Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Standing Army: A journey into the world of US military bases, one of the most defining--and less-talked about--realities of our time

Standing Army is a new documentary film from Italian-American director Enrico Parenti and Anglo-Italian director Thomas Fazi.

The filmmakers connect the dots between continued U.S. military expansion around the world. The Obama administration has pushed to open several new bases in Columbia and Panama. In Italy, citizens are still protesting the expansion of a US military base into the last green space in Vicenza--a World Heritage site. In Japan and Guam, we see the same agenda for expansion since the 1990's and 2000's--under Clinton and Bush--unchanged with Obama's presidency.
Over the course of the last century, the US has silently encircled the world with a web of military bases unlike any other in history. Today, they amount to more than 700, in at least 100 countries. No continent is spared. They are one the most powerful forces at play in the world today, yet one of the less talked-about. They have shaped the lives of millions, yet remain a mystery to most.

Why do countries like Germany, Italy and Japan – more than 60 years after the end of World War II and almost 20 years after the end of the Cold War – still host hundreds of US military bases and tens of thousands of US soldiers?

• What role do the bases play in maintaining US hegemony in the world?

• How will they shape our future?

•  Is a global military presence the last resource of an economically-, politically- and culturally-declining empire?

•  How do the bases impact the lives of local populations and how do these interact with their uniformed neighbours?

We will answer these and other crucial questions both through the words of prominent intellectuals, experts on the subject, political and military leaders, ex-government and CIA officials, philosophers and political activists – some of whom we have already interviewed: Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, Chalmers Johnson and others – and through the shocking but often inspiring stories of those directly affected by US bases:

The citizens of Vicenza, struggling to stop the construction of yet another military base in their hometown; the Diego Garcia islanders, violently expelled from their island in the Indian Ocean to make space for a US military base, and who have been fighting for years to return to their birthplace; the many Japanese women brutalized by US soldiers in Okinawa; the various grassroots movements in Europe and Asia struggling for a base-free world; as well as those living inside the bases: the men and women who are often sent to faraway lands with little or no preparation for what they’ll find there.

No comments: