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Memorial Day Remembrance: One Hundred Years of American Wars

26 May
American Troops Land in Normandy During World War Two

American Troops Land in Normandy During World War Two

Another Memorial Day is upon us.  Today, in May of 2013, we are in the 12th year of the War in Afghanistan, we are ten years gone from the start of the War in Iraq, and now 22 years since the first War with Iraq, (better known as Operation Desert Storm),  and the 100th anniversary of start of World War One is only a year away. 

What does this roll call of wars and years really mean?  Americans like to think of themselves as a peace-loving people who only go to war when necessary.  Generally, that is not an inaccurate statement.  Americans generally speaking, do not want more war.  We are not ancient Sparta with its ingrained militaristic culture.  Nor are we an ancient Athens, with an almost obsessive desire to spread out and establish new colonies everywhere.  But we may be more like ancient Rome.  Suddenly thrust into superpower status, with economic and political ties to many regions far from home, we send our troops and our treasure far and wide.  Often, it is to protect our allies.  Frequently, there is an economic or financial relationship to an intervention.  And, most of America’s conflicts are usually couched in terms of a moral imperative.  Frequently, that moral impetus is also tied to more hard-nosed political, military, diplomatic, and/or economic realities.  All of these reasons, or excuses, if you will, add up to an amazingly large number of wars, conflicts, military interventions, and American casualties over the years.

American Troops in the Afghanistan War

American Troops in the Afghanistan War

An American born in 1913 would be one hundred years old now.  In the span of that person’s life, America has fought quite a few major wars, and has been engaged in numerous smaller wars.  Let’s look at a list of American foreign wars and conflicts since 1913. The wars that are generally considered by historians as “Major Wars,” are in bold.

  1. 1912-1933—U.S. occupation of Nicaragua, including the Sandino War (1927-1934)
  2. 1913—In the Philippines, American territory since the Spanish-American War of 1898, the U.S. Army fights the last battles against the Moros (members of a Filipino Muslim group).
  3. 1914—The U.S. seized, by force, the Mexican port city of Veracruz.
  4. 1915-1934—America militarily occupies Haiti
  5. 1916-1924– America militarily occupies the Dominican Republic
  6. 1917-1922– America militarily occupies Cuba (for the fourth time)
  7. 1916-1917—In response to a raid by the Mexican rebel Pancho Villa, the U.S. Army invaded northern Mexico in an attempt to capture Villa.
  8. 1919-U.S. military intervention in Honduras
  9. 1917-1918-The U.S. declares war on Germany and other members of the Central Powers, entering into World War One.
  10. 1919-1921—The U.S., Britain, France, Japan, and others, send troops to Russia intervene in the Russian Civil War.  U.S. troops finally leave Russia in 1921.
  11. 1924-1925–U.S. military intervention in Honduras
  12. 1927—During one of China’s civil wars, the American destroyers USS Noa and USS Preston, and the British cruiser HMS Emerald, fired shells into the Chinese city of Nanking to clear the streets, then dispersed the attackers with gunfire.
  13. 1937–USS Panay Incident.  During the Sino-Japanese War, the U.S. Navy maintained several river gunboats to protect American interests on the Yangtze River in China. In late 1937, the Japanese advance on Nanking, which served as China’s wartime capital city, caused the American embassy there to evacuate. While conducting the U.S. diplomatic evacuation and while also escorting American Standard Oil barges, one gunboat, the USS Panay, came under attack from Japanese warplanes. After several runs by the Japanese planes, the Panay and two of the oil barges were sunk. The surviving crew and passengers escaped and found shelter with friendly Chinese until they could be picked up by other U.S. ships. Two U.S. sailors and one civilian passenger were killed, while eleven others were wounded.
  14. 1940—American forces were sent to protect British military bases in Newfoundland, Bermuda, St. Lucia, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad, and British Guiana as part of the Lend-Lease program with Britain during World War Two.  The U.S. was still officially neutral in that war.
  15. 1941—In April, American troops occupy Greenland in order to protect it from Germany.
  16. 1941–USS Tutuila Incident –Japanese aircraft bomb USS Tutuila (PR-4) at Chungking, China on July 30, 1941. 
  17. 1941—In July, the U.S. takes over the duty of protecting Iceland, replacing British troops.
  18. 1941–USS Kearny –The destroyer USS Kearny (DD-432) was torpedoed and damaged southwest of Iceland on Oct. 17, 1941 by a German submarine.
  19. 1941–USS Salinas — The oiler USS Salinas (AO-19) is torpedoed by a German submarine 700 miles east of Newfoundland on October 30, 1941. There are no casualties and the ship makes port.
  20. 1941–USS Reuben James – -The German submarine U-552 sinks the USS Reuben James (DD- 245) on Oct. 31, 1941.   The Reuben James was escorting Convoy HX 156, with the loss of 115 lives. This is the first U.S. ship lost to enemy action in the European/Atlantic Theater in World War II.
  21. 1941– In November, American troops occupy Dutch Guiana, with the permission of the Dutch government, in order to protect this colony from Germany.
  22. 1941-1945—Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, the U.S. officially enters World War Two.
  23. 1945-1949—U.S. military occupation of part of western Germany.
  24. 1945-1955—U.S. military occupation of part of Austria
  25. 1945-1952—U.S. military occupation of Japan
  26. 1945-1949—U.S. military occupation of South Korea
  27. 1945-1991—The Cold War.  U.S. forces are stationed in many parts of the world to contain the power of the Communist Bloc nations led by the Soviet Union and China.
  28. 1945-1949—Over 50,000 U.S. troops are sent to China, initially to aid in the disarmament of Japanese troops following the end of World War Two.  The mission changed to providing aid to the Nationalist Chinese in their war against the Communist Chinese forces of Mao. (part of Cold War)
  29. 1947-1949—U.S. military advisors aid the Greek military in fighting Communist rebels in the Greek Civil War.  The rebels were aided by the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria.  (part of Cold War)
  30. 1948-1949—The Berlin Airlift brings supplies to West Berlin, occupied by U.S., British, and French forces.  The airlift is in response to a Soviet Blockade of Berlin designed to force the Allies to abandon Berlin.  The Soviet effort failed. (part of Cold War)
  31. 1950-1953—The Korean War pits U.S. and allied forces against Soviet-backed Chinese and North Korean forces. The fighting ends in 1953, with an armistice, but the war officially never ended. Cross-border violence would periodically erupt along the border. (part of Cold War)
  32. 1955- U.S. military advisors are sent to the new Republic of South Vietnam to aid against the Communist insurgency. (part of Cold War).  This is the beginning of America’s role in the Vietnam War.
  33. 1958—U.S. troops land in Lebanon as an intervention in the first Lebanese Civil War.
  34. 1962— Cuban Missile Crisis.  U.S. blockades Cuba in response to Soviet nuclear missiles based in Cuba.  Nearly sparks World War Three.
  35. 1962—U.S. involvement in the Laotian Civil War begins.  U.S. aids the Laotian government against Communist Pathet Lao rebels and North Vietnamese troops.  This is a part of the larger Vietnam War for the U.S. (part of Cold War)
  36. 1964—U.S. military transport planes fly Belgian troops to the Congo to intervene in the Congolese Civil War.
  37. 1964—The Gulf of Tonkin Incident.  Two U.S. naval ships are attacked by North Vietnamese forces in the waters off of North Vietnam.  The American ships were there as support for a South Vietnamese naval raid on North Vietnam. (part of Cold War)
  38. 1964-1975—U.S. troops officially engage in combat as part of the Vietnam War (part of Cold War).
  39. 1965—U.S. troops intervene in the Dominican Republic to put down a rebellion.
  40. 1966-1969—DMZ War.  An unofficial and little-known extension of the ongoing Korean Conflict.   While the U.S. was distracted by the War in Vietnam, North Korean forces engaged U.S. and South Korean forces in a low-intensity border conflict along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), separating North and South Korea.
  41. 1968—USS Pueblo Crisis—On January 23,  1968, North Korean forces attacked and captured the U.S. Navy reconnaissance ship, the USS Pueblo.  The crew was held captive by North Korea for eleven months.
  42. 1967–The USS Liberty Incident—during the Six-Day War between Israel and the Arab nations, the USS Liberty was attacked June 8, 1967 by Israeli armed forces, killing 34 and wounding more than 170 U.S. crew members.
  43. 1967– U.S. military transport planes again were dispatched to Congo to aid the government suppress a rebellion.
  44. 1973—U.S. engages in a massive airlift of weapons and ammunition to Israel during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.  The Soviet Union also engages in a massive airlift in support of Syria and Egypt.  U.S. and Soviet naval forces face off in the Mediterranean Sea.  (part of Cold War)
  45. 1975—The Mayaguez Incident.  Considered the last combat action of the Vietnam conflict by American troops.   U.S. Marines attack a Cambodian island in an attempt to rescue the crew of the American ship Mayaguez, which had been seized by Cambodian Communist forces. (part of Cold War)
  46. 1978—From May to June, American transport aircraft fly Belgian and French troops to Zaire (formerly the Congo), to defeat a rebel invasion of Zaire’s Shaba Province.
  47. 1979-1981—U.S.-Iran Hostage Crisis.  The American embassy was occupied by radical Iranian forces and 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days.  In 1980, the U.S. attempted a military rescue operation which failed miserably.
  48. 1979-1989—The U.S. provided extensive aid to Afghan rebels fighting the Soviet Invasion and Occupation of Afghanistan.  (part of Cold War)
  49. 1980-1988—The U.S. gave intelligence aid and diplomatic support to Iraq in its war against Iran.
  50. 1981—Salvadoran Civil War.  U.S. military advisors are sent to El Salvador to assist the government forces against Marxist rebels aided by Nicaragua and Cuba. (part of Cold War)
  51. 1981—The First Gulf of Sidra Incident occurs in April, when American warplanes clash with Libyan planes over waters near Libya.
  52. 1982—U.S. Marines are sent to Lebanon in August and September as part of a multi-national force assisting with the evacuation of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) forces from the besieged city of Beirut.  This was a part of the Israeli Invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
  53. 1982-1984–Only nine days after the Marine withdrawal, they were again sent to Lebanon in greater numbers following the massacre of Palestinian civilians in the Shabra and Shatilla refugee camps.  This deployment will last until 1984 and will climax with the Bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut in October, 1983.  While in Lebanon, the Marines battled the Amal Shiite militia, Syrian forces, and the new Hezbollah militia.
  54. 1983—In October, the U.S. invaded the island of Grenada to effect a rescue of American medical students there and to overthrow a pro-Soviet and pro- Cuban Marxist government.
  55. 1986—Second Gulf of Sidra Incident.  American forces again clashed with the Libyan military.
  56. 1986—Operation El Dorado Canyon.  In April, American warplanes and naval forces attacked targets in Libya in retaliation for a terrorist bombing against an American target in Berlin.
  57. 1987—During the ongoing Iran-Iraq War (also called the First Persian Gulf War), the USS Stark was struck on May 17 by two Exocet anti-ship missiles fired from an Iraqi F-1 Mirage during the Iran-Iraq War, killing 37 U.S. Navy sailors.  The U.S. did not retaliate.
  58. 1987-1988—U.S. military intervention in the Iran-Iraq War as U.S. naval forces combatted Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf in Operation Nimble Archer, and Operation Earnest Will. During this conflict, the USS Vincennes shot down civilian Iran Air Flight 655.
  59. 1989—In January, American planes again engaged in combat with Libyan planes over the Gulf of Sidra.
  60. 1989—U.S. Intervention in a coup attempt in the Philippines. Known as Operation Classic Resolve, on December 1, U.S. Air Force fighters from Clark Air Base in Luzon assisted the Aquino government to repel a coup attempt. In addition, 100 marines were sent from U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay to protect the United States Embassy in Manila.
  61. 1989- In December, in the U.S. Invasion of Panama, American forces overthrew dictator Manuel Noriega.
  62. 1991—U.S. and other allied forces deployed to Saudi Arabia in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.  This is known as Operation Desert Shield.
  63. 1991—In January, U.S. and allied forces liberated Kuwait in what became known as the Gulf War or the First Iraq War.  At the time, it was best known as Operation Desert Storm.
  64. 1991-1996—Operation Provide Comfort, an attempt to protect the Kurdish population of northern Iraq from Saddam Hussein.  This operation in effect resulted in an allied occupation of northern Iraq that enabled the Kurds to establish a semi-autonomous state.
  65. 1991—Allied intervention in Zaire.   On September 25–27, 1991, after widespread looting and rioting broke out in Kinshasa, Zaire, Air Force C-141s transported 100 Belgian troops and equipment into Kinshasa. American planes also carried 300 French troops into the Central African Republic and transported evacuated American citizens.
  66. 1992-2003—The No-Fly Zone War against Iraq.  U.S. and British warplanes enforced a no-fly zone over much of Iraq.  These operations frequently resulted in allied attacks on Iraqi air and ground targets.  In effect, this was a low-intensity continuation of the Gulf War.  As the 2003 invasion of Iraq drew closer, the attacks on Iraqi targets continued in order to soften up Iraqi defenses.
  67. 1992-1995—U.S. and allied intervention in Somalia.  While originating as a humanitarian exercise to help the civilian population, it quickly changed into a nation-building attempt that brought American and other allied forces into combat with Somali militias.  It is believed that the first al-Qaida attacks on American targets took place at this time in Somalia as the Jihadi terrorist organization aided the Somali rebels.  The infamous Blackhawk Down incident occurred during this Somali intervention.
  68. 1993-1995—U.S. and NATO intervention in the Bosnian War.  Intervention began in 1993 with the start of a no-fly zone, with actual U.S. combat involvement starting in 1994 with the shooting down of six Serb aircraft.  In August and September of 1995, U.S. and NATO forces engaged in extensive bombing of Serb ground targets in Bosnia.   This helped lead to the Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war.
  69. 1994-1995—U.S. invasion and occupation of Haiti.  While the occupation was peaceful, this is only because the Haitian government collapsed in the face of an imminent U.S. invasion.
  70. 1998—In Operation Desert Fox, U.S. and British forces engage in a major four-day bombing campaign of Iraq from December 16–19, 1998.  This was in response to an Iraqi attempt to assassinate former President George Bush while on a visit to Kuwait. This is a part of the larger No-Fly Zone War.
  71. 1998–Operation Infinite Reach.  On August 20, President Clinton ordered a cruise missile attack against two suspected al-Qaida terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and a suspected chemical factory in Sudan.  This was in response to the bombing of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by al-Qaida a few days earlier.
  72. 1999—Kosovo War. U.S. and NATO forces engage in an air war with Serbia in order to liberate the region of Kosovo from Serbia.
  73. 2000—In October, al-Qaida terrorists attack the naval ship USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden.
  74. 2001—Hainan Island Incident–On April 1, 2001, a mid-air collision between a U. S. Navy EP-3E ARIES II signals surveillance aircraft and a People’s Liberation Army Navy J-8II interceptor fighter jet resulted in an international dispute between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.  The crisis was resolved peacefully.
  75. 2001—9/11 Terrorist attacks on the U.S. mark the start of the U.S War on Terror.
  76. 2001-Present—War in Afghanistan.  In response to the al-Qaida attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001, American and allied forces invade Afghanistan in October, 2001.  The War in Afghanistan becomes the longest official war in U.S. history. (part of the War on Terror)
  77. 2002-Present—Drone strikes on terrorist (al-Qaida and other Jihadist) targets in Yemen begin.  (part of the War on Terror)
  78. 2002-U.S. Special Forces deploy to the Philippines to assist the Filipino government in their fight against Jihadist (and al-Qaida aligned) Muslim rebels. (part of the War on Terror)
  79. 2003-2011—U.S.-led Invasion and Occupation of IraqThe Iraq War resulted in the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.  (Considered by the Bush Administration to be part of the War on Terror)
  80. 2004-Present—Drone War in Pakistan.  U.S. drones operating out of Afghanistan launch missile attacks on suspected al-Qaida, Taliban, and other Jihadist targets. (part of the War on Terror)
  81. 2006-Present–U.S. Operations against Jihadist (al-Qaida, Islamic Courts, others) forces in Somalia in conjunction with Ethiopian, Ugandan, Somali government, and other allied forces.  U.S. operations include air strikes, drone strikes, Special Forces raids and assistance to allied forces fighting the Jihadist militias. (part of the War on Terror)
  82.  
  83. 2011—Libyan War.  U.S, NATO, and other allied forces aid rebels fighting to overthrow Libyan dictator Muammar Khadafy.
  84. 2011—On May, 2, 2011, U.S. forces conduct a raid into Pakistan and kill Osama bin Laden.  (part of the War on Terror)
  85. 2011—U. S. Special Forces are deployed to Uganda and Central Africa to aid in the hunt for infamous war criminal Joseph Kony and his band of LRA guerrillas.
  86. 2012—Benghazi Attack.  On September 11, 2012, suspected Jihadist militants attacked the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, killing  four Americans, including the Ambassador. (part of the War on Terror)
  87. 2013—War in Mali—U.S. transport planes ferry French troops as they engage Jihadist forces in northern Mali.  (part of the War on Terror)
  88. 2013– US Air Force planes supported the French in the Bulo Marer hostage rescue attempt in Somalia. (part of the War on Terror)

Over the span of nearly 100 years, America has been engaged in 88 military conflicts.  This list does not include most cases of U.S. forces, usually Marines, going ashore to protect diplomatic missions and such.  It also does not include most cases of CIA-led coups, clashes, and proxy wars, the current Drone Wars being the exception.  More than likely, the next time Memorial Day rolls around, there will be more military engagements to add to this list, and more fallen American service members to mourn.  Let us hope that their sacrifices are not in vain.

Memorial Day Crosses

Memorial Day Crosses

 

War With Iran? Look at Wars of 1812 and 1912 First

02 Jan

Looking at a possible Iran War in 2012 with a look back at 1812 and 1912

By Roger Lee, The History Guy

New Year’s Day, 2012, opened with Iran’s announcement that Iranian nuclear scientists had produced Iran’s first nuclear fuel rod and that the Iranian navy had test-fired a new medium-range surface-to-air missile.  All this while Iran conducted war games in the Strait of Hormuz designed to test its ability to close those straits to international oil shipping.  All this while the U.S. and the other Western powers continue to declare that they will not allow a disruption to the oil shipping, and Israel watches nervously and prepares for war

Iranian war games in the Strait of Hormuz

As the world seems to quickly slide toward war, n look back at events 200 and 100 years ago seems in order.  2012 marks the bicentennial of the War of 1812, in which the U.S. took on the much more powerful British Empire and managed to survive to talk about it.  In 1912, the world was on the brink of a devastating World War, which was still two and a half years away, but events in 1912 set the stage for a war that everyone thought would be quick and sharp, but proved to be out of everyone’s control as soon as it began.

In 1812, the world was in the throes of an earlier version of world war, with Britain, Russia, Spain, and other nations in a death-match with Napoleon’s French-dominated empire.  The United States did not have a dog in that fight, so to speak, but had long-standing problems with the British.  Ever since the American Revolution, the Americans felt that Britain did not respect the U.S. as a true sovereign nation.  British agents aided the Native Americans who resisted American encroachment along the frontier, and British ships regularly disrespected American shipping on the high seas, leading to violent naval confrontations and the forcible boarding of U.S. ships to “impress,” or illegally (in the U.S. view) draft  sailors into the British navy. The United States basically felt they had to put up or shut up in terms of their problems with Britain.  Also, some expansionist elements in the government and elsewhere eyed the prospect of invading and “liberating” Canada from the British. 

Thus, a somewhat naïve and woefully unprepared America declared war on the most powerful nation on earth and commenced to invade British Canada.  Long story short, the U.S. got it’s rear-end kicked out of Canada and throughout most of the eastern seaboard by the British.  Not until the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, could the U.S. claim any meaningful victory on land.

How does this situation relate to the current tension with Iran?  In this case, in 2012, the smaller nation feeling no respect is Iran, and the most powerful nation in the world is obviously the U.S.  Some analysts, and some Iranian spokesmen themselves, say that if Iran is pushed around too much (sanctions, U.S. drone flights, covert warfare, assassinations, etc.), it may retaliate by closing the Strait of Hormuz to international shipping, which would be a cassus belli for the Western Powers.  Of course, the fact that Iran is clearly pursuing nuclear weapons makes Israel and the West quite nervous, and if Israel truly believes that Iran is close to getting The Bomb, then war is likely inevitable.  One thing about the War of 1812 that applies to this situation is that when the U.S. chose war with Britain (and with Canada), the assumption was that the war would be quick, and that Britain was too distracted by its other wars to put much effort into another war.  Iran may be thinking the same thing, to everyone’s detriment. 

The situation in 1912 was a bit different. The former major power in the eastern Mediterranean region, the Ottoman Empire (also known as Turkey), was fading fast, and the vultures were beginning to gather to pick at the soon to be expired Ottoman carcass.  Italy attacked Ottoman Libya in 1911, and in October, 1912, the Ottomans sued for peace and gave up their last piece of territory in North Africa.  The day following the conclusion of the Italian-Ottoman War, the Balkan alliance of Serbia, Greece, Montenegro, and Bulgaria launched an attack on the Ottoman possessions in Europe.  The Ottomans lost that war, but that First Balkan War, and a Second Balkan War that broke out right after the first one, helped set the stage for World War One, which erupted in the summer of 1914.  In the wars of 1912, we see several smaller nations take on the ancient bogeyman from their past; no longer strong, but feeble and weak.  And the little guys won.  In the modern era, the little guys can be seen as Saddam’s Iraq, Khaddafy’s Libya, Assad’s Syria,  Iran, and North Korea.  They all have a bad history with the Western powers.  They all, at one point or another, had challenged the West, and survived those initial conflicts.  But they took that feeling of victory and invulnerability too far, challenged the West one too many times, or refused to bow down when faced with invasion and war.  Saddam is now dead. Khaddafy is dead.  Assad is under siege, and North Korea is still the great unknown.  Iran is the linchpin.  If they truly see themselves as the relatively small but tough challenger to U.S, and Western influence in the Muslim world, then they may push the envelope enough to cause a military response from either Israel or the U.S.

Unintended Consequences of War:   The British Burn Washington

In the 1912 analogy, the smaller nations were victorious initially, but when the big dogs got into the fight beginning in 1914, Serbia, and Montenegro were almost destroyed.  Bulgaria lost even more land.  The war did not go as any of them anticipated, which is usually the way of war.  The same held true in the War of 1812.  The U.S. expected a fairly easy war against the British in Canada, and instead, the Americans saw their own nation invaded and Washington, D.C burned down by the invaders.  In both examples from 100 and 200 years ago, the little guys faced down against the big guys, and once war started, it went in directions no one wanted or anticipated.   If a war with Iran is in store for 2012, the decision-makers on all sides need to keep that historical fact in mind before it is too late.

 

Iraq War Officially Over For The U.S.

15 Dec

The End of the Iraq War Video

After Eight years and 270 days, the American War in Iraq is now officially over.  Defense Secretary Leon Panetta presided over a ceremony in Baghdad on December 15, 2011.  In reality, this war truly began when the U.S. intervened in what is now known as the First Iraq War (1990-1991), and then continued with the ongoing No-Fly Zone War (1991-2003) against Saddam’s Iraq

See also: http://www.historyguy.com/GulfWar2.html

http://www.historyguy.com/no-fly_zone_war.html

http://www.historyguy.com/GulfWar.html

 

War of 1812 Statistics Page

05 Sep

With the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 almost upon us, here is a Historyguy page on War of 1812 Statistics at http://www.historyguy.com/war_of_1812_statistics.htm

 

See also: http://www.historyguy.com/war_of_1812_links.html

 

 

Obama’s Speech on the Death of bin Laden

02 May

Below is the text of President Obama’s Speech announcing the death of Osama bin Laden.  Go to http://www.historyguy.com/obama_bin_laden_dead_speech.htm for the video of his speech and the transcript of the president’s remarks on the killing of bin Laden.

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON OSAMA BIN LADEN

East Room

11:35 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory — hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.

And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.

On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.

We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda — an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.

Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.

Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.

And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.

Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.

Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must –- and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad.

As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.

Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.

Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.

The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded.

So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.

Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.

We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.

Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.

And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.

The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.

Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

Source:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/05/02/osama-bin-laden-dead

http://www.historyguy.com/obama_bin_laden_dead_speech.htm

 

U.S. Government Shutdowns History

08 Apr

http://www.historyguy.com/government_shutdown_history.htm

Below is a chart showing the last 18 shutdowns of the United States Federal Government since 1976

Year Date Government Shutdown Began Full day(s) of Government Shutdown Date Government Shutdown Ended
    of gaps  
1976 Thursday 09-30-76 10 Monday 10-11-76
1977 Friday 09-30-77 12 Thursday 10-13-17
1977 Monday 10-31-77 8 Wednesday 11-09-77
1977 Wednesday 11-30-77 8 Friday 12-09-77
1978 Saturday 09-30-78 17 Wednesday 10-18-78
1979 Sunday 09-30-79 11 Friday 10-12-79
1981 Friday 11-20-81 2 Monday 11-23-81
1982 Thursday 9-30-82 1 Saturday 10-2-82
1982 Friday 12-17-82 3 Tuesday 12-21-82
1983 Thursday 11-10-83 3 Monday 11-14-83
1984 Sunday 9-30-84 2 Wednesday 10-3-84
1984 Wednesday 10-3-84 1 Friday 10-5-84
1986 Thursday 10-16-86 1 Saturday 10-18-86
1987 Friday 12-18-87 1 Sunday 12-20-87
1990 Friday 10-5-90 3 Tuesday 10-9-90
1995 Monday 11-13-95 5 Sunday 11-19-95
1995-1996 Friday 12-15-95 21 Saturday 1-6-96

As of Friday, April 8, 2011, President Obama and the Republican leadeship in the House of Representatives had failed to reach a budget agreement that would prevent the first Federal Government Shutdown of the 21st Century. Stay tuned for more details.

Source: The Congressional Research Service Report 98-844: Shutdown of the Federal Government:

Causes, Effects, and Process

 

Dionne’s Editorial on the American Civil War is Correct

27 Dec

A recent editorial by Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, Don’t Spin The Civil War, is a fact and data-filled piece that reiterates the need to remember the real reason the United States fought a bloody, and ultimately victorious and righteous Civil War (note that it is rightly called the “Civil War,” not the ” War Between the States.”)  Dionne’s piece backs up the post on this website denouncing the upcoming re-enactment of Jefferson Davis’s oath of office by pro-Southern re-enactors who want to (pardon the pun) white-wash history by spouting the usual blather about the reasons for the Civil War.  Secession and the war were driven by the slavery issue, not states’ rights.  Read Dionne’s piece for some good information on this ongoing problem with the pro-Confederate attempt to revise the history of the American Civil War.

 

Veteran’s Day in America: A Time To Honor Heroes

11 Nov
American Veteran on Veteran's Day

American Veteran on Veteran's Day

Honoring our Heroes on Veteran’s Day

Veteran’s Day is a time to reflect upon the sacrifices, bravery, and patriotism of millions of service members whose call to duty guarantees the freedoms and way of life enjoyed by all Americans.  To my brother, cousins, father, aunt and grandfathers who served, most especially, THANK YOU!

 

Yemen History of Wars Nothing New and al-Qaida Forms New Threat

04 Jan

Yemen is one of the poorest nations in the world, with high unemployment, a low literacy rate, a corrupt government, a well-armed population with a history of stronger allegiance to tribe, clan, and family than to the nation, and a long history of civil conflict. Many analysts consider Yemen a leading candidate to become a “failed state,” as Afghanistan once was and Somalia is now. Both Afghanistan and Somalia have become havens for al-Qaida and other Jihadist Muslim organizations intent on destabilizing secular Arab nations and launching attacks on Western interests. The presence of al-Qaida is not Yemen’s only military problem, though it may be the most pressing as 2010 begins. The attempted bombing of an American airliner on Christmas Day, 2009 has been linked to al-Qaida forces in Yemen (part of the larger al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula organization, also known as AQAP). The suspected airline bomber spent time in Yemen and evidence points toward the likelihood that he received training in Yemen from al-Qaida. Also, a Yemeni radical Yemeni cleric was connected to the U.S. Army officer who killed several soldiers at Fort Hood earlier this year. As of this writing, many experts believe that an increased American involvement in Yemen is highly likely in 2010 as,..READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE AT: http://www.historyguy.com/yemen_history_wars_politics.htm

 

Aghanistan and the War Against Bureaucracy

09 Dec

For anyone interested in the complexities and frustrations American fighting forces are experiencing in Afghanistan, The History Guy highly recommends reading an op-ed piece in the New York Times written by Afghanistan veteran Jonathan Vaccaro.  His article shows the inane bureaucracy imposed on the front-line commanders and soldiers who are doing their best to protect the Afghan population from the Taliban and al-Qaida.  Read the article at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/08/opinion/08vaccaro.html