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 8, 2013

News of the Day for Sunday, December 8, 2013

Local authorities say 4 militants killed by a drone strike in Kunar province.

One Afghan soldier killed, 1 injured by an IED in Badghis province.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel meets with his Afghan counterpart Bismillah Khan Mohammadi in Kabul, along with other Afghan officials, but he does not meet with president Karzai. Mohammadi assures him that the security agreement with the U.S. will be signed in a timely manner, but Karazai continues to say his successor should sign it. General Dunford says he will prepare to begin pulling out all foreign troops if the pact is not signed by the end of this year.

U.S. runs out of cash to complete construction of Afghan Defense Ministry HQ. The U.S. has already spent $107 million on the project, double the budgeted amount. WaPo's Tim Craig reports:

John F. Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, said the project’s woes fit into a pattern of “poor planning, poor record keeping, poor oversight and poor security” amid a “rush to spend” U.S. tax dollars on the Afghan military. Of particular concern, Sopko said, is the fact that U.S. military commanders rotate in and out of Afghanistan very frequently. U.S. officials familiar with the Defense Ministry project say such turnover is partially to blame for its problems. Contractors repeatedly requested additional funds without receiving a thorough vetting of their bills or performance, they said.

(I suggest you read the whole thing. Graveyard of empires indeed.)

Hamid Karzai is in Tehran for high level talks.

The UN mission in Afghanistan reports implementation of the 2009 act to stop violence against women has been slow. "The law, when applied, has provided protection to Afghan women facing violence,' said Georgette Gagnon, the mission's director of human rights. But she added that 'most of the women victims remain largely unprotected due to a lack of investigation into most incidents and continued underreporting of pervasive violence against women and girls resulting from discrimination, existing social norms and cultural practices, and fear of reprisals and threat to life.'"


Anonymous said...

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Cervantes said...

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