The Pentagon is one of the world's biggest landlords, with at least 766 bases in the US and around the world, including control of 20% of the Japanese island of Okinawa. In this way, the US avoids colonies, but nonetheless manages to garrison the globe
By Nick Turse
"Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported on a proposal, championed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, to reduce the number of US troops in Iraq in exchange for bipartisan Congressional support for the long-term (read: more or less permanent) garrisoning of that country.
The troops are to be tucked away on "large bases far from Iraq's major cities". This plan sounded suspiciously similar to one revealed by Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt in the New York Times on April 19, 2003, just as US troops were preparing to enter Baghdad. Headlined "Pentagon expects long-term access to four key bases in Iraq", it laid out a US plan.....
Shortly thereafter, then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld denied any such plans: "I have never, that I can recall, heard the subject of a permanent base in Iraq discussed in any meeting ... " and, while the bases were being built, the story largely disappeared from the mainstream media.
Even with the multi-square-kilometer, multibillion-dollar, state-of-the-art Balad Air Base and Camp Victory thrown in, however, the bases in Gates' new plan will be but a drop in the bucket for an organization that may well be the world's largest landlord. For many years, the US military has been gobbling up large swaths of the planet and huge amounts of just about everything on (or in) it. So, with the latest Pentagon Iraq plans in mind, take a quick spin with me around this Pentagon planet......"