AP reports that potential allies in Iraq are getting a bit frightened by the heightened insurgent attacks:
Japan put off a decision Thursday to send troops to Iraq, a day after the biggest attack on coalition forces since the war, and South Korea rebuffed Washington by capping its contribution at 3,000 soldiers.
U.S. troops pounded suspected guerrilla targets in the capital for a second straight night under a new “get-tough” campaign against the insurgency. And the top American administrator, L. Paul Bremer, headed back to Baghdad after two days of White House talks with orders that Iraqis should take more responsibility for governing.
On the eve of a visit to Tokyo by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Japan decided the time isn’t right to send its forces to Iraq, indicating its deployment might be delayed until next year.
Japan had hoped to send troops to Iraq to help rebuild the country by the end of 2003, but chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda backed off, saying Iraq is still too unstable.
“Japan has said it wants to think about the timing” of its deployment, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said in Washington. “We understand that.”
Considering that Japan has been rabidly anti-military for two generations, it’s not surprising that they’re a little fearful about their first foreign use of troops since WWII. Hopefully, they’ll commit eventually.