- They enlarge the security threat to other nations who respond by boosting military spending.
* Overseas bases increase the likelihood of war
- They encourage our leaders to opt for military rather than diplomatic resolution of conflicts by making it easier and thus more likely to resort to deadly, catastrophic wars, like the war in Iraq, or military interventions in countries like Nicaragua or Somalia.
* Overseas bases inflict terrible costs on local communities and nations.
- Some of the costs include environmental damage, health hazards, social and cultural disruption, increased violence against women, crime, and prostitution.
* Overseas bases inflict painful costs on military families, separating personnel from loved ones and disrupting family life with frequent deployment shifts around the globe.
* Overseas bases lead us to support dictators and repressive, undemocratic regimes.
- Examples include Uzbekistan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.
* Congress should hold hearings to examine the overseas basing structure, including its constitutional responsibility to approve SOFAs which are, functionally, treaties.
* We must begin to close our overseas bases to help ensure our and others security. Closing military bases also necessitates cleaning up and removing military toxics so that these sites can safely be put to other uses.
These are the issues that will be featured at the upcoming Security Without Empire: National Organizing Conference on Foreign Military Bases that will be held at American University in Washington DC on February 27-March 2. A protest vigil at the Pentagon will kick off the weekend beginning at 4:00 pm on February 27.
For registration information see the conference web site at: www.projectonmilitarybases.org