Monday, May 26, 2008

Immemorial Day

There are 239 days until Jan. 20, 2009.

Immemorial Day - No Peace for Militarized U.S.

By Bill Quigley

May 26, 2008 by

War 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 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


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


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


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


1959 Haiti . U.S. troops, Marines and Navy, land in Haiti and

joined in support of military dictator Francois 'Papa Doc'

Duvalier against rebels.

1962 Cuba . Naval and Marine forces blockade island.

1964 Panama . U.S. troops stationed there since 1903. U.S.

troops used gunfire and tear gas to clear US Canal Zone .

1965-1966 Dominican Republic. U.S. troops land in Dominican

Republic during their civil war - eventually 23,000 were

stationed in their country.

1969-1975 Cambodia. U.S. and South Vietnam jets dropped more

than 539,000 tons of bombs on Cambodia - three times the

number dropped on Japan during WWII.

1964-1973 Laos. U.S. flew 580,000 bombing runs over country -

more than 2 million tons of bombs dropped - double the amount

dropped on Nazi Germany . US dropped more than 80 million

cluster bombs on Laos - 10 to 30% did not explode leaving 8

to 24 million scattered across the country. Since the war

stopped, two or three Laotians are killed every month by

leftover bombs - over 5700 killed since bombing stopped.

1980 Iran . Operation Desert One, 8 U.S. troops die in rescue


1981 Libya . U.S. planes aboard the Nimitz shot down 2 Libyan

jets over Gulf of Sidra .

1983 Grenada . U.S. Army and Marines invade, 19 U.S. killed.

1983 Lebanon . Over 1200 Marines deployed into country during

their civil war. 241 U.S. service members killed in bombing.

1983-1991 El Salvador. Over 150 US soldiers participate in

their civil war as military advisers.

1983 Honduras . Over 1000 troops and National Guard members

deployed into Honduras to help the contra fight against


1986 Libya . U.S. Naval air strikes hit hundreds of targets -

airfields, barracks, and defense networks.

1986 Bolivia . U.S. Army troops assist in anti-drug raids on

cocaine growers.

1987 Iran . Operation Nimble Archer. U.S. warships shelled two

Iranian oil platforms during Iran-Iraq war.

1988 Iran . US naval warship Vincennes in Persian Gulf shoots

down Iranian passenger airliner, Airbus A300, killing all 290

people on board. US said it thought it was Iranian military


1989 Libya . U.S. Naval jets shoot down 2 Libyan jets over


1989-1990 Panama. U.S. Army, Air Force, and Navy forces

invade Panama to arrest President Manuel Noriega on drug

charges. U.N. puts civilian death toll at 500.

1989 Philippines . U.S. jets provide air cover to Philippine

troops during their civil war.

1991 Gulf War. Over 500,000 U.S. military involved. 700 plus

U.S. died.

1992-93 Somalia . Operation Provide Relief, Operation Restore

Hope, and Operation Continue Hope. Over 1300 U.S. Marines and

Army Special Forces landed in 1992. A force of over 10,000 US

was ultimately involved. Over 40 U.S. soldiers killed.

1992-96 Yugoslavia . U.S. Navy joins in naval blockade of

Yugoslavia in Adriatic waters.

1993 Bosnia . Operation Deny Flight. U.S. jets patrol no-fly

zone, naval ships launch cruise missiles, attack Bosnian


1994 Haiti . Operation Uphold Democracy. U.S. led force of

20,000 troops invade to restore president.

1995 Saudi Arabia . U.S. soldier killed in Riyadh, Saudi

Arabia outside US training facility.

1996 Saudi Arabia . Nineteen U.S. service personnel die in

blast at Saudi Air Base.

1998 Sudan . Operation Infinite Reach. U.S. cruise missiles

fired at pharmaceutical plant thought to be terrorist center.

1998 Afghanistan . Operation Infinite Reach. U.S. fires 75

cruise missiles on four training camps.

1998 Iraq . Operation Desert Fox. U.S. Naval bombing Iraq from

striker jets and cruise missiles after weapons inspectors

report Iraqi obstructions.

1999 Yugoslavia . U.S. participates in months of air bombing

and cruise missile strikes in Kosovo war.

2000 Yemen . 17 U.S. sailors killed aboard US Navy guided

missile destroyer USS Cole docked in Aden , Yemen .

2001 Macedonia . U.S. military lands troops during their civil


2001 to present Afghanistan . Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)

includes Pakistan and Uzbekistan with Afghanistan . 432 U.S.

killed in those countries. Another 64 killed in other

locations of OEF - Guantanamo Bay , Djibouti , Eritrea ,

Ethiopia, Jordan , Kenya , Kyrgyzstan , Philippines , Seychelles ,

Sudan, Tajikistan , Turkey and Yemen . US military does not

count deaths of non- US civilians, but estimates of over 8000

Afghan troops killed, over 3500 Afghan civilians killed.

2002 Yemen . U.S. predator drone missile attack on Al Qaeda.

2002 Philippines . U.S. sends over 1800 troops and Special

Forces in mission with local military.

2003-2004 Colombia. U.S. sends in 800 military to back up

Columbian military troops in their civil war.

2003 to present Iraq . Operation Iraqi Freedom. 4082 U.S.

military killed. British medical journal Lancet estimates

over 90,000 civilian deaths. Iraq Body Count estimates over

84,000 civilians killed.

2005 Haiti . U.S. troops land in Haiti after elected president

forced to leave.

2005 Pakistan . U.S. air strikes inside Pakistan against

suspected Al Qaeda, killing mostly civilians.

2007 Somalia . U.S. Air Force gunship attacked suspected Al

Qaeda members, U.S. Navy joins in blockade against Islamic


The U.S. has the most powerful and expensive military force

in the world. The U.S. is the biggest arms merchant. And the

U.S. has been the most aggressive in world-wide

interventions. If Memorial Day in the U.S. is supposed to be

about praying for peace, the U.S. has a lot of praying (and

changing) to do.

Bill is a human rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola

University New Orleans . His email is

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