An excerpt, Global Research, May 3, 2012
Replicating post-WW II occupations is planned. Sixty-seven years after war's end, US troops still occupy Germany, Japan and Korea. They're part of America's growing empire of bases.
Status of forces (SOFA) agreements establish the framework under which US forces operate abroad.
The Department of Defense Technical Information Center calls them agreements "that defines the legal position of a 'visiting' military force deployed in the territory of a friendly state."
They delineate "the status of visiting military forces (and) may be bilateral or multilateral. Provisions pertaining to the status of visiting forces may be set forth in a separate agreement, or they may form a part of a more comprehensive agreement."
"These provisions describe how the authorities of a visiting force may control members of that force and the amenability of the force or its member to the local law or to the authority of local officials."
"To the extent that agreements delineate matters affecting the relations between a military force and civilian authorities and population, they may be considered as civil affairs agreements."
Occupied countries get little choice. Pentagon officials draft provisions. They're largely one way.
In his book, "The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic," Chalmers Johnson explained SOFAs as follows:
"America's foreign military enclaves, though structurally, legally, and conceptually different from colonies, are themselves something like microcolonies in that they are completely beyond the jurisdiction of the occupied nation."
"The US virtually always negotiates a 'status of forces agreement' (SOFA) with the ostensibly independent 'host' nation."
They're a modern day version of 19th century China's "extraterritoriality" agreements. They granted foreigners charged with crimes the "right" to be tried by his (or her) own government under his (or her) own national law.
Most SOFAs prevent local courts from exercising legal jurisdiction over American personnel. Even those committing murder and rape are exempt unless US officials yield to local authorities. Usually, offenders are whisked out of countries before they ask.
America's total number of SOFAs is unknown. Most are secret. Some are too embarrassing to reveal. America has hundreds of known, shared, and secret bases in over 150 countries.
Johnson said they "usurp, distort, or subvert whatever institutions of democratic (or other form of) government may exist with the host society."
Their presence assures trouble. It includes murder, rape, theft, drunken driving, and other crimes. Locals also face unacceptable noise, pollution, environmental destruction, appropriated public land, and US personnel mindless of local laws, customs, and rights of ordinary people.
Explosions rocked Kabul shortly after Obama's brief visit. Taliban forces claimed responsibility. Reports said at least seven died. Others were injured. Resistance fighters showed disdain for Obama's
He came at night. He and Karzai met after midnight. A signing ceremony followed. It excluded "a new chapter" marked by "mutual respect."
US media ignored what foreign ones reported. Among others, London's Telegraph headlined "US troops may stay in Afghanistan until 2024," saying:
Obama's strategic pact provides for US trainers, "special forces and air power to remain." Handing over control to Afghan ones conceals permanent occupation plans.
Karzai's top security advisor, Rangin Dadfar Spanta, said America's long-term presence is needed. "In the Afghan proposal, we are talking about 10 years from 2014, but this is under discussion."
Russia's Kabul ambassador, Andrey Avetisyan, said:
"Afghanistan needs many other things apart from the permanent presence of some countries. It needs economic help and it needs peace. Military bases are not a tool for peace."
"I don’t understand why such bases are needed. If the job is done, if terrorism is defeated and peace and stability are brought back, then why would you need bases?"
"If the job is not done, then several thousand troops, even special forces, will not be able to do the job that 150,000 troops couldn’t do. It is not possible."
America came to stay. Afghans want them out. A recipe for protracted conflict persists. Another decade of war may follow. In 2001, who thought one was possible. It's America's longest war.
*Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War" http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html
Global Research http://www.globalresearch.ca
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