By the time the USSR collapsed there were 300,000 US military personnel in Europe alone and 1,600 US bases worldwide, a retired Colonel and former US diplomat Ann Wright pointed out, adding that despite the fact that many America's bases were closed in the 1990s, nearly 250,000 US military servicemen are still deployed to installations worldwide.
"I am honored to speak at this symposium in Okinawa about the need to abolish United States military bases around the world, and particularly here in Okinawa where you have been subjected to these bases for over 70 years following World War II," Ann Wright said in her speech at Okinawa Symposium, Japan, on December 15.
"Although few Americans realize it, but certainly people outside the US do, the United States likely has more bases in foreign lands than any other people, nation or empire in history," she underscored.
America's overseas bases provide Washington an opportunity to conduct illegal actions on these bases under the pretext that the US law does not work on the territory under these installations.
Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba is a glaring example of such a policy. It is one of the US' oldest military installations. Washington has maintained control over this territory for almost 112 years in accordance with the lease agreement concluded by the US government and its puppet regime in the region long ago.
Map of US Military Bases worldwide. Who still thinks Empires no longer exist America's goal is expanse of territory pic.twitter.com/siWd5Av74r— Celestine (@CelestineBee) 19 декабря 2015
"The sordid history of the past 14 years of the United States imprisoning 779 persons from 48 countries on a US military base in Cuba as a part of its 'global war on terror' reflects the mentality of those who govern the United States — global intervention for political or economic reasons, invasion, occupation other countries and leaving its military bases in those countries for decades," retired Col. Wright stressed.
"US military ports and airfields, repair complexes, training areas, nuclear weapons installations, missile testing sites, arsenals, warehouses, barracks, military schools, listening and communications posts, and drone bases, military hospitals and prisons, rehabilitation facilities, CIA paramilitary bases, and intelligence facilities (including former CIA 'black site' prisons) are key parts of the US government presence in other countries," the former diplomat stressed.
She highlighted that the cost to the US taxpayers for America's overseas military installations in 2014 was at least 85 billion of US dollars. Given the US longstanding military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, America spends over 156 billion US dollars in overseas programs annually.
Expressing concerns over the threat to peace, stability and environment posed by US overseas military bases, retired Col. Wright and the Veterans for Peace delegation vowed their commitment to world peace and called for abolishing US military installations around the world.