Daily Archives: December 17, 2009

There is No American Empire by Gregory Hilton

I recently received critical comments from my isolationist friends Vincent Mross, Ed Wyatt, Jr., and John Smart. They were all warning about the dangers of an “American empire.” Their viewpoint represents the ideology of libertarians, liberals and paleoconservatives.
I visited 113.5 acres of the American empire where our troops are still in formation. It is the Lorraine American Cemetery, and it is an example of the foreign territory over which the American flag flies every day. It is home to 10,489 of our war dead.
We did not keep the oil wealth or land of Iraq or Kuwait. America is not taking anything from the desperately poor people of Afghanistan. The only thing we wanted in the former Yugoslavia was the end of genocide and ethnic cleansing, and our armed forces have truly been the peacemakers, not empire builders.
There are many cemeteries for the U.S. military in western Europe’s countryside. They serve not only as a final resting place for our heroes, but as stark memorials to the sacrifices the United States has made to advance and maintain freedom, democracy and human rights. These soldiers died to protect us, not for an American empire.
Since the inception of the United States of America on July 4, 1776 every generation has been called on to defend freedom and liberty. Over the years more than forty two million American men and women have served their country in time of war. More than a million have secured the blessings of liberty with their lives.
Intervention is supposed to be synonymous with exploitation. No one thought Rome was going into Gaul, where one million were killed and another million enslaved, to implant democracy and human rights. Several European nations have been empire builders, but not America. The critics are correct that U.S. military bases continue to dot the globe. We are there to keep the sea-lanes open and the terrorists under wraps.
Americans are not seeking empire but we are keeping people safe and maintaining prosperity. We overthrew Noriega, Milosevic, Mullah Omar and Saddam Hussein to put in their places freely elected leaders, not puppet regimes. We use our power to keep peace rather than to rule.