Tuesday, January 06th, 2009 | Author:

As our economy collapsed, I listened to the sensible words of Ron Paul decrying our vast outlays of American cash to play policeman (dictator?) for the world. It was often mentioned that we have over 700 military bases, and I wondered just where these bases where located. Finding them, I discovered, was a typical wade-through-tons-of-government-documents-project that I didn’t have the stomach for.

But Greg Johnson has come to the rescue at Military Spending Info. He has created several maps, showing the American Empire in orange. I confess that the list of countries we occupy … err, protect … includes places I’ve never even heard of: Qatar? Gabon?

He also created a pie chart, which he updates routinely, showing the percentage of world-wide military spending by country. Guess who wins?


Now I know this is radical thinking, but it seems to me that if we supported our own national defense, and we let other countries do the same, we might not be trillions of dollars in debt. Do countries like Australia and England really need us to protect them, or could we treat them like big boys and girls who take responsibility for themselves?

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3 Responses
  1. Mike says:

    akaGaGa,

    Military Spending Info.com is just another example of statistics twisted to fit a political stance.

    For the record, I used the same sources he cites, most specifically the Base Structure Report. The data I cite below is derived from it.

    He’s playing fast and loose with the facts.

    He paints all of Australia orange even though the US military has no people in Australia. We only own a few buildings. We have 94 people staffing a Navy Medical Center in Indonesia; the entire archipelago is clearly under our evil military domination.

    Kenya? No personnel, we own a couple of buildings. Ghana? No personnel, a coulpe of buildings. Gabon? Same. Senegal? Same. Uganda? Same. Peru? Same. Iceland? No people, a bunch of buildings that likely represented the old Cold War base that is now inactive. Now, we do have 1 whole military person in Oman, and a rousing 13 in Ecuador. We have 3 civilians in the U.A.E.; so clearly we are working on a coup d’etat as I write this.

    I think that the Canada, the U.K., Turkey, and Spain, just to name a few would be…uhm “surprised” to be considered under our military dominion.

    You want to argue we should liquidate holdings we probably don’t need in foreign countries; I’m right there with you.

    But an “empire”? Please.

    Mike

  2. akaGaGa says:

    Hi Mike!

    1) He’s not playing fast and loose, but you are reading selectively. On the map page, he states:

    “The maps do not represent the number and size of the sites in each country, which vary. The functions of the sites are also various. Besides military bases, there are airfields, refueling stations, ammunition depots, hospitals, and so on. Nevertheless, the map gives an indication of the scope of the United States Military’s worldwide presence.”

    2) I’m not going to debate the issue, but I’ll ask you to invert the question: how many bases belonging to foreign governments, staffed or not, are on United States soil?

    May God bless you.

  3. Mike says:

    akaGaGa: I wasn’t reading selectively, I saw that statement. Yet even making it, he deliberatly gives the impression of greater presence, and thus by implication, influence, than actually exists.

    There is a distinct difference between owning some buildings and having a full-up, staffed base with a working SOFA in place. If simply owning a builidng is your yard stick, how much U.S. real estate is owned by foreign nationals?

    As for foreign bases in the U.S.? None. Foreign military presence in the U.S.; more than you think (and I’m not talking about embassies). Canada staffs many continentental defense functions in the U.S. along side the U.S. military. Exchange officers from dozens of contries serve at bases in the U.S. I’m not sure we still do this, but the German flag flew along side the U.S. flag at one of our fighter training bases because of the large German military presence there as part of the training.

    Your argument is a bit of a straw man: How many other countries has the U.S. asked for assistance, supplies, medical aid, or some other kind of even temporary presence that would require the purchase of some buildings? Answer: None. How many of these countries have come to us for some kind of aid that would reasonably require some kind of physical plant to work out of? Answer: Most, if not all.

    I still don’t understand how the presence of a Naval Medical detachment in Indonesia equates to military domination of the entire archipeligo. Yet that is the picture that is visually painted, and the one the creator of the the “Military Spending” site wants the viewer to have.

    God bless you…and your church. I checked out the link you had on your page. They look like a cool bunch of folks..:)

    Mike