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


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Update for Tuesday, November 6, 2018

This is a long read but it's important information. Antibiotic resistant pathogens are a huge problem in Afghanistan. This was a huge problem for the military, with troops frequently acquiring drug resistant infections in blast wounds. The military has largely overcome it, but the civilian population is severely affected. This article also notes that Afghanistan has among the worst health care and public health systems in the world:

One woman dies every two hours from pregnancy-related causes, according to conservative estimates by Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), and one in 25 newborn babies dies, the third highest neonatal death rate in the world, UNICEF figures show.
Life expectancy at birth is 64, compared with 79 in the US and a global average of 72. There is a shortage of doctors, especially in rural areas, and infection control is poor.
Drug resistance has become one of the world's greatest public health crises, estimated to cause 700,000 deaths worldwide and expected to kill 10 million by 2050 if no action is taken.
Fueling the superbug problem in Afghanistan is the unregulated sale of antibiotics in human medicine and in agriculture. Drugs are advertised on television and available to buy over the counter from pharmacies without a prescription or diagnosis from a doctor.
Fighting between Taliban and a local militia kills 40 civilians in Uruzgan and Ghazni.

I don't normally link to PressTV but this story has corroboration and the PressTV version is the most accessible I could find. Taliban attack a border post in Farah and kill at least 20 border police, capturing the post. This is on the border with Iran.

UN says 56 civilians killed and 379 injured in violence associated with the recent elections.

In Iraqtalks are underway between the PUK and KDP to form a new Kurdish regional government.

UN reports more than 200 mass graves found in areas formerly controlled by IS. The process of exhumation is just beginning.

Multiple bombings in Baghdad kill 6 civilians. These targeted predominantly Shiite districts.

Newly elected Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi says that the Shiite militias known as Popular Mobilization Forces will not be disbanded. Most of these are linked to Iran.

Abdul-Mahdi is apparently ready to announce his slate of ministers.  Minor posts have been filled but the major appointments have been held up in political disputes.

Hundreds of tons of farmed carp have died in the Euphrates, as water pollution grows worse.

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