War Immemorial Day – No Peace for Militarized U.S.
By Bill Quigley. Bill is a human rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Memorial Day is not actually a day to pray for U.S. troops who died in action but rather a day set aside by Congress to pray for peace. The 1950 Joint Resolution of Congress which created Memorial Day says: "Requesting the President to issue a proclamation designating May 30, Memorial Day, as a day for a Nation-wide prayer for peace." (64 Stat.158).
Peace today is a nearly impossible challenge for the United States. The U.S. is far and away the most militarized country in the world and the most aggressive. Unless the U.S. dramatically reduces its emphasis on global military action, there will be many, many more families grieving on future Memorial days.
The U.S. spends over $600 billion annually on our military, more than the rest of the world combined. China, our nearest competitor, spends about one-tenth of what we spend. The U.S. also sells more weapons to other countries than any other nation in the world.
The U.S. has about 700 military bases in 130 countries world-wide and another 6000 bases in the US and our territories, according to Chalmers Johnson in his excellent book NEMESIS: THE LAST DAYS OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC (2007).
The Department of Defense (DOD) reports nearly 1.4 million active duty military personnel today. Over a quarter of a million are in other countries from Iraq and Afghanistan to Europe, North Africa, South Asia and the rest of the Western Hemisphere. The DOD also employs more than 700,000 civilian employees.
The US has used its armed forces abroad over 230 times according to researchers at the Department of the Navy Historical Center. Their publications list over 60 military efforts outside the U.S. since World War II.
While the focus of most of the Memorial Day activities will be on U.S. military dead, no effort is made to try to identify or remember the military or civilians of other countries who have died in the same actions. For example, the U.S. government reports 432 U.S. military dead in Afghanistan and surrounding areas, but has refused to disclose civilian casualties. "We don't do body counts," General Tommy Franks said.
Most people know of the deaths in World War I – 116,000 U.S. soldiers killed. But how many in the U.S. know that over 8 million soldiers from other countries and perhaps another 8 million civilians also died during World War II?
By World War II, about 408,000 U.S. soldiers were killed. World-wide, at least another 20 million soldiers and civilians died.
The U.S. is not only the largest and most expensive military on the planet but it is also the most active. Since World War II, the U.S. has used U.S. military force in the following countries:
1947-1949 Greece. Over 500 U.S. armed forces military advisers were sent into Greece to administer hundreds of millions of dollars in their civil war.1947-1949 Turkey. Over 400 U.S. armed forces military advisers sent into Turkey, 1950-1953 Korea. In the Korean War and other global conflicts 54,246 U.S. service members died.
1957–1975 Vietnam. Over 58,219 U.S. killed.1958-1984 Lebanon. Sixth Fleet amphibious Marines and U.S. Army troops landed in Beirut during their civil war. Over 3000 U.S. military participated. 268 U.S. military killed in bombing.
1959 Haiti. U.S. troops, Marines and Navy, land in Haiti and joined in support of military dictator Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier against rebels.