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

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

War News for Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dec. 20 airpower summary:

Dec. 21 airpower summary:

Iraq lawmaker says speaker offers to resign:

Sting operation recovers looted ancient treasures in Iraq:

4 recruiter suicides lead to Army inquiry:

Report: US asks SKorea to go Afghanistan:

Coalition forces slammed for 'abusive' raids, air strikes in Afghanistan:

Taliban leader says peace talk 'just enemies' propaganda':

Spying on Taliban, al-Qaeda is world's riskiest job - Feature:

Afghan Farmer Helps Convict Taliban Member In U.S. Court:

Civilian casualties in conflicts on the rise in Afghanistan: ... the figure has risen by 41 percent

Reported Security incidents:

#1: Two policemen on Tuesday were wounded by gunfire from unknown gunmen in eastern Baghdad, a local media source said. “Today, unidentified gunmen opened fire on a police patrol vehicle near al-Rashid mosque in Bob al-Sham area, eastern Baghdad, wounding two patrolmen,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#1: Police found the body of a man, who appeared to have been strangled, in the town of Mussayab, 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad.

#1: Police found a dead man, whose hands and feet were bound and who appeared to have been tortured, on Monday in the town of Kifl, 150 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#1: A roadside bomb struck a police chief's convoy in an Iraqi town north of Baghdad on Tuesday morning, killing him and four policemen, an Interior Ministry source said. The incident took place in the town of Tarmiyah, 40 km north of Baghdad, when a roadside bomb hit the convoy of a Colonel who is the police chief of the nearby town of Mashaahda, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

#1: Police found the body of a man who had been stabbed to death in a residential area of eastern Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad.

#2: Gunmen kidnapped an owner of a liquor store from al Khadhraa neighborhood in downtown Kirkuk city on Monday evening.

#1: US-led forces have killed six people and captured three others during an operation in an area outside the Afghan capital of Kabul. The operation in Sarobi district, about 60 kilometers (35 miles) east of Kabul targeted a Taliban network believed to conduct terrorist activities in and around the capital, a statement by the coalition forces said Tuesday. According to the statement, there were several women and children in the compound when the troops attacked; they escaped unharmed. "As coalition forces approached the militant's compound they were engaged by small-arms fire. The force returned fire, killing two armed militants," the statement said. "Four other rebels were killed in a subsequent gunfight", it added.

#2: Fifteen pro-Taliban rebels were killed and several injured when troops backed by helicopter gunships launched an assault in Swat district on Monday, the English-language daily The News reported. The operation was centred on the Shakardara area of Matta sub-district, a hotbed of militants loyal to the local radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah. The gunfights also killed two soldiers and wounded six others, the newspaper said, quoting from a statement released by the military-run Swat media centre.

#3: The News said six local residents died in militant violence in the restive mountain valley (Swat district ). Among the casualties were two women whose house was hit by a mortar. It was not clear who fired the stray round.

#4: Meanwhile, Pakistan Air Force jets and army helicopter gunships pounded militants' positions in the Mohmand tribal region near the Afghan border on Monday, killing at least 12 insurgents. Artillery cover was also provided for ground troops patrolling militant-infested areas in Lakarao and Pandyalai sub-districts.

#5: Pakistani Taliban militants, trying to impose strict Islamic laws in the northwestern region of Khyber, shot dead two men accused of murder in a public execution, residents and officials said.

#6: Paramilitary troops killed one militant and arrested two in an exchange of fire after militants attacked a security heckpost in the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border, an intelligence official and a resident said.

#7: Three mortar bombs fired from across the border in Afghanistan fell on the Pakistani side of the border but there were no reports of any casualties, intelligence and government officials said.
#8: Militants fired at least 10 rockets into the northwestern city of Dera Ismail Khan overnight but caused no casualties or damage, police said.

#9: Two suspected Taliban militants were reported dead on Dec. 18 after being detained by Afghan police and U.S.-led coalition forces in Shinkay district about 325 km (200 miles) southwest of Kabul, U.S. military said.

#10: Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces killed two Taliban militants in Zer-e-Koh Valley, Shindand district (Herat), about 670 km (420 miles) from Kabul, on Monday, U.S. military said.

Casualty Reports:

National Guard Staff Sgt. Jose Pequeno, 35, has been discharged from a Florida hospital after nearly three years after he was seriously injured while serving in Iraq. In March 2006, Pequeno was seriously injured following a car bomb attack about three miles northwest of Ar Ramadi, near an Iraqi police station. Also injured in the attack was Pfc. Richard Ghent of Rochester, and Spc. Christopher Merchant of Hardwick, Vt., was killed. Since he was injured, Pequeno, who suffered serious brain injury and is New Hampshire's most critically wounded soldier from both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, has endured 17 surgeries in four medical centers.

Army Spc. Jake Altman five months into the deployment, on the morning of May 14, 2007, Altman's life changed. "I was the lead vehicle scouting for IEDs and letting the guys behind me know what's up ahead,” he recalled. “About three hours into it, I came across one. I saw it for about a split second. I called it, and then all of a sudden, it blew up," Altman said, trailing off.
A piercing bang, the harsh smell of explosives, and an overwhelming cloud of dust proved the unfortunate success of yet another insurgent attack. Altman suffered severe shrapnel wounds to his legs and the loss of his right arm at the elbow. After a year and a half of recovery and physical therapy at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Altman returned to the 9th Engineer Battalion here, continuing his service and eager to take on future challenges.

Canadian Corporal Chris Klodt, was shot in the spine in the Pashmul region of Afghanistan on July 7, 2006, and paralyzed from the chest down.

Canadian Master Corporal Jody Mitic A member of the Royal Canadian Regiment sniper unit, he stepped on a land mine in Afghanistan, losing both legs below the knee

Canadian Sergeant Mike Loewen on March 3, 2006, when he put his arm out the window of his armoured vehicle as a suicide bomber detonated his device nearby, mangling his exposed limb.

Canadian Sergeant Greg White convoy was also hit by a suicide bomber. His upper arm shattered, Sgt. White suffered extensive nerve damage