Given Cheney's silly attempt at bait-and-switch last night attacking Edwards for not including Iraqi casualties in his statement about America "having taken 90 percent of coalition casualties", I thought I'd dig a bit.
Though Edwards said "coalition casualities" clearly all three times he used the phrase, it didn't stop Cheney from using a strawman attack on Edwards' stating that his comments were "beyond the pale" because he didn't count Iraq amongst the coalition casualties apparently.
So does the White House themselves now count Iraq as part of the "coalition of the willing"?
Checking the White House website's own report on "RENEWAL IN IRAQ: The Coalition" is revealing!
The report (linked above) offers several links to several supporting documents/pages. Strangely enough however, the link on that page to "Who Are the Coalition Members?" now leads to a "The file you have attempted to access cannot be found." error page!
All the other links on the page work fine. But the list of "Coalition Members" has seemingly been scrubbed from the website.
Thanks to the Wayback Machine, we can check the originally linked file however.
That file, apparently last updated and archived by the Wayback on February 2, 2004, but still dated "April 3, 2003" lists a coalition of 49 countries. Needless to say, several of them have since pulled out of the coaltion (Spain, Costa Rica, etc.)
I understand why they might wish to update the page at the White House website as coaltion members come and go. But deleting it entirely certainly raised my eyebrow.
I don't know when the page officially came down, if it was before last night's sleight-of-hand about coalition casualties or not. But isn't it a bit deceptive and/or cynical to simply disappear the page entirely from the historic record?
There is a "Press Release" I found that is still on the site dated "March 21, 2003" which lists 48 countries as part of the coaltion. But the page from their "Policies in Focus > Iraq: Special Report" is gone.
I'm sure the folks in Blogistan will correct me if any of the information above is somehow inaccurate. But in the meantime, I'm left wondering what other official pieces of information once posted to the White House website (theoretically owned by the people of the United States of America) have been scrubbed as well from the historical record?
UPDATE 10/22/04: Hooray! Mainstream media finally picks up on this story!