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The Question No U.S. Official Dare Ask

Posted on Jan 7, 2010

By William Pfaff

It is time to ask a question that virtually no one in an official or political position in the United States is willing to contemplate asking. For a person in a responsible public position to pose this question would be to risk exclusion from the realm of “serious” policy discussion. It could be, as they say in the bureaucracies, “a career destroyer.”

It would be like declaring that after long analysis you had come to the conclusion that the world is indeed flat, and not round. A round earth is merely an illusion, which everyone has accepted, and adapted to—and fears challenging.

My question is the following. Has it been a terrible, and by now all but irreversible, error for the United States to have built a system of more than 700 military bases and stations girdling the world? Does it provoke war rather than provide security?

Each of six world regions now has a separate U.S. commander with his staff and intelligence, planning and potential operational capabilities. Central Command, based in Florida, currently is responsible for America’s Middle Eastern and Central Asian wars.

The other five commands—Atlantic, Pacific, Southern (for Latin America), Africa and Europe—oversee in detail what goes on in their assigned portions of the world, generating analyses, appreciations, and scenarios of possible reactions to a myriad of perceived or possible threats to the United States.


Square, Site wide

Each commander also makes contact with regional government military forces, so far as possible, cultivating good relations, professional exchanges and training. Each promotes training missions to the U.S. and military aid, and supports equipment purchases.

Each regional commander controls “main operating bases” abroad, which in turn support fully manned “forward operating sites,” usually including permanently stationed American forces and an air base.

Beyond them, “cooperative security locations” are established, shared with the forces of allies or clients.

The hegemonic implications and intention of all this, which provides the military structure from which to conduct global interventions (or indeed a third world war), are readily acknowledged in Washington, and motivated by what Washington considers internationally valid and constructive reasons.

The unthinkable question with which I began this article was whether all of this has been a ghastly mistake. Many Americans question or oppose this system, but ordinarily with anti-militarist motives, or because they see it as imperialist, or part of an interventionist or aggressive foreign policy outlook that they oppose.

My reason for questioning it is that it generates apprehension, hostility and fear of the United States; frequently promotes insecurity; and has already provoked wars—unnecessary wars.

It is an obstacle to peaceful long-term relations between the United States and other countries, and with the international community as a whole.

Today the United States is involved in two and a half—or even more—wars provoked by this system of global American military engagement. I say “more” than two wars because in addition to the Afghanistan war there still are more than 100,000 American troops in Iraq, in circumstances in which an outbreak of further fighting involving them is perfectly possible. The United States is also taking part in the fight against the Taliban inside Pakistan, and at the same time experiences serious tensions with the Pakistan government and public. Then there is Yemen.

The 9/11 attacks on the United States in 2001, according to Osama bin Laden himself, were provoked by the presence of U.S. military bases in what Muslims consider the sacred territories of Saudi Arabia. U.S. forces went there at the time of the Gulf War and were kept in place afterward by the U.S. against the objections of the Saudi Arabian government. (It is noteworthy that immediately following the invasion of Iraq the U.S. announced closure of the Saudi bases.)

In the current discussion of a negotiated U.S. disengagement from the war in Afghanistan, one of America’s best experts on the region, Selig S. Harrison, writes that this would be possible only on a regional basis supported by Russia, Iran, China, Pakistan and certain other states.

He writes: “All these neighboring countries are disturbed in varying degree by the expansion of U.S bases near their borders; they recognize that no Taliban faction is likely to negotiate peace until the United States and NATO set a timetable that covers both withdrawal of their forces and closure of U.S. bases.

“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s March 2009 proposal for a regional conference, revived recently by Henry Kissinger, has been ignored by potential participants because it assumes the indefinite continuance of a U.S. military presence.”

American bases in Japan, an ally for a half-century, are today the subject of tension between Washington and the new Japanese government. What set the scene for Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia and Russian troops in August 2008 was U.S. pressure to bring Georgia into NATO. In Yemen there already are protests over the possibility of U.S. operations there.

This evidence is that the U.S. global base system is a system of insecurity for the U.S., and for others as well. But what president would dare dismantle it?

Visit William Pfaff’s Web site at

© 2010 Tribune Media Services Inc.


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By bogi666, February 13, 2010 at 11:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Eventually these world wide outposts which serve as look outs for the GREAT ELECTRONIC WALL OF SPACE as it will bnakrupt the USA. Just as the Great Wall of China 4500 miles long taking 25 years to build bankrupt the then Chinese government and the collapse of Chinese society and China was conquered by the invading Mongols which the Wall ws supposed to keep out. The same will befall the USG GREAT ELECTRONIC WALL of SPACE. Their’s a proverb; “if something cannot continue, it won’t”. The funding of the Pentagon for its purpose of providing protection for Corporate investments SOLAR SYSTEM wide. Anyone who believes the purpose of the Pentagon is to protect the human citizens to preserve their liberties and democracy is an idiot.

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By DBM, February 5, 2010 at 10:53 pm Link to this comment

200 bases closed?  Why leave 800+ still out there?


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By DieDaily, February 5, 2010 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

DBM, great point about libertarianism, such as it is.
It’s not exactly a real world point of view in
especially its purist varieties. But what a great
ideal to steer toward when assessing the net value of
this or that new resource-guzzling government
function. Libertarianism, and even anarchism, are
just what you say, ideals. I know reality demands
compromise and expediency, but the more idealism that
we can temper our actions and institutions with, the
better off we are. For instance, foreign wars of
aggression are anathema to virtually any of the
libertarian groups. It’s hard to be a world-wide
prick when your reality is based on “leave us alone
so we can do our own thing”. If libertarianism were
to even slightly permeate our federal institutions
three major results might manifest: 1. massive
reduction of government size and spending; 2. citizen
control of the government rather than the reverse; 3.
about 200 bases being closed and a defensive-only
army coming home for good. Of course citizen control
is worthless when it’s an uninformed and materialist
citizenry sucking on a monolithic press. Free the
press and we free the rest. Some day, some day, we
won’t have any more asinine Waspington Post Dionne
articles on this site. Then we will know we’ve
crested the hill.

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By PatrickHenry, February 5, 2010 at 3:02 am Link to this comment

By ardee, February 5 at 6:45 am #

PatrickHenry, February 3 at 9:52 am

Thanks for the fan mail embellished with your own self importantance.

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By ardee, February 5, 2010 at 1:45 am Link to this comment

PatrickHenry, February 3 at 9:52 am

It is a real pity that you fail to see how your hate filled screed condemns you and makes your contributions worthless…about as worthless as you are as a human being.

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By PatrickHenry, February 3, 2010 at 4:52 am Link to this comment

ardee, I just think your sore at Ron Paul because he would end jewish predominance in banking by following anti-trust legislation on the books.

Being an avid stormfront reader as yourself provide some proof to back up you claims.

I bet he would change the monopoly of media in this country as well.

“It is a way for scared white guys to continue to suppress minorities…and very little else”.

It has always amazed me that eastern european ashkenazi type yiddish jews don’t consider themselves white when a preponderance of the ills blamed on white people have been caused by them.

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By ardee, February 3, 2010 at 4:38 am Link to this comment

But Ardee ... to class them all as racists is a bit tough don’t you think?  I wouldn’t call a Tea Bagger a libertarian… I just think of them as people who are easily led.  They’d spout any political position that Fox News promoted sufficiently.

But DBM.... any real perusal of the nuts and bolts of Libertarian ideas and ideals should quickly assure the discriminating researcher that this ideology is, at heart, exactly as I characterized it.

I do not dismiss everything proposed by said ideology, nor do I take the position that all who espouse it are racists, many are simpy attracted by the whipped cream and nuts atop the surface and fail to really truly inspect the filling.

Isolationism? The summary ending of all social programs? The pie in the sky assumption that private charity will replace the duty of the government to care for the least among us? The complete freedom of the corporation from govt regulation has worked out so well so far , has it not?

Of course the ending of foreign wars and the closing of our far too numerous military bases, as well as the call for responsible spending are a tasty treat for those who care not for the hard work of further study, and to lump these lazy thinkers under the broad brush of racism is of course too harsh.

But that the principles of Libertarian thought benefit only those who have and fail miserably to account for those who need is a form or racism seems obvious to me.

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By DBM, February 3, 2010 at 3:49 am Link to this comment

I think Libertarianism is getting us a very long way off what I consider an extremely worthwhile discussion of garrisoning the world at great cost to treasury and international opinion.

However ... grin ... For mine, I think libertarian ideas have an important place in many discussions as they are an extreme view.  The purity of their ideas makes them a good starting point to which a lot of real world complexity can be added.  It is useful to explain why certain libertarian ideals are not desirable or practical.

My most common complaint is that most libertarians I hear and read have a world model where there are just two entities:  Individuals and The State.  In the current situation, other institutions (large often multinational corporations) are far more powerful than The State and in fact dominate and co-op State powers for their own ends.  I haven’t heard many libertarians deal with this game changing reality.

But Ardee ... to class them all as racists is a bit tough don’t you think?  I wouldn’t call a Tea Bagger a libertarian… I just think of them as people who are easily led.  They’d spout any political position that Fox News promoted sufficiently.

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By ardee, February 3, 2010 at 2:38 am Link to this comment

PatrickHenry, January 16 at 11:10 am

Rather a “moral reprobate”, whatever that really means, than a poster of bigoted remarks such as you have been guilty of in the past. You may make up all the numbers you wish, after all what else do you have but your imagination when defending a political ideology that favors retaining the white mans wealth and ending all social programs and assistance to the poor, or a politician whose own staff has noted his ties to Stormfront.

as for Anarcissie and her typical supercilious and dismissive attitude regarding that which she herself doesn’t support…well, what can one say? It isnt the individual libertarian I oppose, it is the entire body of the ideology. It is a way for scared white guys to continue to suppress minorities…and very little else.

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By Anarcissie, January 16, 2010 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

Now, now, ardee, you’re just being a reductionist. (Heh.)  We’ve just been disparaging reductionists over in the Rogue Evita discussion.

It seems to me that libertarianism presents itself reasonably, although not all libertarians do, and deserves to be argued with on the same basis.  If you don’t like the quality of the libbits around here, there are numerous writers, from Locke to Nozick, who will give you a decent workout.

Ron Paul’s racist fans seem deluded as to what he stands for.  They are not very bright, after all,

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By PatrickHenry, January 16, 2010 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

Read some of the comments.

Of the over 32 million web postings regarding Ron Paul there may be 2% which moral reprobates like arby ascribe to, stormfront being his favorite.  If its written there it must be true.

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By ardee, January 16, 2010 at 5:16 am Link to this comment

DieDaily, January 14 at 10:28 am #

ardee…puhLEASE. Paul may or may not be legit, but
guilt by association by 2nd association?

PuhLEASE yourself. There are ,literally, dozens of links to Paul’s association with white supremacist groups. Dont like mine? Find your own.

Oh, PatrickHenry, January 15 at 8:43 am

Sp much for your “heartfelt” consideration fo the facts heh? You asked for corroboration, claiming , with undoubtedly “sincere” smile,that you would honestly consider such proof in your opinion of Paul. I gave you one of many, many such available and all you come up with is a flood of right wing posters criticizing the article….As if that wasnt Standard Operating Procedure in your right wing land.

I have stated before that I think Libertarian politics is solely about selfish and scared white folks seeking to protect their positions and their comfortable life styles from those with a bit more melanin in their skins than makes whitey comfortable. Libertarianism is to politics as Scientology is to religion, makes sense to some, very few thankfully.

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By PatrickHenry, January 15, 2010 at 3:43 am Link to this comment

the nicole nichols website was pretty lame, with half the commentors supporting Paul and criticising her hate site.

I noticed a post by a “senior aide” to Paul, by the tenor of his post they split ways when Paul and he disagreed on foreign intervention.  Of course Paul was the one against it.

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By ardee, January 15, 2010 at 2:39 am Link to this comment

DieDaily, January 14 at 10:28 am

Oh please back atcha…Several Paul staffers have admitted a link between Paul and Stormfront. Libertarian ideology is, at heart, an attempt by whites to keep what they have and deny the same to all others.

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By DBM, January 14, 2010 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment

Very good point Anarcissie ... The “failure to denounce” syndrome is rather pathetic to observe.  I think I will use that as a litmus test for tribal criticism as opposed to honest critique.

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By DHFabian, January 14, 2010 at 10:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ron Paul’s job is Ron Paul. The disproportionate attention he has received to date is based in the fact that he is a character, an odd personality that leaves people mildly puzzled.  As a character, he’s neither good nor bad. His strategy has been based on saying just enough, and remaining obscure enough, to let people read into his words whatever they wish.

I haven’t seen any reason to date to give Ron Paul more than a minute or two of attention.

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By Anarcissie, January 14, 2010 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

Guilt by tenuous association is fairly standard practice in mainstream politics and among (shall we say) the more traditional sort of person, because for them everything is tribal, as it was in the Stone Age.  One of my favorite manifestations of it is “failure to denounce”.  For example, David Dinkins, while running for mayor of New York City, was taxed with failure to denounce Jesse Jackson, who had failed to denounce Yasser Arafat, who was not only a terrorist ex officio but had failed to denounce a host of people the Israeli government and support organizations didn’t like, which was of some importance in New York City politics.  Therefore, Dinkins was an anti-Semitic terrorist regardless of his policies, ideas, or feelings.  This didn’t go over, but the effort was made and taken quite seriously.  Serious practitioners of mainstream politics must keep a list of those who must be denounced at hand and denounce them regularly, or else.  That Ron Paul does not do this, and even has apparently accepted money from prime denunciands (those who are to be denounced) implies that he does not take his ostensible role very seriously.

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By DieDaily, January 14, 2010 at 5:28 am Link to this comment

ardee…puhLEASE. Paul may or may not be legit, but
guilt by association by 2nd association? One time
when I was in my late teens, I started into a
construction partnership with a guy who seemed legit.
He turned out to be a racist idiot. Eventually we
parted ways. Am I a NAZI now? Ron Paul is sooooo non-
racist. It’s obvious. One of the many ways to confirm
this is that he NEVER plays the race card. Because
very few people are still stupid enough to fall for

He wants to downsize government, legalize EVERYTHING
including hard drugs and gay marriage by simply
getting the government out of those equations
entirely. He thinks addiction is an illness, not a
crime. He wants to close our bases and cease all
foreign use of force (you know, since the founders
kinda STIPULATED that!). There’s little for a liberal
not to like about Ron Paul, unless you disagree with
his economics…which to a certain degree I do (I
think if he downsized gov’t too fast we could be
utterly destroyed…I’d advocate huge public
infrastructure works first). This racist nonsense is
the worst sort or unsubstantiated tripe. It takes a
hell of a mind to resent $1500 donated by some idiot,
in favor of what we have in Washington. Should he
have the NSA snoop out every contributor?

If that’s the best the racists can come up with
against Ron Paul, then the FBI should be working them
harder. OMG. Ridiculous. That in itself is proof.

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By ardee, January 14, 2010 at 4:56 am Link to this comment

While i doubt you will change your mind on the appearence of any evidence, rather you will, I expect ,diminish any such I will include one of dozens of such links. You can, and should , do your own research as there are scads of other such:

Ron Paul, Don Black, and Stormfront…
Posted by nicolen on December 22, 2007

Good friends are worth keeping. Earlier this week, mainstream media went a little nuts when, after all this time, they realized that Don Black, owner/operator of the largest White Nationalist forum in the world, had contributed $500 to the Paul campaign. What, I guess, they don’t know is that Black has apparently contributed another $1000 this quarter. And, if there is any doubt about what circles Paul really moves in, I have received this picture from 5 different sources – left to right, Ron Paul, Don Black, Derrick Black (Don’s son).

Additionally, Bill White – the Roanoke Nazi and self-appointed “Commander” of the American National Socialist Party, continues to name those within Paul’s inner circle with affiliations to the hate movement. In his latest missive White states:

“Ron Paul and / or his staff, including Norman Kirk Singleton, whose name I’ve been trying to remember, and Daniel McAdams, his legislative aide, have apparently told the New Republic that they did know me, but it was “in the early 90s” when I was a “paleo-libertarian”.

He further explains that he would have only been a young teen at that time and that they actually met him in 2002 and 2003, at which time he was a “full-blown anti-Semite.” At any rate…Ron Paul has a lot of splainen’ to do.

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By PatrickHenry, January 14, 2010 at 3:17 am Link to this comment

I have read only the highest praise of Ron Paul by his staffers.  The campaign for liberty movement was created on his account.

I wouldn’t discount a “mole” or two placed in his organization with allegiance to another party in an attempt to discount him.  Happens all the time.

If there is any skeletons in Ron Pauls closet please provide them here where they can be scrutinized and open for debate.  If valid, they may even change my mind about him.

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By ardee, January 14, 2010 at 2:35 am Link to this comment

Trying to slander Ron Paul by linking him to supporters from organizations like Stormfront and Vanguard is like linking jews who criticize Israel as supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah.

Truth isnt slander. That would be,according to some of Paul’s own staffers, an accurate comment regarding his affiliations.

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By prosefights, January 13, 2010 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment

Wednesday January 13, 2010 18:29

He subsequently earned a M.P.A. degree (1985) and a Ph.D. degree (1987) in International Relations from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He later served as Assistant Professor of International Relations at the U.S. Military Academy and also completed a fellowship at Georgetown University. He has a BS from the U.S. Military Academy—class of 1974—from which he graduated as a distinguished cadet (top 5% of his class).

And this guy is to help make a decision whether to bomb Iran’s nuclear electricity generation facilities?

We’re concered that Petraeus may not know 1kWh = 3413 BTU.

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By PatrickHenry, January 13, 2010 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

By dhfabian, January 13 at 2:29 am #

You need a website and networkers.

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By samosamo, January 13, 2010 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

By dhfabian, January 13 at 2:29 am

You are on the money here and for a lot of what you say, so
does Scott Ritter in his book ‘Waging Peace’, a short succinct
diatribe on protestation of what needs changing.

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By dhfabian, January 12, 2010 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve seen little to date to indicate that today’s generation is capable of organizing.

If you want a movement, you need good spokespeople, and you need people who will actively get involved to rally other people. Yep, leaders. You need people who can organize.  What passes for most protest today is embarrassing because it is so politely compliant.  Permits are obtained, everyone stays nicely within the (out-of-the-way) “designated protest zone”, quietly observing all the rules so that they don’t (gasp!) disturb anyone. No microphones allowed, no banners, no signs, no shouting or singing, behave like good boys and girls. What’s the point?

You need a strong, clear, consistent message, and you need to get that message out to the public. That is precisely the point of protests. Relearn the meaning of “civil disobedience.”

Nothing is going to change if We the Ordinary don’t change it. But again, no movement can move without leaders.

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By Anarcissie, January 12, 2010 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

gerard—there are web sites, blogs, Usenet news groups, and other venues where people regularly discuss activism.  Truthdig seems to be more interested in obtaining screeds from the Washington Post and hanging them up for public derision.  It might not be the best place for activist thought.

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By prosefights, January 12, 2010 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment

Petraeus: Iran’s nuclear infrastructure can be bombed
DEBKAfile Special Report

January 11, 2010, 11:31 PM (GMT+02:00)

The deployment in the Middle East of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group in the first week of January adds muscle to the words of Gen. David Petraeus, CENTCOM commander, on Jan 10 that Iranian nuclear infrastructure, albeit strengthened against attack with enhanced underground tunnels, wasn’t fully protected.

“Well, they certainly can be bombed,” he said to CNN. “The level of effect would vary with who it is that carries it out, what ordnance they have and what capability they can bring to bear.”

This judgment contradicts recent US media estimates that Iran’s nuclear facilities buried deep in fortified tunnels are now protected against air or missile strikes.

Come on guys.

“[S]o far I have only described what is already obviously going on. Add to this the likelihood that Iran is closer to achieving membership in the atomic weapon club. They’ve been spinning their centrifuges all year and nobody has done anything about it. My guess is that neither the US nor Israel will attempt to take out their facilities in the year ahead. If Iran used a nuclear device against Israel, or anybody else, they would be asking to become, in turn, the world’s largest ashtray. ...

James Howard Kunstler

Let’s trying to get matters peacefully settled.

Petraeus doesn’t appear to be very intelligent.

We will renew our efforts to suggest that ambassador Ryan Crocker come clean on how the Iraq/Iran war got started.  Whitman College acted as we suspected and did nothing.

“He [crocker] will commence as the Dean of Texas A&M University’s George Bush School of Government and Public Service in January 2010.”

Google ‘nojeh nsa lawsuit the investigation’ for details.

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By gerard, January 12, 2010 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

Dare I ask:  How many of you critics are actively supporting of contributing regularly to support any peace group, civil rights organization,  environmental or community local action group, any public information agency like Democracy Now or Freedom and Accuracy in Reporting, or any group working on immigrant rights, social justice, alternatives to violence (AVP) or inter-racial or ecumenical groups?  Just a thought, as usually suggestions that we need to “do something” beyond talking go over with a dull thud.
  Might be interesting to share experiences and ideas in addition to making astute criticisms of the status quo.

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By PatrickHenry, January 12, 2010 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

I support Ron Paul based on the issues.

Trying to slander Ron Paul by linking him to supporters from organizations like Stormfront and Vanguard is like linking jews who criticize Israel as supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah.

Like these guys.

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By Peetawonkus, January 12, 2010 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

America is essentially bankrupt and fights its wars with credit from the Chinese. America’s military, drunk on its own myth of invincibility, is so overstretched at this point that if any single major incident happened outside of America’s control (say, North Korea invaded South Korea) America would be unable to respond. A house of cards has been set in place. Empires spend so much time and money reacting to enemies real and imaginary that they forget the old lesson: the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

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By Anarcissie, January 12, 2010 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

What difference does it make?

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By ardee, January 12, 2010 at 3:03 am Link to this comment

Who else supports Ron Paul?

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By LocalHero, January 12, 2010 at 2:44 am Link to this comment

Mr Pfaff, you assume that the real reason for building “a system of more than 700 military bases” is to “provide security” rather than “provoke war” and not the other way around. I’d argue that it was designed to do exactly what it’s done; keep the US in a perpetual state of war and the money flowing to the amoral M/I Complex while opening up new markets for exploitation.

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By samosamo, January 10, 2010 at 10:50 pm Link to this comment

By gerard, January 11 at 1:35 am

By gerard, I think this an great idea because I have thought
and thought as to how to circumvent the now treasonous
msm to get the real word and news to those slogged out
veggies in that well fertilized msm vegetable garden and it
would be one of the best ways to attack the msm that enjoys
such controlling features of the conservative owners of that

But it would take a concerted and group effort because the
msm traitors have such a head start that many many voices
need to enter into this diversion of their own tactics, but it
does require breaking into the msm garden to put a differing
opinion out to those comfortably numb people.

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By gerard, January 10, 2010 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment

The moment a sizeable number of people decide on some definite plans, and start writing letters, making public speeches, talking to their neighbors, forming community action groups, sit-ins, walk-ins, stand-ins, saying: “We want to stop dependending on War for Employment!” “We want Jobs with Peace.”  (Incidentally that was a slogan once upon a time.)  “We Want a new WPA.”  We Want Clean Energy Plants.”  “We want Pollution Clean-up!” “We Want to Make Environmentally Friendly Cars, Trains, Buses!”  “We want to improve our roads, bridges and public parks”  Presto! the spooky, apprehensive silence would be broken and it could happen.  Might take considerable insistence to get things started—a few mass sit-ins at TV stations and news companies, a few well-thought-out public speeches and debates, hundreds of neighborhood meetings.  Telephone calls. Donations. But .. it could happen. Extraordinary/ordinary Americans need to flex their political muscles, weakened by lack of use. Reclaim Democracy Now!

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By Ouroborus, January 10, 2010 at 6:35 pm Link to this comment

ghostrider67, January 10 at 9:00 pm

It’s illegal to use the military inside the U.S. for
law enforcement; so the well trained and experienced
contractors will come in handy.

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By Ouroborus, January 10, 2010 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment

Xntrk, January 9 at 9:01 pm

Nice comment. I agree. I wonder how much treasure we’re
willing to spend? And is there a limit to the number of
dead we’ll tolerate; both ours and theirs?

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By liecatcher, January 10, 2010 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment

TO:ghostrider67, January 10 at 9:00 pm

Privatization benefits the criminal cabals running the
country because there is no transparency or oversight.
Also, mercenaries with immunity will do whatever the
boss wants. Cheneyburton continues to make $billion
with no-bid & cost plus contracts, in other words, a
license to steal.

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By DBM, January 10, 2010 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment

Yes, Ghostrider.

... and watch those mercenaries go work for the highest bidder when the U.S. is no longer able to foot the bill.

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By liecatcher, January 10, 2010 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

The Question No U.S. Official Dare Ask
Posted on Jan 7, 2010 By William Pfaff

“...the U.S. global base system is a system of
insecurity for the U.S., and for others as well. But
what president would dare dismantle it?”

A president with a death wish.

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By ghostrider67, January 10, 2010 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment

Mr Pfaff your question is the following. Has it been a terrible, and by now all but irreversible, error for the United States to have built a system of more than 700 military bases and stations girdling the world? Does it provoke war rather than provide security?
Mine is: why do the US,with the world’s biggest military spending,and with all the above mentioned bases,soldiers,military advicers etc..need to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more to private security firms to do what the army was created for in the first place,most notable of them ex blackwater,a.k.a brownwater,a.k.a greenwater or pisswater,doesnt matter..while one in every eight American now lives on food stamps and health care is botched up and most painful of all,the young men and women that give blood and sweat in the actual US Army uniform earn much much less than these cutthroat mercenaries?——>

God forbid the day the US is finally unable to juggle the economy and cook the books to keep the dollar dominant and is unable to wage anymore wars to beef up the imaginary economy because it simply cant,and these so called private contractors are without jobs,i would bet my farm and horse that they will run rampant right at home,after all, they have high tech and better weapons that the regular army doesnt even know about and since killing is their bussiness and i’m sure they will not like to sit idle all day playing cribbage or watching Oprah.

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By PatrickHenry, January 10, 2010 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment


I for one am diappointed with Obama, and the inaction on issues of his platform for which he was elected.  His cabinet is full of zionists and he backed down to Israel, he gives banks hundreds of billions of bailouts yet fails the states like California.  He has enabled a no-win war on a poverty stricken nation like Afghanistan for no good reason.

I think Obama is a far better choice than McCain, however I would have preferred Kucinich or Ron Paul.

At least we are clear on the issues where he is failing us.  It would have been much more murkier regarding McCain.

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By liecatcher, January 10, 2010 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

TO: PatrickHenry, January 10 at 5:36 pm

Hey PatrickHenry: When you said:

“They need to step up the BRAC hearings.  Cut the
Defence budget and the bases will close themselves.”

It almost sounded like Nancy Reagan’s just say no to
drugs solution. However, in this case,The MILITARY
give up their revenue stream from perpetual wars &
base building. Does that make Bush3 a Zionist

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By liecatcher, January 10, 2010 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

The Question No U.S. Official Dare Ask Posted on Jan
7, 2010 By William Pfaff

Just when so many of us were expecting more of the
same, thanks to:

Gmarks, January 10 at 1:11 pm ,

we have something new. And as any good writer, a
hook,‘GERMANS’, was attached at
the very end to have fans, followers, & curiosity
seekers bite & wait
patiently for the next comment.

“WE ARE PRISONERS>... Just like Gazans, Syrians,
Lebanese and Yes.. GERMANS.”

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By gerard, January 10, 2010 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

You can call off your dogs now, you bitter critics of human nature and especially of middle-class intellectuals who are responsible for much of the rotten government and the heartless business of Amerika.  You’ve got me wrong at least in part, but why should you care?  Your mind is made up.

So go ahead and march around the walls of Jericho, blowing your horns, and when the walls fall down of their own stupid weight you can tell each other “Look! We did it! Ha, ha!”  But over in the corner under an elder tree there will be a little old MCAI writing the last sentence in a saga of the times:  “La vie, c’est tout inconnu.”

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By DHFabian, January 10, 2010 at 10:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gmarks, Gee, I thought it was the Arabs.  Or was it the Mexicans?  Oh, no, wait—it’s the Chinese!

Grow up, learn a little, give reality a try. You sound like the one book you’ve read is Protocols of the Elders. Granted, the Jews own the largest country on Earth, filled with vast mineral resources and the largest military.  And I have wondered about recent US presidents, like Reagansky, Bushovitz, Clintonstein, Obamavitch… The Jews own all the oil wells, and their space program dominates the field.  Right…

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By Anarcissie, January 10, 2010 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

gerard, January 10 at 2:51 pm:
‘Well, some of you recent posters are determined to have at the Jews….’

They either volunteer or are hired to see that no serious discussions take place.

Not that the present one is any monument—everyone has agreed that war and imperialism are bad.  Shocking, eh?  The only interesting thing I can see is the possibility that this is a trial balloon.  If you see others like it coming from similar neocon types, you’ll know something’s afoot.

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By gerard, January 10, 2010 at 9:51 am Link to this comment

Well, some of you recent posters are determined to have at the Jews and community organizers for sure.  Which means I have to “lecture” you again.

Please—the problem is the human being himself and herself.  Those who get drawn into destructive behavior have reasons, fears, ambitions, secret murderous plans, thoughtless hatreds, and they often (if not usually) take actions that beed worse troubles. Being Jewish or whatever completely secondary and often irrelevant, no matter what book says what.

On the other hand, human beings also have the ability to learn, to construct, to change, to be generous and loving, to understand, to empathize, to write symphoniess, to paint masterpieces, to cringe, to cower, to huddle. In fact it’s all mixed up in one and the same person, and you yourself know that is true.

The problem is what causes what and how to remove the cause and treat the injured—enough to keep us busy for centuries. Everybody would like to simplify it according to his/her own wishes or prejudices.  But alas . . .

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By Peetawonkus, January 10, 2010 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

Interesting how, in the name of protecting America, America closes one after another of its bases at home on American soil…and opens another halfway around the world. Is it 700 bases, or a 1000, or more? No one knows for sure because the military won’t discuss National Security issues with the citizens they are supposedly “protecting”.

If one didn’t know any better, it would look a lot like a relatively small ruling class using America’s military as global security cops for America’s “business interests.”

But of course it can’t be because the American government says it isn’t.

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By Unamerican, January 10, 2010 at 2:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Americans are their own worst enemy. Stay home. Mind your own business, and leave the world in peace. Israel… you too.

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By liecatcher, January 9, 2010 at 10:56 pm Link to this comment

The Question No U.S. Official Dare Ask
Posted on Jan 7, 2010 By William Pfaff

I believe the number of U.S. bases listed by FPIF, >
1000 is more accurate than
the 2004 figure used by Mr. Phaff.


Too Many Overseas Bases

By David Vine. Edited by Emily Schwartz Greco,
February 25, 2009

“In the midst of an economic crisis that’s getting
scarier by the day, it’s time to
ask whether the nation can really afford some 1,000
military bases overseas.
For those unfamiliar with the issue, you read that
number correctly. One thousand.
One thousand U.S. military bases outside the 50
states and Washington, DC,
representing the largest collection of bases in world

They are there, along with over 3000 within the U.S.
(not counting the secret sites)
to maintain & increase U.S. hegemony, which includes readiness to do a Tiananmen Square type of massacre here if we the people ever start to protest their exploitation & enslavement.
rake in
$billions while we the people lose our homes, jobs, &
The only thing that changes is the predator in the
White House.

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By Xntrk, January 9, 2010 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

Gerard: Usually I go to my relatives for a lecture. Thanks for volunteering your efforts.

BTW, is it necessary to only read from approved material to educate myself? I guess books by Latin American Revolutionaries who succeeded aren’t on the list.

As for community organizers, I spent over twenty years doing that. Talk about a waste of time, when faced with a fascist government and an entrenched plutocracy. Eventually you realize that it is a game intended to pacify the people who might try to do something if they were left to their own devices. Much easier to co-opt them with an important title and an Organization to join!

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By yours truly, January 9, 2010 at 8:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

From the start of the Cold War a central theme of the anti-war movement has been 1) give peace a chance & 2) stop squandering resources on weapons & devote these instead to the good and welfare of us all.  People in government don’t speak out for the reason several commenters have stated, namely, fear of getting canned if they do so.  What’s more this situation isn’t going to change since right now it’s the whistleblower, not the corporate crook who’s being indicted.  So what’s the answer?  First of all, about what isn’t the answer and that’s restricting ourselves to proving to the umpty-umpth decimal point that our government is a totally owned subsidiary of Corporate America, because the one thing that comes through from reading posts on this & other progressive sites, is that almost every contributor has her or his unique take on just why and how this came to be.  And if this is so, isn’t it best we accept it as a given that corporate America owns our government and move on to answering the question what are we going to do about it?  Aside from taking the easy way out, that is, which is to say nothing can be done, it’s hopeless, so why not just take care of number one, thus allowing ourselves to be defeated by our failure to act, the consequences of which very well could be someone among us (or her or his child or grandchild) ending up being the person who has to answer the call “Will the last one out please turn off the lights.”  Should such take place it’s not difficult to imagine what this person will be thinking.  Something like “Thanks a lot folks, when there was still a chance, for having done absolutely nothing to prevent this from happening.”

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By gerard, January 9, 2010 at 5:08 pm Link to this comment

Xntrk:  It’s not yet to the point where we are “too chicken” to die for what we believ.  And if we all do what we can now for what we believe, it won’t reach that point. Look up what organizations already formed are doing, and join them, contributing work and money.  Get together with neighbors and friends and discuss how to organize a group democratically to work on a particular issue intelligently and effectively in ways that will draw others in. Choose an issue to work on which is urgent, possible to accomplish or make progress, and one in which others are already interested.  Concentrate on positive action, not rants and screaming. Consult experienced organizers on how to influence centers of power.   
  Many such experienced people are working within existing organizations. (see Wikipedia for a list of social justice groups, anti-war groups, etc.
  There are ways to turn hot air into constructive political action, but it takes time, patience and guts—a relatively rare combination due to the demobilizing factors in our daily lives such as “too busy,” “ignorant”, “lazy”, “don’t want to know because there’s nothing I can do” etc. 
  Read.  Study.  Find your friends. Raise issues.  Think.  Act before you get really angry because anger is counterproductive. Go for it!

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By DHFabian, January 9, 2010 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment

As many of the posts show, people do get it.  We’ve been engaged in wars of choice more often than not since WWll. Nothing was won, and the loss has been incalculable. So—stop it.  Close most bases on foreign land, for the same reasons that foreign countries don’t have bases here. Start with closing down all the bases in Eastern Europe, built to hold back Soviet troops…

Reinvest the people’s money in, well, the people, from human aid funding (i.e., legitimate, non-punitive welfare, such as can be found in the more advanced nations), skills training and higher education. Re-create a world-class workforce to rebuild the US. Prohibit every US corp that receives ANY type of handout, from tax relief to grants, from outsourcing jobs.  Make higher education available to every qualified American, funding it as we fund public schools; this is essential for creating a world-class workforce (and yes, we must start putting the best interests of the country ahead of corporate profits!).

Train/educate people, rebuilding the workforce, and invest public dollars into sound job creation.
End our trade imbalance.  Raise wages to ensure that Americans can afford American goods (as they could before the “Reagan Revolution”).

One change that must be considered:  Men have always been paid higher wages than women on the grounds that men were the primary providers for families.  This is no longer the case.  Single men rarely raise children, single women often do, and in two parent families it’s the norm for both to work.  In other words, women are more likely today to be the family provider then men.  So, it’s time to start paying women more than men for the same reason that we previously paid men more than women.

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By Xntrk, January 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

I read about our military power and overwhelming superiority to all others.

Then I remember the dedication of those Vietnamese Patriots who defeated the French, and then the US against insurmountable odds. And I remember reading the story of the Cuban kid at the Bay of Pigs who wrote “Fidel!” with his own blood as he died.

In today’s Militant, is the foreword to a history of the Bay of Pigs by José Ramón Fernández. [The Inevitable Battle: From the Bay of Pigs to Playa Girón]. The article talks about the revolutionary fervor which fires the heart of the Cuban Military even today.

700 Bases may not be enough if we go against a dedicated opponent, which may be what is happening in Afghanistan… For all the blather about patriotism, most of us are far to comfortable and/or chicken to actually die for what we believe.

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By the observer, January 9, 2010 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Now ask the companion question:

What is the lost oportunnity?

How much better off would the average (and all bottom 99%) be if this money was spent hear in the states on building our economy?
(Instead of proping up everyone’s elses)

How much better off would we be 2x?, 5x?, 10x?

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By lisa lebowski, January 9, 2010 at 11:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When the goal-set, grand strategy, and the supporting strategies of an Nth State are transparent, then a policy of violence is the only effective policy. It is also a sure indicator of zero viable other options. Lack of options is the classical invitation to defeat.

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By wildflower, January 9, 2010 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

Re Hammond Eggs: “War is America’s heroin.  The high this nation gets from war cannot be described or measured.”

Surely, you know what you say is not true, Hammond. There are millions and millions of Americans who are opposed to war.  Just like there are thousands of organizations in the U.S. who seek peace as opposed to war.  If you doubt it, start with Wikipedia:

  American Friends Service Committee
  American League Against War and Fascism
  American Peace Mobilization
  Another Mother For Peace
  Anti-War Committee
  Campus Antiwar Network
  Campaign for Liberty
  Catholic Association for International Peace
  Catholic Worker Movement
  Center on Conscience & War (formerly known as NISBCO)
  Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors
  The Council for National Interest
  Code Pink: Women for Peace
  Common Dreams
  ChildVoice International
  DC Anti-War Network
  Friends Committee on National Legislation
  GI Rights Network
  Gold Star Families for Peace
  Iraq Veterans Against the War
  Iraq Peace Action Coalition
  Just Foreign Policy
  Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives
  Mennonite Central Committee
  Military Families Speak Out (not anti-war, opposed only to war in Iraq)
  National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam
  National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee
  Nevada Shakespeare Company
  Not in Our Name
  Peace Action
  Port Militarization Resistance
  September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
  Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
  Students for a Democratic Society
  The World Can’t Wait
  Troops Out Now Coalition
  United for Peace and Justice
  Veterans for Peace
  Vietnam Veterans Against the War
  War Resisters League

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By Hammond Eggs, January 9, 2010 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

War is America’s heroin.  The high this nation gets from war cannot be described or measured.  The United States is a shooting gallery.

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By Virginia777, January 9, 2010 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

“Has it been a terrible, and by now all but irreversible, error for the United States to have built a system of more than 700 military bases and stations girdling the world?”

Yes!! it has been

“Does it provoke war rather than provide security?”

Yes!! it does. Thus is the insanity of our military establishment and its immoral agenda.

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By Maureen, January 9, 2010 at 8:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“De-garrisoning the world” will happen soon in a messy way when the US runs out of credit.  What would be wonderful karma for the US, is to do it voluntarily ASAP.  Of course, you will never get that out of the Illuminati-controlled thieves in Washington. It is possible with the rapid rise of a third party, but that would require the ethical right (Ron Paulies) and the ethical left (you guys) to work (quickly) together to “throw the bums” out.

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By wildflower, January 9, 2010 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

RE PFAFF: “ It is time to ask a question that virtually no one in an official or political position in the United States is willing to contemplate asking. For a person in a responsible public position to pose this question would be to risk exclusion from the realm of “serious” policy discussion.”

Rational discussion in the U.S. has been under siege by far right partisans like Rupert Murdoch for almost 30 years. Murdoch, for example, occupies a huge segment of the public airwaves and he uses his empire to push public debate to the extreme right, which makes a “serious” policy review highly unlikely:

According to Businessweek, “his satellites deliver TV programs in five continents, all but dominating Britain, Italy, and wide swaths of Asia and the Middle East. He publishes 175 newspapers, including the New York Post and The Times of London. In the U.S., he owns the Twentieth Century Fox Studio, Fox Network, and 35 TV stations that reach more than 40% of the country . . . His cable channels include fast-growing Fox News. . . In all, as many as one in five American homes at any given time will be tuned into a show News Corp. either produced or delivered.”

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By Anarcissie, January 9, 2010 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

We already have massive unemployment.  The last time I looked, it was getting worse, too.  It is considered optimistic news these days if the rate of increase of job loss seems to be going down.

The usual solution to massive unemployment has been to start a war.  However, due to advances in technology, wars don’t last as long as they used to, nor do they employ as many people.  Also, other states and armed groups seem unwilling to fight except on ground which strongly advantages them, raising the unpleasant specter of possible defeat.

The alternative is to hire some of the unemployed to keep the rest under control.  I think that’s the way they’ll go.

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By DBM, January 9, 2010 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

Ok Gerard,  I agree now that I see your point.  The U.S. doesn’t produce very much that is tangible with the exception of arms.  With the military being the nation’s largest employer of human services as well, to remove all these bases would be potentially difficult for the economy.  I can’t see a moral way to avoid that though.

Anarcissie, I’d love to believe that this article is “floating the idea” of de-garrisoning the world!

Let’s see….

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By ardee, January 9, 2010 at 4:42 am Link to this comment

As to the closing of expensive and unecessary US bases around the world….I seem to recall candidate Obama pledging to do a line by line audit of our entire budget, while now President Obama seems to be suffering from short term memory lapse regarding this promise as well as many others.

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By mike112769, January 9, 2010 at 12:11 am Link to this comment

If we can’t afford to close the bases because we have no jobs for our servicemen, I guess we may as well attack the world.

WWII rescued our economy….I wonder what the politicians think WWIII will do for us?

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By lensman, January 8, 2010 at 10:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anarcissi gave us the big hint, and I think s/he’s on the right track. But all is not sweetness and light just yet.

Look at a map, for Pete’s sake: The present configuration of American bases is mainly - but not entirely - encircling Iran, and also lined up and pointing at the Aral Sea area, the last major oil reserves on the planet. The rest of the bases are ringed around other strategic energy reserves. Did you notice the creation of the new Africa Command? Nigeria is the 6th largest of our oil partners (~20% of our oil comes from Nigeria.)

As Brezinski has pointed out in his The Grand Chessboard, Russia must be contained and China denied access to the oil which we badly need.

Did you know that the huge Iraq oil reserves are buttoned down, squirreled away, as it were, for an energy-deficient future, guarded by 100,000 American troops? Also, the US military consumes a major fraction of all the oil we import.

Total Spectrum Dominance…b00yah !

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By DHFabian, January 8, 2010 at 8:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

gerard, You warn that ending war would result in even worse unemployment.  What if we turned much of the military into a new WPA? As I understand it, America’s infrastructure is nearly in shambles, and repairs/new infrastructure would create jobs from coast to coast. We need far more people in certain professions, yet few can pay for the college education needed to do those jobs.  Use a chunk of military spending for education and training, instead. The US out-spends every other country on its military, and we are less safe than ever, precisely because our government has acted so belligerently toward the rest of the world for decades. Stop provoking war, and save billions of dollars per year.

On the bases specifically, these don’t “ensure peace.”  On the contrary, they instill a deep and growing resentment among the world’s nations.

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By Philip J Dennany, January 8, 2010 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The report you read, supposedly was bin Ladin is one that is thought by very many to be a fake.  I read a statement from him where he totally rejected any part in 9-11.  He claims, and I agree, that it was at least largely a US covert operation.  There is still no conclusive evidence that the al-Qaeda(or is it al-CIAda)had any part of the destruction.  There is very much that evidence that is being pointedly avoided to prevent the truth be puplicly known, but the truth is still spreading.  Perhaps you should move a bit away from the corporate new providers that decide what news should be made public.

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By gerard, January 8, 2010 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

Taowalker:  I am always intrigued by your posts—and yet—maybe it’s my advanced age that works against me—or maybe I’m not desperate enough—but anyway, I can’t see how I could make such a radical reversal personally, or how any sizeable number of people can—say 10,000 for starters. One thing that mitigates against it is leaving everybody else to whatever happens - perhaps great suffering at the worst.  I feel some “survivor guilt” just contemplating it.
  I don’t oppose people who make this choice, but I doubt my own ability to make it, though you bring up many valid points and your thesis is correct at the base:  We have built a sickening “civilization” that is everything but civil.  For younger people without family, your way could be easier. 
  I guess that’s why I keep insisting on, and posting, suggestions and ameliorations,  hoping that if enough people understand what is happening and where we are going wrong, and work together for better ways, they can salvage the wrechage somehow and make new beginnings, acting on the side of life rather than killing themselves and others by their ignorance and heartlessness.

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By TAO Walker, January 8, 2010 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment

Maybe the most effective, among the several CONfining mechanisms of the “global” CONtraption, is the self-CONtainment CONceit that underpins the utter impossibility of “reasoning” a way out of it.  The damned thing CONsists mostly of a tangle of self-referential and thoroughly institutionalized “rationales,” anyhow.  These often religiossified CONvolutions always lead any would-be escapees right back into its toils.  This is so because the captives can only frame their “what-if” arguments in the terminology of the command-and-CONtrol apparatus itself, with its CONtrived orthodoxies dictated in-turn by an entirely make-believe but nevertheless completely pathological “dominance” paradigm….the “acceptable” terms of which comprise the only semantic “currency” to which the inmates’ve ever been exposed, by careful CONscious design.

The Living Language of Organic Form and Function, on the other hand, even when translated (as by this Old Savage here) into rather basic elements of the purposely impoverished vocabulary of modernamericanenglish for instance, remains essentially “foreign”, in its usages and structure, to domesticated modernamericans, for example….not being in any way at all a lexiCON of “dominance.”  So William Pfaff and most of those commenting here treat us all again to futile (if sincerely well-meant) exercises in rhetorical tail-chasing, CONsisting of various takes on the sophomoronic chicken-and-egg “question,” all based haplessly on opinions received from an “alien” regime compulsively and obsessively preoccupied with its own perpetuation….at the “cost” of virtually everything, and everyone, else.  It is the very prototype, perhaps, of every heterodyning positive-feedback-loop plaguing the domesticated peoples here in these “interesting times.”

So parsing the motives and methods of empire (or whatever current “world CONditions” might be called) and critiquing the actual effects on CONquerors and CONquered alike, can never reveal a Way out-of the vicious cycles that are the very hallmark of the “civilization” set-up itself.  For that we need a view of our Mother Earth’s Living Arrangement that transcends domestication simply as CONtext, and puts it into one infinitely larger than that terribly CONstricted (and self-CONsumptive) process itself.

What some of us surviving free wild Natives here on Turtle Island call The Tiyoshpaye Way meets that need by introducing us, as Human Beings, into Her whole Natural Living Arrangement, giving us a vital function within it, and “locating” all of this within the Great Hoop of Life, the effectively limitless Song ‘n’ Dance of Life Herownself.  This then is the defining difference between us and our tame Sisters and Brothers, who are, to-all-intents-and-purposes, in exactly the same CONdition (relative to our tormentors) as are those among our “other” Relations who’ve been subjected to the abusive system by homo domesticus itself.

Having thought and fought and bought their way into this predicament, the domesticated peoples behave with feckless folly in persisting with those futile methods, driven by infantile motives.  The hard-won wisdom of our Ancestors remains available here, but can be accessed only by those willing to step beyond their (false) comfort zones, and to forgo all the crippling CONveniences designed to keep them stuck on the DEAD END road to oblivion that is “civilization.”

C’mon to Indian Country, Y’all.


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By Maureen, January 8, 2010 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, actually, there is a US Congressman who has been asking this question for many years—Ron Paul. At last count there were more than 737 overseas bases plus hundreds within the US. What you have to understand is that the $USD is hanging by a thread.  Someday soon it will collapse to its real value—zero.  If the US were to close these foreign bases the $USD would immediately collapse.  Of course it will anyway in a few months. Economist, Catherine Austin Fitts explains all this plus the fact that elements of the CIA have been running drugs and funneling the profits into the immense black budget. That’s why the whole system cannot be changed from the inside.  China will pull the plug soon enough.  The families of US servicemen need to be thinking now of how they are going to get their kids home from those 737 overseas bases.

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By EJH, January 8, 2010 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

“...that sterling patriot EJH.”

ed_tru_lib - I am not a patriot of any country
(interesting that you seem to assume I am an American). 
Patriotism is for the weak and the foolish and only
leads to war and murder and suffering.

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By Jackie Feazell, January 8, 2010 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Economics is essential to this question at both ends - the powerful will never
want to let go of their huge war profits or control of their self-interest and the
poor, especially rural, who can’t get a job join the military - it’s always ‘hiring’.
Small minds, rich or poor, cannot conceive of changing a system for the public
good whether it be at home or abroad. They can’t even see that KILLING IS
The other essential factor is fear. Americans are fed endless propaganda to
keep us afraid and see enemies everywhere. I remember my sister telling me
she wouldn’t vote for a Democrat because Clinton had closed bases and she
wanted to feel safe which meant American defense all over the world. This
illusion of safety trumped ALL other issues for her! and I’d wager for many
Americans it does. So even if our pathetic Congress and peace prize winning
President could bring themselves to have a serious and honest discussion
about war and defense, many Americans would rise up and freak out.
Ignorance kills and educating oneself seems too much work for Americans
preferring arrogant superiority and shopping.

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By JohnMcD, January 8, 2010 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

For just a fraction of what we spend, we could still have the world’s most powerful defensive army.. and if we weren’t always off making enemies we wouldn’t have too much to be scared of when it comes to being attacked.  Really, compared to lightning, bees, sharks, wheat, and a bunch of actually deadly stuff, there’s really to fear at all “but fear itself” and the way people do crazy stuff like starting wars or spying on their neighbors in the hope of being protected from these semi-imaginary/incredibly unlikely fears.

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By Carl, January 8, 2010 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

The first base to close is Gitmo, the entire base! From G2mil:

President Obama should order the closure of the entire naval base at Gitmo, not just the prison. One reason it was selected as a prison is because the base has no real mission. A former head of the U.S. Atlantic command, Marine Corps General John Sheehan, wanted it closed a decade ago. It has all the personnel support amenities our modern Navy expects, including a school for the 331 children of sailors. It has a hospital, a church, a movie theater, recreation facilities, a McDonalds, and even a veterinarian clinic. No combat forces are based there, or even combat support forces. There are no ships, no aircraft, no weapons, nor munitions based at Gitmo.

Gitmo was established after the Spanish-American war because the U.S. military always builds bases in newly conquered areas. Its mission as America’s first foreign base was to serve as a “coaling station” where coal-powered ships could refuel. When longer-range oil-powered ships entered the fleet, a new mission was invented. The base watched for enemy fleets heading toward the Panama Canal. This was before aircraft and satellites, and when the USA controlled the canal.

The small ship maintenance activity at Gitmo was shut down in 1995 and the fleet training group moved to Florida that same year. Gitmo is now a rarely used airfield that was retained to irritate Castro. Relations with Cuba should normalize as Castro has retired and Obama has promised to ease trade barriers. Closing Gitmo is a good step, and one that will save the U.S. Navy millions of dollars a year and eliminate 1500 base personnel slots. Gitmo is expensive to operate since every support item must be shipped from the USA, and the base must generate its own electricity and produce its own fresh water. It is considered a hardship post since sailors are not allowed outside the gates. They could turn out the lights at Gitmo tomorrow and fly everyone home, and the rest of the Navy wouldn’t notice.

The only plausible element at Gitmo is a small “joint drug task force,” which is found at every U.S. military base in Latin America to help justify their dubious purpose. The Navy already has an air station at Key West, Florida for whatever Caribbean contingency arises, plus access to airfields in Puerto Rico and dozens of airfields at friendly nations in the region. Unfortunately, the U.S. military never closes a base voluntarily, even when they no longer serve a purpose. Someone should inform President Obama that he should order the closure of the entire base at Gitmo, for the good of the Navy and the nation.

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By ender, January 8, 2010 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment

Great point gerard.  I was mistaken that we no longer produce anything.  We produce destruction then pay the Complex to rebuild it then fund the Taliban to blow it up again.  If you’re an amoral sociopath that make perfect sense.

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By gerard, January 8, 2010 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

Carl: Regarding your comment: “Another point is that many of these bases have no real military purpose and drain our military of manpower and resources it could use elsewhere.”
  That’s true, but still evades the true horror which is that we HAVE NO JOBS for our “manpower” except the military, which means that if we closed the bases and stopped the wars suddenly, there would be massive unemployment and economic disaster, added to what we already have.  Which means that, although closing the bases and stopping the wars MUST BE DONE, it will not be easy because we have become “slaves” to killing as a way of making money.  War is our “product” and the military and its allied agencies are our “producers.” WAR IS US! The sooner we begin to change that, the better for US and for the rest of the world (except for the people who buy our weapons to kill people in their own countries—Israel/Palestine, Africa, and too often Central America).

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By prosefights, January 8, 2010 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

CNN reported on the Web Friday January 8, 2010

“The wife of an alleged suicide bomber who killed eight people at a U.S. base in Afghanistan last week says she is shocked by his actions but “proud” of what he did.”

The US is making lots of enemies.

We’re still working on Iraq/Iran war start problem. 

We’ve approached the Insurance industry to get our $22,036 back.  Google ‘nojeh nsa lawsuit’ for details.

And we’re thinking up ideas to pressure ambassador Ryan Crocker to tell us his version of how the Iraq/Iran war got started.

“He [Crocker] will commence as the Dean of Texas A&M University’s George Bush School of Government and Public Service in January 2010.”

Maybe we can bring some pressure here?  Our Whitman college idea failed.

Electricity generation is another of our interests.

We see possibility of looming electricity shortages as a result of increased demand.  Google ‘3412.14163’ to possibly see that alternate energy has a serious problem satisfying large-scale electric demand.

We recently learned that best condition solar can only produce about 320 BTU per square foot per hour.

Couple with 1kWh is approximately equal to 3413 BTU and the second law of thermodynamics to see possible problems with solar generation of electricity.

Money, however, can be made selling solar electric systems to those who do not under the significance of the above two paragraphs. 

Google ‘pnm, renewable energy backer reach pact’ to read,“This is a crucial step for making New Mexico a leader in solar energy,” said Brian Cassutt of the Renewable Energy Industries Association of New Mexico.”

Are Iran’s nuclear electric generation factilities going to be bombed?

Too many ‘intersting things’ going on for us super-seniors [over 70].

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By gerard, January 8, 2010 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

DBM—Where did you get the idea from my previous post that I am “fooled” into thinking that the military is “good for the economy”?  I am amazed that you could twist my meaning.  I referred only to the fact that our economy is a war economy, depends on war to make money, and questioned how we could “get free of this slavery.”  It was to fill in the blanks left by Mr. Pfaff that I wrote the comment—blanks being the need to point out that by putting all our eggs in the war basket we are not only killing to dominate, but hundreds of thousands of jobs depend on killing, which is evil and insane.

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By ender, January 8, 2010 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

Pres. Eisenhower warned us of the ever increasing power of the Industrial Military Complex.  Thomas Jefferson exonerated us that ‘every generation needs a new revolution’ and we just don’t listen.  I think that most of us that recognize that we are living in a ogliarchy blame them without looking at American Citizens.  Too many Americans think they deserve a life style that is impossible to most of the world. They’ve bought into the lie that they are smarter, more productive and have some higher moral authority. 
So what if a few brown people have to die?  They were uneducated and backwards and oh well.  Even most liberals really wouldn’t give up cheap gas and creature comforts for the sake of South American Indians.  What are they going to do with oil?
Most refuse to see that our largess comes at the expense of others.
  America consumes more than it produces. We appear to be productive because just like the USSR before its fall we have built an Empire of colonized satellites that we steal raw goods and labor from at production cost only and subsistence pay for labor. And, like the USSR we are doomed to failure as the Empire collapses. Venezuela was the first sign. We staged two coup attempts against a Democratically elected head of state because he has made it a priority to let that nations oil benefit the entire population instead of a few corrupt elite friends of a dictator we control. We pulled the democratically elected leader of Haiti out because he was instituting a minimum wage. We support the most Fundamentalist govt in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia, where bin Laden, al queada, the Taliban are all funded and trained to keep oil prices at the level that best supports our economy. We are destroying Mexico with the ‘War on Drugs’ and cheap and available firearms so we get their labor at de-basement prices.

Americans produce knowledge and oversized homes that no one else in the world could afford to heat and cool. We haven’t produced any significant durable goods in comparison to consumption in many years. Our wealth is a pipe dream propped up by a slightly benevolent oligarchy that uses the Federal Reserve to keep wealth and the resulting power moving into an ever smaller percentage of the population. And they are rapidly losing their benevolence as they become more powerful and there is less to steal. They’ve got it all.

This well documented BBC Radio account of the Bush Family Coup attempt shows how close we are to a fascist overthrow.

I’m suprised the Axis of Evil, Dick Bush Rummy let the transfer of power happen, but obviously the deal was in with Barack Bush so we Citizens have a pretention of political power.  But, we will be pillaged and bankrupted before most Americans open their eyes.

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By Carl, January 8, 2010 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

Another point is that many of these bases have no real military purpose and drain our military of manpower and resources it could use elsewhere. Obama should form an overseas base closure commission to review and close outdated military bases. This would boost his poll numbers too. has articles on four bases that should be closed.

Vacate RAF Lakenheath - the Russians aren’t coming

Close Gitmo, the Entire Base - it has no purpose

Close Outdated U.S. Military Bases in Japan - Futenma & Atsugi

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By hark, January 8, 2010 at 9:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For gerard, 11:41 p.m.

The United States shifted from a peacetime economy to a wartime economy and then back again from late 1941 to 1946, on a massive scale.  I think we can handle closing the bases and investing all the savings into development of a 21st century infrastructure and alternative energy and transportation systems without too much trouble.

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By FRTothus, January 8, 2010 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

Mr Pfaff seemingly fundamentally misunderstands the US system, and thus asks the wrong question(s).  Answers to the correct questions would reveal who benefits from war, and would make plain that war makes a great deal of sense, for it deters democracy, and rewards those who have wealth and power.  Those who control US policy are not at all interested in “peace”, do not care a whit about “jobs” for the proles, and in fact prefer fascism and military dictatorships (aka “stability”) over democracy, which, because it allows the poor a say in governance, is wholly despised by those who believe, as John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court believed, that “Those who own the country ought to govern it.”  The ruling elites and those who pull their strings also understand, as Machiavelli explained, that it is better to be feared than loved.  The fact is that wars are quite functional and profitable, on so many levels, for the powerful and well-connected.

“The military budget is simply an enormous pork barrel of special privilege, the privileges taking the form of windfall profits, of no-risk profits and, most importantly, of enormous outlays of capital supplied by the Pentagon to arms contractors.”
(Walter Karp)

“The United States has no tradition of subordinating itself to international treaty-based law, and it has no interest in a world order in which military force becomes operational only as a last resort.”
(Peter Gowan)

“This country is in the grip of a President who has surrounded himself with thugs in suits who care nothing about human life abroad or here, who care nothing about freedom abroad or here, who care nothing about what happens to the earth… The so-called war on terrorism is not only a war on innocent people in other countries, but it is also a war on the people of the United States: a war on our liberties, a war on our standard of living. The wealth of the country is being stolen from the people and handed over to the superrich. The lives of our young are being stolen. And the thieves are in the White House.”
(Howard Zinn)

“Corporate America is intent on eliminating taxes on all capital incomes. Nor do they care if record budget deficits are the result. Many of their more right-wing friends, including those in Congress, actually want larger deficits. They see chronic, record deficits as producing the budget crisis necessary to use as an excuse to privatize Social Security and dismantle what remains of the Roosevelt New Deal programs of the 1930s.”
(Jack Rasmus)

“[American leaders] are perhaps not so much immoral as they are amoral. It’s not that they take pleasure in causing so much death and suffering. It’s that they just don’t care ... the same that could be said about a sociopath. As long as the death and suffering advance the agenda of the empire, as long as the right people and the right corporations gain wealth and power and privilege and prestige, as long as the death and suffering aren’t happening to them or people close to them ... then they just don’t care about it happening to other people, including the American soldiers whom they throw into wars and who come home - the ones who make it back alive - with Agent Orange or Gulf War Syndrome eating away at their bodies. American leaders would not be in the positions they hold if they were bothered by such things.”
(William Blum)

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By Nory Fussell, January 8, 2010 at 9:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The world, the US govt. is a very different beast now than it has ever been.
Emboldened by the events of Aug. 6th & 9th, 1945, by the successful and
shocking murder of a president, by murderous “interventions” in countries far
too numerous to mention, what Thomas Merton called The Unspeakable has
risen to be unquestionably in control of foreign policy, industry, media,
economy, education, etc.

This isn’t the same country I was born in, the same government that I was
taught to look to for “truth, justice and the American way”. The only thing I see
out there that gives me “hope” is how many people are naming it, speaking
directly to it and shining light on it (even one or two brave souls in Congress).
The only way “out” is to get out; out of the economy (localize, grow your own,
etc.), out of the MSM mindfunk (turn it off) and out of the further militarization
of our lives and culture (resist, through action thought and word).

“Less stuff, more fun!” Look what Gandhi accomplished with just a rice bowl, a
pair of sandals and reading glasses. “Be the change” and actively resist
militarization. On all levels (ecology, economy, justice, peace) the world-wide
military-industrial-media complex is The Beast, the Unspeakable, and deserves
nothing more than to be starved out of existence.

Empower the person, get war out of the heart.

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By bozhidar balkas, vancouver, January 8, 2010 at 9:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To W Pf, with respect,
Aren’t most or all US bases and even some occupations quite welcome by fascists? Perhaps most bases may not be wanted by all non-fascists.

But most arab lands, afpak r ruled by warlords and feudal lords. And it seems to me US military presence is quite welcome in s.arabia and elsewhere by people who matter.

US bases, aggressions {US is not at war anywhere right now}, occupations are part of US/nato terror.
These actions r parts of a whole: longstanding US foreign policy to expand by any means whatever.

And that’s why no one in officialdom dares criticise bases, aggresions, occupations, killings/maimings of innocent people.
It wld mean turning against uncle and the end of a nice lucrative job.
Criticism of bases, etc., wld mean criticism of God Bless America;just like criticsm of killing gypsies and slavs, wld h. been criticism of Deutschland Ueber Alles or Sieg Heil!

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By Anarcissie, January 8, 2010 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

DBM, January 8 at 8:41 am:
‘Amazing really that this story is worth an article.  I mean really the answer which comes to mind is:

“No Shit Sherlock!” ...’

That was my immediate reaction to Pfaff’s thumbsucker.  But then I began wondering about why it appeared in the first place.  As they used to say of Pravda, I mean, the Times, the questions you want to ask are not the details of the content, which may well be fictive, but “Why are they telling us this?  Why are they saying it now?”

I assume Pfaff is flacking for the ruling class, so I can’t help wondering whether his article is a trial balloon to see if a certain amount of withdrawal from the role of world cop is acceptable to those who count and to the folk who follow them.  This in turn I read as very possibly stemming from an apprehension that the U.S. is effectively bankrupt.  Another possibility is that the ruling class apprehends serious malfunctions in both of its major instruments of political control, the major parties, which may break into the open in the near future, making control of the people more difficult.

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By Hotch, January 8, 2010 at 8:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No President will dismantle these bases as long as the US is a warmaking/military/corporate run Empire. Perhaps, one day, some country, or group of contries, will say, “We can’t stand it any more!”, and take the matter into their own hands.

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By kerryrose, January 8, 2010 at 8:07 am Link to this comment

You are absolutely right.

We are provoking terror with our aggressive occupations.  It is so nice to read the blogs from writers who are not beating their chests, or wringing their hands (Ruth Marcus).

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By race_to_the_bottom, January 8, 2010 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

Montana, neither Russia nor China will play such a game of chicken with a mad dog. It is a dog unrestrained by sober consideration of consequences in a state where the two factions of the single ruling party are in constant competition for the title of the most bellicose and reckless defender of the Empire.

Most governments and peoples of the world realize that the US is dangerous not because it is rich and powerful, but because it is so violent.

The US (Israel too) does not play by the same rules as other states. It has reserved for itself the exclusive right to decide right and wrong. It openly states that it will use violence wherever it chooses. People in the US are so isolated from reality that they don’t realize how horrible this is.

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By ed_tru_lib, January 8, 2010 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

Well I shoudn’t be too surprised.

I guess you have to be smart enough to read (well) to notice that I said nothing explicite about the article-merely commented on a moron’s referral to the good guys as murderers and (implicitely) the bad guys (Nanking, Bataan, Pearl Harbor-now I KNOW you remember that last one lol!!!) as good. AKA I responded to an at best stupid and leftyairyfairy, at worst utterly wrong if not evil comment by that sterling patriot EJH.

Along comes diedaily (isn’t that what the saying says cowards do?) with his comment so typical of a truthdig troll who doesn’t get out much (dd I counsel enemas, and an online dating service) and whose earlier comment I liked.

Yup guys I sho nuff am the one w/the STRANGE ideas here.

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By coco, January 8, 2010 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

65 years later after the illiterate leadership of Bush W, Japan wants control of their own destiny. Shall we make permanent enemies of the world by a dictating domination? Why aren’t these 700 bases controlled by the U.N. and NATO? Could it be we can’t trust the allies we have to take control of the military power? Because we know they will sell us down the road in a second? If all our soldiers came home where would they all work?
Could America change its position by considering nothing for nothing, and something for collateral?
Will Christianity be the death of our country? Or will it be a soft hand and the military industrial complex and greed? To invade and occupy a country and think that any of the people love you, takes real stupidity. Start with the biggest city and relentless force, shake hands with no one until an unconditional surrender is reached. Apply the U.N. to establish world government. Kill 10 million, save a billion.

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By Paul_GA, January 8, 2010 at 6:22 am Link to this comment

As Garet Garrett once said, “Is it security you want? There is no security at the top of the world.”

I doubt any American president will dismantle this proud, shameful system—it’ll dismantle itself, as this country continues to decline. All empires rise; they also fall—usually because they get too big (“The bigger they are,” etc.).

BTW, Montana, please don’t forget that China, not Russia, controls this country’s purse-strings, and is the likely challenger and heir apparent to the American Empire.

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By montanawildhack, January 8, 2010 at 5:34 am Link to this comment

All it’s gonna take is someone to actually stand up to the United States… By someone I’m talken’ bout Russia…..

Imagine this going down…  Russia states that it has come up with its own Monroe Doctrine and it is going to start enforcing it….  It states that if the U.S.( or Israel-same thing) drops so much as a firecracker on Iran they will be dealing with the Russian military in a very intimate way… In other words, a real honest to goodness WAR…. The United States is just a school-yard bully and it’s going to take a bully of equal size to knock some sense into our thick head….

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By thecrow, January 8, 2010 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

“But what president would dare dismantle it?”

Not this one:

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By idarad, January 8, 2010 at 5:00 am Link to this comment

exactly - my response was and is read Chalmers Johnson’s books “Blowback”  and “Nemesis”

to dead head ed true lib otomy -
Hiroshima Nagasaki = mass murder

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By DBM, January 8, 2010 at 3:41 am Link to this comment

Amazing really that this story is worth an article.  I mean really the answer which comes to mind is:

“No Shit Sherlock!”

Has there ever been a question with a more obvious answer.  Even more amazing to me is Gerard widely held view that spending all this money on the military is somehow good for the national economy.  Two points:

1.  It’s not.  Government spending on almost anything else puts more money into the economy than military spending which pretty much ends up exploding in a foreign country or something!

2.  If it was good for the economy it would be totally immoral to promote violence and destroy international relations just for the money.

But hey ... the military industrial complex spends a lot of money influencing how Americans think.  One of the main themes is the BS that military spending is good for the economy.  Gerard is not alone in being fooled.

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By ardee, January 8, 2010 at 3:08 am Link to this comment

An article the premise of which is hard to disagree with…So I wont.

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By EJH, January 8, 2010 at 2:16 am Link to this comment

DieDaily - I considered responding to ed_tru_lib and
his silly comment, but I didn’t bother partly because I
am not sure he deserves a response and partly because I
knew another of the good citizens of Truthdig would do
it for me anyway.  Thank you.

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