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

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Update for Thursday, March 12, 2015

Nobody could have predicted: U.S. trained Iraqi forces have committed atrocities. The link is to ABC news, which broke the story, but they have a very annoying auto-lay advertisement. If you want to avoid that, IBT has picked up the story. (Sorry ABC, but you didn't have to do that.)

The investigation, being conducted by the Iraqi government, was launched after officials were confronted with numerous allegations of “war crimes,” based in part on dozens of ghastly videos and still photos that appear to show uniformed soldiers from some of Iraq's most elite units and militia members massacring civilians, torturing and executing prisoners, and displaying severed heads.
 The U.S. has been "training" these forces for a decade, and they either drop their weapons and run when an enemy shows up, or they massacre civilians and torture prisoners. Maybe we should think of a different approach.

Meanwhile, Iraqis say 22 Iraqi soldiers were killed by an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition, but as always, the U.S. military denies it.

[A] military source said 22 soldiers had been killed when an aircraft, which he said was from the U.S.-led coalition, bombed the headquarters of an army company on the edge of Ramadi city, Anbar's provincial capital. A military spokesman for the coalition said it had carried out an air strike in the area on Wednesday but that it had hit a position held by Islamic State fighters. "This strike did not result in any friendly casualties," Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Gilleran said.

Sorry Lt. Colonel, but I don't think they would make that up.