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


Monday, January 27, 2020

News of the Day for Monday, January 27, 2020

Initial reports that a civilian aircraft had crashed in Afghanistan appear to be incorrect. The aircraft that crashed in Ghazni was a U.S. Air Force E-11A BACN (Battlefield Airborne Communications Node. The story at the link has detailed information about the nature of this aircraft. There is no official word on casualties although one Afghan official says that five people are dead. A Taliban spokesman claims they shot the plane down but they often make such claims falsely.

I will post an update as more information becomes available.

The UN says six civilians were killed in an airstrike in Balkh over the weekend. No word as to whether U.S. or Afghan forces carried out the attack.

In Iraq, one person is said to have been injured in a rocket attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

After Muqtada al-Sadr withdrew his protection from anti-government protestors, security forces moved in and cleared out their encampments. Nevertheless, the protests have resumed and two additional protesters have been killed in clashes. This report says 12 people have been killed.  [It is not entirely clear why Sadr took this action but it appears he wants to demonstrate the extent of his power as parties negotiate to form a new government. The anti-Iranian tinge of the protests may also have become more than he wanted to support. -- C] This report suggests that the killing of Qassem Suleimani may have driven him closer to Iran.






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