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article imageOp-Ed: How to repair America's broken infrastructure

By Alexander Baron     Nov 1, 2011 in Politics
New York - The recent heavy snowfalls in New York and other East Coast States have made headlines all around the world, so have the resulting power outages.
This appeared in Taiwan, c/o Associated Press.
Although some nations like Sweden and Switzerland seem to manage snow and inclement weather perfectly well, others, like Britain, tend to grind to a halt as soon as it is an inch thick. The same appears to have happened in New York, although to be fair, it has been extremely heavy, and it is, or was, October.
One BBC news report here concentrated on the resulting power outages. The main reason for this is trees. Because the trees have not yet shed all their leaves, the snow weighs down on them, and sometimes when a branch cracks under the strain, it hits a power cable, and a nearby township loses its electricity. We tend not to have this problem in Britain, because we build our pylons high, and in open country.
The solution mooted by one commentator, is for power cables to be buried rather than carried aloft, but as usual, the problem is money. How can New York and other states afford to upgrade America's antiquated infrastructure?
There is a simple answer to this. This article and maps relate to American military bases throughout the world four years ago. A good summary is the following three sentences:
“The US Military has bases in 63 countries. Brand new military bases have been built since September 11, 2001 in seven countries.
In total, there are 255,065 US military personnel deployed Worldwide.”
There were and are in total around a thousand military installations including bases.
The American Empire is running on Federal Reserve notes; Ben Bernanke, or whoever is in charge at the Fed, keeps churning them out, and they are spent, not on housing the homeless of America's tent cities, not on creating real jobs developing the technology for hydrogen cars - in which the US is lagging behind Britain - or creating jobs for developing clean, renewable electric transport or windfarms, not even on Obamacare, but on creating more debt for the banks, and on running these thousand odd military installations worldwide.
As long as the Fed keeps printing bits of paper for Uncle Sam, and foreigners keep accepting them, fine, but what happens when they don't? It remains to be seen exactly how many of those quarter of a million plus military personnel are genuinely required to defend America's interests, but if half or only ten percent of those bases were shut down and say 20,000 of those service personnel were made redundant, they could be relocated to civilian work in the US, and set to rebuilding America's antiquated infrastructure, instead of at times destroying the infrastructures of other countries.
To date, there have been more than 1700 American deaths in Afghanistan alone, that is over half a percent of the total of American service personnel, more than one in 200. Think about that next time you take a crowded rush hour train, and as you walk up the platform with perhaps a thousand other passengers - or customers as they are now called in Britain - think of that as you walk through the ticket gate, then bear in mind that five of those people would have been killed since the start of the War on Terror.
Far better to bring home those troops so they can lay underground cables so that next time it snows in New York there will be no power cuts, than send them to foreign lands where they add nothing to the American economy, produce nothing but hate in the natives, and risk their lives into the bargain.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about pylons, American military bases, Imperialism, Empire, Snow
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