Anthropologist David Vine, author of Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia, has spent the last three years exploring the changing structure of America’s vast string of military garrisons and bases around the world. Now, he offers a sweeping look at how it’s changing — and expanding — and at the new, spartan “lily-pad bases” the Pentagon is building. His first piece for TomDispatch begins dramatically as Vine watches American war-wounded landing at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. “I asked a member of the Air Force medical team about the casualties they see like these,” he writes, “Many, as with this flight, were coming from Afghanistan, he told me. ‘A lot from the Horn of Africa,’ he added. ‘You don’t really hear about that in the media.’”
With that, he takes us on a remarkable journey into the “lily-pad” bases — at least 50 have already been or are being built globally by the Pentagon — that are taking us into the distant reaches of Africa and Asia and into continued dreams of global domination and, of course, potential future conflicts. This is a monumental survey of America’s expanding baseworld from Honduras to the Philippines, Mauritania to the Cocos Islands.
As Vine writes: “Such lily-pad bases have become a critical part of an evolving Washington military strategy aimed at maintaining U.S. global dominance by doing far more with less in an increasingly competitive, ever more multi-polar world. Central as it’s becoming to the long-term U.S. stance, this global-basing reset policy has, remarkably enough, received almost no public attention, nor significant Congressional oversight. Meanwhile, as the arrival of the first casualties from Africa shows, the U.S. military is getting involved in new areas of the world and new conflicts, with potentially disastrous consequences.”
From TomDispatch: How, barely noticed in this country, America’s global empire of bases is expanding to new places in new ways and why it is likely to create a blowback planet — David Vine, “The Lily-Pad Strategy, How the Pentagon Is Quietly Transforming Its Overseas Base Empire and Creating a Dangerous New Way of War,” http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175568/ To catch Timothy MacBain's latest Tomcast audio interview in which Vine discusses his experiences with the Pentagon’s empire of bases, visit http://tomdispatch.blogspot.com/2012/07/gilding-lily-pad.html.