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Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798 - 2004
April 29, 2005 6:55 AM   Subscribe

Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798 - 2004 This report lists hundreds of instances in which the United States has used its armed forces abroad in situations of military conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime purposes. It was compiled in part from various older lists and is intended primarily to provide a rough survey of past US military ventures abroad, without reference to the magnitude of the given instance noted. The listing often contains references, especially from 1980 forward, to continuing military deployments especially US military participation in multinational operations associated with NATO or the United Nations. Most of these post-1980 instances are summaries based on Presidential reports to Congress related to the War Powers Resolution. A comprehensive commentary regarding any of the instances listed is not undertaken here.
posted by Postroad (28 comments total)

 
Looks like a great resource. Thanks!
posted by hifiparasol at 7:46 AM on April 29, 2005


It's surprising how many early actions were attributed to retribution.
posted by jon_kill at 8:10 AM on April 29, 2005


Didn't I hear some politician say we were a "peace loving nation?"

So can we rename it the Department of Offense yet?

Good link postroad.
posted by nofundy at 8:20 AM on April 29, 2005


Until 1947, it was unabashedly named the War Department. Ugly, but honest at least.
posted by iconjack at 8:26 AM on April 29, 2005


Didn't I hear some politician say we were a "peace loving nation?"

"I hope in the future Americans are thought of as a warlike, vicious people, because I bet a lot of high schools would pick 'Americans' as their mascot."

-Jack Handey
posted by mr_roboto at 8:39 AM on April 29, 2005



posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 8:39 AM on April 29, 2005


Interesting, the links appears to be dead ? I don't even get a 404
posted by elpapacito at 8:44 AM on April 29, 2005


Well the War Department was the Department of the Army. They also had a Dep of Navy too not too long after the country start date. In '47 was when they got made into subdepartments, the War Department was finally changed, and the new Department was briefly the National Military Establishment, but then changed to DoD. I suppose Department of War isn't so accurate because forces are often found in situations not limited to actual wars, such as military actions, security forces, and peacekeeping.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 8:47 AM on April 29, 2005


This may be my favorite:

1832 -- Sumatra. - February 6 to 9. A naval force landed and stormed a fort to punish natives of the town of Quallah Battoo for plundering the American ship Friendship.

...the American ship Friendship.
posted by OmieWise at 8:49 AM on April 29, 2005


Nothing on special ops really. Mostly 'official' conflicts. Nifty reading though.
"Department of Offense"
nofundy, not to go Lombardi on you, but the best defense - yadda yadda. Granted it's a racket and politicians are hypocrites, but there are much more dangerous folks out there. Not that that justifies anything, it's simply that if push must come to shove, it's better to shove first. Otherwise you risk the other guy getting to a powerful enough position to where he can kick over your tea wagon. And it's better, demonstrably, to have a series of low intensity conflicts rather than a big big war (e.g. WWII). A couple of raids over a few years in the 1930s probably would have kept the nazis off balance enough to let the fanaticism pass
.....of course anyone is a strategic genius 70+ years after the fact.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:52 AM on April 29, 2005


Friendship. Nice boat.
posted by TimothyMason at 8:53 AM on April 29, 2005


And here is one version of the incident. The author is an elusive fellow, so you'll need the salt pot.
posted by TimothyMason at 9:01 AM on April 29, 2005


OK, instead of the Department of Offense, how about calling it "the hole in Uncle Sam's arm where all the money goes.." (apologies to John Prine)
posted by nofundy at 9:14 AM on April 29, 2005


Good link.

Before characterizing every deployment as an overt act of imperial hostility one must know that many of those deployments were during OTHER countries wars to secure American civilians, businesses and embassies. Many were not. Unfortunately. Notice the the number of deployments under Reagan AND Clinton. Holy Shit.

It would be enlightening to see similar lists for Great Britain, France, Germany and Spain since their inceptions. Where would one look?
posted by tkchrist at 9:14 AM on April 29, 2005


Nofundy we should go back to calling it what it is and what we called it before the Korean War: The Department of War. Then there is no mistake what it does and what the money goes to. Let's be honest about it.
posted by tkchrist at 9:25 AM on April 29, 2005


Next relevant question:

How many military installations does the US currently have offshore?

(on preview) tkchrist, I think Lord Chancellor explained that above.
posted by nofundy at 9:28 AM on April 29, 2005


What I notice is how many of the early deployments were squadrons off trying to suppress piracy, generally in the Caribbean but also in the Mediterranean, off West Africa, near Hong Kong, and "about 40 miles up the Rio Tecapan" in Mexico.
posted by nflorin at 9:31 AM on April 29, 2005


Does this really count?

1983 -- Egypt. After a Libyan plane bombed a city in Sudan on March 18, 1983, and Sudan and Egypt appealed for assistance, the United States dispatched an AWACS electronic surveillance plane to Egypt.

Are AWACS armed?
posted by Ty Webb at 9:34 AM on April 29, 2005


the new Department was briefly the National Military Establishment, but then changed to DoD.

"The NME will keep us safe from the enemy."
posted by Floydd at 9:34 AM on April 29, 2005


What's interesting is the sheer number of incidents starting in the 80s, 90s and 00's -- this is somthing political science and historians are looking at (MIT has an OpenWare course on this topic) -- trying to explain and understand why.
posted by stbalbach at 10:03 AM on April 29, 2005


TimothyMason writes " And here is one version of the incident. The author is an elusive fellow, so you'll need the salt pot."

Thanks. I particularly like how the bad Malay is named Mahomet and the good Malay is named Adam.
posted by OmieWise at 10:09 AM on April 29, 2005


stbalbach -- what's there to explain? Most of those incidents can be filed under UN Peacekeeping missions, the War on Drugs and Bush's War on Terrorism.

The list seems somewhat inflated since there are multiple entries for a single campaign (ie. there are at least twenty entries related to Kosovo and related Balkan operations, several of which are just sorties flown to bomb various towns and arms depots, or interdict Serbian fighter planes.)

What would be more interesting would be to filter this against, say, Canada's participation in UN peacekeeping, to sort out which are nominally unilateral actions taken by the US, and which were operations taken under more international auspices.
posted by bl1nk at 10:34 AM on April 29, 2005


"The NME will keep us safe from the enemy."

This week: IRAQ BEST THREAT EVER

Next week: IRAQ SUCKS
posted by mr.marx at 11:19 AM on April 29, 2005


Interesting read.

I'd be curious to see the breakdown for other countries that fall under either the colonial and/or superpower category for the same time. Not trying to equivocate, but I'm betting it's more or a general trend rather than evidence of US warmongering.

What's interesting is the sheer number of incidents starting in the 80s, 90s and 00's

The list did seem to break out multiple incidents or deployments from what was essentially the same conflict, though, whereas the major coflicts like WWII just lump everything together.
posted by Cyrano at 11:40 AM on April 29, 2005


Cyrano,
Perhaps the authors wanted to track operations that did not fall under a declaration of war more carefully. It looks like WWII was actually the last official war the US fought.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:46 PM on April 29, 2005


You're probably right, BrotherCaine, but I guess I don't think it's all that accurate to break "Sent troops into X" and "A few days later, sent some more troops into X" into two separate entries.
posted by Cyrano at 12:49 PM on April 29, 2005


nofundy: Jesus christ died for nuthin' i suppose...

Reminds me of this (flash).
posted by schyler523 at 2:01 PM on April 29, 2005


Nice link, very informative.
posted by ArunK at 4:41 PM on April 29, 2005


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