The present-day U.S. military qualifies by any measure as highly professional, much more so than its Cold War predecessor. Yet the purpose of today’s professionals is not to preserve peace but to fight unending wars in distant places. Intoxicated by a post-Cold War belief in its own omnipotence, the United States allowed itself to be drawn into a long series of armed conflicts, almost all of them yielding unintended consequences and imposing greater than anticipated costs. Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. forces have destroyed many targets and killed many people. Only rarely, however, have they succeeded in accomplishing their assigned political purposes. . . . [F]rom our present vantage point, it becomes apparent that the “Revolution of ‘89” did not initiate a new era of history. At most, the events of that year fostered various unhelpful illusions that impeded our capacity to recognize and respond to the forces of change that actually matter.

Andrew Bacevich


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Update for Thursday, November 15, 2018

New Taliiban assault in Farah province kills 45 government forces, including the district police chief. The attackers seized arms and ammunition and are said to have captured a military base.

According to this account, the attack originated as an insider attack at a joint army and police base.

According to TOLO, the Taliban captured 60 prisoners as well. Retaliatory helicopter strikes are said to have killed many Taliban. The security situation in Farah is becoming desperate.

Taliban attack police outposts in Zabul. The government says the attack was repelled, with 8 Taliban and two police killed.

The U.S. State Department says special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is making progress in peace negotiations but provides no specifics. Khalilzad has postponed a previously scheduled visit to Pakistan.

Fighting in Maidan Wardak said to kill 9 Afghan soldiers and 5 insurgents.

In a mysterious incident, the body of a senior Pakistani police officer has been found in Nangarhar province. He was kidnapped in Islamabad. A letter found with the body claimed responsibility on behalf of the IS Khurasan faction, but their motive for doing this is not clear.