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, December 12, 2008

War News for Friday, December 12, 2008

Dec. 10 airpower summary:

Improvised Roadside Attacks In Afghanistan Rise Sharply:

#1: An improvised explosive device stuck to a civilian car went off on Friday in southern Kirkuk, without leaving casualties, a police source said. “The bomb exploded inside Daqoq district in southern Kirkuk, causing material damage to the vehicle,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq, asserting the blast left no casualties.

#1: A provincial governor says at least four civilians were killed when their bus was caught in the crossfire during a battle between insurgents and U.S. forces in central Afghanistan. Wardak Gov. Halim Fidai says at least 10 other passengers were wounded in the shootout Friday morning. He says he has no reports of casualties from either the insurgents or the U.S. military. An Associated Press cameraman saw the bullet-ridden bus later Friday. The vehicle was cordoned off by U.S. troops, who were patrolling the area.