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The Sun Never Sets on the American Empire

The February 2008 issue of American Legion Magazine has an article entitled “Over There: Where In The Word We Are” by Alan W. Dowd. The article isn’t available online yet. The author has a website here. His earlier articles are accessible but not this current one.

The United States has nearly half a million troops stationed in 144 countries. We have the obvious ones — 168,000 troops in Iraq, 27,114 in South Korea and 24,800 in Afghanistan. The article doesn’t list all 144 countries but here are a few of the others:

We have a logistics unit in Singapore that enables U.S. Navy vessels to perform exercises. We have 240 Navy and Air Force personnel in Diego Garcia (yes it’s a place, not a person). We’ve got fifty thousand troops in Japan; just 711 in Australia.

In addition to Iraq we have troops in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

And we’re all over Europe with 58,000 troops in Germany and over ten thousand in the U.K. and Italy. We have a somewhat smaller presence in Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Holland, Kosovo/Serbi a and Bosnia-Herze govina. Oh, and Turkey, Romania, Greece and Bulgaria. And Greenland.

We also have a strong presence in Latin America and Africa (mostly Djibouti).

How crucial is all of this? What terrible things would happen if we pulled some (or even all) of our troops out of Portugal? Or Germany? Or Singapore, Djibouti, Greenland, Colombia, Diego Garcia…

Our entire infrastructu re is crumbling, we’re hundreds of billions of dollars in debt, and we have American troops stationed in 144 countries. Is this right?

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22 Responses to “The Sun Never Sets on the American Empire”

  1. Yeah! Shut up and enjoy your freedom!!

  2. Remarkable how anti american you are steve

  3. Tom,
    It would be interesting to know the real motive for having troops in many of these countries. i have a feeling it would be almost comical in a few instances, greed related in most, and “its a secret” in the rest. an interesting fact i came across some place the other day was that the military is the largest single identifiable consumer of petroleum in America, the largest petroleum consumer in the world. anyone who doesn’t believe we are already engaged in the most important war for resources in the history of the world ain’t paying attention. When you consider the frivolous purposes for which we use much of this oil, to satiate irrational desires, the insanity of the whole situation would be funny if it were not so tragic.

  4. On the other side Rube, how many hard working men and women do you think make a living one way or another exploring for, drilling for, transporting  , refining, and dispensing oil? The more we cut back or eliminate the use of oil, the more we put people out of work and on the unemployment roles. This is not just about making the mythical beast known as “big oil” rich. This is also about everyday people making a living and supporting their families. Your frivolous use of oil for the trip to Grandmas house is bread and butter to many.

  5. As far as the 1/2 million troops overseas….it shows that the military is not as “streached thin” as the liberal crowd would have us believe. We have 3 times the troops in Iraq trained and available. George Bush has NOT wrecked the military as the alarmist claim.

  6. Chris:

    I didn’t know we were back to questioning one’s patriotism again.

  7. mana
    “Your frivolous use of oil for the trip to Grandmas house is bread and butter to many.” have you noticed too? Lots of the retired folks in my town friends have children and grandchildre n moving back in with them permanently.   The bread and butter the elderly have been living on for a while is now being shared with a growing number of distressed family members. How’s the economy doing out your way? Damn gasoline prices, food prices, and the rising cost of health care and home heating fuels is kicking ass in my neck of the woods.

  8. In general, Rube, I would have to say the number of extended family members sharing a house is declining not increasing. Especially with the Government suppling the aid that families used to.
    I have no statistics on this just anecdotal evidence.

    The economy here is still robust. We are in the middle of a great snow year and record numbers of tourist.
    The frivolous use of oil to get them here, house and feed them and to transport workers to help make their stay a memorable one puts food on the tables of practically everyone here.

    But what if we were to curtail this frivolous use of oil and ban skiing? What are you going to do with the people you would put out work?

  9. steve,
    it’s difficult to know a man without looking him in the eye. however, I would be remiss if i didn’t point out that, if your true personality is based on the inane stuff your say and write, in my area of the world, you would be given a treatment. metaphorical ly speaking , i believe the unwritten code requires for this type of offense that your have your tongue split and hang your foot through it. (guess you have to visualize that one.)

  10. So Rube, are you saying that in your area of the world one is not allowed to have a different take on life than yours?

  11. mana,
    “But what if we were to curtail this frivolous use of oil and ban skiing? What are you going to do with the people you would put out work?”

    not all will suffer job loss. there will always be rich folks who need to be catered too while they fulfil their irrational desires. snow skiing is going to be around for a long time. but as an industry i predict there are going to be cut backs. too energy intensive when energy and economic aspects of the industry are subject to disruptions.   those left unemployed will just have to find other work. Basically the same thing ordinary folks have been doing with greater frequency over the past few years as jobs are lost or sent over seas. now if you want to have a detailed discussion of the kinds of jobs that are likely to be available that is another discussion which is reality based and not pretty to those accustomed to the “good life.”

  12. mana,
    Yes, we allow different takes on life. we admit there are few real truths about things, and that all the facts are not available. So we practice a little thing called inference to the best explanation. this technique recognizes the data that is available, and make reasonable assumptions about the relevant aspects of a thing. a lot of rumination on this stuff takes place while we watch the hogs wallow or copulate but generally we figure we know a little about whats going on. now when someone comes along and refuses to even recognize the known available facts we believe are relevant, we get testy. guess its one of our character flaws.

  13. So which of the inane comments of Steve’s would cause the foot through the tounge treatment.

    As far as the use of oil being frivolous, in your opinion, I am pointing out that while the activities such a skiing are indeed frivolous, the resulting jobs for us regular working stiffs is not. I don’t waste time with judging how another chooses to use their income be they rich or poor, I look at the good that comes from having jobs. Perhaps those watching the hogs rut are more concerned with what they deem relevent and the ever present envy of the rich.

  14. Rube:

    Chris called me anti-America n… Probably because lovingly told Tom, the author, to shut up and enjoy his freedom most possibly because we wouldn’t be where we are today without out military. So… if that is inane to you… I must need treatment, right?

    I don’t know where the anti-America n comment comes from in what I said. Perhaps it’s an inner hatred from the two America’s we live in: One where we argue all day long about the politicism in this country and the other where no one really gives a shit.

    I find it funny how one bitches and complains about oil after we have run our country with it the last 100 years or so. Change overnight is not possible… Neither is bringing 500,000 troops home from 149 countries. Correct me if I am wrong, but… we still need to be rational about these kinds of things, eh Rube?

  15. mana,
    first, Steve is just a character to me. next, he constantly offers comments reflecting the thoughts of the stereotypica l greedy, narcissistic  , optimistic, American. take this comment for example: “Yeah! Shut up and enjoy your freedom!! ‘ after the last 7 years of this hubris some of us are getting a little tired of the bullshit.

    no, we decide what is relevant based on stuff we get from a wide variety of sources, including the internet. generally, we talk about this stuff among ourselves, but sometimes a few of us get into the internet pigpen and wallow around a little with the real hogs.

    we do envy the rich i suppose. but we despise the ones who are not rich, who are into conspicuous consumption in order to make up for the obvious poverty in most aspects of their lives.

    got to go feed up now. been raining all day and still have a few creatures requiring attention. Enjoyed the banter. .

  16. Thank you, Tom Harper. That was well put!

    Why we can’t see the trouble of empire, and why we can’t see it while we happen to be harping on all these other founding ideas of America, is completely beyond me. How could a “constructio nist judge” rule that actions and law violative of constitution al principles, - balance, separation, rights over rule - like tha PA and the PAA, rule in favor of such disbalance?

    We have a huge military presence all over the world and the congress and courts have simply handed the executive the power to do with it almost completely as it chooses! Some 50% of discretionar y spending is for the military. 50% of almost a trilion dollars. How a “conservativ e” can live with that is out there in left field to me.


  17. and 90 years ago the US army figured @ 80,000 total… I guess it is the price paid for ending isolationism  , and in part for collective security through the United Nations

  18. tfa,
    and most important, EMPIRE.

  19. I’d love to see a poll that asks “Do you think America is now an empire?” I wonder what people would say. I wonder if the same dumbasses who say, “We give too much foreign aid,” would also say, “We have waaaaaay too much foreign military presence.” I wonder if there’s a disconnect there.

    The old populist/iso lationist/mi litarist model just doesn’t exist any more, I suppose. Now we’ve learned to live with free trade/illega l immigration, war on whatever/usu rpation of rights, actual war - more need for war. It’s a self-perpetu ating machine of stupidity.


  20. jersey,
    your comments call for toast of KSBW. i respect a man who can actually see. too many around who are just looking.

  21. What’s KSWB?


  22. Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. It’s Saturday night here in the woods. Tomorrow we can repent…., if we wake up. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

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