Skip to comments.Military Bases in Germany
Posted on 06/14/2004 6:34:32 AM PDT by OESY
The Pentagon is proposing sharp cuts in U.S. forces in Germany, which for more than half a century has been America's biggest military outpost in Europe. It's a bad idea, particularly at a time when the United States is struggling to rebuild its relations with its NATO allies.
Washington is hoping to cut its military presence in Germany a little more than 70,000 soldiers roughly in half. Two heavy divisions now based there, and the soldiers' families, would return to the United States. They would be replaced by a much smaller light combat brigade, while other units would be rotated in and out, at considerable cost, for short-term exercises. The Air Force is also thinking of moving some of its F-16 fighter jets from Germany to Turkey, where they would be closer to Middle East trouble spots but subject to restrictions by the host government.
The large American military presence in Germany has long symbolized the understanding at the heart of NATO Washington's commitment to remain permanently engaged in Europe's security and to integrate its military operations with those of its major European allies. Recent history has only reinforced how important that relationship is to the United States. NATO is the only alliance capable of sharing some of the global military burdens that have now overstretched America's ground forces.
Many Germans, remembering Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's scornful "old Europe" put-downs of their country last year, will see these withdrawals, and the accompanying German job losses, as payback for Berlin's diplomatic opposition to the invasion of Iraq. Washington denies that. But the Pentagon does seem to have a growing preference for stationing troops either at home or on the territories of allies ready to embrace President Bush's notions of unilateral preventive war.
Despite its criticisms of the Iraq war, Germany imposed no restrictions on the use of American bases during that conflict. It continues to deploy thousands of German soldiers to protect those bases, freeing American troops for other uses. Berlin also contributes $1 billion a year to the bases' support. Economically, the plan to bring the soldiers home is a loser.
The German bases have other advantages as well. They are much closer to the Middle East and Central Asia than bases in the United States and are in a safe country with a stable democracy and the modern conveniences that make life easier for troops on long tours overseas. Soldiers stationed there have access to a variety of training exercises and can enjoy down time with their families. The American military hospital at Ramstein Air Base, the largest outside the United States, provides specialized care for battlefield casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan as it did for those from Bosnia, Kosovo and the U.S.S. Cole.
There is nothing sacrosanct about maintaining particular Army divisions in Germany. The role of American military forces there has evolved considerably over the decades from occupying a defeated enemy to deterring Warsaw Pact aggression to symbolizing Washington's post-cold-war commitment to remain militarily engaged in Europe. Along the way, the size of the American presence has evolved as well. In the nearly 15 years since the Berlin Wall fell, United States force levels in Germany have dropped by roughly 75 percent. Further reductions should not be ruled out. But the Pentagon's current plans are unduly drastic, unfortunately timed and suspiciously motivated.
Allied are countries that stand by you even when it's not in their obvious & immediate interest. They do so to preserve and enhance the long-term relationship. Germany and France have failed the test. They are no longer allies.
We need to reward our allies and penalize those who oppose us. Other countries will understand that and think twice about comparing us to Hitler or abusing an undeserved seat on the UNSC to thwart us.
Germany needs an Ambassador that speaks only english and french, not troops especially armored troops.
We should reward Poland and the other new EU states along with other countries brave enough to stand up to the Islamofascists...
If the NYT is for something, i am immediately suspicious -- if i used to hold the same views they espouse, i'll quickly re-examine my views -- i must have missed something if i end up on the same side as the Slimes...
7,750 men and women mostly in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, but also in Georgia, at the Somali coast line, Ethiopia, Eritrea.
Good job, I´ve met Polish paratroopers two years ago, they were kind and well trained.
Not election related, but interesting.
At least you had only good things to say about them.
Some of my comments from my nearly 6 years there aren't quite as nice.
But the closer to the border you got, the nicer they were to us GI's.
NATO was created to "Keep the Russians out and the Germans down". Hence the continued occupation of Germany and the lack of a peace treaty 60 years after the end of WWII. The Bundesrepublik government is an instrument of the four occupying powers, not the actual German government in the sense of a constitutional authority with powers from the nation.
Where were you when you were in Germany?
I was at Merrill Barracks, Nuernberg, and Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart.
But these are luxuries we can no longer afford. These redeployments are NOT being done to punish anyone despite the Times' persistent efforts to blame this and everything else on Bush. They have been on the drawing board since the Reagan administration.
I was a military brat, and aware of the prestige and the Plum posting that Europe was for families.
But it is now a decade since the end of the Cold War, and we have other priorities.
It is the military's mission to respond to those priorities.
Good military families will have good morale. And they will buck up and do their duty whereever their men are posted.
Inside every German is a Nazi dying to come out.
Baumholder, Gelnhausen, Butzbach, and some NATO sites up north. And those are just places I was stationed, actually got to see a bit more of the country side than that, including Hohenfels, Graf, and a lot of other places along the way.
The Pentagon is proposing sharp cuts in U.S. forces in Germany
The large American military presence in Germany has long symbolized the understanding at the heart of NATO
...the understanding that the USA will bail our butts out if the commies show up coming throught the pass.
What the he!! has NATO done for us ?
Let em cover their own defense expenses and quit bleeding us for it.
The Socialists at the New York Times are sure quick to support their fellow Socialists running Germany.
And don't forget Wildflecken ... the only place in the world where it didn't matter which direction you were walking, it was always uphill.
When were you at Merrill, I was there 79-82 with the 116th Ord. Co. Regards!
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