesterday by Tony Blair, defence officials made clear last night. For months, army commanders have suggested that their presence on the streets of Basra was doing more harm than good … They were forced to agree to a more gradual reduction partly in deference to US sensitivities.

So, how did the White House respond to the news?:

Dick Cheney, the US vice-president, said the announcement was “an affirmation that in parts of Iraq … things are going pretty well“, while the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, was keen to stress “the coalition remains intact”.

The prosecution rests.