U.S. House of Representatives Creates Requirement That There Be Some Basis for Any Foreign Bases
By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, July 11, 2019
By a vote of 219 to 210, at 2:31 p.m. on Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment introduced by
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar requiring that the U.S. military provide Congress with the cost and the supposed national
security benefits of every foreign military base or foreign military operation.
World BEYOND War had flooded Congressional offices with the demand
for Yes votes.
Here is the text of the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act as passed:
At the end of subtitle G of title X, insert the following: SEC. 10. REPORT ON FINANCIAL COSTS OF OVERSEAS UNITED STATES
MILITARY POSTURE AND OPERATIONS. Not later than March 1, 2020, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the
congressional defense committees a report on the financial costs and national security benefits of each of the following
for fiscal year 2019: (1) Operating, improving, and maintaining overseas military infrastructure at installations
included on the enduring location master list, including adjustments that take into account direct or in-kind
contributions made by the host nations of such enduring locations. (2) Operating, improving, and maintaining overseas
military infrastructure supporting forward-deployed forces at overseas contingency locations, including adjustments that
take into account direct or in-kind contributions made by the host nations of such enduring locations. (3) Overseas
military operations, including support to contingency operations, rotational deployments, and training exercise.
In this video
from Wednesday on C-Span, at 5:21, Rep. Omar makes the case for a need to justify foreign military bases, not just
blindly fund unlimited and unknown empire. At 5:25 Rep. Adam Smith makes the case as well. One of their colleagues
argues in opposition, but it’s difficult to find coherent meaning in what he says, and it’s hard to imagine what a
persuasive case could be for the 210 No votes recorded. What could be the advantage of coating the globe with military
bases without bothering to know what each one costs or whether each one plausibly makes you safer or actually endangers
The closing of U.S. bases and the removal of U.S. military personnel are critical to the elimination of war.
The United States has more than 150,000 military troops deployed outside the United States on more than 800 bases
(some estimates are more than 1000
) in 160 countries, and all 7 continents. These bases are the central feature of U.S. foreign policy which is one of
coercion and threat of military aggression. The U.S. uses these bases in a tangible way to preposition troops and
weaponry in the event they are “needed” at a moment’s notice, and also as a manifestation of U.S. imperialism and global
domination — a constant implicit threat. Additionally, because of a history of military aggression, countries with U.S.
bases are targets for attack.
There are two principal problems with foreign military bases:
1. All these facilities are integral to preparations for war, and as such undermine international peace and
security. The bases serve to proliferate weapons, increase violence, and undermine international stability.
2. Bases cause social and environmental problems at a local level. Communities living around the bases often
experience high levels of rapes committed by foreign soldiers, violent crimes, loss of land or livelihood, and pollution
and health hazards caused by the testing of conventional or non-conventional weapons. In many countries the agreement
that permitted the base stipulates that foreign soldiers who perpetrate crimes can not be held accountable.
3. The closing of U.S. foreign military bases in particular (they make up the vast majority of all foreign military
bases) would have a significant effect on global perceptions, and represent a massive shift in foreign relations. With
each base closure, the U.S. would become less of a threat. Relations with host countries would be improved as the base
real estate and facilities are rightfully returned to local governments. Because the United States is far and away the
most powerful and aggressive military in the world, the closing of foreign bases would represent an easing of tensions
for everyone. If the U.S. makes such a gesture, it may induce other countries to address their own foreign and military
In the map below, every color but gray indicates the permanent basing of some number of U.S. troops, not counting
special forces and temporary deployments. For details, go here
To get involved in World BEYOND War’s campaign to close bases, visit our website
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is executive director of WorldBeyondWar.org
and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org
. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie
. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org
. He hosts Talk Nation Radio
.He is a 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson
Help support DavidSwanson.org, WarIsACrime.org, and TalkNationRadio.org by clicking here: http://davidswanson.org/donate