Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Cancer Means To Stay

"Last year, it was Kuwait, Qatar, and Iraq. This year, it’s Germany, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Next year, it could easily be Afghanistan, Pakistan, Diego Garcia, Bahrain, and Turkey. Or of course they could choose to play in Japan (with a special stop in Okinawa), South Korea, Colombia, and for a little sun and surf, the Bahamas. And while they’re at it, the same way bands used to love playing the Palladium, they could make a triumphal return to Guantanamo Bay to bring a little cheer back into American lives, just as they did in 2005. Or they could break out their new camouflage-colored b-ball (which on recent tours sometimes replaces their iconic red, white, and blue one), and as they’ve done in the past, slam dunk their way onto U.S. aircraft carriers on duty in places like the Persian Gulf.

Oh, come on! You haven’t guessed by now? We’re talking about the Harlem Globetrotters on their never-ending basketball tour and dropping in no less eternally at the "front lines" of the American war on whatever. In recent years, to entertain the troops, they’ve visited more than 25 U.S. military bases in all of the countries above, not to speak of Djibouti, Portugal, and others. (And yes, Virginia, aircraft carriers, with the populations of American small towns, aregiant, floating military bases.) But here’s the strange thing: let them tour those global bases year after year, let them play a baseball schedule of 162 games (and throw in the playoffs and the World Series, too), and they’ll still barely scratch the surface of America’s baseworld. After all, the more than 25 bases they've visited since 2005 make up only about 15% of the approximately 400 American bases in Afghanistan alone, as Nick Turse has reported for TomDispatch. Who even knows the total number of U.S. military bases globally?

Only one thing is certain: there are enough of them to keep the Globetrotters touring nonstop until hell freezes over. One great mystery of American journalism is that those bases, key to our imperial status on this planet, remain of next to no interest to reporters (unless the Pentagon threatens to close one in the U.S.). The strangest aspect of America’s global garrisons is that, while millions of Americans -- soldiers, spies, private contractors, Defense Department civilians, and civilian officials of every sort -- cycle through them each year, most Americans know next to nothing about them and could care less. By the way, surprising numbers of American journalists pass through them, too, and yet, looking for a little "kinetic action" out in our war zones, they almost never bother to focus on and report on these colossi of our imperial world."

The Pentagon Digs in

"The construction projects are sprouting like mushrooms: walled complexes, high-strength weapons vaults, and underground bunkers with command and control capacities -- and they're being planned and funded by a military force intent on embedding itself ever more deeply in the Middle East.

If Iran were building these facilities, it would be front-page news and American hawks would be talking war, but that country’s Revolutionary Guards aren't behind this building boom, nor are the Syrians, Lebanon's Hezbollah, or some set of al-Qaeda affiliates. It's the U.S. military that's digging in, hardening, improving, and expanding its garrisons in and around the Persian Gulf at the very moment when it is officially in a draw-down phase in Iraq.

On August 31st, President Obama took to the airwaves to announce "the end of our combat mission in Iraq." This may, however, prove yet another "mission accomplished" moment. After all, from the lack of a real Iraqi air force (other than the U.S. Air Force) to the fact that there are more American troops in that country today than were projected to be there in September 2003, many signs point in another direction."

Gates: US will stay in Iraq as long as our puppets ask us to stay

NATO: Combat Role In Afghanistan Could Pass 2014


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