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 29, 2009

War News for Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The British MoD is reporting the death of a British ISAF soldier in a roadside bombing near Forward Operating Base Zeebrugge, in the Kajaki area of Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Monday, December 28th.

Dec. 22 airpower summary:

Canada to ship 20 tanks to Afghanistan as pullout looms: Canada will ship another 20 tanks to Afghanistan in the fall of 2010 to replace those that have been destroyed by insurgents or worn out through repeated use. The Leopard 2 tanks will be shipped directly from Germany, where they are being refurbished, to Kandahar starting in September. Dan Ross, the Defence Department's assistant deputy minister for materiel, told the Senate earlier this year that several tanks had been damaged. Military officers say insurgents have damaged three Leopards beyond the level of repair available in Kandahar.

US Special operations forces expand in Afghanistan: report:

Reported security incidents

#1: Four civilians have been wounded in an explosive charge blast in eastern Baghdad, a local police source said on Tuesday. “An improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near a parking lot in front of the Ministry of Transportation on Falasteen St., leaving four civilians wounded and seven cars on fire,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#1: Police forces defused on Monday a Katyusha rocket in south of Amara city on Monday, a local police officer said. “Police forces managed on Monday (Dec. 28) to defuse a Katyusha rocket near the sugar factory in al-Majar al-Kabier district, south of Amara,” Colonel Sadeq Abdulazim told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Tal Massoud:
#1: Officials say gunmen have killed five Sunnis who were manning a security checkpoint in central Iraq. A police official and a leader of the Sons of Iraq, a Sunni security force, said they saw the bodies - one of which was decapitated. Tuesday's killings happened in Tal Massoud village, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

#1: A U.S. patrol vehicle has been hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) near Kirkuk City, a source from the Joint Coordination Center said on Tuesday. “An explosive charge planted by unknown men went off today near a U.S. patrol vehicle near Suhayl village, Daqouq district (35 km south of Kirkuk), causing damage to the vehicle,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. Aswat al-Iraq has made every effort to contact the U.S. side, but to no avail.

#1: An Iraqi policeman was killed and two others injured in a bomb blast that targeted their patrol in a neighborhood east of Mosul, security officials said Tuesday, DPA reported.The blast went off late Monday night in the northern Iraqi town, some 400 kilometres from the capital Baghdad.

#2: Monday Four Iraqi soldiers were wounded on Monday in a car accident in eastern Mosul, a police source said. “Two military vehicles collided on Monday (Dec. 28) in eastern Mosul, injuring four soldiers,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#3: Policemen on Monday killed an armed man after fierce clashes in northern Mosul, a police source said. “The 2nd brigade of the Ninewa police forces killed a gunman in al-Majmouaa al-Thaqafiya region, northern Mosul,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Tal Afar:
#1: Iraqi security forces killed a gunman and arrested another one on Monday during a crackdown operations in western Mosul, a security source said. “Acting on intelligence information, Iraqi special forces killed a gunman and arrested another one on Monday (Dec. 28) in a security raid in al-Ibra al-Kabiera village in western Talafar,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#2: Unknown gunmen have robbed a civilian vehicle transporting salaries of health employees in western Talafar, a local security source said on Tuesday. “On Monday (Dec. 28) evening, unknown gunmen attacked two persons inside a civilian vehicle, who were transporting salaries of health personnel in al-Uwaynat village, Rabia district (60 km northwest of Mosul),” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. The total sum stolen was 44 million Iraqi dinars, according to the source.

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: Gunmen killed four members of a local, government-backed guard unit in the town of Garma, 30 km (20 miles) northwest of Baghdad, police said. The men were standing watch at a checkpoint when the attack occurred. (see Tal Massoud)

#2: Gunmen kidnapped a school teacher as she walked to work in Falluja, 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, police said

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: Civilian deaths in Afghanistan rose more than 10 percent in the first 10 months of 2009, UN figures showed Tuesday, amid anger over the alleged killing of children in a Western military operation. Figures released to AFP by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) put civilian deaths in the Afghan war at 2,038 for the first 10 months of 2009, up from 1,838 for the same period of 2008 -- an increase of 10.8 percent. . The UN calculations show the vast majority, or 1,404 civilians, were killed by insurgents. In 2008, a total of 2,118 civilians were killed in the crossfire, the highest such toll since the 2001 US-led invasion removed the Taliban from power and sparked a fierce insurgency by remnants of the regime.

#2: The figures were released a day after President Hamid Karzai launched an investigation into reports that 10 people, most of them school children, were killed in a raid by foreign troops near the Pakistan border.

#3: Unidentified miscreants attacked two NATO oil tankers injuring one of the drivers in Sibi, Balochistan on Tuesday. According to the police, some miscreants lobbed a bomb on one the trucks parked near a road side hotel near Sibi. The blast injured tanker’s driver Gul Badshah, but the no damage was done to the vehicle, which were on there way to Chaman from Karachi to supply the fuel to the NATO forces.

Four NATO petrol tankers were damaged and a driver was wounded in a blast on Tuesday in southwest Pakistani province of Balochistan, police said. The blast took place on the highway connecting the provincial capital of Quetta and Sibi, destroying four tankers and injuring a tanker driver, Xinhua reported. The tankers were on their way from Karachi to the border town Chaman providing fuel to NATO forces in Afghanistan.

#4: An Afghan soldier and 10 Taliban were killed after the militants captured a key town in northern province of Baghlan, officials said Tuesday, DPA reported. Dozens of militants stormed police posts in Kuhna Qala area of the Baghlan-e-Markazi district on Monday night, sparking combat that lasted for several hours, Abdul Wakil Hasas, an army commander in the region, said. "Ten Taliban militants were killed in the fight with army and police forces," he said, adding that one soldier was killed and two troops were wounded. The militants had captured the main town for two hours "because our forces tactically retreated from the area," but pushed the militants out of the area when the reinforcements arrived, a security official in the area who declined to be named said. The town is located on the main highway linking the border with Tajikistan in the neighbouring Kunduz province to the capital city.

#5: Update The death toll from a suicide bomber’s attack on a Shiite religious procession in Karachi was reported to have risen to 40 on Tuesday, as the city reeled from rioting overnight amid fears that extremist groups already waging a multifront war against the government were now trying to foment sectarian violence against the country’s minority Shiite Muslims. The GEO television network, citing hospital sources, said at least 40 people had been killed and more than 100 had been injured in the attack, which struck the procession as it made its way along Muhammad Ali Jinnah Road on Monday afternoon.

#6: A U.S. soldier was killed and two Italians were wounded after an Afghan soldier opened fire in Bala Morghab, Afghanistan, an official at the Italian Defense Ministry said. The two Italians were only slightly injured and an investigation was underway into the shooting, which appeared to be a case of “friendly fire,” said a ministry spokesman, who declined to be identified, citing policy. The two Italian soldiers were treated for their wounds and returned to service, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

DoD: Spc. Jason M. Johnston