"The wealthy, not only by private fraud but also by common laws, do every day pluck and snatch away from the people some part of their daily living. Therefore, when I consider and weigh in my mind these commonwealths which nowadays do flourish, I perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men in procuring their own commodities under the name and authority of the commonwealth.

They invent and devise all means and crafts, first how to keep safely without fear of losing that which they have unjustly gathered together, and next how to hire and abuse the work and labor of the people for as little money and effort as possible."

Thomas More, Utopia

Thursday, September 04, 2008

America's Global Empire of Bases

For a country that "doesn't do empire" the US has an awful lot of forward military bases garrisoning the globe which would seem to belie this assertion. Tom Engelhardt of TomDispatch.com has the disturbing details [Note: be sure to follow the Mother Jones links at the end]:

Going on an Imperial Bender
How the U.S. Garrisons the Planet and Doesn't Even Notice
By Tom Engelhardt

Here it is, as simply as I can put it: In the course of any year, there must be relatively few countries on this planet on which U.S. soldiers do not set foot, whether with guns blazing, humanitarian aid in hand, or just for a friendly visit. In startling numbers of countries, our soldiers not only arrive, but stay interminably, if not indefinitely. Sometimes they live on military bases built to the tune of billions of dollars that amount to sizeable American towns (with accompanying amenities), sometimes on stripped down forward operating bases that may not even have showers. When those troops don't stay, often American equipment does -- carefully stored for further use at tiny "cooperative security locations," known informally as "lily pads" (from which U.S. troops, like so many frogs, could assumedly leap quickly into a region in crisis).

At the height of the Roman Empire, the Romans had an estimated 37 major military bases scattered around their dominions. At the height of the British Empire, the British had 36 of them planetwide. Depending on just who you listen to and how you count, we have hundreds of bases. According to Pentagon records, in fact, there are 761 active military "sites" abroad...

The rest.


Anonymous said...

My thoughts on the speech that Palin delivered? It was well-delivered but still left me unimpressed because it was long on personal attacks and self-serving narrative with her special needs baby, pregnant teen daughter and her "Baby Daddy" being used as political props, but short on substantive matters of concern to me as a voter and a woman, namely what are thoughts on the mortgage and credit crisis, high unemployment rate, affordable healthcare, rising college costs, and not to mention sky-rocketing food and energy prices. I would have been more impressed if the speech had been written by her, and not a Bush operative. Am I afraid of the bulldog with lipstick comment? No, I fear the reality of Palin as a VP and potentially the President of the USA if the unthinkable happens is that she is no more than George Bush Jr. with lipstick. How's that for scare tactics? If you liked the last 8 years, you will really love the next four if the GOP and its base have their way. A truly sad state of affairs. Let's see how see how she handles the media on her own without aides and the teleprompter. Now that she has proven she is no shrinking violet let us hope she puts aside playing the victim of sexist attacks and the media go after her on matters of real concerns to the America electorate.

Coldtype said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Coldtype said...

You've hit the nail on the head. Substantive issues were not even approached by Palin and, given the GOP platform of endless war and entrenched corporatism, how could she. Issues have nothing to do with campaigns in American political culture, a fact not lost on the public and one which generalizes to both "oppositional" parties.

Unfortunately, if you're expecting the mainstream corporate media to hold the little clay feet of these dangerous clowns to the fire, I'd advise you to be prepared for habitual disappointment. The MSM is merely serving its propaganda function here which is to sell the public on the status quo and condemn any alternatives, particularly those not prioritizing the needs of capital or power and privilege generally.

Anonymous said...

Remember the old saying, "the sun never sets on the British Empire."? If McShame and the boys have their say it'll read, "an American troop in every global time zone."


Coldtype said...

"an American troop in every global time zone."

True, though they're finding it increasingly difficult to attract fresh cannon-fodder for these adventures.