A Century of US Military Interventions

The chart at[right] (amended for 2010) shows the increase in US Military Spending from 1998 to 2010.

Current Annual US Military Expenditures constitute 55% to 60% of the world total – meaning the US spends more on its military and wars each year than the entire rest of the world combined.

The US is fond of deflecting attention by referring to China’s “massive buildup”, but China’s share of the world total is about 7%.

And the US spends annually 8 to 10 times more than China. It is the massive buildup in the US military that is truly alarming, including the world’s largest military base now under construction in Guam.

The US government’s foreign political, economic, and military policies have never been driven by by a desire to spread “democracy” or to defend “freedoms” or “human rights”.

They have instead been driven by plunder and commercial exploitation, and a desire for full-spectrum global domination, all of which is supported and made possible by the integration of the huge US worldwide military presence.

No amount of rationalization or spin can change the facts on the ground. 

Countries that do not submit to American economic hegemony are deemed enemies, and the military is ultimately sent in to implement “regime change.” But the US pursuit of this grotesquely distorted foreign policy is always stated in the name of God, democracy, freedom and, of course, “human rights”.

“The Worldwide control of humanity’s economic, social and political activities is under the helm of US corporate and military power. Underlying this process are various schemes of direct and indirect military intervention. These US sponsored strategies ultmately consist in a process of global subordination.

US strategists, in an attempt to justify their military interventions in different parts of the World, have conceptualised the greatest fraud in US history, namely “the Global War on Terror”. Using fabricated pretexts for war and invasion, this constitutes a global war against all those who oppose US hegemony. A modern form of slavery, instrumented through militarization and the “free market” has unfolded.” (1)

Historically, periods of imperial decline are marked by a rapid acceleration of international conflict and war, as the declining power seeks to control as much as it can as fast as it can.

And in this we can see America’s insane expansion of war, conflict and militarization everywhere in the world. The prospects of a new global war are increasing with every accelerated military adventure.

The primary antagonist in this theatre of the absurd is without a doubt, the United States. If the world is headed for World War III, it is because America has made such a situation inevitable.

Related Articles

A companion piece to this page is “US-Supported Dictatorships”, a report and summary of the US-installed dictators during the past several decades. You can access this page here.

Another is the “The US Record on Human Rights”, confirming that the US has had a very long record of abominable war crimes and human rights violations, and must assuredly have the worst record in the world by this measure. It appears impossible to avoid the conclusion from US actions that “human rights” are reserved exclusively for White Americans and Israeli Jews. You can access this page here.

A third article that shares this overall topic is one titled, “American Torture: The US and the Abuse of Prisoners”, which tracks a 60-year history of the US government’s active involvement in torture – and in training others to do the same. You can access the article here.

Another one you should read is titled, “The CIAs Greatest Hits” – A list of US Government Assassination Plots. You can access it here.

A more inclusive set of articles is contained in the “Understanding America” section of this site, which can be accessed here, while many articles and editorials on Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, as well as much more on US Foreign Policy, can be accessed here.

Tables of US Military Intervention

The tables below provide 130 examples of US military aggression against 55 different countries. They contain only the more notable military incursions, so the list is not even remotely complete. Over the years, the US has invaded more than 160 different countries, and has had many hundreds of smaller engagements. For various reasons, it also failed to execute other planned invasions.

  Many US military interferences were long-term, such as the Vietnam war and other wars.

Many involved subsequent occupations – in all but name – such as Panama, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, and now Iraq and Afghanistan – or colonies.

America’s version of the colony is the military base, of which the US today has more than 1,000 (of about 800 publicly listed), staffed by more than 2,500,000 U.S. personnel.

Also, many military actions were taken repeatedly to support the various 40+ dictators the US had installed; most of these are listed as a single event when in fact some had repeated major military offensives.

In some cases, the US would send in its military to overthrow a government against the wishes of the population, then return to help the installed dictators crush popular rebellions against the atrocities.

In some cases like Nicaragua, the popular revolutions were successful and the dicators (Somoza) overthrown, but then the US began a secondary war against the people in attempts to re-install the dictators. 

During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of U.S. military “advisors” in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for US commercial investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and green beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru.

The data are sorted by geographical area, country and date, with a brief commentary which will be expanded in due course.

Hidden in the data are the numerous cases where the US initiated a systematic program of aggressive provocation to encourage retaliation which would then justify a declaration of war. Iraq and Iran curently fall into this category, as does North Korea.

Also hidden are the numerous “false flag” incidents where the US either destroyed one of its own vessels or claimed such destruction, again to justify entry to a war. The Gulf of Tonkin incident to justify US involvement in Vietnam is one well-known case but there are many others, beginning with the apparent deliberate sinking of the USS Maine in Havana in 1898, justifying the US launching of the Spanish-American war.

North Korea is the most blatant current example of false-flag operation, where it appears almost certain the sinking of the Cheonan was engineered by other than North Korea. Readers may not be aware that several members of the international committee examining the evidence walked away after refusing to accept the US version of events.

Equally, numerous other provocations and false flag incidents were planned but not executed. One well-documented one involves the almost fanatic and desperate effort on the part of the CIA and the US military to invade Cuba during JFK’s presidency. The situation became so heated that the Kennedys were apparently afraid of the possibility of a coup by the US military.

You can read about the Cuba incident in two parts here. It makes for fascinating reading. The first is an article on “Operation Northwoods”, which holds the contents of a declassified document detailing an extensive false flag operation to justify an invasion of Cuba. Startlingly, the CIA was so out of control that the plan even recommended concocting a scenario in which an American plane carrying “a group of college students,” would be flown over Cuba and shot down, to be blamed on Cuba. There is great fear in many parts of the US today that the CIA is even more out of control today.

The second article is a well-resarched piece relating all the detail of Kennedy’s battles with the CIA and the military, that apparently led to his assassination.

Operation Northwoods

The CIA, the Pentagon, and the `Peace President`The National Security State and the Assassination of JFK

Acknowledgement is given to ZOLTÁN GROSSMAN of the Evergreen State College in Washington state, for collection of much of the basic event listing below, information which I have used as a basis for the preparation of some of this report while adding to and enlarging upon his original work.

The tables of US Military Interventions below do not include:

Military training and advisory programs not involving direct combat

The permanent stationing of armed forces or embassy personnel

Non-combat mobilizations or the use of non-military personnel

Shows of naval strength or Military exercises

The use of proxy troops, or U.S. piloting of foreign warplanes

The use of small hostage rescue units

Covert actions where the U.S. did not play a command role


Central and South America

ARGENTINA 1890 Troops sent to Buenos Aires to protect US commercial interests.

BOLIVIA 1986 Army assists raids on cocaine region.

CHILE 1891 Marines sent in to battle nationalists.

CHILE 1973 Command operation: CIA-backed coup ousts elected marxist president.

COLOMBIA 2003-2011 US special forces sent to protect oil pipeline.

CUBA 1898-1902 US fabricates sinking of ship as excuse to invade and seize Cuba from Spain. US has violated Guantanamo Treaty but still holds Navy base.

CUBA 1906-09 Marines land to control democratic election.

CUBA 1912 Troops sent in to protect U.S. commercial interests.

CUBA 1917-33 Troops create Military occupation, Cuba becomes economic protectorate.

CUBA 1961 Command operation: CIA-directed exile invasion fails due to lack of local support.

CUBA 1962 Blockade during missile crisis; near-war with Soviet Union.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1903-04 Troops sent in to protect U.S. commercial interests.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1914 Naval troops sent in to battle over Santo Domingo.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1916-24 8-year Marine occupation of the country.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1965-66 Marines land and exercise control during election campaign.


EL SALVADOR 1932 US Warships sent to El Salvador to assist in the peasant revolt against the US-sponsored dictator Martinez. Countless tens of thousands of civilians were slaughtered.

EL SALVADOR 1981-1992 Under US-sponsored dictator Christiani, 34 families owned 95% of all the wealth in the country, and the peasants revolted. This was a US military Command operation, in a war against the civilian population.

GRENADA 1983-84 Invasion four years after revolution.

GUATEMALA 1920 US military intervention against unionists.

GUATEMALA 1954 Command operation: bombing, nuclear threat. CIA directs exile invasion after new gov’t nationalized U.S. companies; bombers based in Nicaragua.

GUATEMALA 1966-67 Command operation: Green Berets intervene against opposition.

HAITI 1891 Troops sent to crack down on Black revolt on Navassa.

HAITI 1914-34 19-year military occupation after revolts against US control.

HAITI 1994 Blockade against military government; US military restores President Aristide to office three years after coup.

HAITI 2004-05 Marines land after right-wing rebels oust elected President Aristide, who was advised to leave by Washington.

HONDURAS 1903 Marines intervene in revolution against dictator.

HONDURAS 1907 Marines land during war with Nicaragua

HONDURAS 1911 U.S. interests protected in civil war.

HONDURAS 1912 Marines protect U.S. economic interests.

HONDURAS 1924-25 Landed twice during election strife.

HONDURAS 1919 Marines land during election campaign.

HONDURAS 1983-89 Maneuvers help build bases near borders.

MEXICO 1913 Americans evacuated during revolution.

MEXICO 1914-18 Series of interventions against nationalists.

NICARAGUA 1894 Month-long occupation of Bluefields.

NICARAGUA 1896 Marines land in port of Corinto.

NICARAGUA 1898 Marines land at port of San Juan del Sur.

NICARAGUA 1899 Marines land at port of Bluefields.

NICARAGUA 1907 Dollar Diplomacy; protectorate set up.

NICARAGUA 1910 Marines land in Bluefields and Corinto.

NICARAGUA 1912-33 10-year US occupation, fought guerillas

NICARAGUA 1981-90 Command operation: CIA directs Contra invasions, mines the harbors to prevent receipt of humanitarian aid, sabotages transport and communications, trains military extremists in economic destruction, reduces standard of living in Nicaragua by 90%. Millions starve, hundreds of thousands of civilians killed. Worldwide outrage finally puts an end to one of the most outrageous and evil human-rights violations in modern history.

PANAMA 1895 Marines land in Colombian province.

PANAMA 1901-1914 In 1903 Columbia refuses to cede the canal zone in perpetuity to America, so the US invades Columbia, “Liberates” the isthmus, forms a new country named “Panama” and annexes the Canal Zone. To this day, Panama remains under permanent US military occupation.

PANAMA 1908 US Marines intervene in domestic election.

PANAMA 1912 US Marines intervene in domestic election.

PANAMA 1918-20 US military performs ‘police actions’ during unrest after elections.

PANAMA 1925 Marines invade to suppress general protest strike.

PANAMA 1958 Flag protests erupt into confrontation.

PANAMA l964 US troops invade; widespread killing of Panamanians for urging canal’s return.

PANAMA 1989 US sends in 30,000 troops to oust Nationalist government and arrest leaders. Thousands killed.

PERU 2008 The buildup in Peru is designed to project an American presence – with Green Berets, weapons and training facilities, and using napalm against domestic resistance to the US.

PUERTO RICO 1898 US Military Seizes Puerto Rico from Spain, occupation continues.

PUERTO RICO 1950 Command operation: Puerto Rico Independence rebellion crushed in Ponce.

URUGUAY 1947 Nuclear threat to country; Bombers deployed as show of strength.

VIRGIN ISLANDS 1989 US invades St. Croix to put down Black unrest after storm.

Pacific Region

CAMBODIA 1969-1975 US kills more than 2 million Cambodians in decade of illegal bombing, causing starvation and political chaos.

CAMBODIA 1975 US troops captured ship, 28 die in copter crash.

CHINA 1894-1895 US Marines land to intervene in Sino-Japanese War

CHINA 1898-1900 US troops invade to crush Chinese resistance to the Opium trade.

CHINA 1911-1941 US navy and troops in continuous occupation.

CHINA 1922-1927 US navy and troops deployed during nationalist revolt against Chiang Kai-Shek.

CHINA 1927-1934 US Marines stationed throughout China to force obedience.

CHINA 1948-1949 US marines lose control when Mao routs Chiang in China’s civil war; they evacuate Americans in the face of Mao’s victory.

CHINA 1958 Further Military intervention. China threatened with US nuclear attack if any attempt made to re-take Taiwan from Chiang.

GUAM 1898 US navy and troops invade Guam and seized the territory from Spain. Guam is now the largest military base in the world.

HAWAII 1893 US navy and troops sent under control of a civilian who wanted ownership of Hawaii’s plantations. Independent Hawaiian kingdom overthrown and annexed.

HAWAII 1959 In 1959, under the force of a UN resolution, the US forced a fraudulent vote onto the Hawaiian people – giving a vote to a majority of Americans – and Hawaii was forced to become a state of the US. The Hawaiian Nation still exists, issues its own passports, and each year the US vetoes a resolution to return Hawaii its independence. This was perhaps the most shameful breach of “democracy” ever perpetrated.

INDONESIA l965 Command operation: In CIA-assisted army coup to overthrow government and install Suharto as dictator, the CIA supervised and assisted while approximately 3 million Indonesians were hacked to death with machetes in the greatest mass slaughter in human history.

INDONESIA 2010 US establishes an apparently black (classified top-secret) military-medical facility, presumably a torture laboratory. The US claims its purpose is focused on “peace support operations”, but indications are more sinister.

KOREA 1894-96 Marines stationed in Seoul during war.

KOREA 1904-05 US invasion: Marines land in Russo-Japanese War.

KOREA 1951-53 U.S./So. Korea fights China/No. Korea to stalemate. In 1950, the US makes nuclear threats and against Korea, and more against China in 1953.

US forces carpet-bombed cities and other civilian locations in the North, boasting that in one campaign they had eliminated “more than 20%, maybe 40% of North Korea’s civilian population”. US war crimes in Korea were unforgiveable, and to this day Korea is still under US military occupation, the US having sabotaged all willing efforts at reunification. All indications are that the US wants another Korean war, so as to eliminate the North and have a colony with US troops on China’s doorstep.

LAOS 1962 Command operation: Military buildup during guerrilla war.

LAOS 1971-73 Command operation: U.S. directs South Vietnamese invasion, heavily carpet-bombs Laotian countryside.

PAKISTAN 2005 CIA missile and air strikes, covert operations, and Special Forces raids on alleged Al Qaeda and Taliban refuge villages kill multiple civilians. Drone attacks also on Pakistani Mehsud network.

PHILIPPINES 1898-1910 US navy and troops invade the Philippines and seize the territory from Spain, Almost one million Philippinos killed

PHILIPPINES 1948-54 Command operation: CIA directs war against Huk Rebellion, establishes torture regime and 1,000-page torture manual for circulation.

PHILIPPINES 1989 Citizen uprising; US provides deadly air cover for the government.

PHILIPPINES 2002 Training mission for Philippine military fighting Abu Sayyaf rebels evolves into combat missions in Sulu Archipelago, west of Mindanao.

SAMOA 1899 US invades Samoa due to monarchy succession dispute.

VIETNAM 1954 US offers the French nuclear weapons to use against the Vietnamese.

VIETNAM l960-1975 US fabricates ship sinking in Gulf of Tonkin to justify entry into a war in Vietnam. More than two million Vietnamese killed in war; atomic bomb threats in l968 and l969.


The Middle East & Arab Countries

AFGHANISTAN 1998 Attack on former CIA training camps used by Islamic fundamentalist groups alleged to have attacked embassies.

AFGHANISTAN 2001-2011 Massive U.S. military and Blackwater private mobilization involving tens of thousands of troops, in failed alleged search for Osama Bin Laden. Invasion in part to to install Karzai puppet regime, in part to punish Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters, but in large part to protect US commercial oil pipeline route and control source of Rare Earth elements.

EGYPT 1956 US invades Egypt, evacuates foreigners: Soviets warned to stay out of Suez crisis under pain of nuclear attack.

IRAN 1946 Soviet troops ordered to leave Iran or suffer nuclear attack.

IRAN 1953 Command Operation: CIA overthrows popular democracy, installs Shah as dicatator.

IRAN 1980 US Raid to rescue Embassy hostages. Soviets warned to stay out of Iranian revolution, again under threat of nuclear attack.

IRAN 1984 US military vessel shoots down two Iranian civilian airliners in Iranian territory over the Gulf. US naval commander given a medal by George Bush for this action.

IRAN 1987-1988 US intervenes with naval and air bombardment on Iran, to assist Iraq in this US-sponsored war.

IRAQ 1958 Iraq deliberately set up by George Bush, assuring no US involvement if Kuwait attacked. Bush reneged.

IRAQ 1963 Command operation: CIA organizes coup that kills Iraqi president and returns the Ba’ath Party to power. Saddam Hussein returns from exile to take over the secret service.

IRAQ 1990-1991 Massive air and artillery strikes in invasion of Iraq and Kuwait, kiling hundreds of thousands. The freeing of Kuwait required few casuaties, but the prime objective was the wholesale destruction of the Iraqi military. Depleted Uranium artillery shells cause widespread disease and cancer among both Iraqis and Americans; US denies assistance.

IRAQ 1991-2003 US military establishes No-fly zone over Iraq’s Kurdish north and Shiite south; engages in constant air strikes and naval-enforced economic sanctions

IRAQ 1998 Intensive air strikes after weapons inspectors allege Iraqi obstructions.

IRAQ 2003-2011 Iraq invaded with more than 250,000 troops and massive air and artillery support. The Baghdad government is removed. US and UK forces occupy the country, creating a civil war between the Sunnis and Shi’ites. insurgencies. More than 160,000 troops and numerous private contractors carry out occupation and build hundreds of large permanent bases, and the largest “embassy” in the world – the Middle East Headquarters of the US Empire.

KUWAIT 1991 Kuwait royal family returned to throne.

LEBANON 1958 US invasion and Marine occupation.

LEBANON 1982-84 US Marines expel PLO and back Phalangists, Navy bombs and shells Muslim positions.

LIBYA 1981 Gulf of Sidra. Reagan ordered the Forrestal and Nimitz to deploy off the coast of Libya, in a provocative action designed to produce a military conflict, which it did. Two Libyan air force jets were shot down.

LIBYA 1986 The US Operation El Dorado Canyon, was launched from the UK in the face of wide international opposition. The bombing attack was in response to the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing for which Libya was later found to have been innocent. Most missiles hit Bin Ashur, a densely populated suburb in the capital that included Khaddafi’s home, killing his daughter. It was likely an assassination mission that succeeded only in killing thousands of civilians.

Reagan argued that America was only exercising its “right to self defence” and, until the truth emerged, claimed only “terrorist” targets were hit.

LIBYA 1989 Another US provocation by bringing aircraft carrier groups just off Libya’s coast. Two more Libyan jets were shot down.

OMAN 1970 U.S. Command operation: directing Iranian marine invasion.

SAUDI ARABIA 1973 World-wide alert during Mideast War.

SAUDI ARABIA 1990-91 Iraq countered after invading Kuwait. 540,000 troops also stationed in Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Israel.

SYRIA 2008 Special Forces in helicopter raid 5 miles from Iraq kill 8 Syrian civilians

TURKEY 1922 US sent in troops to fight nationalists in Smyrna.

YEMEN 2000 USS Cole, docked in Aden, bombed.

YEMEN 2002 Predator drone missile attack on Al Qaeda, including a US citizen.

YEMEN 2009 US Command operation: Cruise missile attack kills 49 civilians. The US has heavily subsidized Yemen’s military, and has even directly launched cruise missiles, sent in Special Forces and other military assistance to help Yemen’s dictator suppress and ultimately crush the popular people’s movements for independence and liberty.



ALBANIA 1997 US military evacuating foreigners.

BOSNIA 1993 No-fly zone patrolled in civil war; downed jets, bombed Serbia.

GERMANY 1948 Atomic-capable bombers guard Berlin Airlift.

GERMANY 1961 Nuclear Alert during Berlin Wall crisis.

GREECE 1947-1949 Command operation: U.S. supports and directs Greek Right-Wing extremists in the country’s civil war.

MACEDONIA 2001 NATO forces deployed to move and disarm Albanian rebels.

RUSSIA 1918-1922 Five US naval landings in Russia to fight Bolsheviks

YUGOSLAVIA 1919 US intervenes in Italy’s behalf against Serbs in Dalmatia.

YUGOSLAVIA 1946 US brings carrier group and makes Nuclear threats in response to the downing of a US aircraft.

YUGOSLAVIA 1992-1994 NATO Naval blockade of Serbia and Montenegro.

YUGOSLAVIA 1999 Heavy NATO air strikes after Serbia declines to withdraw from Kosovo. US bombs Chinese Embassy due to “intellgence error”. NATO occupation of Kosovo.



ANGOLA 1976-92 US Command operation: CIA assists South African-backed rebels.

LIBERIA 1990 US sends in military to evacuate foreigners during the civil war.

LIBERIA 1997 Soldiers under fire during evacuation of foreigners.

LIBERIA 2003 US involvement in peacekeeping force as rebels drive out leader.

SOMALIA 1992-1994 U.S.-led United Nations occupation during civil war; raids against one Mogadishu faction, using ground soldiers and bombers.

SOMALIA 2006 The US invaded and occupied Somalia, ousting the Islamist government. The U.S. military has for years fought a Special Forces covert war in Somalia, using gunships, drones, AC-130 bombing raids and Cruise missiles and a naval blockade against “insurgents”. It also enlisted Ethiopia’s help support the pro-U.S. government.

SUDAN 1998 US missile attack on pharmaceutical factory alleged to be “terrorist” nerve gas plant.

ZAIRE (CONGO) 1961 Eisenhower-CIA Assassination of Patrice Lumumba, whose government wanted social and juridical reform, but threatened US commercial interests in cobalt and diamonds.

ZAIRE (CONGO) 1996-97 Marines are present in the Rwandan Hutu refugee camps, where Congo revolution begins.


龙信明 is the author from www.bearcanada.com

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply