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 18, 2009

War News for Friday, December 18, 2009

There were no ISAF fatalities in the last 24 hours in Afghanistan.

Yemen claims 34 killed in raid on Qaida hide-outs:

Six Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay to be repatriated:

Spain says it will send 511 more troops to Afghanistan, boosting deployment above 1,500:

The Fallacy of Good vs. Evil in Afghanistan:

Reported security incidents

#1: An improvised explosive device went off in the area of al-Karrada in Baghdad but left no casualties, the official spokesman for the Baghdad Operations Command (BOC) said on Thursday. “A small IED planted amidst waste went off today (Dec. 17) in al-Wathiq square, Karrada. No casualties were reported in the explosion,” Maj. General Qassem Atta told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#1: Security forces managed on Friday to defuse an explosive charge in north of Karbala without damage, a media official said. “The forces manage don Friday (Dec. 18) to defuse an improvised explosive device, planted on a main road in al-Khanafsa region, north of Karbala,” Major Alaa Abbas told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. “They found the bomb during a security operation waged to secure roads leading to the holy Shiite cities, which witness hundreds of pilgrims,” he explained.

#1: A 12-year-old boy was wounded when a thermal bomb blast targeted a combined forces in eastern Mosul city on Thursday, according to a security source in Ninewa. “A thermal bomb went off near a patrol of Iraqi army and U.S. forces in the area of al-Faisaliya, eastern Mosul, wounding a young boy of 12 years old who happened to be near the attack scene,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#2: Gunmen shot down a Christian citizen near his home in western Mosul city on Thursday, a security source in Ninewa said. “Gunmen opened fire at a 33-year-old Christian man near his house in 17 Tammuz neighborhood, western Mosul, while he was returning from work,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#3: Gunmen killed a civilian man inside his own store in northern Mosul city on Thursday, a local security source in Ninewa said. “Gunmen opened fire at a man inside his furniture store in al-Sokkar neighborhood, northern Mosul, the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Al Anbar Prv:
1: The imam and preacher of al-Modallal mosque in the city of al-Falluja escaped an attempt on his life with an improvised explosive device attached to Thursday evening, a local police source said. “Dr. Mishaan al-Ithawi, the preacher of al-Modallal mosque, was approaching a security checkpoint when the security men noticed an IED attached to his vehicle,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. “The bomb squad dismantled the charge without incident,” the source added.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: A suicide car bomber detonated his explosives near a mosque inside a police compound in northwestern Pakistan on Friday, killing 10 people in the latest attack by suspected Taliban militants waging war against the government. Most of the 10 people killed in the attack in the Lower Dir region were police leaving the mosque after Friday prayers, said the area's police chief, Feroze Khan. The blast wounded another 28 people, also mostly police, said a local hospital official, Ghulam Mohammed.

#2: A NATO air strike against suspected militants in troubled southern Afghanistan killed three civilians and wounded one other, local government and hospital officials said Friday. The civilians were in a minibus travelling just before midnight on the main southern highway when they were attacked by helicopter gunships in Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar province, the provincial governor's office said. "Three male civilians have been killed and a woman has been wounded as a result of this attack," a statement read.

#3: The third U.S. drone missile strike in two days struck Pakistan's tribal district of North Waziristan on Friday, security officials said, adding that casualties were expected. The strike hit a village in Dattakhel region close to North Waziristan's main town Miranshah--the same area where two strikes hours apart Thursday killed at least 14 militants and destroyed their hideouts. "A U.S. drone fired three missiles...the target is not yet known but there are reports of casualties," said a security official in Peshawar.

#4: Unidentified men attacked an oil tanker in Balochistan’s Bolan district on Thursday, which was carrying oil meant for the NATO forces in Afghanistan. Officials said unidentified attackers opened fire on the oil tanker, which was travelling on the National Highway near the area Matadi of Bolan district. The tanker caught fire and was completely gutted by the time local police reached the spot.

#5: The French Army says about 800 French Legionnaires backed by 200 U.S. special forces and Afghan soldiers have gone on the offensive in an Afghanistan valley where the Taliban killed 10 French soldiers last year. French military spokesman Rear Adm. Christophe Prazuck said Thursday that several American soldiers have been wounded in the operation in the Uzbin Valley east of Kabul. He said the offensive began Wednesday night. Prazuck says the goal was to reassert control over the area.

More than 1,100 troops have launched a major operation in Afghanistan's eastern Uzbin Valley. The force includes 800 French legionnaires, together with US and Afghan soldiers. The aim was to plant an Afghan flag in a strategic village in the Uzbin valley. After several hours' progress, they came under rocket-propelled grenade and heavy machine-gun fire from the insurgents, officials said. The French responded with shell fire, backed up by French and US air support. Five US troops were injured - three seriously - and evacuated by helicopter to Bagram air base. The battle continued for around 90 minutes. A French spokesman said at least one Taliban fighter was killed and three injured.