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, July 8, 2017

Update for Saturday, July 8, 2017

A correspondent informs me that the new policy of not announcing the deaths of U.S. troops in Afghanistan until after next of kin have been notified is controversial among military families and their advocates. I wanted to look at this more fully. NBC news has a good backgrounder. The policy was purportedly decided by Gen. John Nichols, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and applies only to that theater. The policy elsewhere, still including Iraq and Syria, and historically everywhere since Viet Nam, has been to announce promptly that deaths have occurred, but not to provide identifying information or much specific information about the incident until after next of kin have been notified. From the NBC report:

Captain William Salvin, the director of public affairs for Resolute Support, said that Gen. Nicholson decided to change the policy to protect the families of the fallen and of those who continue to serve in the warzone. Nicholson wants to make sure the families have been notified and have their support systems in place before the U.S. military in Kabul informs the public that an incident has occurred . . .
But while there are fewer U.S. service members in Iraq and Syria than in Afghanistan, the ground commander in Baghdad continues to send out a notification when an incident results in a U.S. death.
And one senior defense official warned that Nicholson's new policy will mean less transparency and more ambiguity about the war in Afghanistan at a time when many Americans don't know what is happening there. "It's a step in the wrong direction," the official said.. . .
Another senior defense official expressed concern about the new policy because it may mean that Afghans become the initial source of information about American casualties. "It's just not appropriate and it's not the way we have been doing things for more than a decade," the official said.
 However, I have not yet found commentary from active duty troops, veterans, or military families.

Tribal elder is killed by a bomb placed in his car in Nangarhar. Four other civilians are wounded.

Taliban carry out a coordinated attack on highway checkpoints in Parwan. Little information so far, no reports of military or civilian casualties.

Drone strikes in Nangarhar said to kill numerous IS and Taliban.

In Iraq, civilians displaced from Mosul swelter in camps without electricity, ponder how they will rebuild their lives with their city destroyed.

Iraqi TV says last IS defenses in Mosul are collapsing, predicts imminent victory.

Note, however, that IS still controls the Kurdish town of Hawija, and towns to the west of Mosul including Tal Afar. Presumably Iraqi government and allied forces will turn to them next -- the conventional war in Iraq is not over.

AP has a photo gallery from Mosul showing the devastation and human cost. Warning: this includes many grim and gruesome images, including corpses and injured children. These are a lot of high quality pics, so it takes a long time to load.


Anonymous said...

However, I have not yet found commentary from active duty troops, veterans, or military families.

and you won't -- whisker

Mrs Sharon Sim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cervantes said...

Hi Whisker. Why do you say that?