Category Archives: War

Tanks and Tragedy, by Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner plows through the Ukraine bullshit. From Brenner at consortiumnews.com:

Amid the vacuum of creditable reporting by the mainstream media, Michael Brenner offers a briefing on the background of the neocon-inspired war in Ukraine and his view on the present strategic situation.  

On Dec. 21, 2022, NATO headquarters in Brussels joined other international landmarks in switching off its lights in solidarity with Ukraine. (NATO, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Never in memory has it been so daunting to figure out what’s going on during a major international crisis as with the Ukraine affair.

That sad truth owes much to the total absence of truthful reporting and honest interpretative analysis by the MSM. We are served heavy portions of falsity, fantasy and farrago crudely mixed into a narrative whose relation to reality is tenuous.

The near universal swallowing of this confection is made possible by the abdication of responsibility — intellectual and political — by America’s political class, from Washington’s high and mighty down through the galaxy of un-think tanks and self-absorbed academia.

Now, the legion of scripters for this fictional story are working with renewed energy to incorporate a few fresh elements: President Joe Biden/NATO’s decision to send an eclectic array of armor to buttress Ukraine’s faltering forces; and the mounting evidence of crippling, incremental dismantling of its army by Russia’s superior military.

As always, that reaction turns out to be an exercise in avoidance behavior. The roughly 100 tanks slated to arrive in piecemeal fashion over the coming year will be a “game-changer.” Putin’s army is a proven “paper tiger.” “Democracy” is destined to prevail over despotic barbarism.

Or so we are told in stomach-churning doses of snake-oil. I guess that we all have ways of amusing ourselves.

A systematic refutation of this mythic construction is both superfluous and futile. It has been done over the past year by able, experienced and thoughtful analysts who actually know what they are talking about: Colonel Douglas Macgregor, professor Jeffrey Sachs, Colonel Scott Ritter and a handful of others who together are relegated to obscure websites and scorned by the MSM.

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Pretend-O-Rama, by James Howard Kunstler

Ukraine is shining a spotlight on both Russia’s ascent and the U.S.’s descent. From James Howard Kuntler at kunstler.com:

I doubt that many Americans — even the masses sunk in vaccine smuggery and obsessive Trump-o-phobia — believe that America’s Ukraine project is working out for us. Of course, to even begin thinking about this debacle, you must at least suspect that our government is lying about virtually everything it has its hand in. Name something it is not lying about, I dare you.

So, what is the Ukraine project about? To use that sad-ass country as a vector to disable and destroy Russia. You can’t over-state the stupidity of that objective. And why did we want to do that? Because… reasons. Oh? And what were they? Well, Russia was… there. Oh? And what was it doing? Trying to take over the world? Uh, no. It was actually just trying to be a normal European nation again after its traumatic 75-year-long experiment with communism, which ended in 1991.

And then, after that, coming along pretty well under Mr. Putin. Did I say that? Yes, I did, because it is a fact. Russia wrote new private property laws, made commerce legal again, and allowed its citizens to do business. Russia wasn’t threatening any other nations, most particularly not its former province, Ukraine. It had even invited Ukraine to be a sovereign member of its trade association, the customs union, with a bunch of other regional states who had rational interests in good regional relations. That’s what set off the maniacs at the US State Department — under Secretary John Kerry, a.k.a. the haircut-in-search-of a-brain — who, in 2014, decided to overthrow Ukraine’s government.

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This Time It’s Different, by Douglas Macgregor

The U.S.’s proxy war against Russia is a bust. From Douglas Macgregor at theamericanconservative.com:

Neither we nor our allies are prepared to fight all-out war with Russia, regionally or globally.

Until it decided to confront Moscow with an existential military threat in Ukraine, Washington confined the use of American military power to conflicts that Americans could afford to lose, wars with weak opponents in the developing world from Saigon to Baghdad that did not present an existential threat to U.S. forces or American territory. This time—a proxy war with Russia—is different.

Contrary to early Beltway hopes and expectations, Russia neither collapsed internally nor capitulated to the collective West’s demands for regime change in Moscow. Washington underestimated Russia’s societal cohesion, its latent military potential, and its relative immunity to Western economic sanctions.

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As a result, Washington’s proxy war against Russia is failing. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was unusually candid about the situation in Ukraine when he told the allies in Germany at Ramstein Air Base on January 20, “We have a window of opportunity here, between now and the spring,” admitting, “That’s not a long time.”

Alexei Arestovich, President Zelensky’s recently fired advisor and unofficial “Spinmeister,” was more direct. He expressed his own doubts that Ukraine can win its war with Russia and he now questions whether Ukraine will even survive the war. Ukrainian lossesat least 150,000 dead including 35,000 missing in action and presumed dead—have fatally weakened Ukrainian forces resulting in a fragile Ukrainian defensive posture that will likely shatter under the crushing weight of attacking Russian forces in the next few weeks.

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A Great Boondoggle, by The Zman

Expensive, high-tech weaponry may not be what the doctor ordered in Ukraine against world-class power Russia. From The Zman at thezman.com:

Back during the Cold War, specifically in the Reagan years, the media used to love reporting on military boondoggles. The format of the story required a few budget items that would strike the normal person as outrageous. Perhaps it was a hand tool that cost tens of thousands of dollars. This tool was part of a weapons system budget that was being criticized for its cost. Perhaps it was a mundane items like a toilet seat or a hammer that would cost thousands of dollars.

The main reason for these stories was to promote the charade that the two parties were locked in serious opposition. The Democrats pretended to be against the military, while the Republicans were pro-military. In reality, both parties were fully owned by the military industrial complex, but the demands of the Cold War required the two parties to maintain the aura of a lively democracy. The free world was open and debated things, while the Soviets were closed to debate.

We no longer see stories like this, despite the fact that for the last thirty years America has spent over a trillion on war per year. Officially the war budget is a trillion a year, but no one seems to know how much is really spent. There never has been an official accounting of the Afghanistan debacle or the war in Iraq. America technically has a budget, but no one knows what is in it. At this point, it is an abstract concept even to the people who vote on it Congress.

Those old stories about military contractors ripping off the taxpayer also served as a distraction from larger issues. America had shifted after Vietnam away from fielding a military to fight a large scale war to a military built for small wars. That meant a change in the tools of war. Instead of inexpensive machines that a recruit could be quickly trained to operate, the machines would be complex and require years of training, but they would be unusually lethal.

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Some Questions for Our Congressmen and Senators on Ukraine, by Karen Kwiatkowski

Wouldn’t it be great if Congress critters, Senators, and high executive branch officials periodically had to undergo Q & A sessions with members of the public? From Karen Kwiatkowski at lewrockwell.com:

Dear Representative and Senators,

As we approach twelve months of the Russian SMO to end Kiev’s war on Russians of east and south Ukraine, and resolve the NATO head fake of Minsk II, it’s question and answer time for London, Washington, and Poland – and each of you.

The US Congress approved over $100 Billion in arms and aid to Ukraine in the past year.  At the same time, Russian forces have secured 20% of the former Ukrainian landmass, nearly everything east of the Dneiper River, and have established not only a formidable defensive line, they have begun rebuilding political, economic, defense and civil society in the eastern Republics.

First question:  What, in your opinion, will the next $100 Billion – gain for the United States?

My apologies.  It isn’t fair to state that $100 Billion in US aid to Ukraine actually went into the Ukraine war effort.  Over half of these funds went directly into US defense contracts.. A reasonable percentage was defrauded along the way, or lost somehow in Ukraine.  In any US government operation there is also predictable waste and loss.  It is not clear whether Joe, his family and his friends in Ukraine and New York City got their 10%.

Beyond this, all of this aid arrived in Ukraine piecemeal. As the Pentagon raided the back of their closet for Ukraine, random supplies, materials and ammunition – useable or not to Ukraine – were sent.   NATO countries simultaneously did the same thing, amplifying the randomness and often pointlessness of such aid.

The US Inspector General admits that this aid and the weapons shipped in cannot be tracked.  Neither US or NATO had a system of logistical tracking or feedback in place prior to the shipments of weapons, materials and ammunition, and to date they still don’t.

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The Most Egregious Mistake, by Alastair Crooke

Without the reserve currency, U.S. power will be greatly diminished and the government will have to come to terms with a multipolar world. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

The U.S. government is hostage to its financial hegemony in a way that is rarely fully understood.

It is the miscalculation of this era – one that may begin the collapse of dollar primacy, and therefore, global compliance with U.S. political demands, too. But its most grievous content is that it corners the U.S. into promoting dangerous Ukrainian escalation against Russia directly (i.e. Crimea).

Washington dares not – indeed cannot – yield on dollar primacy, the ultimate signifier for ‘American decline’. And so the U.S. government is hostage to its financial hegemony in a way that is rarely fully understood.

The Biden Team cannot withdraw its fantastical narrative of Russia’s imminent humiliation; they have bet the House on it. Yet it has become an existential issue for the U.S. precisely because of this egregious initial miscalculation that has been subsequently levered-up into a preposterous narrative of a floundering, at any moment ‘collapsing’ Russia.

What then is this ‘Great Surprise’ – the almost completely unforeseen event of recent geo-politics that has so shaken U.S. expectations, and which takes the world to the precipice?

It is, in a word, Resilience. The Resilience displayed by the Russian economy after the West had committed the entire weight of its financial resources to crushing Russia. The West bore down on Russia in every conceivable way – via financial, cultural and psychological war – and with real military war as the follow-through.

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Japan Reenlists as Washington’s Spear-Carrier, by Patrick Lawrence

Japan is now a paid-up U.S. vassal. From Patrick Lawrence at consortiumnews.com:

Patrick Lawrence reflects on Prime Minister Kishida’s radical turn toward the militarism his country’s pacifist constitution forbids.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida with President Joe Biden at the White House on Jan. 13. (White House, Cameron Smith)

It is always the same when Japanese premiers travel to Washington to summit at the White House. Nothing seems to happen and nobody pays much attention even when important things happen, when we should all pay attention, and, when we do pay passing attention, we usually get it wrong. In January 1960, when Premier Nobusuke Kishi visited Washington, President Dwight Eisenhower blessed a war criminal and signed a security treaty the Japanese public vigorously opposed. That week Newsweek marked Kishi down as “that friendly, savvy Japanese salesman.”

Kishi proved a salesman, all right. Three years later he used armed police to clear the Diet of opposition legislators and force ratification of the Anpo treaty, as the Japanese call it, with members of his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) the only ones present to vote on it. “A 134–pound body packed with pride, power and passion — a perfect embodiment of his country’s amazing resurgence,” TIME wrote of the man who ought to have been hanged a decade earlier.

Now we have Premier Fumio Kishida, who summited with our asleep-at-the-wheel president in the Oval Office a week ago. I do not know how much Kishida weighs or how proud of himself or his nation he is, but, in an uncanny echo of the Kishi–Eisenhower summit, Joe Biden blessed his radical turn toward the militarism Japan’s pacifist constitution forbids.

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A Russian Victory in Ukraine Won’t End the War, by Mike Whitney

The U.S. will do whatever it takes to maintain its unipolar hegemony. That’s why some of us worry about nuclear war. From Mike Whitney at unz.com:

Behind Washington’s desperate appeal for tanks and other lethal weaponry for Ukraine, looms the nagging prospect that Russia’s winter offensive may have already begun in the south where heavy fighting has broken out along the Line of Contact in the Zaporizhia region. While the information from the front remains sketchy, some analysts think that Russia is planning to send its troops and armored units northward in order to block vital supply-lines and trap Ukrainian forces in the east. A Russian blitz northward would likely be synchronized with the movement of a second large grouping pushing south along the Oskil River. These two dagger-like thrusts would be accompanied by multiple missile strikes aimed at strategic bridges and railway-lines crossing the Dnieper River. If the Russians were able to succeed in such an operation, the bulk of Ukraine’s army would be effectively encircled in the east while Moscow would have regained control over most of its traditional territories. The offensive might not end the war, but it would end Ukraine’s existence as a viable, contiguous state. This is an excerpt from an article at Aljazeera:

Moscow’s forces are pushing towards two towns in Ukraine’s southern Zaporizhia region, where fighting intensified this week after several months of a stagnant front… Vladimir Rogov, a Russian-installed official in the region, said offensive actions were concentrated around two towns: Orikhiv, around 50km (30 miles) south of Ukrainian-controlled regional capital Zaporizhzhia, and Hulyaipole, further east….

The Russian army later claimed for a second day in a row that it had taken “more advantageous lines and positions” after “offensive operations” in the Zaporizhia region…. In its daily report on Sunday, the Ukrainian army said “more than 15 settlements were affected by artillery fire” in Zaporizhia…. He also said this week that fighting has “sharply increased” in the southern region.” (“Russia advances towards two towns in Ukraine’s Zaporizhia region”, AlJazeera)

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The West Is Incentivizing Russia To Hit Back, by Caitlin Johnstone

If Russia reacted to every U.S. and Ukrainian provocation we’d already be in a full-on war with Russia. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

Well the omnicidal war sluts won the debate over sending tanks to Ukraine, so now it’s time to start arguing for sending F-16s.

In an article titled “Ukraine sets sights on fighter jets after securing tank supplies,” Reuters reports the following:

“Ukraine will now push for Western fourth generation fighter jets such as the U.S. F-16 after securing supplies of main battle tanks, an adviser to Ukraine’s defence minister said on Wednesday.

Ukraine won a huge boost for its troops as Germany announced plans to provide heavy tanks for Kyiv on Wednesday, ending weeks of diplomatic deadlock on the issue. The United States is poised to make a similar announcement.

Just in time for the good news, Lockheed Martin has announced that the arms manufacturing giant happens to be all set to ramp up production of F-16s should they be needed for shipment to Ukraine.

“Lockheed Martin has said that it’s ready to meet demands for F-16 fighter jets if the US and its allies choose to ship them to Ukraine,” Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp reports. “So far, the US and its allies have been hesitant to send fighter jets to Ukraine due to concerns that they could be used to target Russian territory. But the Western powers seem less and less concerned about escalation as the US and Germany have now pledged to send their main battle tanks.”

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Mission Creep? How the US role in Ukraine has slowly escalated, by Branko Marcetic

The Ukraine mission may creep right up to nuclear war. From Branko Marcetic at responsiblestatecraft.org:

The Biden team has quietly blown past red lines of involvement. The question now, is how far is it willing to go.

When the United States involves itself militarily in a conflict, it often finds it hard to get itself out, let alone avoid deep entanglements that blow well past lines it had drawn at the start of the intervention.

It happened in Vietnam, when U.S. military advisers helping the South Vietnamese fight Viet Cong eventually became U.S. soldiers fighting an American war. It happened in Afghanistan, when an initial invasion to capture al-Qaida and overthrow the Taliban morphed into a nearly two-decade-long nation-building project. And it could be happening right now in Ukraine.

Little by little, NATO and the United States are creeping closer to the catastrophic scenario President Joe Biden said “we must strive to prevent” — direct conflict between the United States and Russia. Despite stressing at the start of the war that “our forces are not and will not be engaged in the conflict,” current and former intelligence officials told the Intercept back in October that “there is a much larger presence of both CIA and US special operations personnel” in Ukraine than there was when Russia invaded, conducting “clandestine American operations” in the country that “are now far more extensive.”

Among those clandestine operations, investigative journalist and former Green Beret Jack Murphy reported on Dec. 24 to little mainstream attention, is the CIA’s work with an unnamed NATO ally’s spy agency to carry out sabotage operations within Russia, reportedly the cause of the unexplained explosions that have rocked Russian infrastructure throughout the war. This is the kind of activity that skirts dangerously close to direct NATO-Russia confrontation.

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