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

Friday, February 12, 2016

Update for Friday, February 12, 2016

Tim Arango, in the NYT, reports on continued discrimination against Sunni Arabs by the Iraqi government and the dim prospects for a reunified Iraq. Specifically, he notes that inhabitants of "liberated" Ramadi were presumed to be IS sympathizers and treated as criminals.

This article is not very clearly written, but it appears that three Kurdish troops were kidnapped by Shiite militia near Tuz Khurmato, and that other ethno-religious violence is occurring -- not clear who is involved among Kurds, Turkmen and Shiite militias. In any case, just more evidence of the disintegration of Iraq.

Abadi says the assault on Mosul will begin soon, perhaps within a month, and claims the Iraqi military is restored to combat capability after it collapsed in 2014. We shall see.

Iraq and Russia sign a number of economic agreements.

Russia is also trying to sell weapons to Iraq and establish military ties.

(I have to wonder if Dick Cheney is still admiring his handiwork.)