Posts tagged ‘NATO’

04/12/2012

European Bases Should Be Vacated

In addition to the large number of U.S. military facilities in Germany, there are several in other European countries, that are draining funds from the federal treasury, without yielding much of anything in return, and they should be closed.

BRITAIN: In addition to supporting seven NATO facilities in the United Kingdom, the U.S. leases the following installations:
Air Force: RAF: Lakenheath, Brandon, Suffolk
Air Force: RAF: Menwith Hill, Yorkshire Dales
Air Force: RAF: Mildenhall
Air Force: RAF: Croughton, Upper Heyford
Air Force: RAF: Alconbury, Cambridgeshire

NETHERLANDS: The U.S. Air Force contributes to the Joint Force Command Brunssum (NATO) in the Netherlands.

PORTUGAL: The U.S. Air Force leases a base at Lajes Field in the Azores, which are Portugese Islands in the Atlantic. We also contribute funds to support a NATO facility in Portugal itself.

SPAIN: The U.S. Navy uses the Rota Naval Station in Spain, and our Air Force has bases in Andalucia.

ITALY: The exact number of U.S. bases in Italy is not clear. One author claims there are over 100, while another source lists just a few. The U.S. uses at least the following:
Army and Air Force: Aviano Air Base (NATO)
Army: Caserma Ederle, Vicenza
Army & Air Force: Camp Darby, Pisa-Livorno
Army: San Vito Dei Normanni Air Station—Brindisi
Navy and Air Force: Naval Air Station Sigonella (NATO)
Navy: Naval Support Activity Gaeta
Navy: Naval Support Activity Naples
Navy: NCTS Naples

KOSOVO: Since the Serbian bombings in the 1990s, the U.S. has had a presence in Kosovo. The U.S. Army uses Camp Bondsteel and Film City-Pristina.

BULGARIA: Since Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2005, the U.S. presence in Bulgaria has grown. The U.S. Army has bases at Aytos Logistics Center (Burgas Region) and Novo Selo Range (Sliven Region), while the U.S. Air Force has a presence at Bezmer Air Base in the Yambol Region, and Graf Ignatievo in the Plavdiv Region.

GREECE: The U.S. Navy uses a Naval Support Activity at Souda Bay, on the island of Crete. We have also maintained facilities at Hellonicon and Nea Makri.

04/09/2012

Germany: Let’s Close All U.S. Bases

For a long time since the end of World War II, 67 years ago, the Europeans, and in particular the Germans, have posed absolutely no threat to our national security, yet we continue to maintain 62 facilities in the fatherland that could be shut down. While 20 are scheduled for closure by 2015, the remaining 42 should also get the ax, since we do not need them, and can no longer afford them.

The 42 facilities, not currently slated for closure, (listed below) are in the states of Bavaria (13), Baden-Wurttemberg (8), Rhineland-Pfalz (17), Hesse (3) and North Rhine-Westphalia (1). The 20 set to close between 2012 and 2015 follow.

NOT SLATED TO BE CLOSED, BUT SHOULD BE:

ANSBACH (Bavaria) (8)
Army: Barton Barracks
Army: Bismarck Kaserne (the word means barracks)
Army: Katterbach Kaserne
Army: Shipton Kaserne
Army: Bleidorn Housing Area
Army: Urlas Housing and Shopping Complex
Army: Oberdachstetten Storage Area
Air Force: USAF Ansbach

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN (Bavaria) (1)
Army: Artillery Kasermne

HOHENFELS (Bavaria) (1)
Army: Hohenfels Training Area/Joint Multinational

ILLESHEIM (Bavaria) (1)
Army: Storck Barracks

VILSECK (Bavaria) (2)
Army: Rose Barracks
Army: Grafenwohr Training Area

BOBLINGEN (Baden-Wurttemberg) (1)
Marines: Camp Panzer Kaserne

HEIDELBERG (Baden-Wurttemberg) (1)
Army: Heidelberg Army Airfield

MANNHEIM (Baden-Wurttemberg) (1)
Army: Hammonds Barracks

STUTTGART (Baden-Wurttemberg) (5)
Army: Kelly Barracks
Army: Panzer Kaserne
Army: Patch Barracks
Army: Robinson Barracks
Army: Stuttgart Airport

BAUMHOLDER (Rhineland-Pfalz) (1)
Army: Smith Barracks

DEXHEIM  (Rhineland-Pfalz) (1)
Army: Anderson Barracks

GERMERSHEIM (Rhineland-Pfalz) (1)
Army: Germersheim Army Depot

KAISERSLAUTERN (Rhineland-Pfalz) (5)
Army: Kaiserslautern Military Community
Army: Kleber Kaserne
Army: Pulaski Barracks
Army: Rhein Ordnance Barracks
Army: Semback Kaserne

LANDSTUHL (Rhineland-Pfalz) (1)
Army: Landstuhl Regional Medical Center

MAINZ-GONSENHEIM MOMBACH (Rhineland-Pfalz) (1)
Army: USAG (Garrison) Wiesbaden Military Training Area

MAINZ-FINTHEN AIRPORT (Rhineland-Pfalz) (2)
Army: USAG Wiesbaden Training Area
Army: USAG Wiesbaden Radar Station

MIESAU (Rhineland-Pfalz) (1)
Army: Miesau Army Depot

PIRMASENS (Rhineland-Pfalz) (1)
Army: Husterhoeh Koserne

RAMSTEIN (Rheinland-Pfalz) (1)
Air Force: Ramstein Air Base

SPANGHAHLEM (Rhineland-Pfalz) (1)
Air Force: Spangdahlem Air Base

WACKERNHEIM (Rhineland-Pfalz) (1)
Army: McCully Barracks

GRIESHEIM (Hesse) (1)
Army: Dagger Complex Darmstadt Training Center

WIESBADEN (Hesse) (2)
Army: Wiesbaden Army Airfield
Army: Storage Station Mainz-Kastel (Weisbaden)

GEILENKIRCHEN (North Rhine-Westphalia) (1)
Air Force: NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen

SCHEDULED FOR CLOSURE:
BAMBERG (Bavaria) (2)
Army: Bamberg Local Training Area (2015)
Army: Warner Barracks (2015)

SCHWEINFURT (Bavaria) (5)
Army: Askren Manors Housing Area (2015)
Army: Conn Barracks (2015)
Army: Ledward Barracks (2015)
Army: Yorktown Housing Complex (2015)
Army: Rottershausen Storage Area

HEIDELBERG (Baden-Wurttemberg) (5)
Army: Patrick Henry Village (2014)
Army: Campbell Barracks (2015)
Army: Mark Twain Village (2015)
Army: Nachrichten Kaserne (2015)
Army: Patton Barracks (2015)

MANNHEIM (Baden-Wurttemberg) (5)
Army: Benjamin Franklin Village (2012)
Army: Funari Barracks (2012)
Army: Sullivan Barracks (2014)
Army: Coleman Barracks (2015)
Army: Spinelli Barracks (2015)

SCHWETZINGEN (Baden-Wurttemberg) (2)
Army: Kilourne Kaserne (2015)
Army: Tompkins Barracks (2015)

LAMPERTHEIM (Hesse) (1)
Army: Lampertheim Training Area (2015)

The German economy has benefited greatly from the large sums of U.S. dollars spent in their country since the end of WWII, but it is now time for the U.S. to get its own financial house in order, by withdrawing all of our remaining troops and closing all of our facilities.

10/20/2011

Libya Liberated: Obama Gets A Grade

(Editor’s Note: I wrote this story when Tripoli was taken 8-24-11, and reprinted it today, upon the capture and execution of Col. Gaddafi)

After seven months of fighting, the 42-year regime of Col. Gaddafi has been overthrown, and the Libyan people are now free to establish a democratic form of government. While the rebels obviously deserve the lion’s share of the credit, as they risked their lives, others are also entitled to recognition, including the UN, NATO, France, Britain, the U.S. and President Obama, as the fall of Qaddafi would not have happened without their support.

President Obama, for his part, earned excellent grades throughout, as he made correct decisions at every critical stage of the uprising.

When the rebellion started in March, 2011, Obama correctly recognized the rebels as the authentic voice of the Libyan people, and viewed Gaddafi as lacking legitimacy, as he took office in 1969 via a military junta, and not through a free and fair election.

Obama’s next decision was to intervene in an internal uprising. Since Libya had not invaded another country, Obama could have said it would be wrong under international law to meddle in their internal affairs, but he did not. For humanitarian reasons, he got involved. If he had done nothing, Gaddafi certainly would have annihilated the rebels.

Obama correctly ruled out U.S. ground forces. Although weapons would have to be used to remove Gaddafi, for a variety of reasons, the President correctly realized the rebels themselves would have to wage the fight. U.S. troops would have only allowed Gaddafi to rally Libyan people against the great infidel.

Obama also refused to act like a crazy Texas cowboy and go it alone. As an early policy decision, Obama set up a coalition of willing NATO partners, before taking any military action.

Obama’s imposition of a No-Fly Zone with our European allies was a smart move, as it saved the rebellious populations in the east from air attacks by Gaddafi and his henchmen. Taking control of the sky was an essential early step towards victory.

Obama’s next policy move was to secure legal authorization from the UN Security Council. A UN Resolution gave NATO the right to use military force to protect the civilian people and authorized the bombings that followed. If the U.S. had not taken the lead in this regard, Europeans would not have followed, or acted at all.

The subsequent decision to covertly arm the rebels with rifles, trucks and other weapons, even though there was an uncertainly as to what they stood for, was also a correct move, as it allowed them to advance from Benghazi in the east, to Tripoli in the west.

Although Obama did not request or obtain a formal Declaration of War from Congress, and arguably violated the War Powers Act by using American air power for over 60 days, (since the U.S. had not been attacked), the Republican-controlled House did not object, or defund the operation, and tacitly approved of it.

No American lives were lost in the operation to remove the regime of Col. Gaddafi, and Obama deserves credit for standing with the rebels, intervening against a 42-year dictator, wisely holding back on the use of U.S. ground troops, refusing to go it alone, using NATO, obtaining UN authorizations, pushing the Europeans to stand up and fight, imposing a No-Fly Zone, and covertly aiding the rebels with arms and technical assistance.

Hopefully, the Libyans will now take it from there, and will create a political system that limits their leaders to relatively short terms in office. Obama did his part. The rest is up to the Libyans.

05/27/2011

Constitutional Power To Declare War

Is President Obama breaking the law by engaging in a military conflict in Libya, without first having a formal Declaration of War from Congress? Although the U.S., as a member of NATO, has been using military force in Libya since March 20, 2011, the Congress has not voted to approve or disapprove of the campaign.

The U.S. Constitution clearly gives Congress the power to declare war (Art. I Sec. 8). The President has only the power to act as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces (Art II, Sec. 2).

Congress last passed a formal Declaration of War in WWII, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor (1941). During the Vietnam War, the issue was hotly debated, because, young men were dying in a far away land, but Congress had not declared war. They instead passed a Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on Aug. 6, 1964, which gave President Johnson authority to use all necessary force.

When President Nixon expanded the war into Cambodia and Senators learned he had conducted a secret bombing campaign, the Congress passed the War Powers Act (1973), to stop the Executive Branch from engaging in unauthorized conflict. Under the law, the President is allowed to engage in military conflict without Congressional authority, only where there is an attack against the U.S., and only for a limited period of 60 days.

With respect to Libya, there was no attack on the U.S. and since the 60 days expired on May 20th, the Commander-in-Chief is violating the War Powers Act and Art I Sec. 8 of the Constitution.

The remedy lies in the Republican-controlled House. They clearly have the power to pass a law saying the President shall not engage in military action in Libya. If the President vetoed it, they could override, with a 66% vote. Since the House also controls all revenue bills (Art I, Sec. 7), and no money can be taken from the Treasury, except by appropriation made by law (Art I, Sec 9), the Congress clearly has the authority to defund the Libyan conflict.

As the North African war continues, and we move closer to the 2012 election, it should be remembered House Republicans tacitly approved of the Libyan fight. If the war goes bad and Republicans complain, they should be asked why they did not end it.

05/04/2011

NATO: Has It Become A Modern UN?

The BBC reported Norwegian fighter planes made strikes against the Libyan capital of Tripoli, as part of a NATO mission. It was refreshing for an American, tired of the U.S. superpower burden, to see a small state like Norway play such a central role. While all member states should be involved in NATO operations, a more basic question now is: Just what is the NATO mission?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) started out with 12 European and North American states (1949). [i] Soon, Greece and Turkey joined (1952), and Germany hopped on board (1955).  30 years later, Spain enlisted (1982). After the Soviet Union dissolved, Poland, Hungary, the Czechs joined (1999), followed by 7 East European states (2004), [ii] and 2 in the Balkans (2009). [iii]

NATO’s purpose in 1949 was strictly as a defensive treaty group. They agreed that an armed attack against one European or North American member would be considered an attack upon all. In their first 40 years, NATO concerned itself with threats by Russia, but when the Soviet Union dissolved (1991), NATO changed.

As the former Yugoslavia broke up, NATO became proactive, and intervened in Bosnia and Kosovo (a Serb Province), even though no NATO state had been attacked. They downed Bosnian-Serb planes that violated Bosnian no-fly zones (1994), bombed the Bosnian-Serb Army (1995), and acted as a Bosnian peacekeeper, after the Dayton Accord (1996-04). Despite the lack of UN approval, NATO flew missions against Serbia, to protect Kosovo (1999). While NATO’s conduct in the former Yugoslavia was no longer defensive, at least it was still on the European continent.

NATO then expanded their mission once more, as they went global. They entered South Asia, in an Afghan operation (2003); they undertook a training mission in the Mideast, in Iraq (2004); they started policing international waters off East Africa, to ward off Somali pirates (2009); and now, they are enforcing an embargo and no-fly zone in North Africa, against Libya (2011).

With this history of intervention in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Mideast, and clear authority to enter North America, is there any part of the world off limits to NATO? Could they conduct a mission in South America, Australia or Antarctica?

Has NATO effectively become the enforcement arm of the UN? If so, has the UN Security Council become irrelevant? With a NATO membership that consists of only 28 of the world’s 193 independent states, what legitimacy does it have to act around the globe at will? Do the other 165 nations approve of NATO’s unlimited reach? At some point, the world is going to have to reconcile the growth of NATO, at the expense of the UN.


[i] U.S., Canada, Iceland, Britain, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Italy and Portugal

[ii] Estonia, Latvia, Lith., Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria

[iii] Albania, and Croatia