When some people in the public arena open their mouths and blurt out "America is an empire!" they spit in the faces of the troops. And insult all Americans.
America is not an empire. It is ignorant to say so. And it is tiring to hear public figures repeat it without thinking.
America is not the Ottoman Empire. It did not invade and conquer foreign lands, force people to give up their faith and way life or die, force them into slavery, and station troops to dominate the population and extract obedience and riches.
It is not the Roman Empire. It did not invade and conquer foreign lands, enslave their populations, extract tribute and taxes, and station garrisons to keep them under control.
It is not the Inca empire, nor the Aztecs, nor the Mayans, all of which did the same.
It is not the Soviet empire which expanded, stayed in foreign lands, dismantled the factories and rolled up the wealth and shipped them both home, forced the people to adopt their political beliefs or be tortured and imprisoned, all under a military occupation enforcing the Communists' political belief.
America is in truth the first altruistic force for good on planet Earth. A population which will defend people, set them free, and then come home.
At the end of World War II, when America had freed the civilized world and found itself #1 militarily and deployed everywhere, it could have simply remained and owned it. Instead, having expanded solely to force out an oppressor, America next spent its money to repair the damage and get those other nations back on their feet. Then America came home. The bases located in other areas are there to keep the bad guys out. To check unwanted expansion. To provide stability. Like police station in a bad part of town.
America's foreign military bases are there at the request of the native country. When asked to leave we do. Those bases do not keep the local population under control. They do not patrol the streets. They do not act like the Ottoman, Roman, Inca, Aztec, or Soviet empires. They are not there for the same reasons.
It is an ignorant, shallow, service-level analysis to simplistically look at a map and blurt out that because oppressors in history had bases everywhere, and we have bases everywhere, the two are the same. One might as well say that having fire stations everywhere, rescue squads everywhere, hospitals everywhere, and police stations everywhere, one's state or county government is an empire. They are there to protect and serve at the behest of the people.
When people in the public arena open their mouth and blurt out that America is an empire they are in effect spitting in the faces of the troops who sit as friends in foreign lands, at their request, in order to protect those people from stronger oppressors wishing to do them harm. Absent this, we would eventually be drawn into much larger conflict there and harm here at home. Better to keep a fascist or a communist in check than to fight him all over the globe.
Those who open their mouths and speak those ugly words are basically saying that we Americans when stationed in foreign countries, are there as thugs and evil oppressors. In doing so they insult the troops. And they are disrespect all good Americans.
If anything America is an empire of freedom. Our troops are not conquerors -- they are freedom keepers. And if anything our voluntary foreign bases are like police stations keeping the bad guys at bay and bettering the lives of the locals in many ways.
America does what it does to protect the freedom and the peace of the world against those who want to control everything and tell everyone what to do. We hold back the dark forces. Provide stability. Check chaos. We give the people of the world the opportunity to prosper.
Martin C. Boire, Chairman
Support Our Troops®
January 11, 2012