NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Redeployment, not Recruitment

July 22, 2003

Over time, fresh soldiers likely will have to replace all 146,000 troops in Iraq, not just those exhausted by war and occupation, say the editorial writers at Investors Business Daily (IBD). That alone could overextend the U.S. military. It would be stretched even thinner if the United States became involved in any number of hot spots around the world that threaten our interests or security.

While Washington figures out how to keep from reaching too far with the military, roughly 214,000 U.S. troops are on duty in Europe and Eastern Asia:

  • They include about 177,000 in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Italy and Britain.
  • Another 8,500 or so stand ready to fight in such lands as Belgium, Iceland, Portugal, Spain and Turkey.
  • About 4,700 are sitting in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia.
  • Even in South Korea, it can be argued that the South Koreans can and should do more to protect their own border.
  • Some also would argue that our troops there are little more than hostages to North Korea's nuclear blackmail.

According to IBD, it's clear the Americans serving in these countries would be more efficiently used in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, if needed. And there are other ways to bolster their numbers. A force of 201,000 can be found among the active members of the National Guard and military reserve units. There are untold thousands from other nations that should be sent to Iraq as well.

Those moves would be far better solutions than spending more money to recruit more soldiers. That money could be better spent on new technology that will save lives in the voluntary armed forces of the future, says IBD.

Source: Editorial, "Enough is Enough," Investors Business Daily, July 22, 2003.


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