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

Saturday, December 13, 2008

War News for Saturday, December 13, 2008

The British MoD is reporting the death of a soldier from a non-combat related gunshot wound in Basra, Iraq on Thursday, December 11th. No other details were released. The Independent reports that the wound "appeared to be self-inflicted."

The British MoD is reporting the death of an ISAF Royal Marine in an explosion in the Sangin area, Helmand province, Afghanistan on Friday, December 12th. The Independent reports "a Jackal armoured vehicle struck a mine."

The British MoD is reporting the death of three ISAF Royal Marines in an explosion south of the Sangin area, Helmand province, Afghanistan on on Friday, December 12th. The Independent reports that the Marines were on a foot patrol when a twelve year old pushing a wheelbarrow exploded.

Dec. 11 airpower summary:

Iraqis hold anti-U.S. rally in Baghdad:

Commander: Troops to stay in cities past deadline:

Gates in surprise Iraq visit:

Gates visits Iraq to help prepare for troop cuts:

US team meets Iraqis over Blackwater shooting:

U.S. soldiers confiscate toy guns from Iraqi kids as safety measure:

Rumsfeld implicated in Abu Ghraib report:

Russia retakes Georgian village near South Ossetia:

Indian navy arrests 23 pirates in Gulf of Aden:

More UK troops sent to Afghanistan:

UN Confirms Mass Grave Site Disturbed: The U.N. confirmed a mass grave in northern Afghanistan was disturbed, raising the possibility that evidence supporting allegations of a massacre seven years ago may have been removed. The Dasht-e-Leili grave site holds as many as 2,000 bodies of Taliban prisoners who died in transit after surrendering during one of the regime's last stands in November 2001, according to a State Department report from 2002.

Reported Security incidents:

#1: A roadside bomb went off near a shopping centre in Doura at 1 p.m. Saturday, injuring six civilians.

Diyala Prv:
#1: 110 unknown corpses on Saturday were buried in Baaquba, said a source from Diala province’s police. “The corpses were found throughout Diala province,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#1: Unknown gunmen killed two civilians and wounded two others in an area near Balad suburb, south of Tikrit city, a source from Salah al-Din province’s operations command said on Saturday. “The incident took place 3 km to the south of Balad (100 km south of Tikrit city), on the highway that links Baghdad to Mosul,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#1: An Iraqi policeman on Saturday was wounded in an explosion that occurred in a southern Kirkuk neighborhood, according to a local security source. “Today, an improvised explosive device (IED) went off in al-Sinai neighborhood in southern Kirkuk, wounding a policeman from the Northern Oil Company, who was close to the scene of the blast,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#1: A woman on Saturday was gunned down in front of her house in western Mosul city, an Iraqi army source said. “On Saturday morning, unknown gunmen shot down a woman while she was standing in front of her house in Bab Jadeed area, western Mosul,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq. The source did not provide further information about the motivations behind the attack.

#2: The mayor of a neighborhood in Mosul was killed by unknown gunmen in the east of the city, a security source from Ninewa’s police said on Saturday. “Today, two gunmen shot down the mayor of Adan neighborhood at al-Tameem intersection, eastern Mosul,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq, providing no further details.

#3: A policeman was killed by unknown gunmen in southeastern Mosul city, according to a security source. “Unknown gunmen launched an armed attack on a police patrol vehicle in al-Wahda neighborhood, southeastern Mosul, and killed a patrolman before they fled to an unknown destination,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#4: Meanwhile, an Iraqi serviceman was killed by unidentified gunmen in Adan neighborhood, eastern Mosul,” the same source added.

#1: Suspected Taliban militants early Saturday staged another attack against cargo terminals in northwestern Pakistan in the country's restive tribal areas, destroying NATO supplies bound for neighboring Afghanistan, police said. Military vehicles and food in 13 containers were thought to have been destroyed in the attacks outside the frontier city of Peshawar. It follows at least five other attacks against NATO and U.S. supply lines in recent weeks. Militants threw petrol bombs into the city's World Logistic Terminal and the Al Faisal Terminal, police said. The terminal holds hundreds of supply containers as well as Hummer transport vehicles bound for Afghanistan. Several containers were still burning by Saturday afternoon.

Suspected Taliban militants on Saturday attacked a NATO supply depot in northwest Pakistan, destroying 11 trucks and 13 containers bound for foreign troops in Afghanistan, police said. The attackers struck before dawn, setting the vehicles ablaze, local police officer Fida Mohammad told AFP, adding that firefighters had managed to salvage nearly 20 other vehicles.

#2: The World Logistics Terminal was also attacked Thursday evening when several explosions sparked a fire that engulfed and destroyed at least three trucks, two cars and at least eight containers.

#3: Suspected Taliban militants killed two Afghans they accused of spying for U.S. forces. Authorities acting on residents' reports found the Afghan men's bodies in Miran Shah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal region, police official Sakhi-ur-Rehman said. One had his throat slit; the other had multiple bullet wounds. A letter found nearby alleged the men gave information that aided the U.S. in launching missile strikes in the militant-plagued region. The letter claimed a CD containing their alleged confession is forthcoming, Rehman said.

#4: Bajur government official Haseeb Khan said security forces fired a mortar shell that killed two children and wounded five other people in the Inayat Kali portion of Bajur.

#5: In Bajur's main town, Khar, militants fired seven missiles at government and military installations, he said. Security forces retaliated, killing three militants.

#6: Two more suspected militants and a tribesman were killed in a clash between insurgents and a pro-government tribal militia in Nawagai, another key strategic point in Bajur, Khan said.

#7: At least five people were killed in a roadside bomb blast in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday, private TV channel DAWN NEWS reported. The incident occurred when a car was hit by a roadside bomb in Khawzakhela tehsil of Swat district of North West Frontier Province, said the report.

#8: Afghan and coalition forces killed five militants in fighting Thursday and Friday in Helmand province.

#9: The U.S. coalition says it also killed one militant in Zabul province during an operation Friday.