Sunday, August 28, 2011

Unwelcome Move

I learned something interesting during my visit to Watching America this weekend: NIMBYISM is not just an American phenomenon. When it comes to relocating American military bases, other parts of the world can be just as cranky as Americans unhappy with a recycling plant in the neighborhood.

GIs have been relocating from Heidelberg to the Erbenheim section of Wiesbaden since the end of 2009. Another 700 GIs assigned to the legendary U.S. V Corps just arrived recently. By mid-2012, the Army's main land force headquarters is scheduled to complete its relocation of some 4,000 troops to Wiesbaden.

All of this is much to the Left Party's displeasure. State parliamentary leader Willi van Ooyen says that rather than spending billions on war and the expansion of military facilities, the money should be spent on improving social and educational services. To back up his demands, he is reminding the Hessen state president of Article 69 of the Hessen state constitution, which says that the state is officially anti-war.

Perhaps Mr. van Ooyen could send a letter to our Supercommittee expressing the same idea with respect to spending billions on war rather than on improving social and educational services. We could use a shift in priorities as well. I mean, the cost of moving the base to Wiesbaden is quite significant:

The U.S. Army justifies the relocation with the fact that its headquarters facilities in Heidelberg are fragmented and scattered, making them more vulnerable to terrorist attack. In Wiesbaden, on the other hand, there is already a secure and compact facility with two access points. Construction of the command center, along with the necessary support buildings, is expected to cost $130 million, of which the U.S. Congress has already appropriated $60 million. The city of Wiesbaden has already assured the U.S. and German governments that the land necessary for construction would be made available and that it would undertake measures aimed at facilitating the acquisition of necessary permits. [Emphasis added]

Of course, the city of Wiesbaden will cooperate: the presence of the US soldiers means an additional $45 million for the local economy. So, regardless of the Left Party's high-minded objections, the Imperial Army is moving to Wiesbaden.

That's how we roll.

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Blogger Florence said...

Why do we have troops in Germany>

12:48 PM  
Blogger PurpleGirl said...

Florence, it's an artifact of WWII and the cold war. Protect Germany from invasion by the Soviet Union and stuff along those lines. Protect Western Europe from the Soviet Union. The NATO compact and treaty...

1:42 PM  

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