“Far-flung” doesn’t describe America’s war reach. Our military personnel, technology, and taxpayers’ money are in so many places that the political and military brass no longer admit how many troops are where, much less why. The New York Times, Washington Post, and others, however, have done recent surveys confirming current deployment numbers for:
- Afghanistan: 14,000 After adding 4,000 troops since taking office, Trump–now facing re-election–has tricked up a “truce” with the Taliban that, he wants us to believe, will end the fighting and let him bring home all those war-weary troops home.
- Bahrain: 7,000 This oil-rich, oppressive regime is a close ally of Saudi Arabia.
- Iraq: 6,000 Waged in a country the US supposedly “rescued” nearly 20 years ago, this endless war has cost the lives of nearly 5,000 US troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians. Iraq’s government now demands we leave.
- Kuwait: 13,000 We treat this tiny, opulent oil kingdom as our own military base for protecting oil monopolies.
- Oman: a mere 600 To do … what? Undisclosed, but pricey.
- Qatar: 13,000 Why? To, of all things, battle Trump’s key ally in the Mideast: Saudi Arabia.
- United Arab Emirates: 5,000 And now this Saudi ally–hello!–has begun siding with the Saudis’ (and Trump’s) most hated opponent, Iran.
- US Africa Command: 7,000 Africom manages the Pentagon’s ill-defined “special operations” missions in nations like Chad, Mali, Niger, and Somalia. Why are we there? Don’t ask.
And for decades, we’ve routinely financed “legacy missions” that have been in place for decades, needed or not:
- South Korea: 28,000 Even though Trump now declares the North’s despot, Kim Jong-un, his trusted buddy, US troops south of the DMZ face off North Korea.
- Japan: 57,000 About half the US’s Japan-based troops are on the island of Okinawa, where local resentment runs high.
- Europe: 65,000 The troops spread across Europe, supposedly to contain Soviet communism, which officially perished in 1991.
- Don’t forget, among 171,000 troops deployed abroad, according to the DoD: Australia (284), Cuba (800), Norway (700), The Philippines (182), and “unknown.”
- And–oh, yes–the 5,000 US Army soldiers Trump has stationed on our own southern border to battle desperate children crossing from Mexico!
- Then there’s our “floating” military, consisting of untold thousands of troops quartered on ships so they can periodically be zipped to war … wherever.