As Fwance, Italy, and Spain are either never-was or used-to-be in Iraq and continue to look for ways to run away and hide even in Afghanistan - the Romanians continue to stand with those who want freedom.
Some 400 Romanian troops on Friday said goodbye to their families, friends and colleagues in a military and religious ceremony, before leaving for Iraq to replace colleagues.First thing that came to mind when I saw the AFP photo to the right, was how "old school" that was. Post-Christian Europe? Doesn't look like it to me. It is still there - even Communism couldn't kill it. Not sure the INFO OPS guys like the photo, but who cares.
The 495 Infantry Battalion, which includes 10 women, leaves starting on Sunday, said captain Pavel Petrea, a Defense Ministry spokesman.
They will serve under British command in the area of Tallil, patrolling, observing and supporting the local civilians, Petrea added.
The 400 troops have trained for the past three months for this mission and are to replace the Transylvanian Dragons, who have been operating in Iraq since August.
Last week, President Traian Basescu said in a meeting with foreign diplomats that Romania will respect its commitments in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans.
Romania, which joined the European Union on Jan. 1 and became a NATO member in 2004, has 600 troops in Iraq, 800 in Afghanistan and 230 in the western Balkans.
Like Poland, the Romanians remember what it is like to live in fear. They appreciate that freedom is something that is worth defending. They also remember what it was like to be abandoned by the West. For a country that is poorer than any US State, and a population of ~22 million, that would equate to 8,200 in Iraq, 10,800 in Afghanistan. Romania has a per-capita GDP of $9,446. The US is $43,500. So, as we all know, a poor former-Communist nation most pressing need is, in a selfish way, money. Money to recover from the nightmare of the Ultimate Leftist Government.
Spending money to help us in Iraq and Afghanistan is not easy for Romania.
Another, and perhaps better way to look at it is as a % of their military deployed. If you take away the Air Force and Navy, the US has ~1.3 million land forces - Active, Reserve, National Guard and Marine Corps. Romania has ~75,000 if you include Territorial forces and Gendarmerie.
In Iraq (not theater) we have about 130,000 or 10% of our Land Forces. In Afghanistan we have 19,000 or 1.5%. For Romania, that is .8% in Iraq, 10.1% in Afghanistan.
When you consider the fact that Romania has never been attacked and only spends ~2.7% of their GDP (vice ~4.5% for us) I think you can say that, yes, Romania is more than pulling her fair share. Thanks. Oh, and who wouldn't want to have a "Transylvanian Dragons" patch? That is cool.