OK, so Kim has not said Bush’s re-allignment plan is an act of cowardice. Not yet, anyway.
But here is what Gen. Wesley Clark and Richard Holbrooke are saying:
“As we face a global war on terror with al-Qaeda active in more than 60 countries, now is not the time to pull back our forces, and I question why President Bush (news – web sites) would want to do this now,” Clark said in a statement. “This ill-conceived move and its timing seem politically motivated rather than designed to strengthen our national security,” said the retired general who commanded NATO and US forces in Europe from 1997 to 2000.
He said removing US forces from the Korean peninsula could “send a dangerous signal of weak US resolve” to North Korea (news – web sites)’s Kim Jong-Il at a crucial moment in efforts to persuade him to scrap his nuclear weapons programs.
A pullout from Europe, he said, would further strain relations with NATO allies, “be interpreted as the distancing of the US from NATO, and will set back US efforts to encourage greater NATO participation in Iraq (news – web sites).”
“This is another example of the administration’s unilateralism. … It is not going to save us money. It will cost billions of dollars to bring these troops home,” he said in an interview with CNN.
Holbrooke said both the Germans and South Koreans would be very unhappy with Bush’s announcement that a total of 60,000 to 70,000 US troops would be repatriated.
“How can we withdraw troops from Korea while engaged in a delicate negotiation with the North Koreans?” he asked. “There’s a country that really does have weapons of mass destruction.”
“Even in the modern world, airplanes take time to get places,” Holbrooke said. “This is a weakening of our traditional ties to our closest allies just when we need them most.”