Then there’s Mr. Paul’s line about U.S. forces being “in 130 countries.” Really? The truth is that American soldiers are in even more countries than that—but only if you count the small Marine detachments that provide security for our embassies world-wide. By that measure, we’re in every country from Albania, where we have eight Marines, to Zimbabwe, where we have nine.
In fact, according to figures compiled by the Defense Manpower Data Center, as of September 2010 the bulk of U.S. forces deployed overseas (not including those on ships or in transit) are stationed in just seven countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Japan, South Korea, Germany, the U.K. and Italy, all of which are home to at least 9,000 troops. Aside from Afghanistan and Iraq (which may soon drop off that list) all of these are World War II and Cold War legacies. Another five countries—Spain, Turkey, Belgium (the headquarters of NATO), Bahrain and Djibouti—have between 1,000 and 1,500 troops. The next largest deployments are Portugal (703), Qatar (555) Honduras (403) and Greece (338).