No Foreign Bases – Sign up now for the conference to close the bases

No Foreign Bases

Sign up now for the conference to close the bases

Jan. 12 – 14, 2018, Univ. of Baltimore
Bahman Azad, Ajamu Baraka, Maurice Carney, Bernadette Ellorin, Sara Flounders, Will Griffin, Matthew Hoh, Patricia Hynes, James Jordan, Margaret Kimberly, Hyun Lee, Ray McGovern, Lucy Pagoada, David Vine, Phil Wilayto, Ann Wright


Find the Armistice Day event nearest you:


A New Armistice Day

Exactly at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 99 years ago, people across Europe suddenly stopped shooting guns at each other. Up until that moment, they were killing and taking bullets, falling and screaming, moaning and dying. Then they stopped, on schedule. It wasn’t that they’d gotten tired or come to their senses. Both before and after 11 o’clock they were simply following orders. The Armistice agreement that ended World War I had set 11 o’clock as quitting time.

And then the world had a party, the likes of which we have not seen or dreamed of — a party now in bad need of a sequel.

Each year, for a lot of years, there was a remembrance on November 11th. The U.S. Congress called Armistice Day a holiday to “perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations,” a day “dedicated to the cause of world peace.” When churches rang their bells at 11:00, that’s what they meant. And they meant it right up until the war on Korea, the one the North Koreans all still remember with shudders of horror. And then Congress turned Armistice Day into Veterans Day, and veterans into props for marketing more wars and a permanent state of war preparations.

What we need now is a brand new armistice. Pick a day and a time, I don’t care when. Pick 11-11-11 again — why not? — and plan a party like it’s Armistice 99.

I’m serious. What would happen if, at that hour, the United States and Saudi Arabia ceased bombing Yemen? What if the ports opened and the food and the doctors and the journalists rushed into that hell to begin undoing the damage? What would be the harm in that?

What if, at that very hour, guns ceased to fire, drones ceased to buzz, bombs and white phosphorus ceased to fall across the world, in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Niger, Congo, Sudan, Mexico, Kenya, Turkey? What would be the harm? Who would miss the carnage? Who would object to the biggest force for death and disease and famine and environmental destruction taking a pause? Who would protest an end to the central justification for secretive and authoritarian government?

Armistice Day 99 would mean a miraculous transformation in the lives of many millions of people through the ending of wars we hardly hear about, plus the end of all the threats of new wars that we do hear about. New wars cannot be threatened in the Armistice Era. Instead, the bases and troops and weapons and provocations that risk the new wars have to be shut down, brought home, and converted into beneficial and sustainable enterprises.

Instead of Veterans For Peace groups hiring lawyers to argue for their right to participate in Veterans Day parades — part of the annual tradition for many years now — they could hire musicians for the celebration!

Kurt Vonnegut, a U.S. World War II veteran, wrote in 1973: “Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not. So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.”

Let’s create such things anew.


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One thought on “No Foreign Bases – Sign up now for the conference to close the bases

  1. Reblogged this on United States Hypocrisy and commented:
    The United States has somewhere between 800-1,000 military bases located in foreign countries across the globe, a reality that certifies the U.S.’s position as the world’s preeminent imperial power in an era of anti-imperialist consciousness. The rest of the world combined by contrast has just 30 foreign bases. Building and maintaining such a vast empire is a costly affair. The so-called “defense” budget accounts for just under 1/4 of the nearly $4 trillion annual U.S. budget. As noted in CounterPunch, “Direly needed investments in infrastructure, education and social programs are neglected at the expense of runaway military costs outside the country.”
    Military spending makes up more than 55% of all discretionary spending in the U.S. federal budget, and the cost of maintaining the foreign bases alone amounts to $120 billion. To put this into perspective, that’s “four times the amount spent on Social Security, Unemployment & Labor ($29 billion); nearly twice as much as Housing and Community ($63 billion); four times as much as Science ($30 billion); and 1.7 times as much as Education ($70 billion).”
    That’s to say nothing of the extraordinary human cost that those whose lives have been negatively impacted and torn apart to make way for these bases. Over many decades the U.S. military “and its personnel have committed many atrocities. Overwhelmingly, the crimes go unnoticed and the perpetrators go unpunished.” Ethnic cleansing and sexual exploitation are an inevitable result of the conquering of so much land for empire-building.

    Further reading:

    New US Military Bases: Side Effects or Causes of War?
    The Worldwide Network of US Military Bases
    How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Undermine National Security and Harm Us All

    Liked by 1 person

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