Getting Out: Historical Perspectives on Leaving Iraq

By Michael Walzer and; Nicolaus Mills | Go to book overview

4
The Surprising Success:
The United States and Korea

FRED SMOLER

ANY close analogy between “getting out” of Korea and American withdrawal from Vietnam, French withdrawal from Algeria, or British withdrawal from India necessarily fails, because in the sense implied by those cases the United States has not gotten out of Korea. About 27,000 U.S. troops are still stationed in South Korea, down from the 37,500 deployed there in 2004, when the United States and Republic of Korea (ROK) agreed to reduce the American deployment to 25,000 by 2008. So we are still in Korea, and likely to remain there for some time.

The reductions to date of American troops have never been described as a process intended to culminate in the withdrawal of all troops by a date certain, and their pace was for many years uneven. At the height of their wartime strength U.S. forces in Korea numbered 326,363, in the year following the Armistice 225,590, and in 1955 the United States maintained a garrison of 75,328. After that the numbers seesawed, in part according to the level of perceived threat.

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