World's Sole Military Superpower's 2 Million-Troop, $1 Trillion Wars

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In
his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech on December 10 the president
of the United States appropriated for his country the title of "the
world’s sole military superpower" and for himself "the
Commander-in-Chief of the military of a nation in the midst of two
wars."

This may well
have been the first time that an American – and of course any –
head of state in history boasted of his nation being the only uncontested
military power on the planet and unquestionably the only time a
Nobel Peace Prize recipient identified himself as presiding over
not only a war but two wars simultaneously.

As to the appropriateness
of laying such claims in the venue and on the occasion he did –
accepting the world’s preeminent peace award before the Norwegian
Nobel Committee – Barack Obama at least had the excuse of being
perfectly accurate in his contentions.

He is in fact
the commander-in-chief in charge of two major and several smaller
wars and his nation is without doubt the first global military power
which for decades has operated without constraints on five of six
inhabited continents and has troops stationed in all six. United
States armed forces personnel and weapons, including nuclear arms,
are stationed at as many as 820 installations in scores of nations.

The U.S. has
recently assigned thousands of troops to seven new bases in Bulgaria
and Romania [1], deployed the first foreign troops to Israel in
that nation’s history to run an interceptor missile radar facility
in the Negev Desert [2], and last week signed a status of forces
agreement with Poland for Patriot missiles (to be followed by previously
ship-based Aegis Standard Missile-3s interceptors) and U.S. soldiers
to be stationed there. The troops will be the first foreign forces
based in Poland since the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991.

The U.S., whose
current military budget is at Cold War, which is to say at the highest
of post-World War II, levels, also officially accounts for over
41% of international military spending according to the Stockholm
International Peace Research Institute’s report on 2008 figures:
$607 billion of $1.464 trillion worldwide. On October 28 President
Obama signed the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act with a
price tag of $680 billion, including $130 billion for the wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq.

That figure
excludes military spending outside of the Department of Defense.
The American government has for several decades been the standard-bearer
in outsourcing to private sector contractors in every realm and
the Pentagon is certainly no exception to the practice. According
to some estimates, American military and military-related allotments
in addition to the formal Pentagon budget can bring annual U.S.
defense spending as high as $1.16 trillion, almost half of official
expenditures for all of the world’s 192 nations, including the U.S.,
last year.

With a census
of slightly over 300 million in a world of almost seven billion
people, the U.S. accounts for over 40 percent of officially acknowledged
worldwide government military spending with a population that is
only 4 percent of that of the earth’s. A 10–1 disparity.

The U.S. also
has the world’s second-largest standing army, over 1,445,000 men
and women under arms according to estimates of earlier this year,
second only to China with 2,255,000. China has a population of over
1.325 billion, more than four times that of America, and does not
have a vast army of private contractors supplementing its armed
forces. And of course unlike the U.S. it has no troops stationed
abroad. India, with a population of 1.140 billion, has active duty
troop strength smaller than that of the U.S. at 1,415,000.

The U.S. and
Britain are possibly alone in the world in deploying reservists
to war zones; this last February the chairman of the U.S. Joint
Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen acknowledged that 600,000
reserves have been called up to serve in the area of responsibility
of the U.S. Central Command, in charge of the Afghan and Iraqi wars,
since 2001. In addition to its 1,445,000 active duty service members,
the Pentagon can and does call upon 1.2 million National Guard and
other reserve components. As many as 30% of troops that have served
in Afghanistan and Iraq are mobilized reservists. The Army National
Guard has activated over 400,000 soldiers since the war in Afghanistan
began and in March of 2009 approximately 125,000 National Guard
and other reserve personnel were on active duty.

The Defense
Department also has over 800,000 civilian employees at home and
deployed worldwide. The Pentagon, then, has more than 3.5 million
people at its immediate disposal excluding private military contractors.

In the last
48 hours two unprecedented thresholds have been crossed. On the
morning of December 19 the U.S. Senate met in a rare Saturday morning
session to approve a $636.3 billion military budget for next year.
The vote was 88–10, as the earlier vote by the House of Representatives
on December 16 was 395–34. In both cases the negative votes
were not necessarily an indication of opposition to war spending
but part of the labyrinthine American legislative practices of trade-offs,
add-ons and deal-making on other, unrelated issues, what in the
local vernacular are colorfully described as horse-trading and log-rolling
among other choice terms. A no vote in the House or Senate, then,
was not automatically a reflection of anti-war or even fiscally
conservative sentiments.

The Pentagon
appropriation included another $101 billion for the wars in Afghanistan
and Iraq (Obama signed the last formal Iraq and Afghanistan War
Supplemental Appropriations, worth $106 billion, in July), but did
not include the first of several additional requests, what are termed
emergency spending measures, for the Afghan war. The first such
request is expected early next year, more than $30 billion for the
additional 33,000 U.S. troops to be deployed to the war zone, which
will increase the number of American forces there to over 100,000.

On the day
of the Senate vote Bloomberg News cited the Congressional Research
Service, which had tallied the numbers, in revealing that the funds
apportioned for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have now pushed
the total expenditure for both to over $1 trillion. "That includes
$748 billion for spending related to the war in Iraq and $300 billion
for Afghanistan, the research service said in a Sept. 28 report."

The new Pentagon
spending plan "includes $2.5 billion to buy 10 additional Boeing
Co. C-17 transports that weren’t requested by the Pentagon. Chicago-based
Boeing also would benefit from $1.5 billion for 18 F/A-E/F Super
Hornet fighters, nine more than the administration requested."

Funding for
military aircraft not even requested by the Defense Department and
the White House or for larger numbers of them than were requested
is another curious component of the American body politic. That
arms merchants (and not only domestic ones) place their own orders
with the American people’s alleged representatives – the current
Deputy Secretary of Defense, William Lynn, was senior vice president
of Government Operations and Strategy for Raytheon Company prior
to assuming his new post – is illustrated by the following
excerpts from the same report:

"Defense
Secretary Robert Gates recommended April 6 that the C-17 program
be terminated once Boeing delivers the last of 205 C-17s in late
2010. Boeing, the second-largest defense contractor, has said its
plant in Long Beach, California, will shut down in 2011 without
more orders.

"The budget
also includes $465 million for the backup engine of the F-35 Joint
Strike Fighter. The engine is built by Fairfield, Connecticut-based
General Electric Co. and London-based Rolls Royce Plc. The administration
earlier threatened to veto the entire defense bill if it contained
any money for the engine." [3]

The Pentagon
and its chief Gates may win battles with the Congress and even the
White House when they relate to the use of military force abroad,
but against the weapons manufacturers and the congressmen whose
election campaigns they contribute to, the military brass will come
off the losers.

In addition to the nearly two-thirds of a trillion dollar annual
Pentagon war chest, the ongoing trillion dollar Broader Middle East
war is a lucrative boon to the merchants of death and their political
hangers-on.

On December
18 a story was posted on several American armed forces websites
that U.S. soldiers have been sent to Afghanistan and Iraq 3.3 million
times since the invasion of the first country in October of 2001.
The report specifies that "more than 2 million men and women
have shouldered those deployments, with 793,000 of them deploying
more than once."

The break-down
according to services is as follows:

More than 1
million troops from the Army.

Over 389,900
from the Air Force.

Over 367,900
from the Navy.

More than 251,800
Marines.

This past October
alone 172,800 soldiers, 31,500 airmen, 30,000 sailors and 20,900
Marines were dispatched to the two war zones. [4]

The bulk of
the U.S.’s permanent global warfighting force may be deployed to
Afghanistan and Iraq, but enough troops are left over to man newly
acquired bases in Eastern Europe, remain in Middle East nations
other than Iraq, be based on and transit through the Manas Air Base
in Kyrgyzstan, take over seven new military bases in Colombia, run
regional operations out of America’s first permanent base in Africa
– Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, where 2,400 personnel are stationed
– and engage in counterinsurgency campaigns in the Philippines,
Mali, Uganda, Yemen and Pakistan.

Recently a
U.S. armed forces newspaper reported in an article titled "AFRICOM
could add Marine Air Ground Task Force" that "A 1,000-strong
Marine combat task force capable of rapidly deploying to hot spots
could soon be at the disposal of the new U.S. Africa Command."

The feature
added that a Marine unit previously attached to the newly launched
AFRICOM has "already deployed in support of training missions
in Uganda and Mali," whose armies are fighting the Lord’s Resistance
Army and Tuareg rebels, respectively. [5]

In Yemen, Houthi rebel sources "accused the U.S. air force
[on December 15] of joining attacks against them, and killing at
least 120 people in a raid in the north of the poor Arab state."

Their information
office said "The savage crime committed by the U.S. air force
shows the real face of the United States." [6]

According to
ABC News "On orders from President Barack Obama, the U.S. military
launched cruise missiles early Thursday [December 17] against two
suspected al-Qaeda sites in Yemen," [7] to complement mounting
missile attacks in Pakistan.

The Houthi
rebels are religiously Shi’ia, so any attempt at exploiting an al-Qaeda
rationale for bombing their villages is a subterfuge.

At the same
time the Commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and NATO Allied
Air Component, General Roger Brady, fresh from a tour of inspection
of the Caucasus nations of Azerbaijan and Georgia, was at the Adazi
Training Base in Latvia to meet with the defense ministers of that
nation, Estonia and Lithuania and plan "closer military cooperation
in the security sector between the Baltic States and the USA which
also included joint exercises in the Baltic region." [9] All
five nations mentioned above – Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia
and Lithuania – border Russia.

During the
same week’s summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of
Our America (ALBA) in Havana, Cuba, the host country’s president
Raul Castro said of the latest Pentagon buildup in Colombia that
"The deployment of [U.S.] military bases in the region is…an
act of aggression against Latin America and the Caribbean."
[9]

Less than a
week later the government of Colombia, the third-largest recipient
of American military aid in the world, announced it would construct
a new military base near its border with Venezuela. "Defense
Minister Gabriel Silva said [on December 18] that the base, located
on the Guajira peninsula near the city of Nazaret, would have up
to 1,000 troops. Two air battalions would also be activated at other
border areas…. Army Commander General Oscar Gonzalez meanwhile
announced [the following day] that six air battalions were being
activated, including two on the border with Venezuela." [10]

After allotting
over a trillion dollars for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq alone
and packing off more than two million of its citizens to the two
nations, the U.S. military establishment and peace prize president
have already laid the groundwork for yet more wars. Boeing, Raytheon
and General Electric won’t be kept waiting.

Notes

1) Bulgaria,
Romania: U.S., NATO
Bases For War In The East

Stop NATO, October 24, 2009
2) Israel:
Forging NATO Missile Shield, Rehearsing War With Iran

Stop NATO, November 5, 2009
3) Bloomberg News, December 19, 2009
4) Michelle Tan, 2 million troops have deployed since 9/11
December 18, 2009
5) Stars And Stripes, December 16, 2009
6) Reuters, December 16, 2009
7) ABC News, December 18, 2009
8) Defense Professionals, December 14, 2009
9) Russian Information Agency Novosti, December 14, 2009
10) Agence France-Presse, December 19, 2009

This article
originally appeared at Global
Research
.

Rick
Rozoff [send him mail] runs
the Stop NATO Yahoo
group
. Visit his
blog
.

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