- Most politicians, when they talk about reducing spending,
chatter on about cutting waste and fraud. That's OK, but it's a mere nick
on the federal budget. If you really want to reduce spending, you must
dismantle the overseas empire.
- Excluding Iraq, Afghanistan and the other facilities
in the Gulf states that have been built since the Republican war, the Pentagon
lists 702 overseas bases in 130 foreign countries on which are stationed
more than 250,000 uniformed troops. There are also dependents and civilian
employees on many of those bases.
- One of the oldest military clichés is that the
generals always want to fight the last war over again. Well, there's some
truth to that. In fact, though, we will never again fight World War II,
so why in the heck do we have bases still in Germany, Italy, Japan, Guam
and South Korea?
- Just whom do we expect to fight from these bases? How
do they contribute to the defense of the U.S.? They don't. They are, frankly,
a residue of World War II and a reminder that the military is, after all,
a bureaucracy and hates the very idea of "losing" any facilities
and billets. We don't need to have troops permanently stationed in any
of these countries. Nor do we need to maintain our membership in the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization, which is a residue from the Cold War.
- I don't wish to disillusion anyone, but Asia and Europe
are not our responsibilities. If there is any need for defense, it is the
responsibility of the countries on those continents. We know from personal
experience that Japan and Germany can field large and competent armies
if they should decide they need them. They do not need our protection.
- At the present, there are only two countries in the world
that have the capability of waging war against us. Those are China and
Russia. In both cases, the war would be fought with intercontinental ballistic
missiles. We are never going to see a land war with either of those countries.
It should be the No. 1 priority of our foreign-policy establishment to
see that we never have a war at all with either of these countries.
- Wars start when empires wish to expand. That was the
cause of the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. The Korean
and Vietnam wars were civil wars in which our politicians involved us.
The wars against Afghanistan and Iraq are again wars of an empire trying
to expand. In these cases, we are the empire, and you might as well face
the ugly truth that our invasions of both countries were no different from
the Nazi invasions that led to World War II. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq
had attacked us or were even capable of attacking us.
- In Afghanistan, we could have gone after al-Qaeda without
overthrowing the Taliban government. In the case of Iraq, like Adolf Hitler
did with Poland, we simply published a pack of lies to justify our invasion.
- Americans need to realize that we are not the police
force of the world. It is not our responsibility to overthrow dictators
or effect regime change in other people's countries. It is not our responsibility
to stop slaughters such as seem to be a permanent feature of Africa.
- If we could only learn to mind our own business and see
to the needs of our own people, we could lead a peaceful, prosperous and
happy existence. As for the terrorists, they are mainly a problem for intelligence
and police. If any military force is necessary, one company of Rangers
or Marines would be enough.
- You can't have a free republic and an empire. It is time
- Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.
- © 2007 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.