OMT One Man's Trash...from Norman Leahy

Friday, June 23, 2006 :::

"Wars without exit strategies"

In light of the Senate's rejection of two Democratic proposals to withdraw American troops from Iraq, and Senate candidate Jim Webb's seeming reluctance to lay out his own conditions for a withdrawal, I got to thinking about those other areas of the globe where the U.S. still maintains sizeable forces long after the wars that brought them to those nations in the first place have ended. A passage from Max Boot's "The Savage Wars of Peace" helps add some perspective to the current debate:

The U.S. military stayed continuously in Haiti for 19 years, in Nicaragua for 23 years, in the Philippines for 44 years, in China for almost 100 years. These long-term deployments should be no surprise. After all, the U.S. still has not found an "exit strategy" from World War II or the Korean War; American troops remain stationed in Germany, Japan, Italy, and South Korea more than half a century after the end of the wars that brought them there...

This runs counter to the Powell Doctrine that U.S. troops should win a battle and go home. But home where? To bases in Europe and Northwest Asia -- themselves the legacy of prior wars? Or to bases back in the U.S.A.?

Through all the debate that has and will occur on when U.S. troops should leave Iraq, and where they should go, I think it's important to keep at least a bit of our nation's military history in mind. Protracted and often dangerous deployments are not new. But I do wonder if someone will ask when we should bring the boys home from Germany, or South Korea? I think it's a debate worth having.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 6/23/2006 1 comments


"You know what the fellow said: In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they also produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love -- they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." -- Orson Welles, The Third Man

"The graveyards are full of indespensable men" -- Charles de Gaulle

"Oh, so Mother Nature needs a favor? Well maybe she should have thought of that when she was besetting us with droughts and floods and poison monkeys. Nature started the fight for survival and now she wants to quit because she's losing. Well I say, hard cheese!" -- Montgomery Burns

"Don't pretend that you know me...cause I don't even know myself" -- The Who

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