The US Empire of Bases

On a daily basis, over 30 flights come-and-go from Camp Lemmonnier in Djbouti. Since the Obama administration upped the use of drones in Yemen and Somalia, air traffic has become problematic for the tiny, impoverished African nation. Though massive by African standards, Camp Lemmonnier represents a relatively new and small addition to the United States' behemoth collection of bases around the world.

According to the Department of Defence, the United States has a total of 668 bases, circling the world in every place but Antarctica. The number 668 is a decrease from the official number of 702 in the year 2003. The fact is, the Pentagon doesn't list the number of bases that it has in Afghanistan in its current report. The total number of US bases is thus a mystery to just about everyone.

The CIA -- which since the advent of the war on terror has morphed beyond its origins as an intelligence gathering operation into a paramilitary force that operates a classified number of drones out of classified number of locations -- has also exploded the number of US installations abroad.

Most Americans that you'd come across could never even begin to imagine just how massive some US bases are. Yongsan US Army Garrison in South Korea has over 20,000 personnel -- bigger than many American towns -- despite the Korean war having ended nearly 60 years ago.

Likewise, Japan has become a vassal states to American military supremacy. Around most military bases, American military police can be seen patrolling establishments frequented by off-duty soldiers. In essence, the US army has powers on the streets of Seoul that would be in America in contravention of the Posse Comitatus act of 1878. Basically, it's illegal for the US army to do in the streets of America what it can casually do in its vassal states. It's ridiculous to presume that a country with a massive, foreign army within is borders is truly free.

Beyond land installations, of which the US just established one in Australia, one could argue that aircraft carriers are in essence floating bases. Bases project power and serve as infiltration units into all levels of a subjugated society. When New Zealand decided that it didn't want nuclear ships in its waters, the US downgraded it status from "ally" to "friend" because the anti-nuclear law effectively banned US nuclear vessels from its territorial waters.

The truth is that no one can truly say how many facilities the United States operates outside of its borders, but it represents the most massive show of shadow force by any empire since the British. The cost to the American taxpayer is also a mystery. In the American Democracy, the citizens are not allowed to know what its armed forces and paramilitary unit (CIA) call home.