Empire: why we need to watch what we’re building

Every minute, the United States government spends $2.2 million on the military.

“a phenomenon largely ignored in the mainstream media….”

“In 2004, the Pentagon was, for instance, already building the first of its 505 bases, the biggest among them meant to be “enduring,” in Iraq — American ziggurats, I called them at the time. Some of these were large enough to qualify as full-scale American towns, with PXs, fire departments, bus routes, the usual range of fast-food joints, internet cafes, and the like — and yet it was the rare American reporter who saw a story of any sort in them, even when visiting one of them. The same was true in Afghanistan, where the U.S. was building (and is still upgrading) 400 or more bases. No one even bothered to try to count them up until Nick Turse did so in February 2010 for this site. (Ann Jones took TomDispatch readers onto one of them in August of that same year.)

In his books and at TomDispatch, Johnson put significant effort into trying to come up with a number for the bases the Pentagon garrisoned outside the United States. In January 2011, Turse returned to that task and found that number to be well over 1,100. Again, it’s not a figure you normally see reported in the mainstream. In March 2010, John Feffer reminded TD readers of just how far the Pentagon would go to hang onto a single major base, among so many, on the Japanese island of Okinawa.

One of the last essays Chalmers Johnson published at this site before his death in 2010 was entitled “Dismantling the Empire” and it was concerned with just how the U.S. could downsize its global mission and end its empire of bases. David Vine, anthropologist and author of Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia, has been touring American bases for the past three years. In a major survey of the changing shape of our Baseworld, he suggests that unfortunately it isn’t shrinking at all, and that “dismantling” isn’t yet on the American horizon. This means that — until the mainstream finally stumbles upon the import of this story — TomDispatch has little choice but to stay on the bases beat for the foreseeable future. (To catch Timothy MacBain’s latest Tomcast audio interview in which Vine discusses his experiences with the Pentagon’s empire of bases, click here or download it to your iPod here.) Tomhttp://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175568/tomgram%3A_david_vine%2C_u.s._empire_of_bases_grows/?utm_source=TomDispatch&utm_campaign=d027c16bb5-TD_Vine7_15_2012&utm_medium=email

 go to www.oneminuteforpeace.org to find out more…Lara/Trace

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