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October 25, 2004



Why is leaving 70,000 US troops & their families in Germany a good thing? I mean, a good thing for American taxpayers?


Ellie, the German government subsidizes the US military presence in Germany with $1 billion annually. Sending these troops back to the States would require massive investment in housing and infrastructure which will be even more costly to US taxpayers.

But the greatest damage from withdrawal would be a weakening of NATO - the most successful post-WWII alliance.


German subsidies cover only a small percentage of total base/committment costs, and given Europeans' ongoing reduction in military budgets (and unwillingness to use military force in any event), I expect that to get worse. In any case, a true cost-benefit analysis would consider more than cost: what is NATO's purpose NOW? How do Americans benefit from continued membership? It's understaffed in Afganistan, less than successful in Kosovo. NATO was a great alliance, but now it's an arrangement with no concrete purpose or direction. I'd prefer to see Europe assume full responsibility for its own defense needs, however it chooses to define them. NATO is an anachronism and a waste - frankly, I'd like to see it dissolved.

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