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

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Update for Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Reports that 3 or 3 U.S. service members have been killed in a suicide attack in Manjib, Syria. This report gives the number of U.S. dead as 4 or 5, with additional wounded. An unspecified number of civilians were also injured.

Meanwhile, the future of the Kurdish region of Syria remains uncertain amid conflicting signals from the U.S. about troop withdrawal and relevant policy. Syrian Democratic Forces offer to create a "safe zone" in northern Syria if Turkey promises not to invade, rejecting a U.S. proposal for a safe zone under Turkish control.

Iranian revolutionary guard commander vows to remain in Syria, while a Tel Aviv University institute proposes that Israel may need to invade Iran to dislodge Iranians from Syria.

Here's an analysis from CNN of the regional reaction to the sudden prospect of U.S. withdrawal from Syria

In Iraq, the U.S. has called for disarming the Shiite militias. Oddly, however, PM Mahdi denies this report.

U.S. veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have lost a decade-long court battle to win compensation for injuries caused by toxic exposure from burn pits.


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