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 1, 2013

News of the Day for Sunday, December 1, 2013

Five people, including a child, are killed by a roadside bomb in Musa Qala district, southern Helmand Province.

Interior Ministry says 15 militants killed in various operations in the past 24 hours. As always, they report no government or civilian casualties, and as always, I don't believe them.

Ministry of Public Health reports a 38% increase in HIV/AIDS cases this year as compared with last year. However, I must comment on this. Afghanistan has among the weakest public health systems on earth. The prevalence of diagnosed cases -- by which I presume they mean people who have tested positive for antibodies to the HIV virus -- is determined much more by the availability and utilization of testing than it is by the actual prevalence of the virus. The WHO estimates that only 30% of infected people have been diagnosed but I don't see how they can possibly know that. The epidemic is said to mostly be related to injection drug use.

UN officials express concern about growing threats and violence against AIDS workers in Afghanistan.

Three Pakistani Frontier Constabulary are killed and 2 injured in an attack on their convoy near the Afghan border. Pakistani Taliban claim responsibility.

Human Rights Watch says International Criminal Court should expedite its investigation of war crimes in Afghanistan. The ICC has found that crimes have been and are being committed, and that it is not clear that the government is taking sufficient action to prevent and prosecute crimes. However so far the ICC has taken no action of its own.

Gen. Dunford calls President Karzai to apologize for a drone attack on Thursday that killed one civilian and badly injured two others. "Citing civilian casualties from so-called "night raids" on Afghan homes by U.S. special operations forces, Karzai has delayed signing the 10-year agreement even after agreeing to the proposed 24-page text. He indicated that he considered Thursday's airstrike sufficient cause to scrap the accord altogether. Karzai said a child was killed and two women badly wounded in the airstrike, and coalition officials did not dispute him."