Major Troop Drawdowns Long Overdue

U.S. Plans Major Cut Of Forces In Korea (washingtonpost.com)
The same is supposedly going to happen in Germany, and it’s long overdue. I realize there are some logistical advantages to having facilities around the world, but alternate plans can be made.

Korea, in particular, seems like a bad idea. We have 37,000 troops tied up there and they can do nothing that the South can’t do to stop the barrage of artillery that would come from the North in the opening hours of a war. Tens of thousands would die within a few days and our soldiers are basically hostages there. Not much value there and we can return in larger numbers if war does break out.

The United States plans to withdraw a third of its 37,000 troops stationed in South Korea before the end of next year as part of the most significant realignment of U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula in half a century, South Korean officials said Monday.

The withdrawal underscores a broader move by the Pentagon to transform troops stationed at traditional, fixed bases into more mobile forces for rapid global deployments. Defense officials also have proposed pulling two armored Army divisions out of Germany and repositioning some fighter aircraft and Navy command staff in Europe to make it easier to deploy forces to the Middle East, Central Asia and other potential hot spots.

In the case of South Korea, the planned move would mark the largest U.S. troop withdrawal from the peninsula since the Korean War, while shifting a greater burden of defense to the South Koreans themselves. A U.S. delegation, led by Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Lawless, informed the South Koreans Sunday night of the Pentagon’s intention to withdraw the troops, South Korean officials said.

The Pentagon has already announced plans to redeploy 3,600 troops this summer from South Korea to Iraq. The new proposal greatly expands the number of troops to be withdrawn – involving about 12,500 by December 2005, Kim Sook, head of the Foreign Ministry’s North America bureau, told reporters in Seoul on Monday.

It was not immediately clear which U.S. forces would be going – or where. A senior U.S. military officer familiar with the planning, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said in an interview that many such details have yet to be worked out.

“Much of the planning has involved thinking in terms what military capabilities will still be needed in Korea, not the specific soldiers or units,” the officer said.

By most accounts the younger generations of South Koreans don’t want us there, either. Might as well use the troops to lighten the load of the military as a whole or bring them home.

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