“Without operating locations on the continent, I.S.R. capabilities would be curtailed, potentially endangering U.S. security,” General Ham said in a statement to the House Armed Services Committee last March. “Given the vast geographic space and diversity in threats, the command requires increased I.S.R. assets to adequately address the security challenges on the continent.” ...NYT
New war. Next continent: Africa.
I guess "boots on the ground" has just gotten old. I wish war were old, too. Most Americans -- excluding armchair warriors -- probably want the same thing. Now we're faced with a substitute: drones.
The United States military is preparing to establish a drone base in northwest Africa so that it can increase surveillance missions on the local affiliate of Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups that American and other Western officials say pose a growing menace to the region.
For now, officials say they envision flying only unarmed surveillance drones from the base, though they have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point if the threat worsens. ...NYT
Morally, we aren't improving. The risk is that we'll think we are. In fact, though, we're just exempting ourselves from involvement just as many of us are exempting ourselves from responsibility for our governance. Meanwhile, the defense industry continue to make out like, of course, the bandits they are. And we're holding onto our position as imperial power.
Oh, and the defense industry is getting a new base in Africa, probably Niger. What does the total of overseas US bases look like now? The Pentagon has claimed something short of 900. New counts put the totals at about 1,200. TomDispatch, keeps the most reliable count I've seen. About four years ago, Foreign Policy in Focus took a hard look at our commitments -- in the wake of the financial crisis and the deepening recession.
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 history. ...
... Officially the Pentagon counts 865 base sites, but this notoriously unreliable number omits all our bases in Iraq (likely over 100) and Afghanistan (80 and counting), among many other well-known and secretive bases. More than half a century after World War II and the Korean War, we still have 268 bases in Germany, 124 in Japan, and 87 in South Korea. Others are scattered around the globe in places like Aruba and Australia, Bulgaria and Bahrain, Colombia and Greece, Djibouti, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Romania, Singapore, and of course, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — just to name a few. Among the installations considered critical to our national security are a ski center in the Bavarian Alps, resorts in Seoul and Tokyo, and 234 golf courses the Pentagon runs worldwide.
Unlike domestic bases, which set off local alarms when threatened by closure, our collection of overseas bases is particularly galling because almost all our taxpayer money leaves the United States (much goes to enriching private base contractors like corruption-plagued former Halliburton subsidiary KBR). One part of the massive Ramstein airbase near Landstuhl, Germany, has an estimated value of $3.3 billion. Just think how local communities could use that kind of money to make investments in schools, hospitals, jobs, and infrastructure. ...FPIP
Going back to the numbers, does it strike you as appropriate that our government keeps the official totals from us?