Living on Base

I was watching a documentary (Bombs, Brits, and Cheerleaders) about military personnel living on base when they travel to other countries.  As I watched, I was struck by how absolutely sheltered these people are from what’s going on with the average American, and even more so by what’s going on in the country where they are stationed.  The only news they receive is what the government provides.  I’ve spent enough time on military bases to know that they have created a small town American culture in these bases overseas (as well as the ones here), making sure military personnel and their families have no real access to the culture of the country in which they are currently living.  There’s no reason to travel and when they do, many visit monuments, historical places,etc… with groups and guides from the base, eliminating any possibility of learning something that is not exactly what the government wants them to think.  Since everything is provided for them on base (markets, clothing, etc…) they never have to leave and encounter opposing views.  I find this disturbing, especially since many people I know joined the military to”see the world”.  They’ll see it alright, the just won’t get to experience it.

There is an unbridled patriotism on American bases abroad that the local population tend to resent, especially the blaring of the National Anthem at 5AM every morning.  Some feel that this kind of representation causes locals to stay away from the Americans, and those that do venture to meet them feel that there is a tendency for our citizens to teach about American culture (and often religion) rather than taking the time to learn about the place in which they are currently living.  I think it’s an incredible disservice tot he children living on these bases who would otherwise have the opportunity to learn a lot about various countries and peoples but are instead sheltered inside their very own Americaland.

3,792 US soldiers killed in Iraq.  27,936 US soldiers wounded in Iraq.


3 Responses to “Living on Base”

  1. September 22, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    It’s not only not encountering opposing views that’s sad, but the lack of really seeing the place they’re living. I’ve talked to numerous people stationed in Germany that never got to experience Germany, other than the base. So much to miss out on.

  2. September 25, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    I they take the time to get to know the ppl it would make it harder to kill them…

  3. 3 unitedwelay1
    September 25, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    They don’t leave bases in countries we’re allies with. I know people who have been in England and Germany and have seen neither.

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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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