Bases, North America

U.S. House of Representatives Creates Requirement That There Be Some Basis for Any Foreign Bases

By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, July 11, 2019

By a vote of 219 to 210, at 2:31 p.m. on Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment introduced by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar requiring that the U.S. military provide Congress with the cost and the supposed national security benefits of every foreign military base or foreign military operation.

World BEYOND War had flooded Congressional offices with the demand for Yes votes.

Here is the text of the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act as passed:

At the end of subtitle G of title X, insert the following: SEC. 10. REPORT ON FINANCIAL COSTS OF OVERSEAS UNITED STATES MILITARY POSTURE AND OPERATIONS. Not later than March 1, 2020, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report on the financial costs and national security benefits of each of the following for fiscal year 2019: (1) Operating, improving, and maintaining overseas military infrastructure at installations included on the enduring location master list, including adjustments that take into account direct or in-kind contributions made by the host nations of such enduring locations. (2) Operating, improving, and maintaining overseas military infrastructure supporting forward-deployed forces at overseas contingency locations, including adjustments that take into account direct or in-kind contributions made by the host nations of such enduring locations. (3) Overseas military operations, including support to contingency operations, rotational deployments, and training exercise.

In this video from Wednesday on C-Span, at 5:21, Rep. Omar makes the case for a need to justify foreign military bases, not just blindly fund unlimited and unknown empire. At 5:25 Rep. Adam Smith makes the case as well. One of their colleagues argues in opposition, but it’s difficult to find coherent meaning in what he says, and it’s hard to imagine what a persuasive case could be for the 210 No votes recorded. What could be the advantage of coating the globe with military bases without bothering to know what each one costs or whether each one plausibly makes you safer or actually endangers you?

The closing of U.S. bases and the removal of U.S. military personnel are critical to the elimination of war.

The United States has more than 150,000 military troops deployed outside the United States on more than 800 bases (some estimates are more than 1000) in 160 countries, and all 7 continents. These bases are the central feature of U.S. foreign policy which is one of coercion and threat of military aggression. The U.S. uses these bases in a tangible way to preposition troops and weaponry in the event they are “needed” at a moment’s notice, and also as a manifestation of U.S. imperialism and global domination — a constant implicit threat. Additionally, because of a history of military aggression, countries with U.S. bases are targets for attack.

There are two principal problems with foreign military bases:

  1. All these facilities are integral to preparations for war, and as such undermine international peace and security. The bases serve to proliferate weapons, increase violence, and undermine international stability.
  2. Bases cause social and environmental problems at a local level. Communities living around the bases often experience high levels of rapes committed by foreign soldiers, violent crimes, loss of land or livelihood, and pollution and health hazards caused by the testing of conventional or non-conventional weapons.  In many countries the agreement that permitted the base stipulates that foreign soldiers who perpetrate crimes can not be held accountable.

The closing of U.S. foreign military bases in particular (they make up the vast majority of all foreign military bases) would have a significant effect on global perceptions, and represent a massive shift in foreign relations. With each base closure, the U.S. would become less of a threat. Relations with host countries would be improved as the base real estate and facilities are rightfully returned to local governments. Because the United States is far and away the most powerful and aggressive military in the world, the closing of foreign bases would represent an easing of tensions for everyone. If the U.S. makes such a gesture, it may induce other countries to address their own foreign and military policies.

In the map below, every color but gray indicates the permanent basing of some number of U.S. troops, not counting special forces and temporary deployments. For details, go here.

To get involved in World BEYOND War’s campaign to close bases, visit our website.

 

 

#NoWar2019 Pathways to Peace conference in Limerick, Ireland October 5-6 2019

7 Comments

  1. Eileen Kuch says:

    There are no justifications whatsoever to keep/maintain US bases worldwide. The reason the US created bases around the world have nothing to do with its security and safety; instead, it’s just a pretense for military aggression against targeted countries.
    The largest Empire before the US was Britain, who had bases in North America, the Caribbean, India, and most of Africa and the Middle East. But Britain lost all of its colonies after WWII, due to high debt, starting with India in 1947. The UK passed the torch of Empire to the US, who still holds it today.

  2. Here is a detailed list of where to start closures.
    http://www.g2mil.com/OBCL.htm

    • Leah Bolger says:

      Hello Carlton,
      Leah Bolger here from WBW–I am heading up our efforts to close U.S. foreign military bases, and I am really excited about all the information you linked to. Did you write the first part? My e-mail address is leah@worldbeyondwar.org. I would love to talk to you further about all of this research.

  3. So long as any basis will do, all of them will be well-covered. They all provide financial support for the local alcohol, prostitution, drug, and golf industries, along with massive profits for all the local businesses who slipped sufficiently large envelopes of cash to the appropriate military “liaisons” to secure exclusive contracts for supplies, etc. As for anything related to the security or defense of America, they will ALL fail. The American military has nothing to do with any of that anymore. The only threats we face to our freedom, liberty, and way of life, come from the parasites that infest our local, state, and federal government and the military does nothing about them.

  4. Kudos to Rep Omar for sponsoring this legislation. We need more people like her in Congress!! All Congresspeople who continue to vote for bloated budget for the incompetent, rapist US military should be targeted for replacement. This country simply cannot afford to continue this practice. Furthermore, the US military is a Grade A welfare program for those at the top.

  5. Close the bases now

  6. If we don’t pursue peace now, we may not have the option in the
    future.

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