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Dutch Goverment Falls over Afghanistan Mandate

It is a rather late stage in the game for the war effort in Afghanistan to claim its first political victim. But yesterday night the Dutch governing coalition broke up over the question of extending its mandate. And that less than a week after narrowly surviving a debate over the (purely symbolic) support for the war in Iraq back in 2003. The political process has its own pace in the Netherlands.

The Guardian has a quote:

"A plan was agreed to when our soldiers went to Afghanistan," said the Labour leader, Wouter Bos. "Our partners in the government didn't want to stick to that plan, and on the basis of their refusal we have decided to resign from this government."
Bos is pretending that the Dutch did their turn and will now have accomplished a virtuous task when they go home. His coalition partners, in turn, are pretending that their plans and conditions were ever intended to have consequences. The political process has its own rationality in the Netherlands.


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Pamela on :

Part of me says "Well, a deal is a deal". Another part would like to know how the Dutch soldiers in Afghanistan feel about it. Some American soldiers I knew who were in Iraq when Spain pulled out told me the Spanish soldiers felt humiliated, that their gov't had made them look like quitters.

Pat Patterson on :

Radio Netherlands has an interesting article concerning the sense that the Dutch military, though the ones doing the complaining are the military unions, that this threatened withdrawal is not only an affront to the soldiers but damages The Netherlands international standing as well. Plus by following the internal link the main story hints strongly that Labor was very concerned about the next election and the fact that the were going to close some 25% of their seats and appear to be appealing to the more extreme anti-war left. Whie the Geert Wilders trial has alienated many Dutch and it is likely that he may run ala Pim Fortuyn and though not likely be crowned but definitely one of the voices determining who shall wear the crown. So the Christian Democrats, also sliding in the polls, may find themselves forced to form a center-right coalition if they want to maintain some of those corner offices.

Pamela on :

Pat, from the embedded link: " The Netherlands even risks losing its hard-earned seat at the G20 meetings." Oops. Over time I've lost a good deal of respect for the Dutch and it has nothing to do with their military. Pim Fortuyn Theo Van Gogh Ayan Hirsi Ali Geert Wilders They have blood on their hands by virtue of their willful blindness. (p.s. Did you see that Ayan Hirsi Ali is apparently living with Niall Ferguson?! Just a little social gossip.....)

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