"Thanks for your purchase,” says the smiling young man at the Giant supermarket in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “Would you like to give a donation to our troops?”
“Would you like to give a donation…?”
“Well, I think the Pentagon has enough money…”
“Ha! Ha! That could be but every little bit helps.”
Then, the day before May 1, the day most of the world commemorates the struggle of workers, you read in the news that President Barack Obama has signed a 10 year agreement to give U.S. military greater access to Philippine bases to promote “peace and stability in the region.” And then you check with Wilkipedia and discover that the Defense Department’s budget is around 36 percent of total world military expenditures, accounting for 17 percent of taxes collections in the U.S.A.
About. Com puts the U.S. military budget at $756.4 billion for 2015, including $495,6 billion for the base budget, $85.4 billion for Overseas Contingency Funds for the winding down of the War in Afghanistan, $175.4 billion for defense related agencies and functions…making military spending the biggest single item after Social Security.
And yet buyers, many of whom have to do a bit of belt shrinking to get to the end of the month, are asked to donate to “The Wonderful Warrior Project.” As you pick up your purchases at the supermarket a sign greets you with a smiling blond baby and her mother…
Then you wonder too how information is so often presented in such a way as to skip over some essential aspects. The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement signed between the U.S. and the Philippines will give U.S. forces temporary access to selected military camps and allow them to preposition fighter jets and ships. Obama’s message: "We want to be a partner with you in upholding international law."
But there are a few details which the mass media has deemphasized: the EDCA agreement circumvents the ban on foreign military bases and troops by the Philippine constitution, allowing the U.S. to increase what is referred to as its rotational presence in the country under the guise of authorized temporary facilities in areas of the Philippine armed forces.
A number of Philippine organizations have denounced the agreement as a violation of Philippine sovereignty.
Filipinos find it difficult to forget that the Filipino-American war of 1899-1902 brought an enormous carnage to the country; many Filipinos also remember Washington’s support for the hated dictatorship of former President Fernand Marcos from 1972 to 1986, during the Cold War. When democracy was restored the 1987 Philippine constitution decided to ban foreign military bases, troops and nuclear weapons from the country’s territory.
Theoretically, U.S. military presence ended in 1992 after the Ph9lippine Senate passed a 1991 resolution ending leases for US military bases. Yet a “visiting forces agreement” was signed in 1998 to allow joint U.S.-Philippine military exercises.
With bases or influence in from 700 to 800 military bases around the world (according to C. Johnson, the NATO Watch Committee, the International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases), a number of questions arise: What is the justification for such an enormous expense in military operations, what does the military presence mean for the sovereignty of the host countries, what would happen if the U.S. economy were to demilitarize?