Finally!

It appears that the nine—year old stability and support mission to the Balkans will finally come to an end this year for US forces.  An article  published by the Guardian (UK)today, describes the low—key ceremony marking the closing of the Kapos Air Base in Taszar, Hungary.

Known as the Intermediate Staging Base (ISB) Taszar, the post served as the staging area and support base for US forces in the Balkan region.  Admiral John Goodwin of the US European Command (EUCOM) spoke of the key role Taszar has played in US and NATO operations in the area, but also said

We are reorganizing worldwide to improve efficiency, and with the Balkan mission coming to an end, we no longer need the base.

So there you have it.  Without so much as a whisper from the DoD news service or the major American media, Bill Clinton's Most Excellent Balkan Adventure comes to an end with the anticipated redeployment of US forces.  Some will come back to the States, and certainly others will deploy to support the War on Terror. It is expected that the EU will now assume full responsibility for the mission.

For the last several years, US forces in the Balkans have been composed of National Guard troops.  This is an indication of how military manpower has been stretched thin starting in the 1990s.  People like Senator Chuck Hagel, who complain of the long deployments of Guard troops to the Middle East and Central Asia, can perhaps explain the years—long deployment of these reserve troops to the Balkans, in what was supposed to be a 'home by Christmas' operation — home by Christmas of 1996, that is.

The EU now has a chance to prove how diplomatically and militarily nuanced they are in handling the Balkan ethnic jigsaw puzzle.  Let them have it.  We have more important battles to fight.

It appears that the nine—year old stability and support mission to the Balkans will finally come to an end this year for US forces.  An article  published by the Guardian (UK)today, describes the low—key ceremony marking the closing of the Kapos Air Base in Taszar, Hungary.

Known as the Intermediate Staging Base (ISB) Taszar, the post served as the staging area and support base for US forces in the Balkan region.  Admiral John Goodwin of the US European Command (EUCOM) spoke of the key role Taszar has played in US and NATO operations in the area, but also said

We are reorganizing worldwide to improve efficiency, and with the Balkan mission coming to an end, we no longer need the base.

So there you have it.  Without so much as a whisper from the DoD news service or the major American media, Bill Clinton's Most Excellent Balkan Adventure comes to an end with the anticipated redeployment of US forces.  Some will come back to the States, and certainly others will deploy to support the War on Terror. It is expected that the EU will now assume full responsibility for the mission.

For the last several years, US forces in the Balkans have been composed of National Guard troops.  This is an indication of how military manpower has been stretched thin starting in the 1990s.  People like Senator Chuck Hagel, who complain of the long deployments of Guard troops to the Middle East and Central Asia, can perhaps explain the years—long deployment of these reserve troops to the Balkans, in what was supposed to be a 'home by Christmas' operation — home by Christmas of 1996, that is.

The EU now has a chance to prove how diplomatically and militarily nuanced they are in handling the Balkan ethnic jigsaw puzzle.  Let them have it.  We have more important battles to fight.