Woot!! Troops To Leave South Korea, Though Not Exactly As I’d Hoped

Official Says U.S. Will Reposition Its Troops in South Korea
There are a number of reasons to want our troops out of the ROK: the younger generation of South Koreans are ungrateful and don’t want us there; our troops are basically held hostage to the nuclear threat from the North, not to mention their missile batteries; we’ve been there for 50 years; and the troops can be used elsewhere, such as the Middle East or brought home.

Right now we have over 100,000 troops in Iraq on what is definitely a hardship duty and they will be there for the foreseeable future. Any troops we can free up to make life easier on the ones stuck in the sandbox is a move in the right direction. I didn’t, however, expect we would be repositioning them to better respond to an attack from North Korea. That does fit with the idea of getting them out of the way of the DPRK’s nukes and missile batteries, but I was hoping this kind of move wouldn’t be necessary.

Perhaps they are being moved to Japan. I don’t know, but it doesn’t sound like they are coming home nor will they provide relief to the troops in Iraq. Regardless of the reason, I’m glad to see them getting out of there and waiting until the nuclear issue with the North is resolved is a non-starter. There’s no telling when that will be resolved and the troops would, in the mean time, have the possibility of leaving dangled in front of them while diplomats spend years trying to settle the nuclear issue. No way. Get them out now.

After two days of talks with South Korean officials, a senior United States Defense Department official said Monday that a major realignment was being planned in American troop deployments in that country in order to meet the threat posed by North Korea.

The deputy secretary of defense, Paul D. Wolfowitz, all but stated that American troops would be withdrawn from the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea, a move intended to take them out of easy range of North Korean artillery, and theoretically position the United States to mount a pre-emptive attack against the North.

“Of course, any basic changes we make to our ground posture here will affect the Second Infantry Division,” Mr. Wolfowitz told a news conference in Seoul. “That’s the heart of what we have here in peace time.”

In recent months, South Korea has opposed the move, fearing that it would raise tensions on the Korean peninsula, making a war more likely. The country’s new president, Roh Moo Hyun, has asked the Bush administration to postpone any redeployment of the Second Infantry Division until “after the nuclear issue has been resolved.”

Mr. Roh’s comments refer to North Korea’s suspected development of nuclear weapons. North Korea provoked a crisis over the issue in December, when it withdrew from a nuclear nonproliferation agreement and expelled international nuclear inspectors from the country.

Mr. Wolfowitz, who flew to Tokyo on Monday night to meet with Japanese officials for discussions that were also expected to focus on North Korea, sought to allay fears in the region that the United States was emphasizing military measures in its approach to the impoverished communist country.

Diplomacy is fine for dealing with the DPRK. If it doesn’t work we still don’t need to attack — nor are we likely to because of the massive number of deaths that would result. We could simply use a Cold War containment strategy by placing nuclear weapons in Japan and South Korea. Kim Jong Il may be crazy but I don’t think he’s prepared to start a nuclear war with us when he knows his entire country would become the nuclear waste dump for the world.

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