Failed Empire

Chronicling the collapse of a failed society

American Empire: US Soldiers Stationed in 150+ Countries

Countries with more than 100 US military personnel

Even as two wars rage on in Iraq and Afghanistan, most Americans seem to have largely forgotten about military concerns.  All eyes have turned towards the staggering economy and the seemingly bottomless abyss of unemployment.  With the resurgence of right-wing ideologues around the nation and in Washington, the specter of tax cuts and deficit reduction have reemerged from the rubble of the disastrous Bush era, and the public is – according to the media at least – screaming for reductions in government expenditures.  Aided by the corporatist media, the American people seem to have forgotten that the poisonous cocktail of tax cuts for the rich, deregulation and fewer government services represents precisely the witches’ brew which got us into this economic quagmire in the first place.

As politicians and their ignorant, teabagging followers cry out for tax relief and deficit reduction, the conversation shifts to debating which government services are to be cut.  The health care reform bill, though not yet active, will undoubtedly be the first item on the chopping block.  Next may be education, particularly funding for the fine arts.  Funding for scientific research will likely be slashed, including research into alternative energy.  A few teabag-elects have even raised the incomprehensibly stupid notion of disbanding the EPA, since clean air and water are apparently luxuries for those elitist lefties.

The most practical solution is painfully obvious, but virtually no one – aside from a few scattered murmurs on the deep left – seems to have the courage to openly propose it.  The solution, quite simply, is to drastically reduce funding to the single largest expenditure of the US government:  the Pentagon.

The rhetoric of the right has long been to cite the need for “a strong defense.”  To an extremely limited extent that might be true, at least in today’s world, but it is impossible to justify today’s insanely bloated annual budget of some $688 billion per year (pdf) — and that ghastly figure excludes so-called “supplementary” spending for our two ongoing wars.

The United States military is now deployed in more than 150 countries around the world.   It is hard to imagine a more obvious mark of empire than such a pervasive global military presence.  Just what exactly are we doing in these countries?  Why are there 1,285 US soldiers in Dijibouti, a country most Americans probably aren’t even aware exists?  Why are there 53,130 troops in Germany and 35,598 in Japan?  And why aren’t more people asking these questions?

The extent of American military presence throughout the world is an open secret.  The information is available to the public, but is buried in an obscure, nondescript website of the “Department of Defense,” entitled SIAD:  Statistical Information Analysis Division.  On the site you will find detailed lists of US troop deployment around the world since 1994, with archives dating back even further.  Yet the information contained on the site is largely unknown to the American public, in large part because the corporate-controlled media fails to cover it.

In no small way, we as Americans shoulder the responsibility for our ignorance.  The initial framework of our government, as created under the constitution, allows for a level of transparency and civilian intervention that, quite frankly, we do not deserve.  The proof of the empire-building tendencies of our government stares us in the face, yet most of us fail to even learn of its existence, let alone act upon it.

There is absolutely no reason to be spending $688 billion per year on “defense.”  There is no need for American soldiers to be present in more than 150 countries around the world.  Our economy is  imploding.  The dollar is collapsing.  Millions are unemployed while tens of thousands have lost their homes.  The means for universal prosperity lies at our very fingertips, yet we continue to allow our nation’s material and intellectual wealth be squandered on the tools of violence and destruction.  Any politician who fails to acknowledge this reality is a corporate shill and should be treated accordingly.


10 responses to “American Empire: US Soldiers Stationed in 150+ Countries

  1. Pingback: A Look Back: The Foibles of American Military Policy Remain Unchanged « Failed Empire

  2. Pingback: The Real Welfare State: Military Spending Accounts for 58% of Federal Budget « Failed Empire

  3. Pingback: The Myth of a “Strong Defense”: No Offense is the Best Defense « Failed Empire

  4. Pingback: Obama Reports Death of Osama Bin Laden – Why Should We Care? « Failed Empire

  5. Anonymous September 25, 2012 at 8:33 am

    So I see you can read and regurgitate a wikipedia article. How intelligent of you.

  6. Ray September 27, 2012 at 12:04 am

    You think top-down organization is more effective than bottom-up? I think you must believe this, if you’re willing to make the 535 members of Congress responsible for the economic conditions of an entire country. Why not put wealth back in the hands of the people who create it, and let all 312 million residents of the United States direct their economy in the way they think is best for them?

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  8. Jesse Sewell August 6, 2013 at 8:57 am

    I am happy that our troops defend your right to pen such an amazingly moronic post. This warms my heart. While it would be a simple thing for a patriot to hunt you down and strangle you it is far better for us to simply ignore you. Yes America is an Empire. It is far from failing. In fact if anything it is gaining in strength, despite all the challenges and difficulties. Our military remains unchallenged in any way shape or form. Further, we remain the sole country that the world trusts to possess such military power. They did not trust Russia and it died. They did not trust Europe and more importantly the Europeans do not trust eachother. Japan does not trust itself, but it trust the United States. The world is more peaceful, more prosperous now than it has ever been. The facts imply cannot be refuted. Despite sensational 24 news coverage of wars, famines and unrest, the world has never been safer, more prosperous and more peaceful. Yes you can thank the Americna soldier and the American people for that. You won’t, but that is ok. We don’t need your thanks, don’t want your thanks. It’s enough for us that you have the freedom to continue being a worthless idiot, because that is your God-given right.

  9. Newton September 17, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    When I originally commented I seem too have clicked the -Notify me when
    new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment.
    Is there a means you are able to remove me from that service?
    Thanjs a lot!

  10. Dinah January 22, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    “American Empire: US Soldiers Stationed in 150+ Countries | Failed Empire” ended up being a very good blog post and thus I
    actually was truly glad to discover the blog. Many thanks-Tara

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