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, August 9, 2015

Update for Sunday, August 9, 2015

U.S soldier killed yesterday in the attack on Camp Integrity is identified as Master Sgt. Peter A. McKenna Jr., 35, of Bristol, Rhode Island, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.‎ Master Sgt. McKenna's death is attributed to small arms fire, meaning he was killed by the attackers after the bomb attack on the gate gained them admittance.

Our friend Chet offers additional information from the local newspaper

Meanwhile, in a somewhat murky story from Kunduz province, a suicide bomber kills 29 people, mostly members of illegal militias. The district administrative chief described the target as a "meeting of criminal groups." The Taliban took responsibility for the attack. Apparently the Taliban and the government had a common enemy here.

Two civilians are killed by a roadside bomb in Kandahar.

Taliban hang a woman in Badakhshan on charges of adultery.

Ten people described as militants are killed by a drone strike in Nangarhar.  Afghan military also claims to have killed 20 militants in two separate battles. As is typical, no government casualties are mentioned.

In contrast to the New York Times, which finds the carnage in Kabul on Friday night to be evidence of the effectiveness of the security forces (really, see yesterday's post), Xinhua offers a somewhat more credible point of view:

"Launching the three deadly attacks right in the heart of Kabul city is unprecedented and has clearly demonstrated the weakness of security organ of the government," Sayed Ibrahim Darwishian, a Kabul University professor and political analyst, told Xinhua on Saturday. . . .

Darwishian and other Afghan political watchers said the Taliban have been emboldened because of lax security in the capital which got worse after the departure of most of the foreign troops from the country late last year. He said that if the security apparatus was adequate and security people were alert, they could have prevented the explosive-laden truck from entering the city.
 Actually you don't need to be a professor at Kabul University to figure that out.