The article about the protests surrounding the expansion of the U.S. Army garrison on the military airfield (Neighbors of U.S. Army in Italy reach their limit, July 4) caught my attentionwrites Christian Braham, an American citizen who has lived for over 30 years in Vicenza, Italy (his father is a former U.S. Army officer and his mother is Italian), to the International Herald Tribune.
I was dismayed by the tone of the article because it suggests that the entire local population is against the building of the new base when in fact the situation is quite the opposite.Indeed, while the IHT version of a previous NYT article (by Peter Kiefer) saw nothing wrong with generalizing to all the nation's citizens (Italians protest expansion of U.S. base), it is only towards the end of the more recent piece that we learn that "the protesters are not representative of this city of 114,000", and even then, this information (needless to say) has to be "nuanced" by the fact that it is the opinion of one person and that, the opinion of someone on the right (one Enrico Hüllweck who is Vicenza's center-right mayor).
The base is one of the region's largest employers. Had it shut down, hundreds of Italians would have lost their jobs. The economic impact of this garrison is huge; and most locals are aware of this. The majority of Italians see this as an opportunity for increased jobs, contracts and everything else that goes with this kind of project.