Peacekeeping: April 10, 2002

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What the Pentagon wants out of is peacekeeping. These missions are not what the military is trained for, so troops have to be retrained for peacekeeping and then, after returning from such duty, retrained again for combat. That means a six-month peacekeeping tour in Bosnia can make a unit ineffective or unavailable for combat for up to 18 months. There are 856 troops in the Sinai, 3,500 in Bosnia, and 5,600 in Kosovo. The Bush Administration wants to cut these numbers back seriously (to zero, preferably). The Bush Administration envisions a world where the US takes the lead in combat and the allies pick up the peacekeeping mission. The French complain bitterly that this means that the US cooks the dinner and Europe does the dishes. The Bush Administration replies that Europe never spent the money (mostly for precision-guided bombs and long-range aircraft) to participate in the combat portion, and doesn't want to get into combat anyway (it just wants to control who the US attacks). --Stephen V Cole

 


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