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Italian Officials in Washington to Oppose New Base

By David Swanson

Did you know that our nation, the land of the free and the home of the brave, has permanent military bases in other countries? And I don't just mean in Iraq. In fact the United States maintains over 725 bases that our military admits to, with over a half million personnel. Did you know that?

Did you know that most of these bases serve no useful purpose, that many of them are focused on spying and some exist purely to acquire or guard oil? Did you know that people around the world resent these bases in their countries and view them as part of an unwanted empire? Did you know that the United States has proposed to greatly expand its military presence in the beautiful Italian city of Vicenza, adding a huge new base to the existing one? Did you know your taxes will pay for it?

We must destroy the Italians' cultural treasures THERE so that they don't critique our cuisine over HERE. Or something.

Five members of the Italian Parliament are visiting the United States this week to express their opposition to the new base. They are: Sen. Tiziana Valpiana (PRC-SE), On. Lalla Trupia (DS), On. Laura Fincato (Margherita), On. Luana Zanella (Verdi) and vice presidente della Commissione Difesa della Camera On. Elettra Deiana (Prc). They plan to meet with U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Senator Valpiana explains:

"Dobbiamo far capire alla Pelosi il NO della popolazione vicentina e dei pacifisti italiani alla nuova base militare americana al "Dal Molin"- afferma la senatrice Valpiana- perché non credo che nel suo paese una opposizione così radicale della popolazione locale potrebbe essere ignorata come lo è qui da noi".


"We must make Rep. Pelosi understand the opposition of the people of Vicenza and of Italian peace advocates to the new American military base at Dal Molin, because I do not believe that in her country such drastic popular opposition could be ignored the way it is in Italy."

Sen. Valpiana has clearly never visited America before.

The Italian delegation also plans to deliver a letter from an Undersecretary of State to the Director of the World Heritage Center at UNESCO requesting an impact study. Vicenza is a World Heritage site.

On Tuesday, the delegation is expected to arrive in Washington from New York. The Italian Members of Parliament plan to meet with U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Speaker Pelosi, and other members of Congress. On Wednesday, they plan to meet with members of the peace movement in this country.

The Italians are bringing with them books on the architecture of Andrea Palladio and photographs of the area where the new base construction has been proposed.



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The Italians, above all, should have been vigilant enough not to allow a base here. Now, all they're asking for is to keep it small - how pathetic.

They're also complicit in the destruction of works of art. Check out:

Who is approving all of these bases? I thought Congress approves
spending for defense? Are these listed in the Budget? Who approved
spending tax money for Italian base? Does Bush & Company just say:
We need a base here and money appears?

Does Congress oversight Committee not check into this which is
a major decision to be made? Who runs the Pentagon anyway? Who
assigns military personnel to these bases? How many private employees at $800 an hour are at these bases? Why do we need national guard when we can simply send men from these bases to Iraq? Why do we
need any extra military for Iraq when we can simply assign those
on these bases to go? Why don't we make this a major issue in our
need to stop the Iraq war? I read we are sending 9000 military from our bases in Germany to Iraq. Why are we not complaining to
Congress on this issue since it is really a top priority in re: to
Budget for defense in Iraq? The heart of the issue on Iraq is the
funding--right? Who is standing up in Congress and questioning this
very key issue. Where can public see breakdown of what we are spending for not only Iraq but all bases? How many men have been sent to Iraq thus far? These military at other bases are being overlooked in the plan to serge are they not? This is a serious matter we
are not addressing. Who in congress or the peace moment is looking at the overall picture?

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