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Old 08-16-2004, 11:47   #1
Roguish Lawyer
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Bush Announces Major Troop Realignment

So, what do you guys think about this?


Bush announces major troop realignment
Moving from Cold War to war on terrorism
Monday, August 16, 2004 Posted: 1:25 PM EDT (1725 GMT)

CINCINNATI, Ohio (CNN) -- Promising "a more agile and more flexible force," President Bush announced on Monday a major realignment of U.S. forces around the world.

Bush said about 60,000 to 70,000 uniformed personnel would move from overseas to posts in the United States over the next decade. The move would also involve about 100,000 family members and civilian employees, Bush said.

"Our service members will have more time on the home front," Bush said, outlining his plans in a speech before a convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Bush said it makes no sense to continue an armed posture that was forged during the cold war, when the Soviet Union represented the nation's biggest threat. Terrorism, he said, is now the chief threat.

"The world has changed a great deal and our posture must change with it," Bush said.

He said the plan had been in the works for three years, and U.S. allies and Congress were consulted on it.

The nation's commander in chief predicted the plan would result in stronger alliances and reduce the stress on U.S. troops and their families.

The announcement comes less than three months before the presidential election.

The rival campaigns have squabbled over U.S. military commitments and whether the armed forces are getting the support they need. Democrats questioned the timing of Bush's announcement.

Bush offered few details, though some of them have been leaking out in recent months.

Pentagon and senior administration officials have told CNN that most of the reductions will come from Europe -- the rest, from Asia.

Democratic criticism
Democrats criticized the move. In a statement released by the Democratic National Committee, retired Gen. Wesley Clark, a former presidential candidate and former NATO supreme commander, said the redeployment from Europe and Asia would "significantly undermine U.S. national security."

"This ill-conceived move and its timing seem politically motivated rather than designed to strengthen our national security," Clark said.

At the beginning of the summer, a South Korean Foreign Ministry official said the United States had told him it would like to withdraw a third of its 37,000 troops stationed on the peninsula by the end of next year.

In early June, a U.S. delegation, led by Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Lawless, said Washington wanted to withdraw some 12,500 U.S. troops by December 2005, according to Kim Sook, head of the South Korean Foreign Ministry's North American bureau.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld hinted at the change earlier this month, saying the proposed troop realignment would take several years and would likely lead to more American personnel stationed in the United States.

"We've decided that it's time to shift our posture in Europe and Asia and around the world and move from static defense, which does not make much sense today, to a more deployable and usable set of capabilities," Rumsfeld said.

The move, Pentagon officials said, is designed to reflect a ready posture for the war on terror, rather than the Cold War stance adopted decades ago when officials believed the Soviet Union posed the biggest threat to America.

"This is a fundamental change and is a change probably in the tactics of our military, so that our people will be more mobile, more available at other places all over the earth," Sen. Richard Lugar, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Sunday.

"There are some things that we should do to redeploy troops so that they are in the best position possible for what the new threats are," said Sen. Carl Levin, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

According to the officials, the proposals have been crafted following consultation with American allies and members of Congress.

CNN's Kathleen Koch and Elaine Quijano contributed to this report.
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