Mister Pterodactyl
Saturday, August 21, 2004
The NYT continues to demonstrate that it has no business commenting on military issues. At least this was on the op-ed page instead of a news article. Allow me to snark.

Reducing our troop levels abroad will “strain crucial alliances, increase overall costs and dangerously weaken deterrence on the Korean peninsula at the worst possible moment.” Yeah, wouldn’t want to strain that crucial alliance with Germany. Keeping more troops and equipment at home instead of constantly moving them around the globe is really going to drive costs through the roof, too.

“Washington has inexplicably granted Pyongyang something it has long coveted - a reduction in American troop levels - instead of building those reductions into a bargaining proposal requiring constructive North Korean moves in return.” Tying our control over our own forces to the hope of North Korea signing and then keeping a deal is not my idea of wise policy.

“The Korean pullback also sends a dangerous signal to the North that America is devaluing its alliance with South Korea.” Because 37,000 is a sacred number that was chosen after an extremely careful study to learn exactly how many American deaths would be needed to inspire public support for war.

“In Europe, the withdrawals are less immediately dangerous, but they will be expensive because Germany pays a hefty share of the costs for the American military bases located there.” Costs will rise in the short term – moving all that stuff is gonna be expensive – but we’ll be moving them to already-existing facilities here. Germany will have more money available to fund its welfare state, and the return of all those military families will be a nice boost to the economies of the local communities.

“The military will also lose the advantage that comes with giving large numbers of its men and women the experience of living in other cultures.” What? I mean, what?

But the last paragraph is what really set me off. “Despite the Pentagon's denials, it seems deliberate that the two largest withdrawals have been proposed for countries that the Bush administration has had serious differences with in recent years, over Iraq in the German case, and over negotiating strategy with North Korea in the case of Seoul. Both countries have been working hard to patch up relations - South Korea is one of the few American allies with troops in Iraq - but the Pentagon does not seem interested in reciprocating.” Please. The largest withdrawals are from countries with the largest deployments; 73,000 in Germany, 47,000 in Japan, 37,000 in Korea. The plan will replace Germany’s two divisions with a single Stryker brigade and cut strength in Korea by about a third. Cuts in Japan have been mentioned but not specified.

But I suppose Bush must have some nefarious and/or boneheaded reason to do it, so his critics don’t lose hold of the narrative. Not to mention their intellectual and moral vanity. That’s what’s really important.

[I've never seen the word 'snark' used as a verb, only an adjective. 'Fisk' didn't really seem appropriate in this case. I'm kind of talking out of my ass about the potential costs, but then, so are they.]

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