Category Archives: military news

How does Ukraine persist?

When the Russians invaded Ukraine I was skeptical that the Ukrainians would be able to declare victory on the battlefield. The Russian army was numerically and technically superior to Ukraine.

Then the Russians discovered something in real time on the field of battle. The first thing, apparently, was that they weren’t as fearsome a fighting force as they — or many of the rest of us — thought they were. The second thing is that they likely underestimated the Ukrainians’ will to fight to protect their homeland against a foreign invader.

What astounds me is that the Russians’ misjudgment of Ukraine’s will to fight would exist at all, given their own country’s military history.

In June 1941, Adolf Hitler launched the invasion of the Soviet Union. He likely didn’t think the Russians would fight to the death in the manner that they did. The Red Army then turned the tide against Hitler’s forces in a city once known as Stalingrad. Let us not forget that Ukrainians were fighting alongside Russians in their struggle against the Nazi invaders. Oh … the irony.

This is what happens when a nation invades another sovereign state. They learn that their adversary is committed to the struggle to survive and their commitment well could carry them forward against a supposedly superior military force.

We hear now several things are going badly for the Russians. They have lost several field generals in the battle; the Russian troops are suffering from low morale; Russian soldiers aren’t obeying officers’ orders; Ukraine is getting plenty of help from allied nations — such as the United States; the Ukrainians are putting their military hardware to good use.

Don’t get me wrong here. I am not about to declare that Ukraine will declare victory and that Russia is going to skulk off the battlefield. There likely will be much more struggle to take place.

It does make me wonder how much more humiliation Russian despot Vladimir Putin can take. Moreover, I will stand on my belief that Putin is not stupid enough to launch a nuclear strike, given his knowledge of how “mutually assured destruction” would play out.

If there is an exit to be found, my strongest hope is that Putin can look for it and get the hell out of Ukraine. I wouldn’t even mind if he decides to declare victory. Let him crow all he wants. The world will know better.

Esper tells surprising truth

Mark Esper, the latest member of the Donald Trump Cabinet to spill the beans on the chaos within the White House during Trump’s term, has given a surprisingly candid answer to a direct question.

He told “60 Minutes” about the thought Trump expressed about launching missiles in Mexico to stop drug traffickers. He said he pushed back on the notion that the POTUS was suggesting.

Why didn’t he reveal then, in real time what Trump was pondering, came the question from correspondent Norah O’Donnell.

“I was afraid I would get fired,” Esper said, adding that there was “no guarantee” that Trump would bring in a blind loyalist to succeed him, adding that then the nation would be in an even worse mess.

Hmm. Wow! Well stated, Mr. Defense Secretary.

Trump eventually did fire Esper because of the defense boss’s disagreement over invoking the Insurrection Act in response to D.C. protests over the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis. Esper said White House chief of staff Mark Meadows him Trump was unhappy with him because he was insufficiently loyal to Trump.

Esper said he responded, “I take my oath to the Constitution, not to a man.”

And yet … there remain voters out here who think it’s OK for a POTUS to demand personal loyalty over the oath all of them — even the president himself — take when they serve the public.

Stand tall, Marine!

Forgive me for picking a nit or two regarding the media’s coverage of the release of a Texan from a Russian prison.

Trevor Reed is now home with his family. I wish him all the very best. I thank President Biden and his team for negotiating Reed’s release. But … I have a question that just keeps nibbling at me.

Why are the media continuing to refer to Reed as a “former Marine”?  It seems that every news article I read about Reed has a lede that goes, “Former Marine Trevor Reed is home today.” Or, “Former Marine Trevor Reed was declared fit to see his family.” Or, “Former Marine Trevor Reed hugged his parents.”

What does his status as an ex-Marine have to do with … well, anything?

I am grateful for his service to the nation. But I need someone to explain what his Marine Corps veteran status has to do with his being arrested and imprisoned by the Russians.

Rules of war have changed … or have they?

Those of us who can recall earlier conflicts between nations can remember a time when civilians lost their lives when military machines attacked unarmed targets indiscriminately.

Then the rules changed — supposedly — when the Geneva Convention adopted prohibitions against hitting “soft” targets. Nations would (more or less) follow those restrictions.

Now we have the horror unfolding in Ukraine. The carnage and destruction brought by Russian missiles, artillery shells and bombs on apartment complexes, schools, hospitals, houses of worship is beyond the pale.

The scenes being televised around the world of entire neighborhoods in Mariupol leveled by Russian ordnance should fill any of with rage.

Ukrainian forces repelled Russian invaders in their effort to take the capital city of Kyiv. The Russians pulled back, reorganized and have begun an all-out assault on the eastern and southern portions of Ukraine. The armed forces under Vladimir Putin’s command have acted in a throw-back fashion, reminding many of us of the brutality inflicted throughout Europe and Asia during World War II.

In this era of “smart bombs” and precise targeting of military installations, seeing the images from Ukraine should serve as a graphic reminder that Russia is governed by a monster masquerading as a world leader.

Moskva sunk!

The Moskva — once the pride of the Russian navy — now apparently lies at the bottom of the Black Sea, sent to its watery grave by at least one missile fired from a Ukrainian battery.

The Moskva, a guided-missile cruiser, weighed in at 12,500 tons; it spanned 600 feet in length and carried a crew of 500 sailors.

Then it ran into trouble while Russian armed forces got bogged down in their effort to subdue Ukraine.

Info on Moskva, Russian flagship sank by Ukrainian missile (

What’s at stake now? Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin clearly is shocked that the Ukrainians would be able to inflict this most serious ship-sinking since World War II.

If only the Ukrainians’ stunning battlefield success would persuade Putin to give up his horrendous effort to subdue a sovereign state.

President Biden has labeled Putin a war criminal and accused him of committing genocide against the Ukrainians. Most of the world is reeling in horror at what Ukrainians are discovering on city streets as Russian troops retreat; they are finding corpses of civilians who were shot in the head.

Putin won’t give up the fight easily. That much seems clear. It also lays bare the brutality that lurks in what passes for this individual’s heart.

I am left only to hope that the Ukrainians can continue to inflict as much damage as possible on the invaders to the point that Russians will say “Enough is enough!” … and rid themselves of Vladimir Putin.

Impossible to endorse these actions

My ability to comprehend the depravity being brought to Ukrainians is being taxed to the max. Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin invaded a sovereign nation intent on occupying its capital city within three days.

His supposedly vaunted Russian military machine has failed in its mission. That has not stopped Putin from violating what appears to be every standard of decency established by the Geneva Convention in his effort to subdue Ukraine.

He has bombed and shelled hospitals, schools, churches, apartment buildings and has killed thousands of civilians. The scenes of destruction brought against Ukraine belie another truth about this war, which is that Ukraine is putting up one hell of a fight to fend off the invaders. Hence, the failed mission to march into Kyiv.

What happens next is anyone’s guess. The two sides supposedly are “negotiating” a possible end to the hostilities and yet the Russians also are reportedly gathering in eastern Ukraine and preparing for another all-out assault.

What remains arguably the most confusing element in all of this is how Putin can function day to day realizing that virtually the entire planet is aligned against him. The destruction and the visual images of the casualties his troops have left behind have turned this man into an international pariah.

There can be no coming back from the depths to which this individual has taken his nation.

Putin: war criminal?

This would be an incredibly difficult case to prove in an international court of law, but there could be evidence mounting that Russian thug/tyrant/despot Vladimir Putin has committed war crimes in his so-far-unsuccessful effort to subjugate Ukraine under the alleged might of his armed forces.

Russian troops are withdrawing from previously held territory in Ukraine and are leaving behind mass graves with the corpses of hundreds of civilians killed shot to death with single bullets in the back of their heads. They appear to have been executed by the Russian invaders.

Then comes the question: Were they acting on orders from the Kremlin?

Accordingly, I suppose one could ask whether there could be rogue commanders in the field acting on their own. Whatever the case, it all — or most of it, at least — falls on the lap of the former KGB spy master who now runs Russia as its commander in chief.

The despicable level of violence is being revealed now as Russian forces pull back from Kyiv and other key Ukrainian cities. Whether they merely are repositioning themselves for a new round of attacks remains to be determined. Whatever the intent, it is clear the Ukrainians are waging one hell of a fight against a force believed at the beginning of this conflict to be so powerful that it would steamroll its way into Kyiv.

They ain’t steamrolling anything.

The Russians, though, appear to have engaged in egregious crimes against humanity. Someone at the top of the Russian chain of command needs to be held accountable.

Let’s see. I believe that would be Vladimir Putin.

Cakewalk becomes struggle

Russia’s expected breezy stroll into Kyiv — Ukraine’s capital city — has run into something, well, that looks more like a mortal struggle, a fight to the death.

The fight has taken its toll on Russians as well as Ukrainians, so much so that media are now reporting a possible draft peace treaty might be in the works as Ukraine struggles to fend off the invaders from Russia.

It is impossible to predict whether this so-called “draft treaty” will end up with signatures from the warring sides and that the fighting will cease. Or that there ever will be any semblance of stability in a region dominated by the thug who runs the Russian government, Vladimir Putin.

My cheap-seat perch in North Texas only allows me to speculate that (a) the Russians are not dedicated to the mission they were sent to complete, (b) the Kremlin misjudged Ukraine’s resolve to defend itself, (c) the Russians’ command and control is a collection of incompetent boobs who cannot find their rear ends with both hands.

It is a strange feeling that overwhelms me as I actually find myself rooting for the Ukrainians to defeat the Russians on the battlefield. I realize fully that the Russians aren’t likely to wave a white flag of surrender and then allow Ukraine to declare victory on the field of battle. The war won’t end that way.

It well might end the way the media are reporting, that both sides might be able to negotiate a settlement. Ukraine might be persuaded to declare its neutrality vis a vis Russia and the Russians might be persuaded to end its assault on helpless civilians in an effort to subdue Ukraine.

My prayers are flowing. They are continuous. I want the Russians to continue to struggle for as long as this conflict drags on and, yes, I will continue to root for Ukraine.

Take that, Vlad!

Vladimir Putin appears to be learning a lesson that carries over from the beginning of recorded history, which is that an invading power cannot conquer another country’s national soul, no matter how much military hardware it throws at its intended victim.

The Russian thug decided two months ago to invade Ukraine. He expected it to be a stroll into Kyiv. His invading forces were met with ferocious resistance from a military establishment that was far from defenseless. It received volunteers who sought to join the fight and, oh my goodness, they have fought back with a vengeance!

Putin’s public-relations stock has plummeted worldwide. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s standing only has grown. He now towers over Putin in the realm of worldwide public opinion standing. Zelenskyy could have fled Ukraine when Putin issued the order to roll the tanks out; he didn’t. He has stayed to rally his people, who have responded valiantly and heroically.

I have been stunned as I travel through North Texas to see the Ukrainian flags flying from ranchers’ fence lines, from front porches, to see local broadcast media proclaim themselves to be “Ukraine strong.”

Ah, yes. Ukraine is delivering a lesson that many of us on this good Earth have known all along. Tyrants such as Vladimir Putin cannot subvert a nation’s identity with bombs and bullets. They give their supposed “victims” the strength to fight.

Ukrainians fight back

Fox News’s Stuart Varney has a theory about why Russian soldiers are bogging down in their advance on Kyiv. It has to do with Ukrainian citizens taking up arms and killing the invaders with grenades, rockets and assorted high-tech weaponry.

Varney notes that the Russians are poorly trained and have “low morale” among the troops.

You know, it sort of reminds of me another military action many decades ago.

In 1941, not long after they conquered Greece during World War II, Nazi Germany decided to invade the Greek island of Crete in the world’s first airborne assault operation. Paratroopers bailed out of aircraft and landed by the thousands on Crete.

They were met by rampaging Greek citizens who stormed onto the landing fields with shovels, pitchforks, rifles and pistols and slaughtered many of the invaders; in some instances, they beat the paratroopers to death with their bare hands. The Greeks couldn’t stave off the invaders over time, but they fought literally like their lives depended on their success.

This is the kind of reaction Russian thug Vladimir Putin should have anticipated as he launched his unprovoked and shameful assault on Ukraine. For all I know, maybe he did anticipate stern resistance, but placed too much faith in his troops’ ability to subdue the Ukrainians.

Well, you know what they say when one assumes too much.