American Troops Moving South In South Korea

U.S. Troops Will Leave Korean DMZ (washingtonpost.com)
Believe it or not, it isn’t just political spin when they say it will enhance South Korea’s security for our troops to move out of range of the DPRK’s missile batteries. If Kim Jong Il was under the impression that holding our troops hostage in the DMZ provided him with leeway to be belligerent and bribe us, that has now been defused.

I would have preferred we had brought the troops home or sent them elsewhere, but if we are going to play a role in defending South Korea we should do so from a position of strength. This may well be it.

U.S. troops will withdraw from the tense Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea in a phased redeployment, bringing an end to 50 years of guard duty that began at the end of the Korean War, officials said today.

A joint statement by U.S. and South Korean officials said American troops will be pulled back to positions at least 75 miles from the DMZ, and will abandon a large base they occupy in downtown Seoul. The move from the DMZ will free about 18,000 U.S. troops to be more mobile, and they will be replaced by soldiers in a modernized South Korean army, officials said.

No precise schedule has been announced for the change, although U.S. officials have said the new deployment may begin this year. The South Korean government is seeking a delay until current tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program are eased.

Officials said the move would not immediately reduce the 37,000 U.S. troops posted in South Korea.

The statement said the redeployment would “enhance security” and would be done “taking careful account of the political, economic and security situation on the peninsula and in Northeast Asia.”

Having the troops out of immediate danger will enhance our ability to negotiate and they aren’t kidding about the advanced South Korean troops. We equipped them.

UPDATE: As you can see in the comments, I was wrong about our troops being out of artillery range of the DPRK based on the move south. That brings me back to my original position: get them out of there. Our troops are mobile enough that we can be back there to fight, if need be, in a short amount of time. Also, the ROK has a 600,000 man army that is much better equipped than the DPRK, even though the DPRK has more troops. Having our 37,000 troops there buys them little.

As Ranger Bill stated, they should re-join their other forces in Hawaii and Washington.

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