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


Friday, January 24, 2020

News of the Day for Friday, January 24, 2020

The U.S. president first announced that there were no casualties from the January 28 Iranian missile attack on U.S. facilities in Iraq. The Pentagon later said that 11 service members had suffered concussions. Now the Pentagon says that 34 soldiers have been diagnosed with concussion or Traumatic Brain Injuries, including 7 who have been transported to the U.S. The president had previously said "I heard that they had headaches. And a couple of other things. But I would say, and I can report, it is not very serious.”

This report is somewhat unclear. We don't know how many had mild concussions from which they have presumably recovered, and how many actually had TBIs and how severe they are. However, a TBI can be extremely serious, resulting in profound life-long disability. Presumably we'll eventually learn more of the truth but the lies and minimization are profoundly insulting to members of the armed forces and their families.

There are varying reports of the number of Iraqis who participated in a demonstration in Baghdad demanding the removal of U.S. forces from the country. UPI puts the number at "millions" but the more common estimate is 200,000. The event was organized by Muqtada al-Sadr, who has also criticized excessive Iranian influence in Iraq but who held this demonstration to focus solely on the presence of U.S. and allied forces.  While Sadr's own militia is independent of Iran, the rally was joined by Iran-backed Hashed al-Shaabi. The event ended peacefully.

It happened against the backdrop of continuing demonstrations against government incompetence and corruption. In protests in Basra and Iraq, a reported 12 people were killed by security forces earlier this week. Two more were reported killed today in Baghdad.

Four employees of a French Christian NGO are missing in Baghdad.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

slight edit--the attack of the "28th" is incorrectly reported on the 24th.

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