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 26, 2008

War News for Friday, December 26, 2008

The Toronto Star is reporting the death of a Canadian ISAF soldier from a roadside bombing in Zhari district, west of Kandahar city, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan on Friday, December 26th. Three additional soldiers were wounded in the blast.

Dec. 24 airpower summary:

Spain PM says no more troops for Afghanistan:

Pakistan moves troops toward Indian border: Pakistan began moving thousands of troops away from the Afghan border toward India on Friday amid tensions following the Mumbai attacks, intelligence officials said. Two intelligence officials said the army's 14th Division was being redeployed to Kasur and Sialkot, close to the Indian border. They said some 20,000 troops were on the move. Earlier Friday, a security official said that all troop leave had been canceled.

Overlapping Russian and Syrian messages… to Washington:

Reported Security incidents:

#1: Thursday Gunmen injured two employees of the Iraqi news agency (INA) at Beirut intersection (east Baghdad) around 9:30 p.m.

#2: A bomb blast on an Iraqi home killed a man and wounded his two sons in Baghdad's southern Dora district, police said.

#3: A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol wounded four policemen and two civilians in Zaafaraniya district, southeastern Baghdad, police said

Diyala Prv:
#1: A civilian man was wounded when an improvised explosive device (IED) blast targeted the house of a displaced local resident in central Baaquba city on Friday, an official security source in Diala said. “An IED planted by unidentified gunmen went off on Friday evening near a house that belongs to a displaced local resident in the area of al-Anafsa, central Baaquba, leaving one civilian wounded and the building totally devastated,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

Balad Ruz:
#1: Three Iraqi soldiers were killed and three others were wounded on Friday when an improvised explosive device went off in Baladruz district, east of Baaquba, a security source said.

#1: Thursday A suicide car bomber targeted Sheikh Mohammad al-Ramah house in al-Aghar village (south of Mosul) on Wednesday. Seven people were injured including five members of the Sheikh's family.

#2: Thursday Gunmen opened fire on a policeman in the 17th of July neighborhood in Mosul city on Thursday. The policeman was injured.

#3: Thursday A roadside bomb targeted an army patrol in Intisar neighborhood in Mosul on Thursday. Four soldiers were wounded and one civilian.

#4: Security forces defused a car bomb in northern Mosul city on Friday, according to a source from the Ninewa Operations Command (NOC). “The bomb squad in Ninewa province managed on Friday to defuse a car bomb parked on a street in al-Mohandessin neighborhood, northern Mosul, without incident,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: A group of al-Qaeda in Iraq prisoners overpowered a police officer before killing him and other officers in a jailbreak in Ramadi early Friday, Interior Ministry officials said. Seven of the militants were killed in a gunbattle with police outside the al-Fursan police station shortly after their escape, but three others managed to get away, the officials said. The jailbreak began when a prisoner asked a police officer to escort him to the toilet at about 1 a.m., the officials said. The other 10 prisoners in the cell pretended to be asleep when the officer entered, but they attacked him and took his gun, officials said. After shooting the first police officer, the prisoners used his gun to kill five other police officers on their way out of the police station. The dead included two high-ranking officers, according to officials.

Three senior Islamist militants escaped from their cells in clashes overnight at a police station in Iraq's western city of Ramadi, which killed at least seven police and seven militants, officials said. Prisoners being held at the al-Fursan facility overpowered a policeman who entered a cell early on Friday, stealing the man's weapon and killing him, said Major-General Tareq Yusuf, police commander for Anbar province. Six other police officers, including a lieutenant colonel and a captain, were killed in subsequent clashes and six were wounded, Yusuf said. Seven of the militants inside the police prison were killed in the fighting, he said. An Interior Ministry official, who requested anonymity, put the death toll among police at 10 and said that Lieutenant Colonel Abdul Ghaini al-Dulaimi, who heads the station, died.

#1: An Iraqi police officer was also killed Friday in Anbar province when a truck driver opened fire on an Iraqi police checkpoint in Falluja, an Interior Ministry official said. The truck driver was killed in an exchange of gunfire, the official said. Police later learned the truck was rigged with explosives.

#1: A suicide car bomber targeted a convoy of foreign troops on Friday in Afghanistan's western Herat province, wounding one U.S. soldier and two Afghan civilians, a provincial official said. The attack hit the convoy as it was coming out of Herat's airport, said security officer Qadir Agha, adding two vehicles in the convoy were damaged.

"Two civilian contractors were wounded this morning in western Afghanistan when their convoy was struck by a suicide vehicle bomber," the US military said in a statement that did not identify the civilians. An international soldier was also slightly hurt, a US military official told AFP separately. The civilians worked for the US-based security company DynCorp and were involved in training Afghan police, a US government official said, without releasing their nationalities.

#2: Separately, U.S.-led coalition forces killed 11 Taliban insurgents and detained two more in an operation aimed in the southern province of Kandahar on Thursday, the U.S. military said in a statement. One Afghan woman was also wounded in the leg during the operation, it added. The Taliban could not be reached for comment.

#3: In other incidents, three Afghan policemen were killed when a bomb struck their vehicle in southern Helmand province on Thursday, provincial police chief Asadullah Sherzad said.

#4: Elsewhere, three Afghans working for a road construction company were kidnapped by suspected Taliban in the northwestern province of Badghis, provincial police chief Mohammad Ayub Niaz Yar said.

#5: Unidentified gunmen on Friday shot dead a government official and three others in northern Pakistan, police said. Abdul Wahid, director of Agriculture Department, was killed when his car came under attack near Gilgit, capital city of the Northern Areas, News Network International (NNI) news agency quoted police as saying.

#6: A bomb blast destroyed at least five shops in northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar on Friday, and no casualties were reported. The explosion occurred outside an Internet cafe in a market in Peshawar, capital city of North West Frontier Province, and destroyed five shops, the official Associated Press of Pakistan said.

#7: Rockets fired by Taliban militants Friday killed one girl and injured nine people including two paramilitary soldiers in a restive northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan, an official said. The rockets fired in Bajaur district hit a paramilitary post. One blew up on a road nearby, killing the girl and injuring seven civilians, local official Israr Khan told AFP.