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 23, 2012

News of the Day for Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bakhtar news says local media report an attack on a NATO convoy on the highway between Kabul and Tourkham results in death of 3 NATO soldiers. However, there is no confirmation and no announcement from ISAF as of this posting.

Three Polish soldiers are injured in Ghazni.

Mine (or IED) kills one border guard and injures two in Nangarhar.

Fire destroys the cloth market in Kabul, reducing hundreds of shops to ashes. There is no indication of sabotage, but the event draws attention to poor fire safety in the capital.

The lower house of parliament rejects the governments 2013 budget, citing insufficient funds for the poorest provinces and lavish spending on the presidential palace. (You go! -- C)

President Karzai blames foreigners for corruption in Afghanistan. (No comment.)

We seem to be coming into this story in the middle, but apparently Pakistan has complained that its nationals have been tortured by Afghan forces. The victims were guest workers with valid documents. The Afghan Foreign Ministry says it is investigating.

Pakistan's top general Ashfaq Kayani is publicly committed to promoting peace in Afghanistan, fearing dangerous disorder when NATO troops depart. He is sending signals that Pakistan is no longer seeking to maintain influence through alliance with insurgents, but rather to try to live alongside a stable Afghanistan. (Lovely if true. -- C)

Paris peace conference concludes with parties making generally optimistic noises, however Taliban are demanding constitutional changes, which could be highly problematic. 


Dancewater said...

US drone war in Afghanistan

Forget Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and all the other secret little warzones. The real center of the U.S. drone campaign is in plain sight — on the hot and open battlefield of Afghanistan.

The American military has launched 333 drone strikes this year in Afghanistan. That’s not only the highest total ever, according to U.S. Air Force statistics. It’s essentially the same number of robotic attacks in Pakistan since the CIA-led campaign there began nearly eight years ago. In the last 30 days, there have been three reported strikes in Yemen. In Afghanistan, that’s just an average day’s worth of remotely piloted attacks. And the increased strikes come as the rest of the war in Afghanistan is slowing down.

Dancewater said...

Iraqi protestors block highway

Thousands of protesters demonstrated Sunday in Iraq's western Sunni heartland following the arrest of bodyguards assigned to the finance minister, briefly blocking the main highway linking Baghdad with neighboring Jordan and Syria.

The dispute threatens to exacerbate tensions with Iraq's Sunnis, who accuse Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of targeting and marginalizing them. The sectarian conflicts have largely paralyzed the government and have often turned violent.

On Friday, Iraq's Shiite-led government said it arrested 10 of Finance Minister Rafia al-Issawi's bodyguards on terrorism-related charges. The government said it carried out the arrests according to the law and opposes any efforts to sow sectarian discontent.

Dancewater said...

Bomb at CD shop in Iraq kills four

Cervantes said...

Oh yeah, Iraq. Sigh.