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, August 8, 2015

Update for Saturday, August 8, 2015

One U.S. service member is reported dead, and 8 Afghan contractors, in an attack on camp integrity. This is in addition to the 2 attacks reported previously and increases the death toll for Friday night to ore than 50, a toll which is likely to increase. Reuters reports that the attackers first set off a car bomb a the gate, allowing others to enter. While no number of injured has been reported so far, Reuters reports that:

"The helicopters went on for hours ... medevacing people out," a US contractor at a camp nearby said.

The facility is operated by the mercenary corporation Academi, formerly known as Blackwater (though now under different ownership). It is not known whether the attacks were the work of the main Taliban faction led by Mullah Mansour, or rivals. The Taliban took credit for the attack on the police academy and Camp Integrity, but not for the truck bombing that killed dozens of civilians. [If the Afghan government has lost control of security in the capital, it won't survive long -- C]

Meanwhile, a bomb attack on a security post near Jalabad kills 2 including a police officer and a civilian, and injures another police officer and 2 civilians. 

Update: The New York Times has finally, unequivocally lost it. Here is their headline regarding recent events: Afghan forces display effectiveness in fending off attacks. Relevant text:

Shopkeepers sat at the entrances to their stores on Friday after their doors and windows were blown in by a truck bomb that also killed 15 and injured hundreds of civilians in the early hours of the morning in eastern Kabul.
The operation was a success, but the patient died.