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U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, a staunch advocate of limited government and a more modest military footprint, offered a surprising statistic about the reach of the U.S. armed forces.
"We're under great threat, because we occupy so many countries," Paul said at the Sept. 12, 2011, presidential debate in Tampa. "We're in 130 countries. We have 900 bases around the world. We're going broke. The purpose of al-Qaida was to attack us, invite us over there, where they can target us. And they have been doing it. They have more attacks against us and the American interests per month than occurred in all the years before 9/11, but we're there occupying their land. And if we think that we can do that and not have retaliation, we're kidding ourselves. We have to be honest with ourselves. What would we do if another country, say, China, did to us what we do to all those countries over there?"
A reader asked us to check Paul’s claim that the U.S. military "is in 130 countries. We have 900 bases around the world." Research showed, in turn, that Paul’s topline figures -- 130 nations, 900 bases -- are plausible. Yet it’s worth pointing out that many of the personnel deployments and facilities included in Paul’s numbers are minimal in nature. Read the check here.
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