For no particular reason, I was thinking about just how many U.S. troops are deployed worldwide these days. I recall this was highlighted a few years ago by PBS (note just how many countries have U.S. troops present back in 2004 - scary map). So I went about looking for updates.
Surprise, surprise, can't find any. The most recent figures seem to be from 2005 from Wikipedia, which came from links to the Pentagon, now removed. These total up to about almost 400,000 deployed U.S. soldiers.
According to the Pentagon's own website, there are currently 248,000 soldiers deployed in 120 countries. I seriously doubt we've brought home 150,000 troops in the past three years. Hmmm.
Some countries have just a few hundred troops, or even less. No big deal, you might say. But imagine if say, China had 500 armed service personnel stationed in Washington, D.C. Or perhaps Los Angeles. It means something -- we're here, and we're watching.
There are two things I'd like to see made widely available to the American public in Excel format: 1) line item of the # of troops in each country and 2) a line item of each expense in the U.S. 2008 budget. Actually, I might have found #2 here -- kind of tough to decipher, but it seems to go back to 1962, detailing spending from then to the present. It doesn't really tell much, though. I wonder if there'd be a near riot if someone made both of these into plain English.
That concludes this segment of thinking about the utopian dream we're sleeping in. Back to normal programming.