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

Saturday, December 21, 2013

War News for Saturday, December 21, 2013

Reported security incidents
#1: Gunmen in Pakistan have killed a health worker who was administering the polio vaccine in a restive tribal region near the Afghan border. Officials say the attack took place Saturday in Jamrud in the Khyber tribal district.

#2: Over 50 people, including militants, have reportedly died in Pakistan’s lawless North Waziristan region in the past three days after the army launched an operation in retaliation for a suicide attack on its soldiers. The army claims troops had killed only militants and foreign fighters operating in the semi-autonomous tribal district but residents said civilians had also died. The violence in North Waziristan, triggered by Wednesday night’s suicide attack on security forces, continued yesterday as three persons were killed when troops fired at a vehicle during curfew near Khajori check post, the Dawn daily reported.