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Do U.S. troops ever really leave?
Glenn Mollette
Glenn Mollette

Many Americans have cried foul against President Trump for pulling our troops out of Syria and abandoning the Kurds. Yet, I have to ask, do we ever really leave?

While many of our troops are now in Iraq some will stay behind in Syria to protect the oil. 

Our military, from the United States, is deployed in more than 150 countries around the world with over 170,000 of our active duty personnel serving in these different countries. We have 38 named bases with active duty, National Guard, reserve, or civilian personnel located in different countries. 

 Afghanistan has about 10,000 U.S. troops, plus NATO troops. 

Seven thousand troops are stationed in Bahrain.

Iraq still has 5,200 U.S. troops with more on the way.

Jordan is the home to 2,795 U.S. troops who have supported operations to defeat ISIS and promote the region’s stability. Over 13,000 American troops are stationed in Kuwait. This includes the U.S. Army Central’s forward headquarters. There are 13,000 American troops in Qatar with future plans to expand the base. The nation supports U.S. efforts to combat regional terrorism. 5,000 U.S. troops are stationed in the United Arab Emirates. This is a tiny nation situated near the Strait of Hormuz.

We still have over 40,000 soldiers in Germany. 

In total we have over 60,000 active duty personnel in Europe, including Germany, Turkey, Italy, the UK and Spain. We have over 20,000 American soldiers in South Korea and over 40,000 in Japan not counting thousands of dependents. There are too many to list.

In March President Trump was pushing a plan to charge allies the cost of hosting U.S. troops in their countries, plus a 50 percent premium for American protection according to news reports. I doubt Trump’s idea will ever happen but possibly some of these countries might be encouraged to becoming more involved in their own defense. One of the many reasons we are “leaving” Syria is because our president is opposed to us continuing to be a police force, however, we are staying to police the oil from falling back into the hands of ISIS.

Most Americans don’t want our troops being a police force in other nations. A big chunk of our financial problem is because of all the money we’ve spent on these foreign wars, nation building and police protection. We stay and stay.

However, most of us don’t like that Turkey is attacking the Kurds and we think they should stay within their border. We detest ISIS and we are all for anything that anybody can do to thwart or eliminate their movement.

Unfortunately, our military will never be able to just rest at home. If we don’t eliminate evil “over there” it will come here as proven at Pearl Harbor and the World Trade Towers. It’s better to try to stop ISIS or the Taliban or whoever “over there” than trying to fight it here. Eventually though, we have to leave.

Glenn Mollette is the author of 12 books. His syndicated column is read in all 50 states. Contact him at

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