President Barack Obama last week announced plans to reduce the number of American troops serving in Iraq by summer 2010, ultimately keeping 35,000 to 50,000 there to continue in a supportive role. I believe it is somewhat naive to provide date certain time lines, because history proves they do not hold. Having served proudly in the U.S. Air Force at K-8 Kunsan, Korea some fifty-seven years ago my ears perked up.
Since the president’s announcement I did some research, and learned that there are still some 40,000 American troops still serving in Korea. In March, 2006 Richard Benedetto wrote a very interesting article for USA Today that provided some staggering statistics.
World War ll ended some 64 years ago and there are more than 100,000 troops still stationed in Germany and Japan. The Iraq invasion of Kuwait came to an end in 1991, and there are still 40,000 troops in country. Now we are increasing our troop commitment to Afghanistan to some 50,000 or so. With the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq I suspect the American force level in Afghanistan will reach far over its current level, and remain high for many years to come. History has proven this part of the world is a very difficult place to fight (just ask the Russians), and it probably will prove to be a much longer term obligation before victory is ultimately achieved.
There is a very interesting web site; www.LewRockwell.com that provides some staggering insight into this subject. There is a great article on this site, THE GLOBAL EMPIRE by Laurence M. Vance, which provides the full scope of American military activity around the world. The article highlights the fact that our global presence is unlike any other country in history, and we have troops in 70% of the world’s nations. Would you believe that American Military Personnel are serving in 135 different countries, many of which are hard to find on any map?
Your Commander suggests that it would be highly propitious for our new president to form a blue-ribbon committee to study the need for so many American military to be stationed all over the world. Can you imagine the total cost this commitment has on our Treasury? Isn’t it time to bring some of our troops home? We could place them along our borders (both north and south) and establish a firm hand on illegal immigration, which in itself is costing the American taxpayer hundreds of millions, and probably billions yearly.
In a separate commentary I intend to address the inter-relationship of Illegal immigration, prison populations, gangs and drugs. It is suspected, and reported in the media that our government does not want to enforce our immigration laws, because the current administration benefits substantially from the rapidly growing illegal immigrant communities.
With our current economic turmoil it is time to investigate every single way in which we can reduce expenditures. Bringing troops home would immediately curtail the Defense budget, because it would be cheaper to house them at existing military facilities. Any savings can be redirected to replace all the equipment that has been destroyed or will be left for the Iraqi Army. Another huge benefit would be reuniting military families, while infusing more money into local economies, plus boosting morale and reenlistments.
I cannot conceive that an American military presence is required in 135 different countries. Is it not time, however, for some of these foreign governments to be standing on their own feet, and providing proper defenses for their citizens. The good old USA cannot solve all the world’s problems and it is about time we recognize that fact.
Your Commander is a firm believer in President Teddy Roosevelt’s theory “WALK SOFTLY AND CARRY A BIG STICK”, which we can effectively do from home, and not some distant land. Your Commander is beginning to wonder if our new administration’s theory is “WALK LOUDLY AND CARRY A SOFT STICK”. I know we must have some troops overseas, but to what extent is the question. What has our continued massive excessive foreign military presence gotten us? In return we get nothing but protests, expense, and criticism.