AP) FORT BLISS, Texas - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday the Army will withdraw two combat brigades from Europe as part of a broad reorienting of U.S. forces and instead rotate units in and out of the region, presumably from U.S. bases.
Panetta made the comment to a Defense Department news service whose representative was traveling with him to Fort Bliss. He told the Armed Forces Press Service on board his plane that the Army will do more rotational movement of combat forces not only in Europe but also in Africa and Latin America. "It will keep the ground forces very meaningful in the future," he was quoted as saying.
Last week, the Pentagon announced a new defense strategy to accommodate hundreds of billions of dollars in budget cuts over the coming decade. At the time, Panetta said that the military will get smaller and that its presence in Europe would "evolve." But he declined then to discuss what that would mean for the long-standing U.S. presence in Europe.
A combat brigade typically consists of 3,000 to 4,000 soldiers.
Later, Panetta addressed about 500 soldiers and their family members at the sprawling Fort Bliss Army post, ensuring them that their benefits will not be affected by the announced budget cuts to the military.
1. How many soldiers do we currently have in Europe? The article doesn't say.
Unless we know that, how can we know if this reduction is significant?
We currently have about 80,000 troops in Europe. Assuming these two brigades would consist of 4,000 personnel each, Panetta is talking about a reduction of 10% in Europe. When? In 10 years? The article doesn't say that either.
Why are we going to keep 70,000 US soldiers in Europe after this modest reduction? Are the Nazis threatening to invade Poland again? Are the Soviets massing tanks in East Berlin, preparing an invasion of West Germany?
And what's this about rotating units in and out of the region instead of keeping these two brigades there? What's this, another shell game that would result in a net reduction of zero?
This is a poorly written article. It looks like another fake budget cut from the Pentagon.
7. I don't believe anything the Pentagon says about defense spending reductions.
Their months-long PR campaign is intended to convince us they are already cutting back significantly, and that it will be the end of the world if they get any less money. It's a setup, designed to perpetuate or increase the level of actual defense spending while we gut our domestic social programs.
What I believe is the actual amount we have spent each year. I have no faith in defense spending projections for future years. That's all smoke and mirrors.
8. The thing is, Iran is a totally different entity entirely.
It's much larger, three times as populous, and life is much cheaper in this part of the world. The only reason that Saddam survived the Iran-Iraq war in the '80s was with the help of allies, meaning the U.S. The Iranians just kept coming, in wave after wave, with the "Keys to the Kingdom" around their necks. They really believe that death is the entrance to a better life. I got this from a friend who's originally from the Middle East. If Bush* didn't know the difference between the various factions in Iraq, I doubt that he had the slightest notion about this. How many Americans still don't know the difference between Iraq and Iran? *sigh*
The Pentagon has quietly shifted combat troops and warships to the Middle East after the top American commander in the region warned that he needed additional forces to deal with Iran and other potential threats, U.S. officials said.
Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, who heads U.S. Central Command, won White House approval for the deployments late last year after talks with the government in Baghdad broke down over keeping U.S. troops in Iraq, but the extent of the Pentagon moves is only now becoming clear.
Officials said the deployments are not meant to suggest a buildup to war, but rather are intended as a quick-reaction and contingency force in case a military crisis erupts in the standoff with Tehran over its suspected nuclear weapons program.
The Pentagon has stationed nearly 15,000 troops in Kuwait, adding to a small contingent already there. The new units include two Army infantry brigades and a helicopter unit - a substantial increase in combat power after nearly a decade in which Kuwait chiefly served as a staging area for supplies and personnel heading to Iraq.
Panetta sure tried to make it look like he's downsizing. But when you withdraw 2 brigades from Europe and add 2 brigades in Kuwait, that's not a net reduction, is it?
Remember just last month, how wonderful it was for Obama to have kept his promise to get our soldiers out of Iraq? (He didn't keep his promise at all. We were finally thrown out kicking and screaming pursuant to the SOFA negotiated by George W Bush.) Now we see that Obama quietly authorized this headcount transfer from Iraq to Kuwait at the same time he was being praised here at DU for bringing the troops home. At the end of November there were 13,000 US soldiers left in Iraq, about the same number that has been moved into Kuwait.
13. It can't be because an old worn out hick from WV is a better journalist.
The MSM is printing what Panetta and his people tell them to print. 'Journalists' lose access if they don't toe the line. Remember the scandal with retired generals making the rounds, acting as military analysts in the news? The Pentagon routinely rounded them up and fed them information that they were expected to relay and endorse. That's exactly what they did. They were blacklisted from future briefings if they dared question the Pentagon's propaganda.
I'm amazed the article about the Kuwait buildup was published now. Somebody screwed up. It's supposed to be harder to connect the dots.
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