Bring the troops home now

By Joseph Farah

It has been more than a decade since the Soviet Union imploded and the Berlin Wall came down.

That means we are at least 10 years late in bringing home some 100,000 U.S. troops from Europe – there only to protect Germany and France from an invasion by Russia.

The American people have been spending more than $11 billion a year maintaining those forces in Europe – a mission that can only be justified as a form of international welfare, an artificial means of stimulating the European economy.

More than three weeks ago, John Kerry said as president he would make “significant, enormous reduction in the level of troops” in Iraq, Korea and Europe.

Last week, Bush proposed a phased withdrawal of some 70,000 American troops in Europe – over seven to 10 years.

Kerry immediately criticized the plan, saying it sends the wrong signals to our enemies around the world.

I guess Kerry would keep those U.S. troops in Europe forever.

These are the kinds of choices Americans have in presidential elections these days. We can either keep 100,000 troops on foreign shores 20 years after their mission is complete or we can leave them there indefinitely.

That is no choice at all.

Can someone please explain to me why we have any U.S. troops in Europe? What are we defending? Who are we defending against? Who are the adversaries or potential adversaries in the imaginary conflict of the future? Why are we preparing for yesterday’s wars in Europe when America is engulfed in a very real war today and for the foreseeable future in a conflict that knows no borders, knows no geographical parameters.

Why are we maintaining 100,000 troops in Europe when America’s own borders are the real frontier in this unconventional, asymmetrical war against Islamic jihadism?

In announcing his own troop-withdrawal plan weeks ago, Kerry accused Bush of having no imagination. That is clearly not true. You have to have a very vivid imagination to justify the presence of 100,000 U.S. troops in a continent that no longer has any natural enemies, no looming predators. The only enemy confronting Europe is the enemy within.

Everyone seems to agree that America faces a military manpower shortage. There are even suggestions in some quarters of reinstituting the draft. Yet, Europe is a prime example of a place where we have deployed 100,000 troops for no purpose whatsoever.

It’s time to declare “mission accomplished” in Europe. How we can even talk about an exit strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan when we haven’t figured out an exit strategy from Europe is beyond me.

The Cold War is over. We won. It’s time to pack up our bags and go home.

But apparently only a popular uprising from the American people will inspire the imaginations of our elected leaders and candidates vying for high office with regard to this obvious fact.

Don’t let anyone tell you we are not spending money unnecessarily on defense as long as 100,000 troops are babysitting for former friends in Europe. Don’t let anyone tell you we don’t have enough military manpower to patrol and secure our own porous borders when we are still occupying a now unified and peaceful Germany. Don’t let anyone tell you that withdrawing troops from Europe will send the wrong signals to our enemies.

In fact, bringing our troops home to defend our country sends all the right signals to our enemies. It tells them we’re serious about defeating them. It tells them we recognize, finally, we are living in a new world with new challenges – and we intend to meet those challenges and prevail.

Bush is wrong. His plan is not nearly ambitious enough. Let’s bring the troops home now. Let’s not wait another decade and another $100 billion.

And Kerry, as usual, is even more wrong. Once again, he’s on both sides of the issue – debating himself, changing positions from week to week, hoping no one will notice he’s a walking, talking bundle of contradictions.