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Monday, August 16, 2004

The Motive Behind Troop Reallocation

Bush announced today that lots of US troops are going to be moved around.

Promising "a more agile and more flexible force," President Bush announced on Monday a major realignment of U.S. forces around the world.

Bush said about 60,000 to 70,000 uniformed personnel would move from overseas to posts in the United States over the next decade. The move would also involve about 100,000 family members and civilian employees, Bush said.

"The new plan will help us fight and win these wars of the 21st century," Bush said in a speech before a convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

So the administration is selling this as a strategic move that's in our national interest. But could there be another motive at play? Just read the coverage at Newsmax, where the front page currently reads as follows:

Sorry, Germany: Bush Realigns U.S. Troops
Perhaps the dollar-hungry Germans and South Koreans are now regretting all their anti-American protests as the U.S. modernizes strategy to fight the war on terrorism.
German Weasels Wail for Dollars

That second link includes the following passages:

Hooray! The U.S. is pulling troops out of ungrateful Saddam-loving Germany, and dollar-addicted Old Europeans are in moaning as their withdrawal symptoms begin. ...

Baumholder, a town in rural western Germany, will lose $150 million a year if the U.S. military training area leaves, Mayor Volkmar Pees complained today to the Associated Press. ...

Tough luck, Germans. Should've thought of that before you launched all those vicious anti-U.S. demonstrations!

So are we now going to pull out our troops from all places that disagree with US policy so as not to be giving any economic benefit to the people living there? What if pulling out troops conflicts with Bush's stated bit about fighting and winning the wars of the 21st century? Knowing the administration's track record for seeking revenge on enemies, I wouldn't be shocked if punishing disloyalty has trumped strategic considerations here. (I'm aware others are critiquing the decision on more substantive grounds, for example Wesley Clark, though I'm not qualified to pass that sort of judgment.)