News Release

Argentina is Taking the World Cup Home from Qatar. Why Isn’t the U.S. Leaving?


Vine is a Professor at American University in Washington, D.C. His books include “Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World.”

He said today: “With all the rightful outrage over Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup given the ruling regime’s appalling human rights record, few bothered to ask why the U.S. government has been such a supporter of that very regime for decades.

“While the World Cup teams, fans, and journalists have headed home, the United States isn’t leaving: at least two U.S. military bases and thousands of U.S. troops and foreign contractors will remain in the country.

“The issue of U.S. bases and troops in Qatar and U.S. support for the Qatari government was supremely overlooked during reporting on the World Cup. If this was a World Cup ‘soaked in blood,’ as many rightly said, what does it mean that the U.S. government has been one of the Qatari government’s biggest backers for decades?

“The presence of U.S. bases in Qatar means the U.S. government and U.S. taxpayers have been supporting and helping prop up the Qatari regime, including its undemocratic rule and human rights abuses including its systematic labor exploitation and discrimination against LGBTQ people.

“Holding the World Cup in Qatar was an outrage. Maintaining U.S. bases in Qatar is an even greater outrage. They should be closed and U.S. troops should come home.

“With all the attention to labor conditions and the deaths of thousands of foreign workers during the construction of World Cup stadiums and other infrastructure, few asked who built U.S. bases in Qatar. And who is working on these bases now?

“The U.S. Government appears to be supporting similarly appalling labor conditions as foreign workers face elsewhere in Qatar. A recent Washington Post exposé showed that some workers at Al Udeid Air Force Base make as little as $1.52 to $3.70 an hour. Current and former workers report being effectively trapped in their jobs and required to obtain release letters from their employers to move to another job or to leave the country for medical treatment.

“U.S. bases in Qatar helped launch and wage the catastrophic U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, while also participating in disastrous U.S. and Qatari-backed wars in Libya and Yemen. These wars likely have resulted in millions killed and tens of millions injured and displaced.”

In addition to Qatar, U.S. bases can be found in at least 37 more”non-democratic countries and colonies,” according to a report Vine helped co-author, “Drawdown: Improving U.S. and Global Security Through Military Base Closures Abroad.”

Vine added: “In total, the U.S. government maintains an estimated 750 bases outside the 50 states and Washington, D.C., which is at least three times as many overseas bases as every other country combined.”