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, May 16, 2021

Update on this blog

As the U.S. withdraws its combat forces from Afghanistan, I may post here from time to time to update the situation. I have deleted the previous post because due to my neglect, it had accumulated an avalanche of spam. I have also turned on comment moderation; if that proves too troublesome, I may eliminate commenting entirely. 


I stopped blogging here essentially because there was, unfortunately, so little interest in the U.S. in the lands the country invaded early in this century. That is regrettable. We have an obligation to be concerned about them, although not, certainly, any obligation to continue a military presence. I suspect, however, that the withdrawal from Afghanistan will leave behind some  covert special forces and, of course, armed drones will likely continue to strike targets there. We may never hear about this, however. 

Today, a three day truce to mark Eid-al-Fitr ended, and fighting between government and Taliban forces resumed in Helmand province. However, attacks on civilians continued during the purported cease fire, perhaps committed by other, unknown, militant groups.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke with president Ghani on the telephone:

Secretary Blinken conveyed Eid greetings and expressed his deepest condolences to the families of those lost in recent violence in Afghanistan, including in the horrific attack on a girls’ school in Kabul last week, the US Department of State said in a statement.

The Secretary conveyed America’s steadfast support for the U.S.-Afghan partnership and for Afghanistan’s security forces, the statement added.

The two leaders discussed the importance of national unity in Afghanistan at this time as well as regional efforts to advance the peace process, according to the statement.

Not sure what any of that means concretely.