In reflection of World War II and the rebuilding process of Europe, Eleanor Roosevelt said in 1950:
I, personally, am not for rearming Germany, but I am for giving her every opportunity to get back on her feet in an economic way and to trade with the rest of the world so she will not have to depend on trade with the eastern part of Europe.
It is true that, given a free hand, Germany by its ability and industry may again dominate the economic situation in Europe. That, without military power, is not a catastrophe.
I think it is essential that we help her to regain economic stability and a sense of pride in her citizenship, for no one can live happily under constant humiliation. If we want Germany to understand democracy we must realize that it has to be demonstrated over a long period of years. She has never had democracy except for a short time and her people have never understood the processes of democracy or the individual responsibility entailed.
And I think we can all agree that this attitude (and economic and political actions) led to a beneficial and healthy relationship between the world and The-Once-Biggest-Bad-Ever, Germany, yes?
While our conflicts today are different (and in some ways not), compare the attitude above with the words of another woman in the political arena right now:
Yeah, that's the ticket to creating peaceful relations and pro-America, pro-democracy sentiments: send a bill to a traumatized, vulnerable, volatile country that you went into under false pretences. Sounds like a winner of an idea to me. Hey, while she's at it, maybe Michelle Bachmann can track down the people who were liberated from concentration camps in WWII and see if they can pick up some of that military tab, too.
It's important to think about these things, reflect on what history has shown, and to compare approaches. Because if we truly want to de-escalate violence and foster democracy, it's really not about withdrawing troops - it's about what you do after they've come home.