U.S. to Station Troops in Poland for First Time

Sunday, November 29, 2009

In a move intended to assuage the Polish government, the United States will send for the first time a small detachment of soldiers next year to Poland to man an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) battery intended to guard against a Russian attack. Officials in Warsaw have been clamoring for greater security assistance from the U.S. not only for protection against the longtime adversary from the east, but also as payback for sending Polish troops to Iraq and Afghanistan to help the U.S.

Military analysts called the decision to deploy a single Patriot missile battery from Germany to Poland “symbolic,” with almost no significance from a military standpoint. “It’s totally nonsense,” Jan Filip Stanilko, an analyst at the Warsaw-based Sobieski Institute, told Star and Stripes. “One battery doesn’t change anything. It can defend one district (of a city). From a military point of view, it’s irrelevant; it won’t defend Poland at all.” Stanilko added it would take 10 to 15 Patriot batteries to defend all of Poland.
Furthermore, the single Patriot battery headed to Poland won’t remain there continuously. It will move back and forth from Poland to Germany until 2012, when the U.S. promises to leave it in Poland.
The Patriot deployment is a leftover from the Bush administration’s plan to install long-range ABMs in Poland to defend Europe against missile attacks from the Middle East. President Barack Obama scrapped that idea in an effort to smooth relations with Moscow, while retaining the smaller deployment of the Patriot, which has considerably less range.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Critics Call Poland Patriot Missile Plan a Symbolic Gesture (by Nancy Montgomery, Stars and Stripes)
Poland Clamps Down on Communist Symbols (by Monika Scislowska, Associated Press)


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