chapter  23
The Use of Military Force
ByBrandon C. Prins, Mark Souva
Pages 14

On October 6, 2001, President George W. Bush authorized military action against Afghanistan. The following day U.S. aircraft bombed Taliban and al Qaeda forces in and around fi ve major Afghan cities. Sixty-three days later on December 9, Kandahar fell and Taliban leader Mullah Omar escaped to Pakistan. Only sixteen days later, U.S. Army and Marine forces began their rapid march towards Baghdad from their bases in Kuwait. Within three weeks, Iraqi forces had surrendered and Baghdad had fallen.1 Afghanistan and Iraq are the two most recent uses of military force by the United States but these episodes are hardly unique. By one estimate, the United States has dispatched troops abroad 291 times from 1798 through 2008 (Grimmett 2009). Beginning with actions against the French and Barbary Pirates under Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jeff erson and ending with measures directed at al Qaeda in Afghanistan and other locations under President Bush, the United States has projected, and actively continues to project, its power overseas.