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There were a number of times that the government has used the military to accomplish political or economic goals. One example is the campaign to take control of the Phillipines from the Spanish. The government made a deal with the Spanish that they would appear to fight and the military would then take control of the islands and maintain that control for years.
Another example of the government using the military arguably to accomplish political goals would be the war in Vietnam, a conflict that the government felt was necessary to maintain a buffer against communist expansion.
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