Friday, February 19, 2010
"DOD Announces Return of Facilities in Belgium
The Department of Defense today announced that it will return ten buildings at Florennes Air Base, Belgium, in 2010 to the host nation of Belgium.
The return involves ten empty buildings, which formerly housed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Tactical Leadership School. The school relocated to Spain's Los Llanos Air Base in June 2009, therefore the buildings are now excess to DoD's needs.
The return of the buildings will have no impact on Department of Defense personnel.
U.S. Forces Europe has begun the process of returning the buildings to the host nation of Belgium. The annual operating cost savings by returning these buildings is estimated to be approximately $1.8 million.
For additional information regarding this announcement, please contact U.S. Air Forces in Europe Office of Public Affairs at 011-49-6371-6558 or firstname.lastname@example.org ."
--DoD news release, 19 Feb 2010
The US has a military presence in 153 of the 194 nation-states on Earth, some 1,000 (approximately) bases large and small. This is an astonishing and abiding source of anger against the US. It costs the US taxpayer, the working Americans (not the rich and not the war profiting corporations, since they pay specialists to find them loopholes). The base of empires provides fewer jobs per $B spent than any other sector of the economy (except NASA, which itself is about 80 percent military-related expenditures).
So, feed three birds with one hand. Shut down these bases and mandate that a US military presence only be in the US or littoral waters, for starters, and the savings would rock the economy back into the black. The people of the world would be thankful and the levels of anger against the US would subside, reducing the appeal of the terrorists, ending most of their recruitment ability. Converting the US military to actual defense-only would potentially create enormous numbers of jobs, if we did so with a formula that provided for job creation as well as deficit reduction.
We could use another 250,000-500,000 Peace Corps volunteers--low-paid, high-value--all around the world, focused in the areas of great need. The goodwill that these volunteers could create is enormous. Shutting down just a few overseas military bases could both pay for those volunteers and reduce our budget deficit, depending on the size and budgets of the bases shut down.
Imagine the good done in our own nation by 1,000,000 AmeriCorps/VISTA volunteers. Achieve this and more budget deficit reduction by closing more overseas bases.
The needs are enormous and the focus of this massive effort--which would need many logistics and analyst workers itself--could be thought of as that three-pronged effort to:
1. radically improve the US image globally.
2. reduce the budget deficit.
3. create jobs for US workers.
This is a doable, sensible idea--so it probably has no chance of success in our dysfunctional democracy. Time to break the logjam and start the flow of a stream of of rational approaches to our problems. Much smarter minds than mine are ready to prepare and execute real programs that can usher in a new US identity and prosperity with--not at the expense of--the rest of the world. They are tired of being invaded. Time for us to outvade and create something far better for ourselves and everyone else.