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  • US Troops Leaving Germany

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2004Aug17.html

    BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government said on Tuesday U.S. plans to pull out 30,000 troops were a sign of Europe's divisions being healed, but communities hit by the decision warned they were headed for economic disaster.

    Karsten Voigt, Berlin's coordinator for German-American relations, said Germany would remain the largest base for U.S. troops in Europe and security in Europe was not at risk.

    "But nevertheless the withdrawal of troops is a loss of course. We regret it, the American soldiers were welcome here. But it is a sign of success at the same time -- the success of having overcome the Cold War and European division."

    President Bush announced plans Monday to bring home up to 70,000 troops from Europe and Asia within a decade.

    The news struck a sentimental chord in Berlin where politicians and commentators voiced regret at the departure of troops who brought the American way to post-war West Germany.

    Older Germans remember receiving their first piece of chocolate or bubble gum from a G.I., and Elvis Presley's stint as a soldier in Germany more than 40 years ago is a legend.

    "Of course the American soldiers that were stationed here in Germany were the best ambassadors of German-American relations when they returned home," Voigt told Deutschlandfunk radio.

    Those relations were soured, albeit only at government level, over Germany's opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq. And despite Washington's and Berlin's denials, there was speculation in Germany that the size of the troop pullout reflected that row.

    TWO DIVISIONS GOING

    Defense officials at the Pentagon said about 30,000 troops in two heavy divisions in Germany would be withdrawn. A brigade of Army Stryker armored vehicles with 5,000 troops would be deployed to Germany, the officials said.

    The two divisions are the 1st Infantry Division ("Big Red One") in Wuerzburg and the 1st Armored Division ("Old Ironsides") in Wiesbaden, each 13,000 strong. Media said the Air Force's Rhein-Main airbase in Frankfurt was to be closed too.

    Edmund Stoiber, state premier of Bavaria, the region likely to be most affected by the withdrawal, called for federal assistance and urged the government to take the U.S. plans into account when reshaping Germany's armed forces later this year.

    The Verdi service sector union said the loss of jobs would be much bigger than the number of soldiers leaving.

    Mayors and community leaders across southern Germany also said they feared the negative impact on their local economies.

    Karl-Peter Bruch, junior interior minister in the state of Rheinland-Palatinate, said the small town of Baumholder where parts of the 1st Armored Division are stationed would be hit hard because it depended on the Americans.

    "Today there are 4,000 German inhabitants and more than 12,500 Americans ... An infrastructure is being destroyed," Bruch told German WDR radio.

    Franz Boehm, mayor of the southern town of Kitzingen which is home to a major U.S. base, was surprised that after years of rumors, the Americans might actually be about to leave.

    "For Kitzingen it will be a big story, a very negative one. I still can't believe it," he told Reuters.

    Bild newspaper, Germany's largest daily, voiced regret in an editorial that so many U.S. soldiers were to leave, but ended on a positive note: "We should at least tell them thank you."
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  • #2
    as someone who lived in Germany for 6 years as the result of my parents being stationed on a US base, I think it sucks that their economy will be hurt so bad, and that less people will be able to have the experience that I had of living in a foreign country for so long. The base I was on has already closed, and I'm sure it hurt the local economy. For example every summer the base held a July 4th fest that lasted for about 2 weeks (if I remember correctly) because it was open for so long, it was the 2nd largest beer fest in Bavaria in terms of beer consumed. Obviously for the local brewery (Maxlrainer) that was really good for their business. It will also hurt because many of the people 'stationed' on the base actually lived off base in houses that were rented out to them by local nationals.

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    • #3
      US Troops Leaving Germany

      Long expected, and not surprising at all. Frankfurt being closed has been known for some time, which is why FRAPORT already published a press release months ago about how they'll use the land of the AB for a new A-380-compliant terminal plus hangars etc. And even if Stoiber is calling on the government: Bavaria is the wealthiest and healthiest state in Germany. Many people say if Bavaria went independant, Germany would be screwed big time. It's not likely to happen, but shows the status. As for new unemployeed people: Well, we already have 4.350.000 unemployeed people, plus 3.750.000 people living on social welfare, so a few additional 10.000s won't matter. Btw, just a little side note:
      National indebtedness of Germany is growing at 2.350 a second, just to give you an idea of our financial situation.

      -Colin

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      • #4
        Originally posted by screaming_emu
        as someone who lived in Germany for 6 years as the result of my parents being stationed on a US base, I think it sucks that their economy will be hurt so bad, and that less people will be able to have the experience that I had of living in a foreign country for so long. The base I was on has already closed, and I'm sure it hurt the local economy. For example every summer the base held a July 4th fest that lasted for about 2 weeks (if I remember correctly) because it was open for so long, it was the 2nd largest beer fest in Bavaria in terms of beer consumed. Obviously for the local brewery (Maxlrainer) that was really good for their business. It will also hurt because many of the people 'stationed' on the base actually lived off base in houses that were rented out to them by local nationals.
        I pretty much second what you are saying. Although I was only there for 3 years it seemed like the Germans where I was at benefitted greatly from having thousands of what were essentially tourists living next door. The fest that you are talking about was great for the local German population, although if I remember correctly I think they were starting to close it to the Germans for security reasons. Another thing that helped the Germans out was the Holiday Bazaar, usually held in October at the Village Pavillion, a 20 minute walk from where I lived. There were probably 100 or more German, Swiss, British, and French vendors who came every year to the base for about a week. As far as I know, they still do that, and from what I observed, they probably make a fortune off of the servicemembers and their families.

        BTW- Emu how did you manage six years in Germany? Two tours there or one long tour?
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        • #5
          Originally posted by herpa2003

          The fest that you are talking about was great for the local German population, although if I remember correctly I think they were starting to close it to the Germans for security reasons.
          BTW- Emu how did you manage six years in Germany? Two tours there or one long tour?
          Actually, from what I heard was that the last two years before the base closed they moved the fest from on the base to out near the brewery itself. They would never close the fest to the german public as it was a major fundraiser for all the clubs that were on base. We were only supposed to be in Germany for 3 years, but my dad asked for a one year extension so that my sister did not have to change schools for her Senior year. After that year was over he asked for a new tour so that I didn't have to change schools and we got it. Where in Germany where you again?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by screaming_emu
            Originally posted by herpa2003

            The fest that you are talking about was great for the local German population, although if I remember correctly I think they were starting to close it to the Germans for security reasons.
            BTW- Emu how did you manage six years in Germany? Two tours there or one long tour?
            Actually, from what I heard was that the last two years before the base closed they moved the fest from on the base to out near the brewery itself. They would never close the fest to the german public as it was a major fundraiser for all the clubs that were on base. We were only supposed to be in Germany for 3 years, but my dad asked for a one year extension so that my sister did not have to change schools for her Senior year. After that year was over he asked for a new tour so that I didn't have to change schools and we got it. Where in Germany where you again?
            You are probably right about the fests. I just know that where I was in Germany, the best location for it was on the base. The Germans were crazy about the events, though. I can remember people waiting for a ride called the break dance would dash onto the spinning top even as the ride was still in the process of stopping in hopes of getting seats before the person next to them. It was pretty frustrating sometimes, but the fest was always a great experience.

            Interesting to hear about your situation, staying there for 6 years. Although I missed the US greatly when I was over there, now in hindsight I wouldn't have minded staying over there for another year or two.

            To answer your question- I was in Heidelberg, about and hour and a half north of Ramstein and an hour south of Frankfurt, depending on how fast you drove on the autobahn.
            Fly Raleigh-Durham International, with direct flights on Air Canada, AirTran, American Airlines, American Eagle, America West, Continental Airlines, Continental Express, Delta Airlines, Delta Connection, jetBlue, Northwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Express and US Airways to:

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            • #7
              Yeah, I know where Heidelburg is. I think we've had this conversation before . Heidelburg was the head of our school district. I was down in Bad Aibling. One of the most beautiful parts of the world. I absolutely loved Germany and really want to go back some day. I missed the states while i was in Germany, but I think I missed Germany more than I missed the US after I left.

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              • #8
                About friggin time Hell, I say let's pull out of NATO all the way, bring em' all home! Frankly I am tired of my hard earned tax dollars going to help protect a bunch of ungrateful Euros. If the Russkies want let 'em have 'em.

                Aldo

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                • #9
                  US Troops Leaving Germany

                  Originally posted by UFOSPACE99
                  About friggin time Hell, I say let's pull out of NATO all the way, bring em' all home! Frankly I am tired of my hard earned tax dollars going to help protect a bunch of ungrateful Euros. If the Russkies want let 'em have 'em.

                  Aldo
                  Ahh, your serious? You do realize that the "Russkies" have not wanted Europe for over a decade now, or don't you?

                  -Colin

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by UFOSPACE99
                    About friggin time Hell, I say let's pull out of NATO all the way, bring em' all home! Frankly I am tired of my hard earned tax dollars going to help protect a bunch of ungrateful Euros. If the Russkies want let 'em have 'em.

                    Aldo
                    Protect? Buddy, it's 2004 not 1964. I suppose the new bases planned for Turkey are going to be built to "protect" the Turks, right?

                    However, I'll be sad to see them go too. I'll miss listening to AFN. Heck, it's the only station that announces the NHL results.

                    BTW, I highly doubt that Russia is going to pose a threat to anyone, any time soon. Especially after Germany gave them huge amounts of financial in aid a few years ago. They're not the evil people you've been let to believe all these years. In fact, they're quite friendly and their women are quite attractive!

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                    • #11
                      - Russians are now in a position of askers, they are negociating at first stage to get a visa and custom-free access to EU from the Kaliningrad enclave, while Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania became EU members. These are proofs they thinkings is evolving...Not so long ago, they very relunctantly accepted the RE-independance of the 3 Baltic republics they invaded in 1940.
                      - On the other hand, I am not versus the return of the US divisions from Germany, ESPECIALLY if this at last help pushing the EU countries into the ropes in developping a real harmonized defense and foreign policy. Aaah, they are going to learn how to spend money by getting the most of it.....
                      Alain
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