On Mar. 24, US president Barack Obama announced that all 9,800 US troops currently stationed in Afghanistan will remain until the end of 2015. This generated a fair amount of criticism: it was, after all, Obama’s promise that the last American troop would leave the country in 2014.
How have Obama’s plans for pulling out of Afghanistan fared so far?
Those expecting the US to leave Afghanistan, however, should take a minute to consider this: the US still hasn’t left Germany. In fact, there are quite a few places the US hasn’t left, and while certainly most of them don’t pose a threat to American soldiers, they reveal a pattern about the US staying, rather than leaving.
According to official information provided by the Department of Defense (DoD) and its Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) there are still about 40,000 US troops, and 179 US bases in Germany, over 50,000 troops in Japan (and 109 bases), and tens of thousands of troops, with hundreds of bases, all over Europe. Over 28,000 US troops are present in 85 bases in South Korea, and have been since 1957.
Altogether, based on information contained in the DoD’s latest Base Structure Report (BSR), the US has bases in at least 74 countries and troops practically all over the world, ranging from thousands to just one in some countries (it could be a military attaché, for instance).
Calculating the extent of the US military presence abroad is not an easy task. The data released by the Department of Defense is incomplete, and inconsistencies are found within documents. Quartz has requested clarification from the Department of Defense, but hasn’t received a response.
according to the most recent publicized count, the U.S. military currently still occupies 686 “base sites” outside the fifty states and Washington, DC.
While 686 base sites is quite a figure in its own right, that tally strangely excludes many well-known U.S. bases, like those in Kosovo, Kuwait, and Qatar. Less surprisingly, the Pentagon’s count also excludes secret (or secretive) American bases, like those reported in Israel and Saudi Arabia. There are so many bases, the Pentagon itself doesn’t even know the true total.
That is not the only issue—even a definitive count of bases would include a wide range of facilities. “Base” itself is an umbrella term that includes locations referred to as “post,” “station,” “camp,” or “fort” by different military bodies. Vine explains:
bases come in all sizes and shapes, from massive sites in Germany and Japan to small radar facilities in Peru and Puerto Rico. […] Even military resorts and recreation areas in places like Tuscany and Seoul are bases of a kind; worldwide, the military runs more than 170 golf courses.
The map below represents US military bases abroad, according to the official BSR, and from independent research conducted by Vine (and Quartz) using verified news reports as well as cross-referencing information with Google Maps. This map does not take into account NATO bases, including a rumored base in Turkmenistan and a base in Algeria, reported by Wikileaks to be a suspected US base.
Most of the countries appear to have a small concentration of US bases (below 10). That’s compared to Germany’s 179, Puerto Rico’s 37, or Italy’s 58. The largest military footprint remains in countries that the US invaded in WWII, while its presence in areas of more recent contention, such as the Middle East, is somewhat reduced, at least in terms of bases.
It has been noted by commentators before that not all the bases are of significant size. However, given the information available it’s hard to truly gauge the size of the different installation. Vine writes:
The Pentagon says that it has just 64 “active major installations” overseas and that most of its base sites are “small installations or locations.” But it defines “small” as having a reported value of up to $915 million. In other words, small can be not so small.
The information about troops abroad, too, isn’t completely clear, which makes it difficult to know the true extent of the American military footprint. IHS Jane’s armed forces analyst Dylan Lehrke told Quartz that it’s hard to even settle on the definition of military presence—for the government, that means bases or deployed troops, although it would seem acceptable to include other forms of presence:
Surely one could say that the US has a military presence in Syria at the moment. They may not have bases and troops on the ground but we should include the warplanes in the sky. The US military arguably has more presence in Syria than it does in Germany […]. To take this idea further, it would also be rational to say the US has a military presence wherever it uses unmanned aerial vehicles to strike targets.
All the countries that have some sort of American military presence—from one military attaché to the troops involved in Iraq and Afghanistan—essentially results in highlighting pretty much the entire world (Russia included, where the DoD reports having 24 military personnel).
Taking into account a sizable troop presence, existence of bases, and whether the US is conducting drone strikes (Yemen, Syria, Pakistan) in a country results in the geographic representation of US military power abroad as below:
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Myth #1 – Jews and Arabs have always been in conflict in the region
Although Arabs were a majority in Palestine prior to the creation of the state of Israel, there had always been a Jewish population, as well. For the most part, Jewish Palestinians got along with their Arab neighbors. This began to change with the onset of the Zionist movement, because the Zionists rejected the right of the Palestinians to self-determination and wanted Palestine for their own, to create a “Jewish State” in a region where Arabs were the majority and owned most of the land.
For instance, after a ...
Harry Truman surprised Americans with his call for European-style government guaranteed health care for all, Johnson with the extent of the Great Society reforms, and even Nixon with the avalanche of regulatory legislation and social spending he approved, outperforming Johnson on a number of “Keynesian” fronts. Hillary Clinton will offer no such surprises. Her consistent record in the context of the Party’s rightward gallop allows us to infer with iron confidence what we can expect from the Monstress on both the foreign and domestic fronts.
Her coming onslaught against the working population combines neoliberal austerity with some of the dominant strategies ...
Afghanistan has gained lead story status in the western corporate and government-sponsored media outlets again for the wrong reasons.
This Central Asia state has been at war since the late 1970s when the United States under the then President Jimmy Carter developed a counter-insurgency program to remove the socialist-oriented administration ruling from Kabul.
Of course today there is largely no mention in these same press agencies about the organization, training, funding and diplomatic cover provided by Washington through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Pentagon and State Department for al-Qaeda (the core) which facilitated the armed struggle waged against the Soviet-backed system ...
The ‘mainstream’ Western media is, almost by definition, the last place to consult for honest reporting of Western crimes. Consider the appalling case of Yemen which is consumed by war and an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe.
Since March 2015, a ‘coalition’ of Sunni Arab states led by Saudi Arabia, and supported by the US, Britain and France, has been dropping bombs on neighbouring Yemen. The scale of the bombing is indicated in a recent article by Felicity Arbuthnot – in one year, 330,000 homes, 648 mosques, 630 schools and institutes, and 250 health facilities were destroyed or damaged. The stated aim of ...
The war machine that is the United States of America, not content with threatening the world with its missile attack on a Syria airbase, not content with massing its forces around the Korean Peninsular and threatening to murder its leaders and massacre its people, not content with its escalating hostility towards Russia and China, decided the world needed one more demonstration of its power today, Thursday, April 13 by dropping its most powerful non-nuclear bomb on an Afghanistan saturated with its bombs.
This demonstration, using a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Blast Bomb (MOAB), that the Americans like to call the ‘mother of ...
According to a number of global mainstream media sources, the Pentagon is covering up a disturbing video that was never made public with the rest of the recent torture report.
According to various well respected journalists, including Seymour Hersh, the appalling video was recorded at Abu Ghraib, the notorious US torture dungeon in Iraq that made headlines roughly a decade ago, when the inhumane tactics being used at the prison were exposed.
Sadly, it seems that the evidence released years ago was only scratching the surface.
While the video has remained under wraps thus far, Hersh says it is only a matter of time before it ...
America is coming to the rescue of Al Qaeda under a humanitarian mandate. The unspoken agenda is to undermine the Liberation of Aleppo.
The pretext and justification for these actions are based on America’s “responsibility to protect” (R2P) the “moderates” in Aleppo from Syrian and Russian attacks and bombing raids.
On October 3, the US State Department announced the suspension of bilateral relations with Russia pertaining to Syria (see document below), in response to which, France’s foreign Minister Jean Marc Ayrault was called upon to intermediate at the diplomatic level.
Pointing his finger at Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Jean Marc Ayrault casually accused Moscow ...
It has been amusing to watch the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets express their dismay over the rise and spread of “fake news.” These publications take it as an obvious truth that what they provide is straightforward, unbiased, fact-based reporting. They do offer such news, but they also provide a steady flow of their own varied forms of fake news, often by disseminating false or misleading information supplied to them by the national security state, other branches of government, and sites of corporate power.
An important form of mainstream media fake news is that which is presented while ...
Paul Atwood, a Senior Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, provides a concise summary of the history that informs North Korea’s “relations with the United States” and “drives its determination never to submit to any American diktat”.
Excerpts from Atwood’s summary are here used as a framework, with other sources where indicated.
Atwood notes it is an American “myth” that the “North Korean Army suddenly attacked without warning, overwhelming surprised ROK defenders.” In fact, the North/South border “had been progressively militarized and there had been numerous cross border incursions by both sides going back to 1949.”
Part of what ...
The June 20 Gray Falcon commentary “Failure to Communicate” has this excerpt, that led me to an extremely anti-Russian and anti-Serb article, from a venue which has previously slanted in that direction:
“The latest example of this ‘flipping the script’ is a New Republic feature comparing Putin to Milosevic. In reality, it is the West acting towards Russia the same way they acted towards the Serbs two decades ago. I’ve argued before that Putin is aware of this, though the Russian public and media in general may not be.”
Whether the issue is the Caucasus or Ukraine, bombing Russia hasn’t been considered, unlike ...
The Balkans conflicts of the 1990s saw a massive revival and resurgence of US and Western media propaganda and infowar techniques. The “new” advocacy journalists recalled the “yellow journalism” of William Randolph Hearst, who helped induce the US to engage in the imperialistic or colonial war in Cuba in 1898, the Spanish-American War. This marked the emergence of the US as an expansionist global imperial and colonial power, like Britain, France, Spain, and Germany had been. Hearst was credited with manufacturing or “furnishing” the war in Cuba.
Frederic Remington, his correspondent in Cuba, reported that nothing was happening in Cuba, that ...
Kosovo is to set up a regular standing army, officially defying everyone, including NATO, although the bloc’s objections are only half-hearted. The alliance would prefer that the illegal entity of Kosovo change its constitution in order to create an army. Just amend it, and then you’re free to have one. This stance looks more like connivance than any real opposition to the move.
Washington’s position is more or less the same. It supports "the gradual, transparent transformation of the Kosovo Security Force into a multiethnic force in line with NATO standards" as long as it complies with the provisions of Kosovo’s constitution, reflecting that “entity’s multiethnic ...
According to Israeli Intelligence News Source
This article was first published in September 2014. Can we believe Hollande and Cameron? Evidence confirms that NATO is behind the recruitment of “jihadist terrorists
While NATO leaders in Newport Wales [September 2014] debate the Atlantic Alliance’s role “in containing a mounting militant threat in the Middle East”, it is worth recalling that in 2011 at the outset of the war in Syria, NATO became actively involved in the recruitment of Islamic fighters.
Reminiscent of the enlistment of the Mujahideen to wage the CIA’s jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war, NATO headquarters ...
This carefully research article by John Steinbach on Israel’s nuclear arsenal was first published by Global Research in March 2002
“Should war break out in the Middle East again,… or should any Arab nation fire missiles against Israel, as the Iraqis did, a nuclear escalation, once unthinkable except as a last resort, would now be a strong probability.” Seymour Hersh(1)
“Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches.” Ariel Sharon(2)
With between 200 and 500 thermonuclear weapons and a sophisticated delivery system, Israel has quietly supplanted Britain as the World’s 5th Largest nuclear power, and may currently rival France and China ...
Here it is, that time of year (the fourth Thursday in November) when we are all beseeched to consider “what we are thankful for.” This invitation to a mass cultural ritual targets everyone regardless of race, creed or sex (or these days, gender). The conformity of thought it reinforces does not discriminate among such superficial characteristics; it goes way deeper. The fundamentals (literally, the foundational elements) of the “American” mind are laid each year at this time.
Those fundamentals hold that we are a strong, brave, resourceful people – whether by our evolved nature or by the grant of a deity ...
Seventeen years ago today, on March 24, 1999, NATO began a 78-day deadly and devastating U.S.-backed intervention of Yugoslavia. It was the first time in history that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization decided they would attack a country without the approval of the U.N. Security Council.
Nineteen countries took part in the aggression led by the United States that was supposed to stop the repressive activities of the Slobodan Milosevic government and to establish a framework for its Southern province, Kosovo, under international law. Milosevic was president of Serbia from 1989 to 1997, and of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000.
The attack was ...
What could cause Russia to invade Israel
At the time, Israel’s Prime Minister had flown to Washington, and was making a desperate bid to get Obama’s support for Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Only a few weeks earlier a discovery had been made that would serve to increase tensions on the question of sovereignty over the Golan – huge oil deposits were found on the Golan Heights, and verified by an Israeli company.
Yet, weeks later, Benjamin Netanyahu returned to Israel having failed to secure Obamas support.
It wasnt long before the United Nations – including Russia – condemned Israels “occupation” of the ...
Russia, Oil and Revolution
By the 1870s, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Empire had a virtual monopoly over the United States, and even many foreign countries. In 1890, the King of Holland gave his blessing for the creation of an international oil company called Royal Dutch Oil Company, which was mainly founded to refine and sell kerosene from Indonesia, a Dutch colony. Also in 1890, a British company was founded with the intended purpose of shipping oil, the Shell Transport and Trading Company, and it “began transporting Royal Dutch oil from Sumatra to destinations everywhere,” and eventually, “the two companies merged ...
The Senate Report’s revelations of CIA torture of suspects following the 9/11 bombing is only the tip of the iceberg. The Report omits the history and wider scope of violent activity in which the CIA has been and continues to be involved. CIA organized large scale death squad activities and extreme torture in Vietnam (Phoenix Project); multiple assassinations of political leaders in the Congo, Chile, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, the Middle East, Central America and elsewhere; the kidnapping and disappearance of suspected activists in Iraq and Afghanistan; massive drug-running and narco-trafficking in the “Golden Triangle” in Southeast Asia and Central America (the Iran-Contra war).
The Senate Report fails to locate ...
Donald Trump‘s decision to launch cruise missile strikes on a Syrian Air Force Base was based on a lie.
In the coming days the American people will learn that the Intelligence Community knew that Syria did not drop a military chemical weapon on innocent civilians in Idlib. Here is what happened:
The Russians briefed the United States on the proposed target. This is a process that started more than two months ago. [prior to the Chemical Weapons attack] There is a dedicated phone line that is being used to coordinate and deconflict (i.e., prevent US and Russian air assets from shooting at ...
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