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Conservatives criticize plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Germany

Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, conduct close-combat attack at the Oberdachstetten Local Training Area in Germany in this 2014 photo. Conservative leaders in Germany have sharply criticized reported plans to withdraw one-third of American troops permanently stationed in the country as part of a longstanding arrangement. Photo by Luis Viegas/U.S. Army
Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, conduct close-combat attack at the Oberdachstetten Local Training Area in Germany in this 2014 photo. Conservative leaders in Germany have sharply criticized reported plans to withdraw one-third of American troops permanently stationed in the country as part of a longstanding arrangement. Photo by Luis Viegas/U.S. Army

June 6 (UPI) -- Conservative German and American leaders have criticized President Donald Trump's proposed plan to remove about one-third of U.S. troops currently stationed in Germany.

On Friday multiple outlets quoting an anonymous senior defense official reported that Trump has ordered the Pentagon to withdraw 9,500 of the 34,500 troops permanently assigned to Germany as part of a longstanding arrangement between the two countries.

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In Germany, left-leaning politicians welcomed the proposed drawdown while conservative leaders described it as a wake-up call.

"The federal government should accept it with gratitude and promptly start preparing the complete withdrawal of US soldiers with the Trump administration," said Dietmar Bartsch, leader of the parliamentary group of the leftwing party Die Linke.

"It would have the collateral benefit of saving taxpayers billions, because there would not longer be a need to acquire new fighter jets."

Johann Wadephul, the deputy chair of the parliamentary group of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, said the Trump administration is neglecting "an elementary task of leadership."

"Everyone profits from the alliance sticking together, only Russia and China profit from discord. Washington should pay more attention to that."

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The plan has also met with domestic criticism.

"This is a dangerously misguided policy. If the United States abandons allies, withdraws our forces, and retreats within our borders, the cause of freedom-on which our nation was founded & our security depends-will be in peril," Rep. Liz Cheney (D-Wyo.), tweeted Saturday.

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