"War is the greatest threat to public health." - Gino Strada, Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bases Loaded (But This Ain't No Game)


A Chinese proverb says that "one picture is worth a thousand words." One map, however, can be worth thousands of military bases, in this case U.S. military bases. At one time it was said that the sun never set on the British Empire; well, the sun finally did set on that one. Another empire took its place, and judging by the map, the sun never sets on the U.S. Empire these days. But as with all empires, the sun will, indeed, set one day on the U.S. Empire, as desperately as the warmakers try to sustain this global militaristic beast.

I thought it would be valuable to show in graphic fashion just how large the U.S. military empire has become, with nearly every continent hosting the U.S. military. The most recent data used for this map was from 2007. I would hazard a guess that there are at least a few more dots on the map since then; it is highly unlikely that we would give up any of those "strategic" assets we have worked so hard to acquire (even though a nation occasionally threatens to throw us out).

(Click on the map for the full size version.)

The government's aspirations for AFRICOM, the U.S. military's long arm reaching deep into Africa, most likely include one dot on the map for each of the 53 African nations!!! The official AFRICOM 2009 Command Brief (very slick marketing here folks) makes the U.S. military look like some kind of humanitarian organization instead of a massive, global oil protection force. Even though we don't yet have all the actual bases in place, it looks (based on the Command Brief map) like we have a presence in at least 35 nations already; definitely the proverbial foot-in-the-door!

One has to wonder just how much all this is costing us, and just how sustainable it all is. After all, it sucks huge amounts of human and financial capital, and natural resources. We spend a fraction of the total national budget on things like education,health care and energy, yet anywhere from 43 to 57 percent (depending on whose numbers you trust) is free flowing to the military, and is increasing under the Obama administration!

Ask your Congressperson to cut the military budget. You can personalize the email message at Voters for Peace (and while you are at it, ask why we need so many overseas military bases).
Click here to send your message. I hear that Aruba is a nice place to go on holiday, but do we need a military (counter-narcotics) base there???



You can view the full-size map of U.S. military bases by clicking here.

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