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, May 26, 2010

War News for Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Uzbekistan blocks NATO railway cargo, going to Afghanistan:

Turkish soldiers kill 4 Kurd militants in clashes:

Reported security incidents

#1: Three persons were wounded when a roadside bomb went off on Tuesday in central Baghdad. “The three victims are civilians,” a local police source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#1: Gunmen shot and killed a civilian while he was working as a security guard in an agricultural crops market near the civil defence department in the district of Daquq, south of Kirkuk.

#1: Three policemen were killed in clashes with militants in the area of Sinjar, just outside of Mosul. Police arrested eight of the militants.

#1: Two army personnel were killed by a bomb targeting their patrol west of Mosul, Iraqi police said.

#2: One civilian was wounded on Tuesday when gunmen opened fire on an army checkpoint in eastern Mosul, a security source said. “Unknown gunmen opened fire on an army checkpoint in al-Methaq neighborhood, eastern Mosul, injuring a passing civilian, who was rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#3: Two security guards were killed on Tuesday in southern Mosul, according to a police source. “The two guards were killed late Tuesday (May 25) by gunmen, who used guns with silencers, in front of the Mosul train station in the southern section of the city,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: A car bomb exploded Wednesday outside a small NATO military base in southern Afghanistan's largest city, wounding two Afghans and destroying several cars, police said. The blast occurred around 11:30 a.m. in a parking lot used by Afghans visiting Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar city, said Gen. Shafiq Fazli, the police commander for southern Afghanistan. The base houses a few hundred Canadian soldiers, along with American military police and U.S. and Canadian government employees working on development projects. Fazli said no one was killed. A police officer said at least one security guard and one Afghan who works at the base were wounded. The officer gave only one name, Khalid.

#2: Taliban militants in efforts to consolidate grip have raided the mountainous Barg-e-Matal district in Afghanistan's eastern Nuristan province, Interior Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. Sporadic fighting according to the statement is still continuing. "The armed rebels carried out a failed attack on Barg-e-Matal district on Tuesday which left seven insurgents dead," the statement added. It also confirmed that one policeman was killed and five others including a police constable and four militants had been injured.

#3: Afghan and international forces killed eight insurgents during a joint operation in Bala Morghab district of northwestern Badghis province on Tuesday, the Afghan Defence Ministry said. One Afghan soldier was also killed in the fighting, it said.

#4: Afghan and NATO-led forces killed "several" insurgents when they came under a attack during a search operation for a Taliban commander in southern Helmand province on Tuesday, the alliance said. No civilians were harmed during the fighting, it said.

DoD: Staff Sgt. Amilcar H. Gonzalez


Dancewater said...

Recent news of a video of a US soldier taunting two Iraqi male children is disturbing but hardly the worst account of improper actions to have emerged from the war-ravaged country since the US invasion of Iraq.

Since 2003, several US service men and women have been put on trial or court-martialed for murder, rape, sodomy, purgery, tampering with the scene of the crime, conspiracy, planting weapons on Iraqi victims, torture, theft and other improper acts committed against Iraqis.

Most recently, the Wikileaks video of the incident in which two Reuters personnel and several Iraqi civilians were killed in 2007, brought to the fore not the fog of war, but the unfortunate ease with which innocent Iraqi blood is spilled and the disregard for how overwhelming fire power can and will kill civilians.

In the Wikileaks video, of which the Huffington Post provided commendable coverage, we hear one Apache pilot say: "Well it's their fault for bringing their kids into a battle."

Except for Charles Graner, and Lynndie England, sentenced to ten years and three years in prison, respectively, for the Abu Ghraib scandal (nine others received dereliction of duty sentences, demotions, etc), and the life sentences handed down in the rape and incineration of 14-year-old Abeer Janabi in Mahmoudiyah, most trials end in suspended sentences or are dismissed for insufficient evidence or other technicalities.

In late December 2009, Ricardo Urbina, a district judge, dismissed charges against five Blackwater security contractors accused of gunning down 17 Iraqis, including women and children, in Baghdad's Nisour Square in September 2007. He cited the mishandling of evidence by the Department of Justice.

An Iraqi investigation into the incident two years ago contradicted Blackwater claims that its contractors had fired in self-defense after coming under attack in central Baghdad. A US congressional investigation into Blackwater operations appeared to corroborate Baghdad's accusations that the firm routinely used "excessive" and "pre-emptive" force.

In November 2007, FBI investigators found that 14 of the 17 killings had been "unjustified" and violated "deadly force rules" for security contractors operating in Iraq.

Also in 2007, charges were dropped against seven US Marines accused of killing 24 Iraqi civilians, including women and children, in Haditha in 2005. Prosecutors had alleged that the killings were in revenge for an attack on a convoy that killed Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas.

Every time incidents like these happen, the impulse is to blame Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and/or the fact that US military personnel have been deployed in theater for far too long.

Indeed, one cannot pursue a course which generalizes and demonizes the entire US military establishment; such an attempt would be a miscarriage of justice.

And yet one has to question why such acts continue to happen. Why are so many cases dismissed?


Answer: because they don't give a shit.

Dancewater said...

KIRKUK - Gunmen killed an elderly man and hung the dead body inside his house in southern Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad on Tuesday, police said, without identifying the victim.

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