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US Taxpayers Are Shelling Out $170 Billion a Year for the Pentagon to Occupy the Planet

Not the Romans, nor imperial China, nor the British, nor the Soviet Union has ever garrisoned the globe quite the way the United States has.

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As these crimes indicate, costs for local communities extend far beyond the economic. Okinawans have recently been outraged by what appears to be another in a long series of rapes committed by U.S. troops. Which is just one example of how, from  Japan to Italy, there are what Anita Dancs calls the “costs of rising hostility” over bases. Environmental damage pushes the financial and non-financial toll even higher. The creation of a base on  Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean sent all of the local Chagossian people into  exile.

So, too, U.S. troops and their families bear some of those nonfinancial costs due to frequent moves and separation during unaccompanied tours abroad, along with attendant high rates of  divorcedomestic violencesubstance abuse,sexual assault, and  suicide.

“No one, no one likes it,” a stubbly-faced old man told me as I was leaving the construction site.  He remembered the Americans arriving in 1955 and now lives within sight of the Dal Molin base. “If it were for the good of the people, okay, but it’s not for the good of the people.”

“Who pays? Who pays?” he asked. “Noi,” he said. We do.

Indeed, from that $170 billion to the costs we can’t quantify, we all do.

 
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