News / USA

US Has Long History of Overseas Military Operations

U.S. soldiers from the 2nd battalion, 32nd Field Artillery brigade listen to their superiors' orders before going on a patrol in Baghdad Aug. 14, 2007.
U.S. soldiers from the 2nd battalion, 32nd Field Artillery brigade listen to their superiors' orders before going on a patrol in Baghdad Aug. 14, 2007.
VOA News
If the United States launches missile attacks on Syria in retaliation for its suspected use of the nerve agent sarin against anti-government rebels, it will be just the latest in a long series of U.S. foreign military operations. What would be unusual is that President Barack Obama is seeking congressional approval ahead of the attack. 
 
Previous presidents have gone to Congress for declarations of war after the country was directly attacked, such as by Japan at the start of WW II.  But more often, American presidents have acted on their own, using their authority as the country's constitutionally designated commander in chief. In that capacity, they have acted without congressional approval to send troops abroad, engage in bombing attacks, or dispatch U.S. military personnel to work with international allies.
 
By some counts, the U.S. has been involved in more than 50 significant military actions in the last half century - an average of more than one a year - ranging from significant fighting in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan to lesser incursions in such far-flung countries as Kuwait, Bosnia, Pakistan, Libya, Grenada, Haiti and Panama.
 
That total does not count more limited U.S. actions, such as drone strikes it now is carrying out against suspected Taliban insurgents in the Middle East.
 
In its 237-year history, the U.S. has often deployed its troops. History has recorded the U.S. as the victor in two world wars, but its overseas military ventures have not always been as successful. 
 
U.S. forces fighting under the U.N. flag in Korea in the early 1950s left with the peninsula split into a communist North and a democratic Korea, a tense outcome that endures to this day. In Vietnam, the U.S. withdrew its last troops in 1975 after more than a decade of military involvement, allowing a communist government to seize control.
 
History has yet to cast a verdict on this century's U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
U.S. troops ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the Iraq War from 2003 to 2011, but allied forces never found the weapons of mass destruction they believed he was harboring. U.S. and allied forces are still fighting insurgents in Afghanistan, but Obama plans to withdraw American military personnel by the end of 2014 even as the country remains in turmoil.
 
Various studies show that U.S. military and security spending dwarfs that of other countries, but has fluctuated in recent decades depending on the priorities of individual presidents and the extent of U.S. fighting overseas.
 
Defense spending rose during the Vietnam War, during the administration of President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and in the last decade as the U.S. initiated its global war on terror in the aftermath of the 2001 al-Qaida attacks on the U.S. that killed nearly 3,000 people. At other times, U.S. defense spending has been curtailed.

U.S. Military Assets - September 2, 2013
U.S. Military Assets - September 2, 2013
 
Here are some of the significant U.S. military operations since the 1960s:
 
1961 to 1975 -- The Vietnam War, a conflict that resulted in more than 58,000 U.S. battle deaths and let communists in control of the country.
 
1962 - In the Cuban missile crisis, the U.S. deployed a military blockade in the waters around Cuba to keep the Soviet Union from installing missiles on the island nation, prompting fears of nuclear warfare.
 
1980 - A U.S. commando raid inside Iran failed to rescue 52 American hostages being held by Tehran, although they were subsequently freed as Ronald Reagan assumed the presidency in early 1981.
 
1990 to 1991 - The U.S. confronted Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in a fight over oil riches.  American troops forced Iraq to withdraw after a short ground war.
 
1992 to 1995 - U.S. troops joined NATO forces in fighting in the Balkans, a lengthy battle that resulted from the breakup of the former Yugoslavia and widespread ethnic confrontations.
 
2001 - U.S. launched war in Afghanistan to fight Islamic insurgents in response to the al-Qaida attacks on the U.S. on September 11 that year.
 
2003 - U.S. invaded Iraq on the premise that it had weapons of mass destruction that could be used against the U.S. 

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid