(Visible From Space: US Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo)
The new "Tom-gram", via Antemedius:
"Since Chalmers Johnson first wrote of that empire of bases at this site back in 2004, no one has more cogently analyzed the dangers of militarism, military Keynesianism, and a Pentagon budget spun out of control. His trilogy of books on the subject, Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis are already classics, and assumedly on the shelves of all TomDispatch readers.Herewith, the Nutz:
Today, he turns to the issue which should be, but isn't, central to our moment: dismantling the empire. Think of this as the American health care reform program that no one is discussing. Tom
1. We Can No Longer Afford Our Postwar ExpansionismI wanna leave you some reason to go read the rest.
...In May 2009, the Office of Management and Budget predicted that in 2010 the United States will be burdened with a budget deficit of at least $1.75 trillion. This includes neither a projected $640 billion budget for the Pentagon, nor the costs of waging two remarkably expensive wars. The sum is so immense that it will take several generations for American citizens to repay the costs of George W. Bush's imperial adventures -- if they ever can or will. It represents about 13% of our current gross domestic product (that is, the value of everything we produce). It is worth noting that the target demanded of European nations wanting to join the Euro Zone is a deficit no greater than 3% of GDP.
Thus far, President Obama has announced measly cuts of only $8.8 billion in wasteful and worthless weapons spending, including his cancellation of the F-22 fighter aircraft. The actual Pentagon budget for next year will, in fact, be larger, not smaller, than the bloated final budget of the Bush era. Far bolder cuts in our military expenditures will obviously be required in the very near future if we intend to maintain any semblance of fiscal integrity.
2. We Are Going to Lose the War in Afghanistan and It Will Help Bankrupt Us
... Obama's mid-2009 "surge" of troops into southern Afghanistan and particularly into Helmand Province, a Taliban stronghold, is fast becoming darkly reminiscent of General William Westmoreland's continuous requests in Vietnam for more troops and his promises that if we would ratchet up the violence just a little more and tolerate a few more casualties, we would certainly break the will of the Vietnamese insurgents. This was a total misreading of the nature of the conflict in Vietnam, just as it is in Afghanistan today.
Twenty years after the forces of the Red Army withdrew from Afghanistan in disgrace, the last Russian general to command them, Gen. Boris Gromov, issued his own prediction: Disaster, he insisted, will come to the thousands of new forces Obama is sending there, just as it did to the Soviet Union's, which lost some 15,000 soldiers in its own Afghan war. We should recognize that we are wasting time, lives, and resources in an area where we have never understood the political dynamics and continue to make the wrong choices.
3. We Need to End the Secret Shame of Our Empire of Bases
In March, New York Times op-ed columnist Bob Herbert noted, "Rape and other forms of sexual assault against women is the great shame of the U.S. armed forces, and there is no evidence that this ghastly problem, kept out of sight as much as possible, is diminishing...(Emphasis supplied...Ed.)
It is fair to say that the U.S. military has created a worldwide sexual playground for its personnel and protected them to a large extent from the consequences of their behavior. As a result a group of female veterans in 2006 created the Service Women's Action Network (SWAN). Its agenda is to spread the word that "no woman should join the military."
I believe a better solution would be to radically reduce the size of our standing army, and bring the troops home from countries where they do not understand their environments and have been taught to think of the inhabitants as inferior to themselves.(Emphasis supplied...Ed)
10 Steps Toward Liquidating the Empire
Go read the rest!