T Nation

Withdrawing

With the mission accomplished, the nation-building over and unrest mostly quelled, we can finally pull out out troops. I guess they’ll have to solve the rest of their problems for themselves…

http://news.ft.com/cms/s/12d14be6-0063-11da-b57e-00000e2511c8.html

Yeah, and it took only 60 years. :wink:

Makkun

I think we should pull out of NATO altogether, and get our guys out of a region that we are no longer needed, or appreciated.

It will be interesting to see how Western Europe will be able to build a serious defense given the fact that they have reiled on the U.S.'s tanks and planes for the last 60 years.

rj,

[quote]rainjack wrote:
I think we should pull out of NATO altogether, and get our guys out of a region that we are no longer needed, or appreciated.

It will be interesting to see how Western Europe will be able to build a serious defense given the fact that they have reiled on the U.S.'s tanks and planes for the last 60 years.[/quote]

Interesting thought, but based on a misconception: The US has been very appreciated and at least until about 15 years ago very much been needed in Western Europe. It is only the current administration that has such a bad rep in Western Europe, not the US in general, and it’s bad that this is being overlooked increasingly on both sides of the debate.

As for not relying on the US’s military to substitute a lack of European vigilance, you have my full support. It’s long overdue that Western Europe comes up with it’s own well organised defense forces.

Makkun

It appears to be at least as much a redeployment as a withdraw, with some troops going to Iraq, where they’re probably more needed.

With the disappearance the the Warsaw Pact forces; keeping large amounts of troops in Europe is probably costly with little benefit.

If it forces some country to become more self-reliant, well that’s also a good thing.

Makkun, you are closer to the situation, but I remember protests against US troops presence in the 70’s and 80’s.

Was that limited to only the ultra far left?

I think it is a bit overstated to blame the anti-America sentiment on Bush. It has been around a long time.

[quote]pookie wrote:
It appears to be at least as much a redeployment as a withdraw, with some troops going to Iraq, where they’re probably more needed.

With the disappearance the the Warsaw Pact forces; keeping large amounts of troops in Europe is probably costly with little benefit.

If it forces some country to become more self-reliant, well that’s also a good thing.[/quote]

I think if military forces permanently leave a post, that is a withdrawal - regardless of their subsequent reassignment.

I think that if there is a treaty worth persuing in the European Theater, it would be with the newly freed, former Soviet Bloc countries. They seem to have a better grasp of freedom, and the need to defend it, than some of our other ‘allies’.

Zap,

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Makkun, you are closer to the situation, but I remember protests against US troops presence in the 70’s and 80’s.

Was that limited to only the ultra far left?[/quote]

The mass protests of the peace movement were mainly directed against the “Double-Track Decision on Theatre Nuclear Forces”, which led to the deployment of cruise missiles in western European NATO countries. A wide range in the population was not thrilled by the idea of having nuclear weapons deployed in Germany and it was mostly church groups who protested, not so much the ultra far left.

The ultra far left was around as well off course (with the usual minimal support in the population), but given the fact that it was a social democratic government under Schmidt who pushed the decision through, it can’t be said to be a left-right issue.

Sure, you have had anti-american feelings in Germany, but they used to be rather on the fringe of the political spectrum, and nothing to compared to with for example the outright hatred I see here for the French in the UK.

The US used to be a very popular country, highly desirable to visit and many young people dreamt of moving and working there. I admit to have been critical of US foreign policy for quite some time, but now many conservatives here (including the generation who directly had experienced the undeniable benefits of the allied liberation of Germany), who tended to be supportive of US policies, have under Bush turned to an anti-american stance.

I think the Bush administration has just (perhaps unwittingly) touched a few nerves within German society that pissed many people off:
Leading a war without clear UN support or a very proven reason is a no-no in German politics, and Donald Rumsfeld’s Cuba and Syria comments have touched a beginning patriotism that had just started to flourish.
Also, Gitmo and Abu Ghuraib do not go down well with Germans, as detaining without proper legal representation or under “special legislation” is strongly against moral sentiments. I understand that these points can be argued, but this is how they have been received in Germany.
In short, the administration’s earlier politics towards Germany can be quite rightly characterised by Condi’s statement from 2003: “Punish France, ignore Germany and forgive Russia”. Althought this stance has been somewhat changed, but it will take some time until the political damage of that attitude will be mended.

Makkun

You guys seem to be under the impression that this article means the US will be completely pulling out of Germany or S. Korea. Believe me, the personnel in question do not make up the majority of the US forces in these countries. In both countries the Army, Marines, Air Force (I’m not certain about the Navy) have many many installations spread out over the country. The area I work in (Ramstein AB, Kaiserslautern, Germany)is home to the largest concentration of americans outside of the U.S. And with all the new construction going on over here I don’t think we’ll be handing it over any time soon. As for the protests, they happen here as well as in Korea occasionally, but they happen in the states far more often I think. And with the exception of a few douchebags who take it upon themselves to tarnish our good name over here, I think for the most part we’re welcomed by the people of the countries we’re stationed in. Or at least that’s the experience I’ve had.

[quote]usaffirefighter wrote:
You guys seem to be under the impression that this article means the US will be completely pulling out of Germany or S. Korea. Believe me, the personnel in question do not make up the majority of the US forces in these countries. In both countries the Army, Marines, Air Force (I’m not certain about the Navy) have many many installations spread out over the country. The area I work in (Ramstein AB, Kaiserslautern, Germany)is home to the largest concentration of americans outside of the U.S. And with all the new construction going on over here I don’t think we’ll be handing it over any time soon. As for the protests, they happen here as well as in Korea occasionally, but they happen in the states far more often I think. And with the exception of a few douchebags who take it upon themselves to tarnish our good name over here, I think for the most part we’re welcomed by the people of the countries we’re stationed in. Or at least that’s the experience I’ve had.[/quote]

I agree with this. Any troops who have been deployed to that area that I have talked to only comment about how it is a place I need to go to at least once, simply because of the way we are treated…especially by the women. This article only discusses Army bases. I think people are quick to think of that as meaning “the entire military”. It means no such thing.

If you would have read my first post, I believe it is clear that I am speaking out of wishful thinking - not out of a belief that we are bringing all of our guys home.

The force reduction is a drop in the bucket. I WISH we’d would kick everyone in the U.S. military out of Europe, and S. Korea.

Personally I could give a shit how much pootie-poo our soldiers can get in Germany. If they need to get laid by a hairy pitted blonde woman that bad, maybe they could just go there on vacation.

[quote]rainjack wrote:

Personally I could give a shit how much pootie-poo our soldiers can get in Germany. If they need to get laid by a hairy pitted blonde woman that bad, maybe they could just go there on vacation. [/quote]

Pootie Poo? Just how old are you? The point was, they don’t seem to hate us that much.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Pootie Poo? Just how old are you? The point was, they don’t seem to hate us that much.
[/quote]

It’s a Rodney Carrington reference. He’s a comedian.

I’m not saying they hate our soldiers - I think they have a problem with the U.S. in general. There’s a difference. Anti-American sentiment has been noticeable for the last 30 years.

Makkun wrote:

As usual, your posts continue to shine.

Also, as usual, I have to disagree with some of it.

“Sure, you have had anti-american feelings in Germany, but they used to be rather on the fringe of the political spectrum, and nothing to compared to with for example the outright hatred I see here for the French in the UK.”

This feeling in the UK cannot be described as being new. It waxes and wanes. As an English Gentleman told me, “We still have our big guns pointed at them to this day.”

I happen to be an unashamed Anglo-phile. Most of the anger the English feel toward the french, I feel as well. Add a very long history to that, and you get the intensity of hatred. Add the whole “Island versus Continent” aspect to it, and you will find this is multi-layered. (Yes, johnguillick, I wouldn’t be surprised if you worshiped the french and agreed with all of their moaning and posturing).

“The US used to be a very popular country, highly desirable to visit and many young people dreamt of moving and working there.”

Still is. We have people dying every day trying to reach our shores.

“I admit to have been critical of US foreign policy for quite some time, but now many conservatives here (including the generation who directly had experienced the undeniable benefits of the allied liberation of Germany), who tended to be supportive of US policies, have under Bush turned to an anti-american stance.”

As you can imagine, Makkun, the idea that the direct beneficiaries of the Marshall Plan could turn away from the United States over Iraq makes many of us quite angry. Of all people, they should understand that there is a definite humanitarian aspect to the operation in Iraq. Evidence? Schools, electricity, free elections other infrastructure and the fact that we are going to use EXACTLY ZERO DOLLARS FROM IRAQI OIL TO FUND THE EFFORT. It must be eerily familiar to your parent’s/grandparent’s generation in Germany to see the United States respect the religion and tradition of the Iraqis. I want you to confirm that there were plenty of Germans who called the American’s “conquerors and imperialists” in the late 40’s. Not to mention the harping of certain elements in the United States that “we are losing support, we are losing everywhere, blah de blah.”

As I preach (to deaf ears apparently) history is cyclical. It repeats itself over and over and over.

“I think the Bush administration has just (perhaps unwittingly) touched a few nerves within German society that pissed many people off:
Leading a war without clear UN support or a very proven reason is a no-no in German politics,”

Strange statement. I do assume you mean since Germany has been “behaving.”

“and Donald Rumsfeld’s Cuba and Syria comments have touched a beginning patriotism that had just started to flourish.
Also, Gitmo and Abu Ghuraib do not go down well with Germans, as detaining without proper legal representation or under “special legislation” is strongly against moral sentiments.”

After the horrors of the camps in WWII and the former East Germany:

from users.erols.com

“East Germany (1949-89): 100 000
Communist Regime
27 Oct. 1991 LA Times: 100,000 died in captivity or were executed for political offenses in E.G. (citing an official report by the unified German govt.)
27 Oct 1991 Independent (London): 100,000 d., incl. 65,000 in or on way to post-war Soviet camps.
Rummel: 70,000 democides, 1948-87
9 April 1990 UPI: 90,000 (acc. to Association for the Victims of Stalinism) or 56,000 (other sources) Germans k./d in Soviet detention camps after WW2. Mostly hunger.
23 June 1991 Chicago Tribune: 40,000 German political prisoners d. in Soviet-run camps after WW2
WHPSI: 6,162 political executions, 1948-52
12 Aug 2004 Agence France Presse: 1,065 died fleeing E. Germany; 227 died in Berlin, 190 after the construction of the Wall.”

I can see how you guys might be very sensitive. Let’s not become too judgemental.

“I understand that these points can be argued, but this is how they have been received in Germany.”

Even if we disagree on how some SHOULD see the conflict, your first hand knowledge is appreciated.

“In short, the administration’s earlier politics towards Germany can be quite rightly characterised by Condi’s statement from 2003: “Punish France, ignore Germany and forgive Russia”.”

You are aware that schroeder has been making public and private statements designed to assuage our anger of your countries’ pusillanimous stand, correct?

“Althought this stance has been somewhat changed, but it will take some time until the political damage of that attitude will be mended.”

I hope it is mended. But, I fear a portion of your country has shown itself to be less than true allies.

We understand that some parties tend to do ignorant things when they have power. For instance, when our democrats had power. We acknowledge that not every German lacks the ability to connect the dots concerning saddam and the present and future danger posed by saddam.

However, I hope you will understand that there are many of us here who think that your government’s recent non-stance on Iraq, was less than noble. Some of us feel you had an obligation to disarm saddam (being the number one arms supplier of him since the early 1980’s) and help us solve the problem. We hear things from the tripartite of fear (france, germany, and russia) like, “Friends can disagree and still be friends.”

However, it runs much deeper to us. It’s like saying to your friend, “I’m sorry, I’m only going to help you when you aren’t in need.”

I ask you, how important is a friendship like that?

In summary, I wish nothing but the best for you personally. My affection for you is undiminished. However, you know I think your countries’ recent stand was myopic and will lead to much distrust over the next twenty to thirty years.

JeffR

Makkun

I am sure you are aware that the great Western European Nuclear Freeze movement was driven by the Russians. When they had the advantage they pursued a treaty to freeze the advantage. The Europeans were easily swayed by the Russians and bought into it completely.

As I remember it one of the main issues was that the nuclear war would be confined to Europe using intermediate range missles from both sides instead of the US and Russia going at it with ICBM’s. Since the Russians wanted Europe it sounded preferrable to me. We were there to defend the Europeans because they wouldn’t or couldn’t do it themselves, for whatever reason.

Don’t worry if the Russians ever become a major power again, and start threatening. I’m sure we will be back…again.

[quote]hedo wrote:
Makkun

I am sure you are aware that the great Western European Nuclear Freeze movement was driven by the Russians. When they had the advantage they pursued a treaty to freeze the advantage. The Europeans were easily swayed by the Russians and bought into it completely.

As I remember it one of the main issues was that the nuclear war would be confined to Europe using intermediate range missles from both sides instead of the US and Russia going at it with ICBM’s. Since the Russians wanted Europe it sounded preferrable to me. We were there to defend the Europeans because they wouldn’t or couldn’t do it themselves, for whatever reason.

Don’t worry if the Russians ever become a major power again, and start threatening. I’m sure we will be back…again.[/quote]

Wait, I thought we were warmongering empire builders…

Funny, all those troops in all those countries for all those years and their elected governments still do whatever they want. Is this a secret Bush masterplan to pay for their defense, let them run and form their own governments as they see fit, protect them against all evils, including those of having to pay for a military instead of free dentistry? Where is Halliburton in all this? Maybe lumpy will come in and let us know.

Hmm, I’m curious, where are you redneck hicks “hearing about” this rampant anti-americanism in Europe?

Have you travelled there and talked to anybody? Have you simply talked amongst yourselves and decided it exists? Perhaps you watched your fair and balanced news sources, saw some minor protests and figured it was indicative of the entire populace?

JeffR,

[quote]JeffR wrote:
Makkun wrote:

As usual, your posts continue to shine.

Also, as usual, I have to disagree with some of it.[/quote]

Naturally. :wink:

[quote]“Sure, you have had anti-american feelings in Germany, but they used to be rather on the fringe of the political spectrum, and nothing to compared to with for example the outright hatred I see here for the French in the UK.”

This feeling in the UK cannot be described as being new. It waxes and wanes. As an English Gentleman told me, “We still have our big guns pointed at them to this day.”

I happen to be an unashamed Anglo-phile. Most of the anger the English feel toward the french, I feel as well. Add a very long history to that, and you get the intensity of hatred. Add the whole “Island versus Continent” aspect to it, and you will find this is multi-layered. (Yes, johnguillick, I wouldn’t be surprised if you worshiped the french and agreed with all of their moaning and posturing).[/quote]

I think it is irrational to hate another country or culture. When I hate, it reflects on my own failings in my opinion and should motivate me to further introspection.

[quote]“The US used to be a very popular country, highly desirable to visit and many young people dreamt of moving and working there.”

Still is. We have people dying every day trying to reach our shores.[/quote]

Yes.

[quote]“I admit to have been critical of US foreign policy for quite some time, but now many conservatives here (including the generation who directly had experienced the undeniable benefits of the allied liberation of Germany), who tended to be supportive of US policies, have under Bush turned to an anti-american stance.”

As you can imagine, Makkun, the idea that the direct beneficiaries of the Marshall Plan could turn away from the United States over Iraq makes many of us quite angry. Of all people, they should understand that there is a definite humanitarian aspect to the operation in Iraq. Evidence? Schools, electricity, free elections other infrastructure and the fact that we are going to use EXACTLY ZERO DOLLARS FROM IRAQI OIL TO FUND THE EFFORT. It must be eerily familiar to your parent’s/grandparent’s generation in Germany to see the United States respect the religion and tradition of the Iraqis. I want you to confirm that there were plenty of Germans who called the American’s “conquerors and imperialists” in the late 40’s. Not to mention the harping of certain elements in the United States that “we are losing support, we are losing everywhere, blah de blah.”[/quote]

I wasn’t around in the 40ies. According to all accounts of people who have - people were mostly afraid, but happy that 6 years of war and 12 years of nazi madness were over. I’ve never heard nor read sources that called the US imperialists then, as there was a general worldwide consensus that Germany was a danger and had to be stopped. They had WMDs and everything.

[quote]As I preach (to deaf ears apparently) history is cyclical. It repeats itself over and over and over.

“I think the Bush administration has just (perhaps unwittingly) touched a few nerves within German society that pissed many people off:
Leading a war without clear UN support or a very proven reason is a no-no in German politics,”

Strange statement. I do assume you mean since Germany has been “behaving.”[/quote]

If you mean the last 60 years, yeah.

[quote]“and Donald Rumsfeld’s Cuba and Syria comments have touched a beginning patriotism that had just started to flourish.
Also, Gitmo and Abu Ghuraib do not go down well with Germans, as detaining without proper legal representation or under “special legislation” is strongly against moral sentiments.”

After the horrors of the camps in WWII and the former East Germany:

from users.erols.com

“East Germany (1949-89): 100 000
Communist Regime
27 Oct. 1991 LA Times: 100,000 died in captivity or were executed for political offenses in E.G. (citing an official report by the unified German govt.)
27 Oct 1991 Independent (London): 100,000 d., incl. 65,000 in or on way to post-war Soviet camps.
Rummel: 70,000 democides, 1948-87
9 April 1990 UPI: 90,000 (acc. to Association for the Victims of Stalinism) or 56,000 (other sources) Germans k./d in Soviet detention camps after WW2. Mostly hunger.
23 June 1991 Chicago Tribune: 40,000 German political prisoners d. in Soviet-run camps after WW2
WHPSI: 6,162 political executions, 1948-52
12 Aug 2004 Agence France Presse: 1,065 died fleeing E. Germany; 227 died in Berlin, 190 after the construction of the Wall.”

I can see how you guys might be very sensitive. Let’s not become too judgemental.[/quote]

Yes, I think we are. How is it judgemental in a negative sense when a nation that has had pretty bad experience with military conflict and horrific authoritarian rule (including the GDR) is reluctant to engage in military conflict?

[quote]“I understand that these points can be argued, but this is how they have been received in Germany.”

Even if we disagree on how some SHOULD see the conflict, your first hand knowledge is appreciated.

“In short, the administration’s earlier politics towards Germany can be quite rightly characterised by Condi’s statement from 2003: “Punish France, ignore Germany and forgive Russia”.”

You are aware that schroeder has been making public and private statements designed to assuage our anger of your countries’ pusillanimous stand, correct?[/quote]

As far as I know he did not compare the US to a dictatorship. Others have, but last time I checked government officials haven’t, but I can always be proven wrong on that.

[quote]“Althought this stance has been somewhat changed, but it will take some time until the political damage of that attitude will be mended.”

I hope it is mended. But, I fear a portion of your country has shown itself to be less than true allies.[/quote]

My view on that is, that by standing true to our convictions, “we” Germans have been better allies than commonly understood: True friends criticise each other, if they think the other is doing something wrong.

Duelfer did, and his report was quite clear on that. For the UK for example, the direct threat argument was the main reason to go to war - regime change would as a motive is illegal as a motive under UK laws. No immediate danger from Saddam, no reason for war. For that, Blairs majority in parliament has been massively slashed. That was pretty much the German viewpoint, and it has been proven right. And a humanitarian mission as a reason for a war with thousands of victims (check erols on that) is on thin ice.

As the German government has not been proven to be part of the illegal activities (remember our thread on it), I cannot accept your point. I also think that the problems caused by the intervention are much bigger than the ones before. And I dearly hope that the “tripartite of fear” is not meant as an insult to nations who made their legitimate choices - if you expect your government’s decisions to be taken at face value you should to the same with others.

[quote]However, it runs much deeper to us. It’s like saying to your friend, “I’m sorry, I’m only going to help you when you aren’t in need.”

I ask you, how important is a friendship like that?[/quote]

See above - I can’t speak for Russia and France, but the German stance was clearly motivated by the people’s reluctance to act as a military power without clear evidence or UN backing. Yes, that includes the point that it was an election argument - the Germans in majority did not want this war, and they had a right to decide so. That’s democracy.

[quote]In summary, I wish nothing but the best for you personally. My affection for you is undiminished. However, you know I think your countries’ recent stand was myopic and will lead to much distrust over the next twenty to thirty years.

JeffR[/quote]

I can’t judge the motives of the Bush government, but I think it’s decisions were wrong, and there are many civilian and soldiers paying a bitter price for it. If trying to avert something like this is myopic, so be it.

Makkun

hedo,

[quote]hedo wrote:
Makkun

I am sure you are aware that the great Western European Nuclear Freeze movement was driven by the Russians. When they had the advantage they pursued a treaty to freeze the advantage. The Europeans were easily swayed by the Russians and bought into it completely.[/quote]

No. Have you got any sources?
I personally don’t remember reporting to a KGB officer back in the day. :wink:

As a European, or German, this scenario did not sound preferable at all. The outlook of becoming a nuclear toast was quite imminent and a strong motivator to try to change the madness of an arms race.

I think it’s time for Europe to take these matter into their own hands.

Makkun

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
With the mission accomplished, the nation-building over and unrest mostly quelled, we can finally pull out out troops. I guess they’ll have to solve the rest of their problems for themselves…

http://news.ft.com/cms/s/12d14be6-0063-11da-b57e-00000e2511c8.html[/quote]

The insurgency is at peak levels! I suppose it’s a good time to pull the troops since elections are right around the corner and the publics will to carry on is waining.