2011 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Nov 2011 13:20:43 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] GLOBAL, CLOSURE: Downsizing overseas
Breaking Down Bases

By John Feffer
World Beat
November 1, 2011

It has been like a cross between a suspense and a horror movie. If the committee doesn’t come up with a compromise by the Thanksgiving deadline, the axes will come out. Perhaps only Washington insiders appreciate the suspense. As for the horror part, the blood will flow only later and largely out of sight of the cameras.


If you dig deep enough, though, you can find some stirrings of bipartisanship, at least in the Senate. Our elected representatives are desperate to find cuts in military spending that won’t lead to job loss among their constituents. Weapons systems, however old- fashioned or redundant, at least keep assembly lines humming. But one cut would not compromise employment at home: U.S. overseas bases.


To be fair, we must also note the other side of the ledger sheet. Our allies provide host-nation support that offsets the cost of our military presence overseas, though this figure amounts to only about $8 billion in direct and indirect support (and most of that from Japan). Even if we demobilize 50,000 soldiers of the 150,000 stationed overseas, we need to consider the costs of job retraining at home. And if we close bases overseas, we can’t simply stick our host nations with the full bill for cleaning up those sites (although that’s precisely what we did in the case of the Philippines, where we closed the Clark and Subic bases in the 1990s and didn’t cover the estimated $50 million in environmental clean-up costs).


For the entire article, see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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