They Hate Us for Our Bases and Bombs

It would be hard to kill U.S. soldiers in Syria, Jordan, Iraq, etcetera if they weren't there

Posted on

Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author’s permission.

The recent deaths of three U.S. soldiers near the Jordanian-Syrian border made me reflect on an obvious fact: It would be hard to kill U.S. soldiers in the Middle East if they weren’t based and deployed there.

When we hear that U.S. troops are killed overseas, rarely do most Americans ask the question, What exactly were they doing in Jordan, or Syria, or Iraq, or Qatar, or the UAE, or Saudi Arabia, and so on. Why does America still have roughly 30,000 U.S. troops in the Middle East, not counting ex-military “civilian” contractors? Why are there still so many U.S. military bases in the area, even in countries like Iraq that say they don’t want them? And what about U.S. bases Syria, the presence of which constitutes an act of (undeclared, of course) war?

The American Security Project has a clear map showing U.S. bases in the Middle East, as of 2021. Such bases have sometimes been compared to lily pads, jumping off places for U.S. military strikes, but perhaps they’re more akin to mushrooms, popping up here, there, and everywhere. Meanwhile, we get the mushroom treatment as well, as in being kept in the dark and fed bullshit.

Maps like the one posted by the American Security Project that I linked to above only show unclassified bases. The secret ones, the dark sites, are just that, though you can get a decent idea of where some dark sites are (or were) from fitness tracking apps, as this story from 2018 revealed:

There’s something about the above story that appeals to my sense of humor.

Want to know where American troops are (or were)? Check out fitness app tracking data and look for Americans running in circles in countries like Afghanistan. There’s definitely some symbolism here but it escapes me.

Fitness app data showed U.S. troops in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Running in circles, making little progress: there’s symbolism here, maybe? (From the Guardian)

I know former President George W. Bush said that “they” hate us for our freedoms, but maybe they hate us more for our military bases and the bombs we keep dropping on their heads? Nah … can’t be.

William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools. He writes at Bracing Views.