Scrappleface noted the official announcement of troop-withdrawal plans a couple of days ago, as well.
In a public announcement probably not intended as humor, John Kerry questions the move, claiming that it will threaten US security.
“Why are we withdrawing unilaterally 12,000 troops from the Korean Peninsula at the very time we are negotiating with North Korea — a country that really has nuclear weapons?” Kerry asked.
Kerry quoted Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., as saying North Korea was probably more dangerous than at any other time since the end of the Korean War in 1953. “This is clearly the wrong signal to send at the wrong time,” Kerry said.
Kerry argued that Bush’s policy would dangerously reduce forces at a time when the nation was fighting the al-Qaida terrorist network in 60 countries.
“Let’s be clear — the president’s vaguely stated plan does not strengthen our hand in the war on terror,” he said. “It in no way relieves the strain on our overextended military personnel. It doesn’t even begin until 2006, and it takes 10 years to achieve. And this hastily announced plan raises more doubts about our intentions and our commitments than it provides real answers.” (all emphasis mine)
This is a treasure trove of Fisking material. I’ll go bold item by bold item.
- “Withdrawing unilaterally”? The “unilateral” claims weren’t true when they were made about the invasion of Iraq, but Kerry figures he can make mileage with the word here. Let’s see. Should we be multi-laterally withdrawing forces from Korea? Does that mean South Korea needs to remove forces from the Korean peninsula, as well? Or does it just mean that we need Korean approval to manage our armed forces? If France approved of our plan, would it be multi-lateral? What does “unilateral” even mean here?
- “The wrong signal at the wrong time”? Troops in Korea haven’t been in combat for fifty years. Troops in Germany haven’t been in combat for sixty years. Troops in Iraq are in combat hourly. Kerry vows to draw down US forces in Iraq within six months, but Bush’s plan to reduce troops in Germany and Korea sends the wrong message? Insurgents in Iraq know that if Kerry is elected they just need to wait him out. In fact, they will be encouraged to lay off if he’s elected, since toning it down temporarily will help guarantee that Kerry goes through with his plan. But Kerry thinks drawing down forces in Europe and Asia is sending the wrong message.
- “Dangerously reduce forces at a time when the nation was fighting the al-Qaida terrorist network”? This is asinine. The move to draw down forces in Germany and Korea is strategic, but a tactical benefit would be to INCREASE forces at a time when the nation is fighting the al-Qaeda terrorist network. Troops not required to garrison Germany and Korea would be available to deploy elsewhere if needed. What in the world is he talking about?
- “Vaguely stated plan”? What’s he expecting? Exact dates of departure and flight numbers? Names of the 12,000? Considering the timing and current military situation around the world today, I’d think a little lack of detail is in order. He just wants to make it look like Bush’s announcement doesn’t contain much meat.
- “It in no way relieves the strain”? Bringing men and women, and their families in many cases, home from overseas in no way relieves the strain? If Bush announced that he was increasing forces in Korea, many would decry the additional strain the move would place on military personnel and their families. But John Kerry thinks bringing a few of them home IN NO WAY helps?
- “It doesn’t even begin until 2006, and it takes 10 years to achieve”? So maybe this isn’t as hot of an issue as Kerry claims? Clarify, please. Is this happening too quickly, or too slowly? I can’t really debate this, because I don’t have the slightest clue what he’s getting at.
- “Hastily announced”? Is it the announcement that was hasty? It sure wasn’t the planing that was hasty. This has been seriously discussed for, oh, say, about ten years. Maybe if Kerry spent more time in the Senate and reading reports, he’d have known all about it. This isn’t anything new, though the discussion and planning have picked up steam over the past year or so. But, as, Kerry pointed out one sentence ago, this doesn’t start for over a year and it will take a decade to achieve. Hmmm. Sounds suspiciously like the “rush to war” to me. In other words, it’s b*!!$#/+.
- “Raises more doubts about our intentions and our commitments”? Again, I refer you to Kerry’s plan to reduce US forces significantly in Iraq within six months of his taking of office. The biggest fear the average Iraqi has is probably that when US forces leave, security in the new Iraq will crumble and they will be left with warlords, Syrians, and Iranians running things. Many Iraqis probably remember our failure to support resistance to Saddam in the months following the 1991 Gulf War. So Kerry publicly announces our “intention” to renege on our “commitment” in Iraq, but he thinks we’re leaving the Koreans hanging out to dry after five decades?
Remember, we’re not withdrawing ALL of our forces from Germany or Korea. In Korea, as a matter of fact, we’d still have about 25,000 US military personnel on the peninsula. And, as part of this restructuring, we’re also supposed to be working to increase our quick-deployment capability to react to threats around the world. Troops in Korea can only battle Koreans. A lot depends on our airlift and sealift capacity, of course, but it’s easier to send troops somewhere from California than it is to send them somewhere from Korea.
There’s no doubt political games being played here. By both sides. But one side seems to have thought through what it’s saying, and the other does not.