We ran into a few military guys in Comayagua, Honduras -- just a few clicks down the road from the last remaining US military base in Central America. The base, now nominally under the flag of the Honduran Army, was once the staging post for the Contra freedom fighters,* a US-backed group of soldiers who wanted to overthrow the Sandinista government in the 1980s. Yes, these were the guys who Reagan armed with money that Oliver North received for selling weapons to Iran during the Iran-Iraq war.**
Anyway, these guys were having a few beers. I stopped by to ask what their working hours were. (I was curious to know if they worked nine-to-five jobs, or 10 days on/10 days off.) An older guy said "that's not something that we can tell you." "Oh, and I guess that you can't tell me anything at all then?" "Nope"
So, I turned to wikipedia, and found this. Thanks guys, for keeping those "secrets" from a fellow-citizen.
Bloody self-important idiots.
Oh, and that was BEFORE the hookers*** showed up to share some beers.
Why are these guys here? Do they really think that they know what's going on in-country? Do they really think that Central America (or anywhere?) is really more secure or more democratic or more friendly when a bunch of guys are living there, with guns, hamburgers and hookers?**** I don't think so.
Bottom Line: US imperialism has done nothing for national defense. Bring them home, cut the military budget, and convert the Department of Defense from an oxymoron into something useful.
* George Carlin: "Firefighters fight fire, so what do freedom fighters fight?"
** North was no patriot. He was a mercenary who circumvented the US Congress in a black operation that went against US interests -- TWICE. (First by selling weapons to a country that we formally opposed; second, by continuing an insurgency that we had denounced. He took the blame for Reagan, but both should have been charged with treason -- especially since their short-term realpolitikal actions only undermined long term US interests.) I am all for national security, but I have YET to see a single blackops that has increased it.
*** I have no issues with girls making the best of what they've got. I have issues with our "national defenders" using MY tax money on hookers instead of defense. (And that's not even getting into the problem of military rapes and abandoned single mothers.)
**** In 1997, I visited Madagascar, where the local girls were fond of sleeping with foreign guys, for nothing. (No, I didn't.) I asked a local guy what he thought of that: "No, we don't like it." I don't think locals are happy to see their girls taken by gringos.