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, May 16, 2015

Update for Saturday, May 16, 2015

A few developments of note since I last posted.

In Iraq, a major defeat for the Iraqi government as IS captures Ramadi, the capital of Anbar (and a city where many Americans died). From The Economist:

THE DAY before Islamic State (IS) swept Ramadi, the largest city in western Iraq and the capital of Iraq’s biggest province of Anbar, the head of the province’s 13 Sunni tribes warned that its loss was a foregone conclusion. From his seat of exile across the border in Jordan, Tarik Alabdullah al-Halbusi protested that the government had broken its promises. It had reneged on earlier commitments to arm and integrate Anbar’s Sunni tribesmen into Iraq’s Shia-dominated security forces and turned to its allied Shia militias to fight IS instead. This was a huge mistake. Fearful of being overrun and expelled by the Iran-backed militias, his Sunni tribesmen have been turning in droves to IS. “They give jobs to the unemployed and pay salaries on time,” Mr Halbusi said.
In other words, nothing has changed. Abadi is no different from his predecessor -- he will not arm Sunni Arabs or incorporate them into the national army. He is not the Prime Minister of Iraq, but of Shiite Iraq. As long as that continues, there will be no Iraq and IS will continue to win victories.

U.S. Special Forces kill an IS commander in Syria. They raid a compound in Deir Ezzor, intending to capture Abu Sayyaf, but he is killed in a firefight. U.S. troops suffer no casualties, according to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. They capture Sayyaf's wife, and rescue a Yazidi captive. According to Carter, "Abu Sayyaf was involved in ISIL's military operations and helped direct the terrorist organization's illicit oil, gas, and financial operations as well." [However, this is not a war the U.S. can fight and win. As long as there is no such thing as Iraq, the Sunni Arabs of Iraq will have nowhere else to turn but IS. That appears to be where matters stand and as far as I'm concerned, the only interest of the U.S. in this mess is to protect Kurdistan.  C]

In Afghanistan, Taliban justify Wednesday's attack on a guesthouse in Kabul  in which 9 foreigners, including 1 American, were killed. “Every foreigner from an invading country especially NATO is considered an invader. We don’t classify any of them as civilian,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a Twitter posting on Friday. [However, I note that 5 Afghan citizens were also killed, along with 4 Indians and 2 Pakistanis. Neither of those countries has invaded Afghanistan.]

Taliban kidnap 27 people in Paktia

U.S. drone strike kills 4 militants in Nangarhar.

Ministries offer the usual implausible body count for the past 24 hours, 138 insurgents and 16 government soldiers. Believe what you will. Still, that's a higher government toll than they generally admit to.

Air strike kills 5 militants in Nangarhar. Presumably U.S.

Chief prosecutor for Paktia is shot dead in Kabul.


Obat Kutil Kelamin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cervantes said...

Sorry Obat, since I have no idea what you are saying -- except that it has something to do with HIV -- I'm going to have to delete your comment. I actually will accept languages other than English, but only ones I can understand.

Breaking News said...

US intelligence has decided to publish the documents of the terrorist organization “Al Qaeda”, discovered during the capture of its leader, Osama bin Laden.