Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Kerry: unserious about geopolitics?
Written by: Beck

I've already posted my thoughts and reactions to the announcement of the planned US troop redeployment out of Europe (and, to a lesser extent, Asia). The day it was announced, the Kerry campaign understandably was asked for a reaction from reporters everywhere. Well, they finally responded.

Kerry had the opportunity to embrace the plan. It's reasonable, logical, and acknowledges the new realities of 21st century geopolitics. The redeployment is to be spread over 10 years, there's nothing hasty or precipitous about it. Indeed, the plan would seem to be a decade late in coming, and the slow timetable allows for quick reversal with little inconvenience should the plan, in the fullness of time, be shown to have been a mistake.

Kerry did not take advantage of that opportunity.
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on Wednesday criticized President Bush's proposal to recall up to 70,000 foreign troops as a hastily announced plan that raises more doubts about U.S. intentions and commitments than it answers.

"Nobody wants to bring troops home more than those of us who have fought in foreign wars," Kerry said in speech prepared for delivery to the Veterans of Foreign War. "But it needs to be done at the right time and in a sensible way. This is not that time or that way,"
First of all, if he wants to bring those troops home more than Bush, then why does he not, you know, want to bring those troops home? Standard political double-speak, while not surprising coming from any politician, is still just that: double speak. Furthermore, if now is not the time or way to bring troops home, when is the correct time and way? What other way is there to bring troops home than, you know, to bring them home? How much longer after the quiet demise of the cold-war do we have to wait before the correct time? Presumably, Kerry's unspoken answer to that question is: "Right after I'm elected."

John Podhoretz, writing for the Washington Post, elaborates on this theme. Be sure to note the use of Bush criticism-by-proxy.
Surrogates and spokesmen for the Kerry campaign went ballistic. "Alarming," declared Richard Holbrooke, the foreign-policy guru who will almost certainly be secretary of State if Kerry is elected. Wesley Clark, who was supreme commander of NATO before his disastrous run for the Democratic presidential nomination earlier this year, thundered that the plan would "significantly undermine U.S. national security."

They've got to be kidding. Actually, they probably are kidding. Clark and Holbrooke are intelligent men, and they know perfectly well that the plan is actually quite modest in scope and even more modest when it comes to execution. Fewer than 5 percent of U.S. military personnel will be redeployed. And the 10-year time frame means that, on average, 6,500 troops will be moved per year.

The lion's share of the redeployment will come from U.S. troops stationed in Germany. The presence of an enormous clump of American forces sitting in the center of Europe is an anachronism. The Soviet Union, the enemy they were intended to face down, no longer exists. Since the collapse of the U.S.S.R., the American military has fought in three major conflicts — Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. The presence in Europe of 100,000 U.S. troops had little or nothing to do with the U.S. war plans in any of these cases.
Podhoretz goes on to attempt to explain the motivation behind the Kerry campaign's response:
So why are the Kerry people so hysterical in their denunciations? They realize they've been trumped. Kerry clearly believed he had hit upon the perfect way to come at the president both from the right and the left when it came to military matters.

Kerry wants the American people to believe that he will bring soldiers home from Iraq in a year. But he doesn't want to appear weak, so he won't say how he's going to do it other than that he will mystically convince foreign leaders who oppose the U.S. presence there to fight the war for us.
The planned redeployment is a political masterstroke on Bush's part, yes, and no doubt the timing was quite deliberate. Nonetheless, it's a plan whose time has come. Bringing German stationed American soldiers home is long overdue.

(Hat tip: DGCI)

Update: Sir George, writing over at the Rottweiler, presents a gargantuan fisking of the WaPo opinion piece criticizing the withdrawl. George's fisk is actually longer than the original article. Definitely an amusing (and informative) read.

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