Friday, October 24th, 2014

Have U.S. troops ever been under foreign control?

British Adm. David Beatty and U.S. Adm. Hugh Rodman shaking hands aboard the flagship Queen Elizabeth. The two joined forces in World War I under British control.
British Adm. David Beatty and U.S. Adm. Hugh Rodman shaking hands aboard the flagship Queen Elizabeth. The two joined forces in World War I under British control.

As lawmakers and activists debated how deeply the United States should be involved in the international military effort in Libya, Republican strategist Karl Rove made a striking claim during an appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News Show on March 23, 2011.

Rove said that "American troops have never been under the formal control of another nation."
   
We wondered whether that was correct. So we asked nine military historians and other experts in the field. Their view was unanimous: Rove was wrong.

From the Boxer Rebellion and World War I to World War II, the Cold War and more recent conflicts, U.S. troops have been taking operational orders from foreign officers for more than a century. Experts told us that the story of U.S. troops under foreign control offers a widescreen tale of 20th century military history, from World War I combat by segregated black troops to the naval preparations for the D-Day invasion to war plans for a possible Warsaw Pact attack during the Cold War.

Ultimately, we found that there are at least 17 examples of U.S. forces working, mostly successfully, under foreign operational leadership. When we informed Rove of what we found, he conceded his error. So we rated Rove's statement False.