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 16, 2009

War News for Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The British MoD is reporting the deaths of two British ISAF soldiers in a "suspected" suicide improvised explosive device blast near Sangin, Helmand province, Afghanistan on Tuesday, December 15th. Two Afghan soldiers were also killed in the attack.

The Estonian MoD is reporting the death of an Estonian ISAF soldier nooremseersant Kristjan Jalakas in an IED attack in Afghanistan. Stars and Stripes reports that the attack was near Patrol Base Wahid, Helmand province, on Tuesday, December 15th.

Taliban sneak past Marines in southern Afghanistan:

Reported security incidents

#1: A leader of government-backed Sunni militia was killed in a roadside bomb explosion in a town near Baghdad on Wednesday, a well-informed police source said, Xinhua reported. The blast struck the vehicle of Shiekh Lateef, leader of Awakening Council group in the village of the al-Der'iyah, near the town of Madain, some 30 km southeast of Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The blast killed Lateef and wounded two of his body guards, along with destroying his vehicle, the source said.

#2: A police officer was wounded in a sticky bomb explosion in northern Baghdad, a police source said on Wednesday. “The bomb, stuck to the vehicle of Colonel Abdulrazeq Mohammad, from the anti-crimes department, went off late Tuesday (Dec. 15) in al-Aadhamiya neighborhood in northern Baghdad, injuring him along with two passing civilians and damaging the car,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#2: “Another sticky bomb exploded in a garage in Karadat Maryam in Baghdad, injuring two civilians,” the source added.

#3: “Three security guards were wounded when gunmen threw a hand grenade on them in al-Houriya region in northern Baghdad,” he said.

A grenade wounded two security guards on Tuesday evening at a government grain storage area in the Hurriya district of northwestern Baghdad, police said.

#4: A car bomb exploded on Tuesday evening in a garage just outside Baghdad's Green Zone government district, wounding three civilians, police said. The bomb went off in the same area where, earlier the same day, police said a series of blasts killed four people.

#1: A police officer survived an assassination attempt on Wednesday in north of Tikrit city, said a police source. “Colonel Mathhar al-Qeissi, head of the joint coordination center in Baiji, survived an attempt on his life when a gunman threw a hand grenade on his car in the Baiji popular marketplace in central Baiji, seriously injuring him and three civilians,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#1: Three civilians were wounded on Tuesday in a thermal bomb attack in southwest of Kirkuk, according to a source from the joint coordination center in Kirkuk. “Unknown gunmen threw a thermal bomb at a US patrol in central al-Huwayja district, southwest of Kirkuk,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#1: One Iraqi soldier was killed on Tuesday by gunmen in eastern Mosul, according to a security source.“Unknown gunmen opened fire on an Iraqi soldier in al-Nabi Younes market in eastern Mosul, killing him on the spot.

#2: A civilian was killed by unknown gunmen on Tuesday in northern Mosul, a police source said. “Unknown gunmen opened fire on an owner of a generator in al-Shurta neighborhood, neighborhood, killing him instantly.

#3: A police officer and a woman were wounded in a thermal bomb explosion in central Mosul, a security source said on Tuesday. “A thermal bomb exploded on Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 15) targeting a police vehicle patrol in al-Saaa region in central Mosul, seriously injuring a police lieutenant and passing woman,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: Three civilians were wounded on Wednesday in an improvised explosive device blast in northern Falluja, a police source said. “An explosive device went off Wednesday (Dec. 16) in al-Saqlawiya district, northern Falluja, injuring three civilians,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: A roadside bomb killed four police in western Afghanistan. The roadside bomb hit a car carrying the police Tuesday night in Rubat-i-Sangin district, north of the city of Herat, according to the Afghan Interior Ministry. Noor Khan Nekzad, a spokesman for the provincial police chief, said the patrol vehicle was destroyed by the blast.

#2: Also Tuesday, two Afghan army soldiers were killed in militant attacks in eastern Laghman province and southern Kandahar province, the Defense Ministry said.

#3-5: Pakistani troops backed by helicopter gunships have pounded suspected Taliban hideouts in the northwest tribal belt, killing at least 43 militants, officials said Wednesday.

#3: At least 18 militants were killed when helicopters pounded Toorikhel town of Orakzai when militants were holding an important meeting Tuesday," paramilitary spokesman Major Fazlur Rehman said. The meeting, chaired by local Taliban commander Qari Ismail, was held to arrange a reconciliation between two feuding groups of militants, he said. It was not immediately clear if Ismail was among the dead. Local administration official Riaz Khan confirmed the toll.

#4: four more people were killed in airstrikes in Orkazai's Sultanzai town. Seven militant hideouts and five vehicles were also destroyed, he added.

#5: The military also mounted a ground and air operation in Dagar town of Kurram region on Tuesday, killing 21 militants, Rehman said, adding that the operations continued on Wednesday.

#6: A fighter aircraft of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on Wednesday crashed in eastern province of Punjab, the PAF said. "Pakistan Air Force reports with regret that a Mirage Fighter Aircraft, while on a routine operational training mission, crashed near Kalar Kahar," a PAF statement said. The pilot of the aircraft ejected safely, no loss of civilian life or property has been reported on the ground.

#7: Six civilians were killed as unknown armed men opened fire on a car in Nangarhar province east of Afghanistan, a private television channel reported Wednesday. Unidentified armed men sprayed bullets on a car in Pachiragam district Tuesday afternoon leaving six civilians dead, Tolo broadcast in its news bulletin.

#8: In a similar incident, unidentified armed men killed a former government employee in the neighboring Laghman province on the same day.

#9: Afghan and NATO-led forces eliminated a key Taliban commander Mullah Ahsanullah in Kunduz province north of Afghanistan Wednesday, deputy to provincial police chief Abdul Rahman Haqtash said. "The troops were in patrol in Chardara district this morning when Taliban rebels attacked them and the troops returned fire killing Mullah Ahsanullah," Haqtash told Xinhua. He also said that few more insurgents were killed and injured in the firefight but could not give an exact figure.