After a successful revolt against the British Empire and its standing army, the former colonists recalled their experience with George III’s regulars, not to mention the known abuses of standing armies under Cromwell and James II. The latter’s corrupt army allowed him to “invade and destroy both” the constitution and interest of the public, and standing armies have been sources of trouble since the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome.
The Boston Massacre was fresh in the minds of the Founders as they wrestled with the question of a military force at the disposal of a president, and all knew they were “tangibly dangerous entities that could act against the liberties of innocent people.” So universally contemptible was a British standing army in the colonies that a grievance against universal standing armies was included in the Declaration of Independence, and question was roundly debated in the State ratifications that followed.
Only seventy two years later, the Founders’ republic ended when a newly-elected president raised his own army with the help of several State governors and waged war upon dissident States. At the end of that war, Robert E. Lee predicted that “the consolidation of the States into one vast empire, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of ruin which has overwhelmed all that preceded it”
Policing the Imperial Realm
“The US government has approximately 6,000 military bases and/or warehouses located within US territory, and another 737 military bases in 63 countries. Unofficially, the number of overseas bases is thought to exceed 1,000. This gives the US Defense Department control of a vast extent of territory – over 30 million acres of land worldwide conservatively estimated at $658.1 billion.
Its manpower consists of 1.4 million active-duty military personnel, another 1.1 million in the National Guard and Reserves, 718,000 civil service personnel, and approximately 200,000 local hires. Over 450,000 military personnel, their dependents, and Defense Department civilian officials are stationed in 156 countries.
Often they are exempt from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court by immunity agreements negotiated by Washington with host governments.
As Chalmers Johnson noted in Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic: “Interestingly enough, the thirty-eight large and medium-sized American facilities spread around the globe in 2005 – mostly air and naval bases for our bombers and fleets – almost exactly equals Britain’s thirty-six naval bases and army garrisons at it imperial zenith in 1898.
The Roman Empire at its height in 117 AD [sic] required thirty-seven major bases to police its realm from Britannia to Egypt, from Hispania to Armenia. Perhaps the optimum number of major citadels and fortresses for an imperialist aspiring to dominate the world is somewhere between thirty-eight and forty.”
(Imperial Dusk, Joseph E. Fallon, Chronicles, June 2012, excerpt pg. 45)