Why The Neutralist? The term Isolationist implies a narrow Fortress America outlook and is used as an epithet. The term Neutralist does not indicate someone hiding out from the world. No one calls the Swiss isolationists. The Wilsonian world view is old, tired and wrong. Our interventions have been less and less successful and now the failure can no longer be covered up.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

You Can Do Something For Neutralism Today!

I read about the new President's experiment in direct democracy over at Gavinthink. Your man is giving it the old college try (he does live in Amherst, after all).

I do tend to have a suspicion of such innovations. My history nerd reading life has led me to the conclusion that even if some are better than others, there is no Philosophers Stone of Government. Even the best will become sclerotic and die.

Still, I went over and voted if only for this proposal,

Bring our troops home- from everywhere!

Why do we still have troops in Germany? Korea? Asia? Egypt?

"The total of America's military bases in other people's countries in 2005, according to official sources, was 737.

Using data from fiscal year 2005, the Pentagon bureaucrats calculated that its overseas bases were worth at least $127 billion -- surely far too low a figure but still larger than the gross domestic products of most countries -- and an estimated $658.1 billion for all of them, foreign and domestic (a base's "worth" is based on a Department of Defense estimate of what it would cost to replace it). During fiscal 2005, the military high command deployed to our overseas bases some 196,975 uniformed personnel as well as an equal number of dependents and Department of Defense civilian officials, and employed an additional 81,425 locally hired foreigners.
The worldwide total of U.S. military personnel in 2005, including those based domestically, was 1,840,062 supported by an additional 473,306 Defense Department civil service employees and 203,328 local hires. Its overseas bases, according to the Pentagon, contained 32,327 barracks, hangars, hospitals, and other buildings, which it owns, and 16,527 more that it leased. The size of these holdings was recorded in the inventory as covering 687,347 acres overseas and 29,819,492 acres worldwide, making the Pentagon easily one of the world's largest landlords" (figures from Dept. of Defense Base Structure Report 2005) Chalmers

We spend a fortune on military bases in many countries all over the world. Think of all of the money this would save, and what all of that money could accomplish here at home.

While there may have been some rationale for having far-flung bases in the 1940s, when travel and communication were slower and we may have needed a deterrent "on the ground" in many locations, this is oudated thinking.

Close all of our military bases all over the world, and bring those troops home. It would help us in many ways: the good will generated by getting our troops out of other countries; a smaller military force that would be used strictly for DEFENSE of America, as required by our Constitution; a good deterrent to our being tempted to interfere in the affairs of other countries, where we have a 60 year history of secret manipulations, assassinations, regime changes, and bad policies that have resulted in terrible "blowback" to Americans.

Just one recent example of blowback: A graduate student in Germany was so disturbed by the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1996, and it's killing more than 100 innocents in Cana that he determined to pay them (and the US, who supplied the weapons) back for their actions. He was Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers.

Our support for bad policies has long term unintended consequences. Why not follow a policy consistent with American values- friendship with all, trade with all, talk with all, but no "passionate attachments" to any but our own country.

So go to the portal, look around and if you want sign in and then go to Bring the Troops Home and vote.

Maybe it is a futile gesture, but what the heck.

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