Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Close Ramstein Air Base In Germany, Or Just End Its Role As Drone Command Central?

A corporate fast food outlet at Ramstein Air Base was destroyed by fire
after an employee used a blowtorch to burn weeds.
(It is hard to write satire in an age brimming with this much irony.) Stars and Stripes
There's a difference of opinion among antiwar activists who focus on enormous Ramstein Air Base, located on the soil of another defeated enemy of the U.S. from WWII.
June, 2016 "Thousands of Germans surround Ramstein Air Base to protest the US's use of drones"
by Carolyn Copley, Business Insider  
Some, like the estimated 5,000 protesters above, want the base to stop serving as command central for the flying killer robots know as drones. Germans claim this use of their soil violates their post-WWII constitution. A full investigative article revealing this appeared in mainstream publication Der Spiegel in 2015.

The organization "Stop Ramstein -- No Drone War" will hold a weekend of action August 12-13 this year. From their website:
The US military base Ramstein is a central hub for the preparation and implementation of international attacks. The deadly operations of American combat drones, including in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria, are carried out through the satellite relay station at the US Air Base Ramstein resulting in tens of thousands of victims, the majority of whom were uninvolved civilians.

Other activists would like to close the base altogether as part of a campaign to close the estimated 800-1,000 military bases the U.S. maintains abroad. Details on that campaign may be found here.

As the Pentagon has moved ever more in the direction of contracting with corporations like Burger King to feed soldiers and airmen, the cost to taxpayers of maintaining these outposts of capitalist imperialism has likewise grown. That is, taxpayers in Germany, Japan and Korea.

Gone are the days when Beetle Bailey peeled potatoes on K.P. (kitchen patrol), a staple of my childhood funny papers. Now Beetle would be a joystick warrior killing remotely viewed people he would refer to as "bug splats" after murdering them; now Beetle would have PTSD from doing this kind of military "service" for my government.
And a German employee of a U.S. corporation can accidentally sets a fast food franchise outlet on fire while using a blow torch to burn unsightly weeds.
Not to worry. Burger King has announced it will rebuild.
"Nabila Rehman, 9, holds up a picture she drew depicting the US drone strike on her Pakistan village
which killed her grandmother. Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters" Guardian 2013

Anti-drone activists have long objected to the use of remote controlled technology to murder innocent victims. Organizer Elsa Rassbach told me recently that they believe banning drone operations from Ramstein AB is within the realm of possibility. Closing the base is probably not.
I have a lot of respect for Elsa's work (and, she may be correct) but I am going to cling to my idealistic notion that ALL U.S. military outposts around the planet can and should be closed, permanently -- for the environment, for the local community, and certainly not least for the victims.

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