How Many Wars Is the US Fighting Today?
Most people in the US and around the world, when asked the question in mid to late 2011, “How many wars is the US fighting today?” would answer “one” or “two”: Iraq and Afghanistan. The first has now ended and the second is in the process of winding down. The US still has some 70,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan, with withdrawal scheduled by end-2014. And, while the US has officially withdrawn its forces from Iraq, it maintains thousands of private contractors and State Department personnel in the country and, in addition, has expanded its troop presence just across the border in Kuwait.
In addition to these two large-scale conflicts the US is also fighting a number of unannounced and undeclared “wars”. These unannounced wars are fought mainly with air power and increasingly with drones rather than ground troops. If we define war to include conflicts where the US is launching extensive military incursions, including drone attacks, but that are not officially “declared,” then the US is directly involved in at least three wars – in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia – in addition to Iraq and Afghanistan. These unannounced wars follow in the tradition of many previous covert US military incursions, such as in Chile, Cuba, and Nicaragua. The difference is that advanced military technology now enables the US to fight such wars in a different way, which is far less transparent, and to sustain operations over several years.
In this paper, we first briefly outline the global scale of US military involvement today, outside of Iraq and Afghanistan. Second, we examine how the emergence of robotic warfare is enabling the US to become involved in more conflicts worldwide. Third, we look at some of the implications of this relatively new technology, and its effect on US power. Finally, we offer some preliminary conclusions.
Today US military operations are involved in scores of countries across all the five continents. The US military is the world’s largest landlord, with significant military facilities in nations around the world, and with a significant presence in Bahrain, Djibouti,Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Kyrgyzstan, in addition to long-established bases in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and the UK.1 Some of these are vast, such as the Al Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar, the forward headquarters of the United States Central Command, which has recently been expanded to accommodate up to 10,000 troops and 120 aircraft.
The US Central Command (CENTCOM) is active in 20 countries across the Middle Eastern region, and is actively ramping-up military training, counterterrorism programs, logistical support, and funding to the military in various nations. At this point, the US has some kind of military presence in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, U.A.E., Uzbekistan, and Yemen.
Via Kevin Gosztola http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2013/05/06/the-united-states-is-fighting-how-many-wars