Hard facts. 147 countries. 476,039 soldiers abroad. Over 46,000 veteran suicides and 5,000+ combat troops dead during the War of Terror.
One of the sticking points I encounter in conversation is when someone challenges me that America does not have, as I allege, a military empire. However, they never seem to be able to rattle off any facts or statistics to the contrary. This article is my attempt to document facts that he is unaware of for our benefit. The Department of Defense last issued information on troop deployment in December 2008. Obama's recent troop additions of 21,000 troops to Afghanistan were covered here, but is not factored into the below facts.
The DoD report reveals:
- America has military personnel in 147 countries.
- There are 194 states in the world, so therefore we have troops in 76% of all countries on the planet.
- The size of America's armed forces is 1,402,227 soldiers.
- 476,039 of these troops, or 34% are stationed overseas. 15% of our troops are engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- 54,974 soldiers are based in Germany, although WWII ended 64 years ago.
- 34,039 soldiers are based in Japan, although WWII ended 64 years ago.
- 24,655 soldiers are based in South Korea as technically this "police action" that resulted in the deaths of 36,516 Americans and the wounding of 92,134. In my opinion, the greatest barrier to peace with North Korea is the presence of these soldiers.
- We have 0 troops and bases in Vietnam, and get along with their nation fairly well, considering 58,159 were killed and 303,635 wounded during that "police action."
- America's DoD is "one of the world's largest "landlords" possessing 545,714 buildings, 5,429 bases, spanning 29.8 million acres of land. (p3/205)
- 761 bases, or 14%, are located on foreign soil. (p23/205)
- 12 of the 111 bases designated as "large" are located on foreign soil. (p33/205)
- However, reading the remainder of the report reveals that bases in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israel are not listed, so both number of bases and "large" bases are too low.
Over 5,000 soldiers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan for the War of Terror. (source)
Furthermore, CBS and the military revealed that 18 veterans commit suicide per day during the 8-year Global War on Terror, resulting in an estimated 46,000 deaths. (source)
Time Magazine asked several days ago "Why Are Army Recruiters Killing Themselves?"
The DoD stated its total spending in 2009 will be $617 Billion. (p7/26)
However, the data put together by War Resisters League appears to be closer to reality. They demonstrate that America will spend $1,449 Billion on our military during 2009. They estimate the War of Terror has cost $990 Billion.
Keep these facts in mind when "supporting our troops." My conclusion is the best way to do this is for all major deployments should return to US soil as soon as possible. This includes all personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, as I have explained in my writings.
Restore the Republic or Pay for a Bankrupt Military Empire, it is our choice. As for me, "hell in a handbasket" is not an option.
—————Jake, the Champion of the Constitution [email him] is also a contributing author at the libertarian website www.LibertyMaven.com, populistamerica.com and has been published at the investment sites www.SeekingAlpha.com, goldseek.com, and silverseek.com. A summary of articles and bibliography for Jake, the Champion of the Constitution can be found here.