Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How many bases does America have overseas?

The United States has 460 bases overseas! It has 507 permanent bases! What is the United States doing with more than 560 foreign bases? Why does it have 662 bases abroad? Does the United States really have more than 1,000 military bases across the globe?

In a world of statistics and precision, a world in which "accountability" is now a Washington buzzword, a world where all information is available at the click of a mouse, there's one number no American knows. Not the president. Not the Pentagon. Not the experts. No one.

I realize that providing for the common defense is pretty solidly a constitutional duty of American government. But I wonder what my conservative friends who believe in "limited government" think of this. Did the Founders really envision a military establishment so far-reaching that it's difficult to know how many bases our country has overseas?


KhabaLox said...

Of course we have too much extra-border "defense," but good luck getting any but the more honest libertarians to admit so. Certainly not most conservatives.

But I can understand the difficulty in pinning down the exact number of bases. First of all, what is a "base?" Does the semi-permanent outpost the Rangers/Marines/101st Airborne established last week in the wilds of Afghanistan/Iraq/Haiti count? Does it have to be there a week, a month, a year? Maybe it's easier to say we have X thousand soldiers deployed internationally and say that's too much. Of course, even low estimate of bases quoted sounds high to me.

Monkey RobbL said...

I don't think that's fair, K. I don't consider myself a particularly "honest" libertarian, and I find the number of US military bases abroad to be offensive. I think if you looked at the positions of most well-known (and mainstream) libertarian think-tanks (i.e. Cato and Reason) you'd find that they hold similar positions.

joel lowell said...

MR Ron Paul got me to thinking about this foreign base subject. It's no doubt that we should have closed all non especial overseas bases before the ones in the U.S.( which i believe are about 300!!!!)While I'm here, what is your take on congressmen that take these pledges not to raise taxes ? I believe that spending cuts and higher taxes equally shared by all across the board is what is needed!! I'm a joel too!