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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

War News for Wednesday, December 31, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a U.S. Soldier soldier from injuries sustained during combat operations in Balad, Iraq on Tuesday, December 30th.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier in a Mortar attack in Baghdad on Wednesday, December 31st.

Dec. 28 airpower summary:

Dec. 29 airpower summary:

Iraqi prisoners handover blocked:

U.S. officials withdrew on Wednesday from the vast Saddam Hussein-era palace they have occupied in Baghdad since 2003:

Winter adds more suffering to war-ravaged Afghan people:

Arrest details on mom of Bristol Palin boyfriend: (off topic but amusing--can you say Oxycontin.)

Reported Security incidents:

Diyala Prv:
#1: Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and two others were wounded on Wednesday in a bomb explosion in Khaniqeen district, the commander of the 8th brigade of the Border Guards forces said“An explosive device was detonated targeting an Iraqi army vehicle patrol on the main street in Khaniqeen-Niftkhana, northeast of Baaquba, killing two soldiers, including a captain and injuring two others,” Nazem Asta Sharief told Aswat al-Iraq.

#2: A policeman and three Iraqi soldiers were wounded on Wednesday in a bomb explosion in northeast of Baaquba, a police source said. “An explosive charge went off targeting two Iraqi police and army patrols at a checkpoint in al-Saadiya district in Khaniqeen, northeast of Baaquba, injuring a policeman and three soldiers,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#1: Two civilians were wounded on Wednesday in a bomb explosion in a market in northern Babel, a police source said. “A sticky improvised explosive device (IED), planted on a motorcycle went off in al-Musayab market, north of Hilla, injuring two civilians and destroying the motorcycle,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.

#1: Two civilians were killed and nine wounded Wednesday in a double roadside bombing in Iraq’s northern city of Mosul. The first attack took place mid-morning as an Iraqi police patrol cruised past, injuring several people, local policeman Ahmed Abdul Karim told a foreign news agency. As people rushed to help the wounded a second bomb detonated, killing two people, he added. No police were injured in the attacks.

#2: A candidate for the upcoming provincial council elections in Ninewa province on Wednesday was killed by unknown gunmen in downtown Mosul city, according to a local source. “On Wednesday, unknown gunmen assassinated a candidate for the local elections in downtown Mosul’s al-Najafi St.,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq. “A policeman was killed and another was wounded while they were chasing the attackers, who managed to flee into alleys and side streets after they had opened fire on the police,” the source added.

#1: In the largest attack, a car bomb ripped through a crowded market area in the town of Sinjar, northwest of Mosul and near the Syrian border, killing four people and wounding 42, Sinjar police lieutenant colonel Fathi Jabburi told AFP.

#1: Pakistani army helicopters attacked militants along the Khyber Pass on Wednesday while tanks rumbled in to secure the vital supply link for Western forces in land-locked Afghanistan. "Two helicopter gunships pounded militant hideouts while troops moved with tanks to secure the area," said Jehangir Khan Afridi, an administration official in the Khyber region. Intelligence officials said on Tuesday troops had faced pockets of militant resistance and Afridi said two important militant hideouts had been destroyed. But officials and residents said on Wednesday most insurgents had apparently fled the Khyber region to neighbouring areas. "There has been no fire from the militants. They must have fled to remote areas or to Mohmand," said resident Irfan Afridi, referring to a neighbouring region where security forces have also been fighting Pakistani Taliban insurgents.

A Pakistani official says troops have killed three militants in Islamabad's effort to secure a major supply route for coalition forces in Afghanistan.

#2: Taliban militants executed a man in a restive Pakistani tribal region near the Afghan border after accusing him of spying for the United States, an official said Wednesday. The bullet-riddled body of 28-year-old Mohammad Nawaz was found dumped on a roadside on Wednesday in the town of Mir Ali in North Waziristan, a local police official said. Nawaz had been kidnapped in November after a US missile strike near Mir Ali town killed some local and foreign militants. A note found near his body said Nawaz had been "found guilty of spying for the US," the official said, requesting anonymity.

#3: AUSTRALIAN troops on patrol in Afghanistan have shot dead a man who approached them in a "suspicious manner". The incident happened yesterday afternoon Afghan time (8.10pm AEDT) as the soldiers from the Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force were on patrol while supporting an Afghan National Army operation. "A man approached a patrol in a manner that was suspicious, as a result of his behaviour and failure to comply with repeated directions by soldiers to stop, the man was fired upon and killed," a statement from Defence said.

#4: The US-led coalition force said it had carried out air and ground attacks, killing 11 militants in Sarobi, about 60km (40 miles) north-east of Kabul. In the Sarobi strike, the US military said it was targeting a commander wanted for trafficking weapons and fighters through the region.
A coalition statement that its soldiers killed two militants when they fired on approaching troops. "Still receiving fire, coalition forces engaged the militants with close-air precision munitions and killed the remaining nine militants," the statement added.

#5: Separately, the Nato-led force said it had killed six militants in an air strike in eastern Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Nato force said its aircraft "identified eight insurgents with weapons moving into fighting positions" in an unspecified area of eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday. "The aircraft engaged the insurgents, killing six," it said in a statement.

Casualty Reports:

British Sergeant Scott Paterson, 30, was on patrol in Afghanistan when the Jackal 4x4 vehicle he was travelling in set off a landmine. He suffered two broken legs, a broken foot, a gash on his arm and a head wound. None of his colleagues was seriously injured. “He’s got steel rods down through his left leg with bolts and his right one is held together with plates and such. They need severe rebuilding. “The bones are not repairing and growing properly so it’s just a matter of adjusting those nuts and bolts.