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, November 30, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, November 30, 2014

Taliban kill a foreign aid worker, his two children and an Afghan citizen in a raid on the offices of a foreign charity. The facility apparently belonged to a Calfornia-based organization called Partnership in Academics and Development. The children were teenagers.

After the attack, the latest of several in recent days, the Kabul police chief resigns. President Ghani is expected to make an address later today.

TOLO is reporting the new Kabul police chief will be Gen. Abdul Rahman Rahimi, who has been provincial chief of police for Balk.

A battle in Kandahar province is said to kill 19 insurgents and 3 ANA soldiers. As usual, there is no corroboration of the typically lopsided casualty count. The Taliban have yet to comment.

Taliban overrun an Afghan army base in Helmand and kill 14 ANA soldiers, according to local officials. [Locals are, in my opinion, usually a more credible source than federal agencies, with the Ministry of Defense being somewhat more believable than the Ministry of the Interior.  I generally do not link to MoI announcements. -- C]

Update on Mesopotamia: U.S. and allied warplanes conduct massive bombing campaign on the Syrian city of Raqqa, capital of the Islamic State. As many as 30 strikes are reported. No word as yet on damage or casualties.