Category Archives: military news

Pulling hard for Ukraine

I am beginning to think of myself as a spectator at a boxing match, rooting for one of the fighters to knock the other guy out … cold!

So it is with the fight between Ukraine and the Russian aggressors who launched an illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine.

It has been a remarkable thing to witness as Ukraine gave up territory to the Russian invaders, only to launch a “counter-offensive” and seized back much of the land taken by the aggressors.

The Ukrainians have shown courage and competence while facing down what is supposed to be a superior military power. It is turning out to be rout, only with the underdog Ukrainians emerging as potential victors in a fight for their country’s very survival.

The world full of spectators is watching this drama play out. I am one of those who wants the Ukrainians to deliver a knockout punch to the Russian invaders who — as the Ukrainians are revealing as they retake their territory — have acted as war criminals. The world is watching the Ukrainians discover mass graves containing the bodies of women, children and old men.

The Ukrainians are the good guys in this fight. I am going to keep cheering them on.

Ukrainians expose Russian myth

Many of us outsiders never really saw this coming, that the Ukrainian armed forces would expose Russia’s once-vaunted military machine to be a third-rate fighting force.

It has occurred.

Now, to be sure, I did once assert as war loomed more likely between Ukraine and Russia that the Ukrainians weren’t “defenseless.” The now-sovereign nation once was part of the Soviet Union and, thus, benefited somewhat from its exposure to the Red Army’s legendary battlefield prowess.

The USSR is gone. What is left is a country, the Russian Federation, that comprises roughly half of its former population. It does maintain a significant nuclear force.

What we’re seeing played out on the field of battle in Ukraine is a case of a nation fighting desperately — and effectively — to preserve its independence while its opponent is suffering from a lack of morale, incompetent battlefield leadership and a national leader who has become a pariah among world leaders because he launched an illegal and immoral war.

What’s more, the Russians have committed war crimes with their indiscriminate attacks on women, children and other “soft targets.”

I don’t expect Russia to surrender to Ukraine. I am now beginning to believe the reports that Russian goon Vladimir Putin might be exploring a possible face-saving way to end this conflict.

Do I believe he will use tactical nukes on Ukraine? No. He knows the consequences would be catastrophic. Indeed, President Biden has dropped broad hints that the allied response to any such act of madness could produce even more economic pain on the Russians than they ever imagined.

The course of this war has simply blown my mind. It has produced at least a glimmer of hope that battlefield incompetence will succumb to a nation’s will to survive.

Ukraine moves toward victory

I once posited on this blog that I didn’t believe Ukraine would be able to declare a battlefield victory against the rogue invaders from Russia.

Today, though, my view has changed. I cannot predict that Ukraine indeed will declare victory at the end of this immoral and illegal war. I am now of a mind that such a thing isn’t so far-fetched.

The trick, though, must be to find a way to bring Russian goon Vladimir Putin to the negotiating table. Ukrainian officials are in no mood, either, to negotiate a peace agreement with Putin and the Russians.

The Russians have killed helpless civilians. They aren’t targeting military objectives. They are striking hospitals and schools. They are killing old people, children and every civilian in between.

Putin has “mobilized” the Russian population. Russians have responded by fleeing the country and protesting in the streets. He has sought to bring more Russians into the fight as Ukrainians have scored monumental battlefield victories against the invaders.

Does the Russian madman need to save face? Looks as though he needs to in a big way. I am not opposed to allowing him to pretend he is saving his mug from further embarrassment.

He also needs to be tried by the World Court for committing crimes against humanity.

Just imagine all of this occurring with Ukrainians signing a victory statement.

Mullen to POTUS: cool the rhetoric

Mike Mullen wore a Navy uniform for many decades; he went to war for this country and served as chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

So, when a distinguished officer admonishes the commander in chief over some tough talk about “nuclear Armageddon,” I am inclined to take the admiral’s words seriously.

So should President Biden.

Mullen went on TV this weekend to offer his take on the Ukraine War and Russian strongman Vladimir Putin’s implied threat to use tactical nukes to put down the Ukrainian resistance to his illegal invasion. Biden has talked about Armageddon and said we’re closer to that catastrophe than we have been since the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

Mullen wants Biden to cool it. We need to persuade Putin to negotiate his way out of the quagmire in Ukraine. Issuing warnings about what will happen to Putin if he decides to use more dangerous weapons against Ukraine won’t work, Mullen said.

He’s right. At least I am going to presume he is right. The man knows a thing or three about warfare. Pay heed to his advice.

Will Putin go MAD?

Vladimir Putin fits neatly into a number of descriptive niches. He is arrogant, egotistical, power-hungry, delusional … all those sorts of things.

I do not believe the Russian goon is stupid.

Which brings me to the fundamental question of the moment: Will the former top Soviet Union spy ignore the reasons why the USSR and the United States adhered during the Cold War to a policy of Mutually Assured Destruction in avoiding the use of nuclear weapons?

Russian forces are getting their asses kicked by Ukrainians on the battlefield as Ukraine is fighting to regain territory taken by the invaders several months ago. Putin launched an illegal, immoral and unconscionable war against Ukraine. He had presumed his forces would sashay into Kyiv in a few days, toss out Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and install a government to their liking.

It ain’t working out that way.

Now we hear reports of Putin pondering the use of chemical or (worse!) tactical nukes against Ukraine. President Biden, who has led the allied effort to resist Putin’s aggression, says, “Don’t … don’t … don’t” even think about it.

That would be an act of MADness beyond belief.

Surely, the Russian thug knows better. Surely …

Ukrainians uncover more war crimes

As the Ukrainian armed forces take back large swaths of the nation taken by invaders from Russia, the world is getting an even more graphic look at what the Russian aggressors have done to civilians caught in their initial advance.

We are seeing mass graves containing the remains of hundreds of Ukrainian civilians. Yes, women and children are included in the remains of what Ukrainian soldiers have found.

Ukrainians are collecting testimony from surviving civilians who are recounting tales of horror and torture at the hands of the soldiers who captured the territory.

It’s hard to predict how the Ukraine War will end. There might be a negotiated settlement, with Russian thug/goon/strongman Vladimir Putin seeking to save face. Although it seems difficult to imagine how Putin has any more “face” to save, given what we know about the war crimes his forces have committed on orders from the Kremlin.

That turns the discussion toward what Putin might do on the battlefield, given Ukraine’s energized counteroffensive. CBS News “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley is going to ask President Biden what he’ll do if Putin resorts to chemical weapons or tactical nukes. “Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,” Biden said, telling Pelley that such a move would “change the face of war.”

What does the president intend to do? Pelley asked. Biden responded by saying, “Do you think I’m going to tell you?”

We all are left to lament the horror of war as it is being revealed even more to us by the advancing forces seeking to reclaim the country they thought they lost to the invaders.

I have said already that Vladimir Putin has exposed himself to be a war criminal. As the Ukrainians continue their advance, the world needs to summon the courage to put Putin, a hideous tyrant, on trial for the crimes he has committed against humanity.

Talk to us, Mr. VPOTUS

(AP Photo/Chase Stevens)

Mike Pence has some things he needs to explain to Americans. The former vice president of the United States tried like the dickens to squash the insurrection that damn near succeeded in overturning the 2020 election.

Except that the orders he issued to the military brass violated the U.S. Constitution. But … did they?

Pence reportedly issued the order for the active-duty military to put down the assault on Capitol Hill; he issued one for the National Guard, too. He did so in the presence of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley. But only the president has the authority to issue that order. Then again, the president was doing nothing to end the violence. It well could have fallen, then, to the VPOTUS to take command in that extraordinary circumstance.

Pence was being threatened explicitly by those who were carrying signs and yelling “Hang Mike Pence!” Donald Trump did nothing to quell that hideous act. It well could have fallen to the VP to do what the head man refused to do.

Pence well might be called to testify before the House 1/6 select committee. I do hope the panel members are able to pull some answers from Mike Pence on what happened on that horrifying day.

Equipment, training pay off for Ukraine

A little known or discussed aspect of our nation’s relationship with Ukraine is that we essentially have been training the Ukrainian army for eight years, which is about the time big, bad Russia sought to reannex the Crimean Peninsula.

Russian henchman Vladimir Putin wanted Crimea back, so he invaded it to take it from Ukraine.

It then fell to administrations led by Barack Obama, Donald Trump and then Joe Biden to continue to train the Ukrainians in using the sophisticated equipment it had shipped to them to fight the Russian aggressors.

All that training — plus President Biden’s insistence on additional equipment — is paying significant dividends as the Ukraine army is showing signs of beating back the aggressors who launched another invasion more than seven months ago.

The Russians are retreating from territory they seized.

I cannot stress this point enough, which is the amazing unity that President Biden was able to build among the nations comprising the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an alliance formed to protect Europe against potential aggression from what once was known as the Soviet Union.

Putin, therefore, helped Biden keep NATO intact by threatening the alliance if it interferes in what the Russians call an “internal dispute.” It is nothing of the sort. Ukraine is as sovereign a nation as Russia.

That unity has buoyed the Ukraine armed forces as they have fought back hard against the Russian aggressors.

With that I intend now to give Joe Biden considerable credit as he has responded with resolve and determination in assessing what is plainly obvious … that Vladimir Putin’s criminal invasion cannot be allowed to stand.

It stands to reason, too, that Ukraine is drawing strength from the immense aid that is pouring into that country as it battles a once-fearsome military power.

Deception destroyed our unity

Communities across the land took time over the weekend to honor the heroes who answered the call on 9/11 and some folks spoke about the unity we felt in responding to the terrorists who inflicted so much pain on this great country.

The unity didn’t last, which naturally drew sighs of frustration among many Americans.

I want to remind us of what destroyed our national unity. It was deception from the highest office in the land.

President Bush stood on the rubble at Ground Zero and told the terrorists that they would “hear from all of us soon.” We went to war against the Taliban, drove them out of power in Afghanistan. It was a noble cause, as we had to fight the bad guys directly.

Then we took our eyes off the ball. The president talked about the “axis of evil” that included the government in Baghdad. Then the vice president, Dick Cheney, and the secretary of state, Colin Powell, told us how Saddam Hussein had a hand in the 9/11 attack, how he possessed terrible “weapons of mass destruction” and would use them against us and our allies.

In March 2003, barely 18 months after 9/11, we went to war against Iraq. With that action, we kissed our national unity goodbye.

Our eternal gratitude for the police officers, firefighters and medical teams remains strong. Their raw courage in fighting the evils of a terrorist act will remain with us for as long as those of us who remember that time will walk this good Earth.

Let us not conflate the poor decisions born of deception with that admiration.

Ukraine scores big on the battlefield

You may count me as one cheap-seat observer who isn’t totally surprised that Ukraine’s armed forces are repelling the advance of the illegal invaders from Russia.

After all, when the Russians invaded Ukraine six months ago, I noted that the Ukrainians are far from “defenseless.”

However, I am stunned at the level of success that Ukraine has scored. We hear from the battlefield that Russian forces are in full retreat and that Ukraine intends to take back territory captured by the Russians.

Does any or all of this mean that Russia’s dictator Vladimir Putin is going to surrender? Hardly. It does open the door, though, for Putin to look for some sort of way to negotiate his way back to the Kremlin and get his forces out of danger.

We had heard from a number of key U.S. military geniuses who said at the outset of war that Russia’s conventional military force was overrated, that Russia was little more than a third-rate conventional military power. The Russians, though, do possess a substantial nuclear arsenal and there have been concerns expressed that Putin could deploy some of it to put down the Ukrainians.

He’s already a war criminal, given the casualties his forces have inflicted on civilians in Ukraine. I am not going to buy into the notion that he is utterly stupid enough to use nukes and prompt a response from Ukraine, which has a hefty nuclear arsenal of its own.

I am astounded, though, to see that U.S. and allied response in the form of military aid is paying huge dividends for the heroic Ukrainians who, after all, are fighting for the survival of their country.