March 27, 2005


Albania stands with U.S. in Iraq (Fatos Tarifa, March 27, 2005, Washington Times)

The announcement several days ago Albania -- a small country with limited resources -- was sending an additional 50 well-trained troops to Iraq came as a surprise to some observers. But it really should not have surprised anyone.

Albania was one of only four countries to send combat troops during the operation "Iraqi Freedom." Albania is probably the most pro-American country on Earth. It showed its support of the United States early, when it initially sent 70 commandos to join the Coalition of the Willing's effort to bring peace, stability and free elections to Iraq. These new troops bring to a total of 120 Albanian soldiers serving in Iraq.

From a country with only 3.5 million people, the troops -- the flower of Albania's youth -- represent the best Albania has to offer. Why does Albania do this when it could have avoided President Bush's call for support, or when it could have dropped out as others have done when the going got tough? The answer is not difficult to find. If you believe in freedom, you believe in fighting for it. If you believe in fighting for freedom, you believe in America.

Unlike people in other countries in Europe and elsewhere, the Albanian people have not forgotten what it is like to live under tyranny and repression. The Albanians for more than 40 years were held in thrall by the repressive forces of the communists, living like prisoners without rights in their own country. It was to the United States that freedom-loving Albanians looked for inspiration during those dark years, and the Americans have not let us down.

"We Albanians are a nation of freedom fighters who know something about living under oppression," Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano wrote in a letter to President Bush. "That is why we wholeheartedly support the American-led effort to free the people of Iraq. And though we are a small country with a small military, we are proud to stand side by side with our allies in the fight to end the reign of terror in Baghdad."

Which makes it worth at least 120 France's.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 27, 2005 8:25 AM

As a first generation American of Albanian descent, I am proud of my "cousins" in the old country. Good going guys!

Posted by: erp at March 27, 2005 9:18 AM

Albania, Albania, you border on the Adriatic . . .

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at March 27, 2005 9:48 AM

I'm glad they learned their lesson after we attacked them with the B-3 bomber in Wag The Dog...

Posted by: Ed Driscoll at March 27, 2005 1:45 PM

In the run-up to the Iraq war, Mark Shields on a Newshour segment with David Brooks maundered about our lack of allies. When corrected by Brooks that we were not without allies, Shields sneered "Hurray, here come the Albanians!" At that moment I promoted Shields from party hack to loathsome toad.

Posted by: Luciferous at March 28, 2005 12:39 PM