Congress victorious: U.S. to retain all 36,000 troops in Germany…forever
This week has brought statements by both U.S. European Command chief General Tod Wolters and President Joe Biden that all American military personnel in Germany, estimated to consist of as many as 36,000 service members, will remain there “pending review.” For the duration. Eternally. This is contrary to indications last year by President Donald Trump that a third of them would be redeployed elsewhere in Europe or – half of that third – brought home.
The above review is mandated by last December’s action by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives adding a provision to this year’s monumental $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act forbidding the president to withdraw troops from Germany without an assessment. Congress’s word.
How prescient was the initial version of outgoing President Dwight Eisenhower’s admonition concerning the Military Industrial Congressional Complex in 1961. (That is how speechwriters Malcolm Moos and Ralph E. Williams referred to the monster in question in a draft of the speech.) House members are, as they’re in charge of appropriations, those first bribed and suborned by defense contractors; that is, weapons manufacturers; that is, war agitators.
Heaven forfend a president, any president, threaten to withdraw troops from a nation where the U.S. has maintained a massive military presence for over 75 years, since the defeat of the host country in World War II. Unthinkable.
In the same vein, in January 2019 the House voted 357-22 to adopt the NATO Support Act (H. R. 676), which mandates that “the President shall not withdraw the United States from NATO” and
It is the policy of the United States –
(1) to remain a member in good standing of NATO;
(2) to reject any efforts to withdraw the United States from NATO, or to indirectly withdraw from NATO by condemning or reducing contributions to NATO structures, activities, or operations, in a manner that creates a de facto withdrawal;
(3) to continue to work with NATO members to meet their 2014 Wales Defense Investment Pledge commitments; and
(4) to support robust United States funding for the European Deterrence Initiative, which increases the ability of the United States and its allies to deter and defend against Russian aggression.
The 22 members voting against the resolution were all Republicans. Among those endorsing the above – that is, deterring Russian aggression – were Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley – collectively the so-called Squad – and Chicago’s freshman House member Jesus (Chuy) Garcia as well as House veteran Barbara Lee. For the first five the vote was one of their first after entering the House.
One wonders how many people voting for the above born-again devotees of global military expansion and wars against defenseless peoples in several continents knew what they were really voting for.
Now Congress, the much-touted “most direct voice” of the America people at the federal level, is, far from ever activating the War Powers Resolution of 1973 to stop military actions exceeding 60 days (such as those against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya over the past 21 years), is instead making a priority of preventing a president from withdrawing troops where they have been stationed for going on 76 years and withdrawing from history’s first permanent, global military bloc.
It’s not for nothing that Congress’s approval rate among the American populace is only at 25% this year, and was as low as 17% at the end of 2017 (when the disapproval rate was 82%).
But to hear congresspersons, and the pro-establishment, pro-war press corps tell the story, any criticism of Congress or the individual exemplary, heroic, self-sacrificing public servants “working” in its chambers is tantamount to treason, sedition, bigotry and following orders from Vladimir Putin and the KGB.
Of course only the KGB would desire that the U.S. not become hogtied and strangled by foreign entanglements and ceaselessly rove throughout the world seeking monsters to destroy (to the tune of $740 billion this year). Surely the representatives of the people will never allow such a travesty as the abandoning of these time-hallowed traditions.