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America’s Global Military Bases Actually Undermine National Security. Here’s How


America’s Global Military Bases Actually Undermine National Security. Here’s How.

David Vine

With the U.S. military having withdrawn many of its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, most Americans would be forgiven for being unaware that hundreds of U.S. bases and hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops still encircle the globe. Although few know it, the United States garrisons the planet unlike any country in history, and the evidence is on view from Honduras to Oman, Japan to Germany, Singapore to Djibouti.


"Since the start of the Cold War, the idea that our country should have a large collection of bases and hundreds of thousands of troops permanently stationed overseas has remained a quasi-religious dictum of foreign and national security policy."

Quasi-religious for whom?

I am tired of these passive frames that pretend there is no such driving force as that same military-industrial complex that's morphed into a Beast answerable to no one. And I am equally tired of the way that propaganda used for indoctrination purposes (in normalizing the make war state) is purposely distorted to suggest that U.S. citizens came by al this "martial fervor" spontaneously.

This is an apologia to the MIC.

The following paragraph depicts how Mars rules operates: by shutting out any voices that oppose its war = peace imperial "strategy."

"Support for the forward strategy has remained the consensus among politicians of both parties, national security experts, military officials, journalists, and almost everyone else in Washington’s power structure. Opposition of any sort to maintaining large numbers of overseas bases and troops has long been pilloried as peacenik idealism or the sort of isolationism that allowed Hitler to conquer Europe."


Here again, the use of a "passive narrative voice" blurs the reality that arms' developers, a long list of retired generals who've magically moved through the proverbial revolving door and now sit on boards of Defense Contractor corporations, and corporations whose profits rely upon muscular support for their foreign resource extraction operations collectively FOMENT these decisions and piss poor (from the standpoint of The Greater Good) fiscal priorities. The passive voice makes it seem that these pro-militarism financial priorities just spontaneously generated:

"Meanwhile, for the United States, investing taxpayer dollars in the construction and maintenance of overseas bases means forgoing investments in areas like education, transportation, housing, and healthcare, despite the fact that these industries are more of a boon to overall economic productivity and create more jobs compared to equivalent military spending."

MANY of us want those funds to rebuild our nation's infrastructure, fund new fossil fuel free energy programs, offer free college and expand upon Head Start. No one I know wants the $ that would improve their lives here inside The Homeland to instead garrison the globe with bases that allot enormous power--financial and martial--to a relative handful of sociopaths. The Piketty Study proves that running parallel with the decade-plus that featured a felonious "war on terror," actual funds have been siphoned to the tippy top of the financial "food chain."

Was that any accident?

Does a decimation, gradual or immediate (through war and climate chaos) to one's way of life show anything remotely suggestive of this idea of "Defense" or (National) Security?

These are LIES that rich men tell.

This is a terrific documentary that shows how all this works. A few make decisions but then teams of message controllers and shapers go about working to convince everyday people that THIS is what they want. Ridiculous B.S.


Thank you, Mr. Vine for mentioning these items:

"Similarly, rather than stabilizing dangerous regions, foreign bases frequently heighten military tensions and discourage diplomatic solutions to conflicts."

"Overseas bases also contribute to the shocking rates of sexual assault in the military: An estimated 30 percent of servicewomen are victimized during their time in the military, and a disproportionate number of these crimes happen at bases abroad."

"Worldwide, bases have caused widespread environmental damage because of toxic leaks, accidents, and in some cases the deliberate dumping of hazardous materials. GI crime has long angered locals. In Okinawa and elsewhere, U.S. troops have repeatedly committed horrific acts of rape against local women."

Just as words like torture (enhanced interrogation), liberal, Progressive, & Socialist have been tossed around to compromise their meanings, the premise of National Defense when it takes in the aforementioned three above statements really loses all legitimacy. National Offense (as in acting offensively) would better suffice.

Not exactly rocket-science, but thanks for mentioning the obvious:

"In this way, just as the war on terror has become a global conflict that only seems to spread terror, the creation of new U.S. bases to protect against imagined future Chinese or Russian threats runs the risk of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. These bases may ultimately help create the very threat they are supposedly designed to protect against. In other words, far from making the world a safer place, U.S. bases can actually make war more likely and the country less secure."


Nope, no empire here, move along now.


[quote="Siouxrose11, post:3, topic:13632"]
MANY of us want those funds to rebuild our nation's infrastructure, fund new fossil fuel free energy programs, offer free college and expand upon Head Start.

Politicians squander our taxes on their cronies and special interests. Nice if we could earmark our taxes and decide what these fund.


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I'm still trying to figure out why we need to maintain a military base in Australia? What we see is the conservative election strategy run amok. A conservative announces that he is more firm on defense than his opponent and to prove it he will vote for maintaining the base in ______ while his weak kneed opponent go soft on the Russkies and wants to close it. Do that for 50+ plus years and pretty soon you don't feel secure until you have a base in every country.

If it were possible our MIC adherents would propose seeking a deal with Russia to build a base or two near Moscow and a few off in Siberia to make it look good. Maybe a new trade deal to build bases in China too.

Once we have bases everywhere, to ensure true security, we will have to build more bases in the United States. An insufficient number of bases in every state is only looking for trouble.

Any historians out there notice how we export our military and treasure and import goods like did the Romans in the end. They began to neglect their institutions too in light of the costs of garrisoning their world.

All roads led to Rome... which was very inconvenient if you were headed somewheres else.

All dressed up and ready for war... makes you wonder how long before there is one? Anybody else notice that we can't afford to fight a big war. For all our bases and equipment and hundreds of thousands of people in uniform... We can't really afford to use them since Bush/Cheney emptied the treasury.

I'll gladly pay you tuesday for a war today?

All armed forces lead to Washington?


Thanks for the link Siouxrose11. That is an impressive movie... Thanks.


The irony here nottheonly1, is that even those behind the trigger are dupes to the chess masters who are nowhere to be found near the actual fighting. That is what make them "brilliant".


I snipe at you and you snipe at me. In reality, we are probably very closely minded. Thanks for this link, I've seen most of this, but not this particular compilation. My poor dog doesn't know why I curse so much as I watch.


We? Or a mass media whose talking heads march with the same style of uniformity as do soldiers? Remember, it's the military-media-industrial complex now!


You are quite welcome. There is far more truth being produced by independent filmmakers than by what's popularized through MSM channels. God Bless the radical Truth tellers!


I suspect another reason for maintaining so many bases around the world is for recruitment. Military service is more appealing, especially to poor young people who may have no other chance to travel or get outside of their small cities and towns with limited opportunities.


I think you're right MagicBus, I also suspect that the military deploys strategically, across America so that when the dead come home there is less uproar.