After pissing off the Russians over proposed missile defense sites in the Czech Republic and Poland, now the White House has infuriated Italians with yet more dispersed American military power. Swanson at AfterDowningStreet, with a righteous slam on the American media:
The U.S. government has proposed to make Vicenza, Italy, the largest US military site in Europe, but the people of Vicenza, and all of Italy, have sworn it will never happen.
As with the story of the Downing Street Minutes two years ago this week, a major news story and huge controversy in Europe right now is unknown to Americans, despite the fact that it is all about the policies of the American government. In February of this year, 200,000 people descended  on the Northeastern Italian town of Vicenza (population 100,000) to march in protest. Largely as a result, the Prime Minister of Italy was (temporarily) driven out of power. Meanwhile, just outside Vicenza, large tents now hold newly minted citizen activists keeping a 24-hour-per-day vigil and training hundreds of senior citizens, children, and families every day in how to nonviolently stop bulldozers. The bulldozers they are waiting for are American.
The conflict, should it come about, will be as surprising to American television viewers as were the attacks of 9-11, unless someone tells them ahead of time what is going on. This week a group of Italians is in Washington, D.C., attempting to do just that . A group of Italian Members of Parliament also visited  Washington last month in opposition to the base.
To understand this story it is necessary to be aware of a few basic facts  that Americans are not supposed to be aware of, including that our military maintains several hundred bases in other people's countries, and that many of the residents of these countries resent the U.S. military presence. (Of course, the alleged planner of the murderous 9-11 attacks said he was reacting to U.S. bases on foreign soil, in that case in Saudi Arabia. The Bush Administration closed the offending bases.)