Leaving No Troops???

January 15, 2013

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Source: President Obama, Hamid Karzai: US Combat Operations in Afghanistan to End in Spring – ABC News.

War MachineRoughly 66,000 U.S. troops are serving in Afghanistan. The military has proposed keeping several thousand troops in the country after 2014 as advisers, trainers and logistical support for Afghan forces; the White House has said it remains open to pulling out all troops entirely.

Leaving no troops behind when we finally exit Afghanistan?  That would be a first for us.  We currently have troops stationed in about seventy-five percent of the world’s countries.  It wouldn’t be so bad to just leave some temporarily behind but when their tour is complete we send someone in to replace them for years and  years to come. We have had thousands of troops in Germany and Korea for my entire lifetime.

If I were a small country I don’t think I would want some other country’s soldiers constantly among us.  What would we U.S. citizens say if President Obama suddenly announced that he was allowing  50,000 German soldiers to be permanently stationed in Texas.  I think there would be an uproar almost as loud as trying to take a Texan’s assault rifle away from him!!

Those poor people in Afghanistan have had invaders in their country for centuries.  They have had at least five generations of their citizens who have never known peace. How tragic is that. All the superpowers seem to think that they have the solutions for many small countries.  When we had competition in the superpower arena I will admit that the USSR used to be worse than we were. They invaded most of Eastern Europe to “fix” those countries.

One of the most obvious ways to easily reduce our deficits would be to bring all the millions of our soldiers now stationed around the world home. That would force the military generals to work up a true rapid response army. Not just one on paper but a real one.  In these days of supersonic transports and drones  and such do we really need thousands of boots on the ground in virtually every part of the world? The major problem with this obvious solution is to get the generals to look at the world in a different light. Impossible you say, maybe so…

It is very obvious to me that President Obama has been much more affected by the military than the military has been affected by him.  Maybe it is time for him as the “commander-in-chief” to start leading in this and many other areas. He has been a disappointment in that respect.

9 responses to Leaving No Troops???

  1. 

    Ill suggest that to compare armies in Western Europe or even Korea to those in Afghanistan would be a mistake. while I have some strong options about leaving troops in that location, the army in other locations has not been one of occupation for a very long time. The United States is blessed not to be on a border with a country who has invaded us once and hopes to again. We stayed in Germany because we were asked to stay, and our massive downsizing there post cold war has in fact had a huge impace on their economy. the town I lived in for seven years (where there is no longer a US presence is a huge example of that. Fortunately they WERE able to use the infrastructure we left behind in that particular case.

    You need to realize that if in fact we bring all those soldiers home around the world, that many of them will be let go from the army and join the unemployment lines. We already have thousands of unemployed and homeless veterans in this country, and the goverment is being taxed (literally) to care for them.

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      Hi Barb, I guess I will have to fundamentally disagree with you on this topic. You say the troops we have taken out of Germany have had a huge impact on their economy. Think about what all that spending abroad has done to our economy. What would happen if all those dollars spent on keeping troops on foreign soil were actually spent in our country? Don’t you think that would have a pretty positive impact for us?

      I know the rhetoric that the military is the number one employer in the U.S. but I don’t think that is a very useful way to spend so much of our resources especially our human resources. Yes, in the short term unemployment might go up but with the extra trillion bucks coming in it would create prosperity in other areas. How about we use it to keep us as the biggest innovators of the world. We are quickly losing ground in that area because so much is being diverted to our military.

      We in the U.S. spend almost as much as the rest of the world combined on our military. I agree that we are not in an occupation mode but isn’t it time to expect the rest of the world to take some of this responsibility off our backs. One of the reasons that Germany is prospering while we languish is because we take on almost all of their responsibility when in come to stability in that and every other part of the world. Let’s give other nations the opportunity to step up in to help maintain world peace. Why do we need to do that all ourselves? Everyone would likely benefit as a result.

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  2. 

    There was a recent news story about the suicide rate of service members…both active and those who have left. There were 493 amongst all the military branchesin 2012, which is a record high. Many are among those who had a stessful deployment and return home with injuries and trauma only to face unemployment and financial stress. I wish we could have them all home too. How to do that and not create a tragic situation here at home is the trick. I certainly support any programs and efforts by government and private sector to help with this transition. Walmart has never been my favority company, but they are offering jobs to any exserviceman who can work. At least that is what is being reported. We as a society are responsible and will have to step up to assist wherever we can.

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  3. 

    Hi Jane, thanks for your input. Yes, it bothers me too that there is such a high suicide rate among service members now. I know the damage done to my generation when the Vietnam vets came home. I think the unemployment might be only the straw that broke the camels back in this area. To be deployed, many times more than one tour, in an area that really doesn’t want us there has a big effect and of course these wars have resulted in many more injuries than previous ones. There were over 55,000 deaths as a result of Vietnam; now those soldiers are surviving but with severe debilitating injuries.

    I am not totally versed in this area like you and some of my other readers might be but I hope there is a GI Bill that will also give these guys and gals a chance to attend college as opposed to getting immediately back into the workforce. I can’t imagine going from a war zone directly to a counter at McDonalds. I don’t see how that transition is even possible!

    When the millions came home from WWII the GI Bill ameliorated the unemployment somewhat. No, WalMart is not my favorite company either. It is nice that they are going to put a preferential treatment, some say quotas, for hiring vets but I just wish they would do it at something better than minimum wage….

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  4. 

    And here we agree again!
    I think we should have withdrawn from Germany right after the wall came down. Germany was a strategic place for the cold war and then a good staging place for Africa after. We should have moved to Poland if we wanted to stay. We overstayed our need.
    There is NO reason to stay in Iraq or Afghanistan. We need to be out of that area entirely. When we overstay- it is easy for a kid to get into trouble and then the entire populous gets upset. I lived in Saudi—it was not welcoming—but deemed necessary by their government to have US mercenaries instead of protecting their own oil.
    Suicide rate? Unfortunately, many of those who commit suicide have never been deployed. I don’t know what the problem is…but it is a problem.
    Last- there is a very generous GI bill right now. I Anyone who serves during war time gets a pretty good chance of college. In a volunteer army- one finds that college and free family health care are major recruiting tools.

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      Thanks Janette for the info. I am glad to hear that the GI Bill is still alive and well. As you say it is probably a very good recruiting tool. Especially since many of the solidiers are locked out of college for monetary reasons.

      Of course suicides happen throughout our world. I imagine there is a myriad of reason but I’ll bet the primary reason is depression. I have an interesting thing in my post queue about how the US government is at odds with the NRA about their resistance to them knowing that high risk soldiers have personal weapons to facilitate their suicides. The NRA seems to make adversaries in every corner.

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  5. 

    On the topic of military jobs vs. civilian jobs see my earlier post at:

    http://rjscorner.net/2012/10/26/war-jobs-vs-peace-time-jobs/

    It looks like we would actually reduce unemployment if we transitioned away from our massive military employments.

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  6. 

    Most military suicides–strangely enough—have little to do with guns (mostly in the movies).

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      A month after the AP report, a Pentagon-funded study reported for the first time, scientific data pointing to “intense psychological suffering and pain” as the main cause of military suicides.

      The above is from a pentagon report. I don’t think we can eliminate guns and the environment in which they are used as not contributing to “intense psychological suffering and pain”. They most certainly are attributable. It is not as if the same guy would have killed himself when he was working at Walmart instead of a war zone.

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