Tuesday, January 12, 2010

List of US forces used abroad 1798-1993

This is an interesting list useful for putting some things into perspective. Some points I took away from it are these:

1) American armed intervention abroad is nothing new. This list shows about 234 instances between 1798 and 1993, or on average more than one per year.

2) There's been little real controversy over the president using military forces abroad, even in some fairly significant ways, without specific Congressional authorization. Indeed, only five of the 234 instances were declared wars.

3) That said, the vast majority of the instances were very limited in scope, casualties and duration.

4) The typical distance from the US had tended to increase as the country became more powerful, but even in the early 1800s there were interventions in the Arab world and even in the 1990s there were interventions in the Caribbean and Latin America, so there's no hard-and-fast rule on where the next intervention might be.

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