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

Sunday, December 13, 2009

News of the Day for Sunday, December 13, 2009

Iraqis inspect a destroyed police car after a car bomb attack in Fallujah, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009. A car packed with explosives blew up near a passing police patrol. (AP Photo)

Reported Security Incidents

COB Speicher (near Tikrit, formerly Iraqi Al Sahra Airfield)

U.S. soldier dies of unknown causes on Dec. 11.


Three rockets land in the Green Zone late Saturday. No word on damage.


One civilian is killed and 4 injured when attackers blow up the house of a policeman.

Bomb attack on the motorcade of Col. Asaad al-Shamri, commander of the Fallujah Support Council, kills a police man and a child who are nearby. Shamri is injured. DAWN has more detail on this incident.

IED attack on a police patrol causes no casualties.


IED attack on a police patrol causes no casualties.

IED injures a civilian in Zarka village, southwest of the city.


One killed, 18 injured in suicide car bomb attack on a police recruiting center.

Two soldiers are killed and 21 injured by a car bomb parked at a military recruitment center. Here's another one of those cases where we have reports of incidents that sound similar enough that the differences might just result from the fog of war, or there might really be two different incidents. VoI reports 1 killed, 19 injured in attack on military recruiting center, which sort of bridges the gap between the two reports. I'm guessing one bombing only, but could be wrong. -- C

Other News of the Day

"TONY Blair's admission that Britain would have backed the Iraq war even if he knew it did not have weapons of mass destruction (WMD) sparked outrage Sunday and calls for his prosecution for war crimes. Hmm. Wasn't there another country involved in the invasion, and some guy named George?) Further excerpt:

Lawyers representing the deposed Iraqi leadership said they would seek to prosecute Blair following his remarks, while one newspaper commentator said it was a 'game-changing admission' for the ongoing official inquiry into the war. Former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix added: 'The war was sold on the WMD, and now you feel, or hear that it was only a question of deployment of arguments, as he said, it sounds a bit like a fig leaf that was held up.'

Blair is due to give evidence to the inquiry into the war, led by former civil servant John Chilcot, early next year, and the commentator in the Sunday Telegraph said the investigation's focus must now change. 'Mr Blair's game-changing admission gives them a licence to be tougher and more prosecutorial,' he wrote, a call echoed by campaigners at Stop the War Coalition, who urged Chilcot's inquiry to recommend legal action against Blair.

Professor Philippe Sands, a leading international lawyer, said he believed Blair's comments had left him open to legal action. 'The fact that the policy was fixed by Tony Blair irrespective of the facts on the ground, and irrespective of the legality, will now expose him more rather than less to legal difficulties,' Sands told The Sunday Herald.

Iraq makes oil deals with 10 foreign companies. U.S. companies are nearly shut out, getting no primary contracts and just 2 sub-contracts. The companies avoided regions of the country that are too insecure, and there were no bids on 8 of the 15 fields at offer.

A Shiite MP says Defense Minister Abdul-Qader al-Obeidi told a closed briefing that authorities had advance warning of the Tuesday bomb attacks that killed 127 people, but the information was "too vague" to act on. Excerpt of Obeidi speaking were shown on television. Excerpt:

In one of the clips shown on the Al-Iraqiya channel, al-Obeidi said security forces faced an enormous challenge because car bombs are increasingly being manufactured in Baghdad workshops and prepared near the target sites. He also attempted to shift some blame to parliament, complaining that military and intelligence officials have no money to recruit informants.

An official statement detailing the meeting and posted on parliament's Website said [Interior Minister] al-Bolani blamed the security gaps on misunderstandings, bureaucracy and turf battles within the government. The statement also said Iraq's acting intelligence chief cited a lack of co-operation among government ministries.

Afghanistan Update

Gordon Brown pays a surprise visit to Kandahar Airbase. (And boy, does he ever look ridiculous in a helmet and body armor. Click the link for a look.

NATO claims to kill 10 "militants" in an airstrike in Kuner province, but a Taliban spokesman denies this, saying there were only two injuries.

Swedish and Finnish peacekeepers attacked near Mazar-i-Sharif, no casualties. This is significant because these countries are supposedly operating in low risk areas.

Quote of the Day

It is certain that Iraq will become a venue of sectarian clashes and ethnic conflicts in the aftermath of 2012. Despite that the American administration won the war against the Saddam regime, it failed to prevent Iraq from turning into a chaotic state. US interests in this country are not over. But obviously, it will not be able to achieve its goals by relying on coercion and military power. The stabilization of Iraq will be a duty that falls to the states in the region. However, a clash of interests of those states may lead to further tension in the region.

Assistant Professor Veysel Ayhan from Abant ─░zzet Baysal University There's no shame in being an Assistant Professor. The university is in Turkey.