America the Invader
By Laurence M. Vance
Review of Christopher Kelly and Stuart Laycock, America Invades: How We’ve Invaded or Been Militarily Involved with Almost Every Country on Earth (Book Publishers Network, 2014), xix + 396 pgs., hardcover.
The song “America the Beautiful” should be changed to “America the Invader.”
According to Christopher Kelly and Stuart Laycock, the United States “has invaded or fought in eighty-four out of 194 countries” and “has had some form of military involvement with a spectacular 191 out of 194.” Their findings are published in the appropriately titled America Invades: How We’ve Invaded or Been Militarily Involved with Almost Every Country on Earth.
The seed of the book was planted in 2012 when Laycock, a Brit, wrote All the Countries We’ve Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To. He found that Great Britain “has invaded or fought conflicts in almost 90 percent of the world’s countries.” Kelly read and reviewed the book, met Laycock for a pint in London, and the two teamed up to write this companion volume about the American invasion and intervention record.
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, this book outlines American military activity around the globe from the birth of the United States to the present day. It is not a scholarly book. But it doesn’t profess to be. And neither does it have to be. Unlike my writings on the military, the book is neutral. It is not anti-military. In fact, the authors state that “this book is most definitely not intended to judge the morality or wisdom of individual US military actions.” Although neither author ever served in their nation’s armed forces, they both “share a deep respect for those warriors who have stood guard over our nation’s freedoms.” They believe it is their duty “to support the many men and women who, together with their families, have made enormous sacrifices while serving in our nation’s military.” The authors are even donating 5 percent of the proceeds of book sales to military charities.
The format of the book is simple. There are no chapters. After the acknowledgments and introduction, the book begins with Afghanistan on page 1, and gives details about how the United States has invaded or been militarily involved with every country in the world. This continues until the authors get to Zimbabwe on page 331. Some countries get a page or less (like Kazakhstan and the Maldives), and other countries get four or more (like Iraq and Afghanistan). After a brief conclusion, there are seven maps to help Americans who are notably deficient in geography skills. These are followed by a chart giving a summary of U.S. invasion and military involvement by country. Each country in the world is listed followed by a yes or a no under the headings of “invaded or fought in” and “military involvement.” This is followed by a glossary to help with terms like ANZUS and FNLA that are mentioned in the book. I was surprised to see that the book had an index, and a very detailed one at that. One other nice feature of the book is the many color photographs of war-related monuments, statues, ships, and planes between pages 172 and 173.
Page after page of the book shows the folly and evil of U.S. foreign policy. I had no idea that America had intervened militarily in Honduras so many times. It turns out that the only countries the United States hasn’t intervened in militarily, yet, are Andorra, Bhutan, and Liechtenstein. Don’t tell the Defense Department about the countries it missed. It might decide to make it unanimous.
The reason we have so many veterans we are supposed to thank for their service on Veterans Day is because we have had so many wars. America Invades: How We’ve Invaded or Been Militarily Involved with Almost Every Country on Earth is just what is needed to convince the skeptical, but honest, American that the United States is the greatest imperialist country in the history of the world. It is a tremendous resource that I highly recommend.