Tuesday, April 17, 2007

havoc and coulds/shoulds

One of my favorite people, whom shall rename nameless since I don't have their permission to quote, recently said to me in an email:


Perhaps you are right that we have the potential to wreak havoc on the rest of the world--but we haven't. Not even in nations we could/should have.
This intrigued me. So I tracked down this partial list of U.S. military interventions from 1890 to 2007.

Total countries since 1990?: 20! The list includes: Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Haiti, Liberia, Columbia, Philippines Afghanistan, Macedonia, Yugoslavia, Zaire (Congo), Bosnia, Albania, Sudan, Somalia, Kuwait, the U.S., Angola, and Saudi Arabia.

Push it back to 1980 and you can throw in Panama, Libya, Iran, Bolivia, Honduras, Grenada, Lebanon, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.

Quick--How many of these countries can you even place on their correct continent? Name their language?

Maybe we can amend the constitution so that A. To be elected president, you have to fluent in at least 3 languages, as determined by an objective panel of Ph.D.'s in those languages. and B. Before a president can authorize bombing any country or people group, he has to be at least ... conversant in their primary language, again as determined by an objective group of Ph.D.'s in that language.

Did you/do you have an idea about/knowledge of most of these "military interventions"? 50% of them? 20% of them? What is your reaction to this list? I was really surprised. I, (bleeding heart liberal antiwar peace loving freakazoid hippie that I am) had no idea about a lot of these.

By the way, what exactly would constitute a story where we "could/should have wreaked havoc on a nation?", IYNSHO?

(Further by the way, for a story where we *definitely did* wreak havoc when we could but shouldn't have, just google "secret war in Laos", and spend 20 minutes reading about this still "least developed country"

The list of countries above does *not* include:


  • mobilizations of the National Guard
  • offshore shows of naval strength
  • reinforcements of embassy personnel
  • the use of non-Defense Department personnel (such as the Drug Enforcement Administration)
  • military exercises
  • non-combat mobilizations (such as replacing postal strikers)
  • the permanent stationing of armed forces
  • covert actions where the U.S. did not play a command and control role
  • the use of small hostage rescue units
  • most uses of proxy troops
  • U.S. piloting of foreign warplanes
  • foreign or domestic disaster assistance
  • military training and advisory programs not involving direct combat
  • civic action programs
  • and many other military activities.

3 comments:

Benjamin Ady said...

WOW! Nosy-pants USA!! In how many of these 'interventions' does NPUSA train a leader/country, and then decide they're now the enemy?

Benjamin Ady said...

ps that comment was by megs...AND SO IS THIS ONE!!!! ROOOOOOOOOOOOOAR!!!! I'M SCARY!

byron said...

Wow, I knew there were a lot but had no idea there were that many.