Yahoo News reported Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark said Saturday that the Pentagon's plan to close military bases around the country and reorganize troops will isolate the military from the American people and the rest of the world.
Pulling forces back from Europe may hurt the economy in those countries, but how in the heck does having forces back in this country isolate the military from the American people?Clark said the plan to pull U.S. forces back home from abroad and centralize bases takes jobs away from smaller towns.
It may hurt the smaller towns that lose a base, but if it allows the military to better prepare for future conflicts, it is worth it."We're losing influence abroad when we bring those troops home,
We have a LOT of troops in Germany. Did our "influence" mean the Germans were helpful regarding the Iraq war, or did they side with the French?and we lose the interaction with America when we create these super bases," Clark said in a speech to the Arkansas Associated Press Managing Editors Association. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has proposed closing 33 major military installations in the United States and reorganizing hundreds of others. Tens of thousands of troops in Europe and East Asia are expected to come home. Clark, a former NATO commander who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination last year, said it worried him to see the military planning to close national guard armories. He said shuttering bases and moving jobs from smaller cities shatters an important connection between the military and civilians. "Small communities lose sight of the armed forces," he said. "I like for the Army and the armed forces to be representative of the people they protect, not an elite organization."
I like for the armed forces to be prepared to fight in the 21st century, and if they think super bases is the way to go, that is fine with me.Clark also voiced his concerns about Bush's nomination of John Bolton to United Nations ambassador, calling Bolton "somewhat of a bully."
Exactly what we need to straighten the UN out."He's going to have a very tough time in the United Nations," Clark said.
Wrong, the UN is going to have a very tough time, and it won't be able to get the sort of graft it got in Oil for Food, and UN Peacekeepers may have to keep their pants on, but that is fine with me."When you come in with that much overhang, with all this reputation against you, it's that much more difficult. And all that's known in the United Nations. "Personally, I don't like bullies," he added. "Just because you outrank somebody doesn't mean you don't respect them and their judgment." Bush's nomination of Bolton was voted out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday but is unlikely to come before the full Senate before the end of May.
Jayson @PoliPundit: blogged I thought this guy’s political 15 minutes, so to speak, already had expired. Then again, at first, I couldn’t remember who he was, so perhaps it really doesn’t matter.
cme commented I thought the Left always thought the military was too big. Now we’re planning on shrinking it (at least in terms of number of bases,) and they are complaining. To be sure, I’m wary of us closing any bases here in the US, both for economic and military reasons. What seems to be missing though from the arguments against the base closures is how they will hurt us militarily. To them, an unnecessary base should be kept open just to help the local economy.
Phillip Carter blogged Slate just published a column of mine arguing that the BRAC 2005 selections may further divide American society from America's military, at a time when we can ill afford to do so:
here are several clear trends in the BRAC list: the elimination of many bases in the Northeast, the shutting of myriad civilian defense agencies' offices, and the elimination of reserve armories in towns across America. The Pentagon says the closings will save $48 billion over 20 years. But they will also have one dramatic negative effect. BRAC will separate America's military even further from America's citizenry by consolidating military bases and removing the presence of the military from hundreds of towns across the country.Soldiers on leave may not contribute to the local economy in hundreds of small towns around the country, but there are American civilians near the large bases as well, and if the troups can be trained better to be ready for 21st century warefare, the small towns can find other uses for the property used by the smaller bases.