Remember how the U.S. pulled out of a much publicized training exercise with Israel at the beginning of this year and rescheduled for this October? The exercise is still on but has been neutered to near impotence with two-thirds of the scheduled US Troops pulled from the training.
Well-placed sources in both countries have told TIME that Washington has greatly reduced the scale of U.S. participation, slashing by more than two-thirds the number of American troops going to Israel and reducing both the number and potency of missile interception systems at the core of the joint exercise.
The reductions are striking. Instead of the approximately 5,000 U.S. troopsÂ originally trumpetedÂ for Austere Challenge 12, as the annual exercise is called, the Pentagon will send only 1,500 service members, and perhaps as few as 1,200.Â Patriot anti-missile systems will arrive in Israel as planned, but the crews to operate them will not.Â Instead of two Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense warships being dispatched to Israeli waters, the new plan is to send one, though even the remaining vessel is listed as a â€œmaybe,â€ according to officials in both militaries…
U.S. commanders privately revealed the scaling back to their Israeli counterparts more than two months ago.Â The official explanation was budget restrictions.Â But the American retreat coincided with growing tensions between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations on Israelâ€™s persistent threats to launch an airstrike on Iran. Source: World.Time
Where is the talk of Iran’s “persistent threats” against Israel and the West? One democracy in the Middle East and we can’t provide training for the Patriot Missile system, which Israel desperately needs.
Senator Rand Paul’s speech at the RNC cautioned that Republicans must understand that not all money spent on the Military is wisely spent, or necessary. I believe that’s true, but what we need is a President who make the cuts where they need to be made without sacrificing Israel.