Jonah Goldberg doesn’t like America being called an empire. This seems to be the crux of his argument:
Your typical empire invades countries to seize their resources, impose political control, and levy taxes. That was true of every empire from the ancient Romans to the Brits and the Soviets.
One could have an interesting discussion of whether or not America actually does impose political control. Mr Goldberg himself implies that we should not leave Iraq because its "democracy is fragile." Is not imposing democracy imposing political control?
But it’s more interesting to agree with his premises and follow his argument.
His premises are: 1) historically, most empires invade countries to advance their own interests; and 2) the US does not invade countries to advance its own interests (though it seemingly endlessly invades other countries).
This would seem to (obviously) raise the question of why the US invades so many countries.
Unfortunately, he has no answer, though he does reiterate that, "To say we did these things simply for plunder and power is an insult to all Americans, particularly those who gave their lives in the process."
But to say we did them for no apparent reason or interest is more insulting, no?