Wednesday, February 10, 2010

So Many Military Bases

Tom Dispatch wrote an article about the secret and not-so-secret military bases the U.S. is constructing. Thanks to Il Principe for the link to this wonderful article which supports his frequent writings about the subject on Opinione.

In 2003, when the Bush administration invaded Iraq, the Pentagon already had on its drawing boards plans for building a series of permanent mega-bases in that country. (They were charmingly called “enduring camps.”) Once Baghdad fell and it turned out that, Saddam Hussein or no, the U.S. was going to have to fight rather than settle in and let the good times roll,hundreds of micro-bases were added to the mega ones -- 106 of them by 2005, more than 300 in all. Then, in 2005, Washington decided to trade in its embassy in one of Saddam’s old palaces for something a little spiffier. In its place, on a 104-acre plot by the Tigris River in the middle of Baghdad, for at least three-quarters of a billion dollars after cost overruns, it built the largest,most expensive embassy on the planet. It was planned for a staff of 1,000 “diplomats” with all the accoutrements of the good life and plenty of hired help. (Even now, despite much discussion about “ending” the American role in Iraq, further plans are reportedly being made for the embassy’s staff to double.) This was clearly to be U.S. mission control for the Greater Middle East.

The article goes on to describe the incredible proliferation of bases in Afghanistan, naturally at staggering cost. Meanwhile, at home things have not been so good.

What's your opinion? Is this unprecedented military expansion necessary for the security of America? Do you think some of this money could be used better at home?

Please leave a comment.


  1. The lack of comments by your regualar readers is a clear example of why the country is in the condition it is.

    TomDispatch is an excellent website for information. All the contributors are people who have written books, not media air heads like Beck, Olberman, and Blitzer.

  2. I thought you said people that commented like we did is reason the country is in the shape its in?

  3. Hey, Mikeb, here's what you might consider an interesting take on your "shared responsibility" theory. Il principe seems to think that Americans allow themselves to be distracted by "culture war" issues like gun rights vs. gun laws, to the expense of vastly more important things like unsustainable wars of aggression for dubious (or worse) reasons.

    Well dig this: according to the conventional wisdom, if not for Gore's anti-gun extremism, he could have had the presidency without Florida. That would, presumably, have meant no Iraq War, and maybe no Afghanistan War. How many tens of thousands (or hundreds of thousands--the count of civilian casualties varies widely depending on the source) of lives would that have saved? How many hundreds of billions (or trillions?) of dollars would that have saved, to be invested in education, clean renewable energy, health care, infrastructure, etc.?

    Seems to me that "gun control" has helped contribute to the Bush presidency--the biggest disaster in recent (and even not so recent, according to some) U.S. (or world according to some) history.

    Glad I don't have that on my conscience.