In 1983, for the "US Forces Live" video, Peter Garrett, the lead singer, explained the song to the crowded audience:
"Midnight Oil are here today because we're concerned about the issue of nuclear disarmament. And I think when we're in Europe, we realized how close people were to becoming to understand that, if the Russians or the Americans decided that they were actually going to set something off, they would be faced with the possibility that they may have nuclear warheads detonated in their backyard, or in their laundry. And so we became aware of the nuclear thing, and when we got back here we started to think about it, and get concerned about it. People in Australia are unaware that nuclear devices have been detonated here at Maralinga in the early fifties, and they're unaware of the facilities that the Americans have put here, which are used in their defense network and their attack network. And the Oils - we want to keep on making music, and we want people to keep on enjoying it, so, consequently, we think its very important to come and play and to dance and to learn and that's why we're here."
The Australian satire show, the Chaser's War On Everything, made a parody of "US Forces", named "US Bases", about Peter Garrett's alleged selling-out. "US Bases" is set to the tune of "US Forces". It was featured in Episode 17, Season Two. The song features Andrew Hansen as Peter Garrett.