The Bodyguard of Lies

It’s screamingly obvious to anyone save perhaps the most gullible in a present-day university history program, that attempting to research the events and conduct of a war – and figuring out what is happening while the war is still ongoing is an impossibility. Were the defenders of Snake Island all killed in a Russian barrage … or are they alive, and prisoners of war? Is the Russian advance going as clockwork towards their goals … or are they being turned back? Have Ukrainian fighter aircraft shot down a Russian transport aircraft? Successfully ambushed a Russian column on an unspecified mission here or there in the conflict zone? Who is coming out ahead, dead or alive, on the ground or in the struggle for the eyeballs and sympathies of the outside world, watching with unswerving attention? What are we being told, and what is there to gain from us believing it?
The grim truth is – really, we can’t really believe much of what we see or hear about the war in the Ukraine at present. No armchair generals at this group blog, merely a collection of somewhat well-informed amateur (and perhaps a sprinkling of professional) analysists trying to make sense of what we can see, dimly through the fog. Truth is a nugget of pure gold somewhere in that fog and dirt; finding it may be more a matter of pure luck.

As Winston Churchill so cogently observed – the truth is protected with a bodyguard of lies. What’s in the headlines of the established media outlets certainly can’t be taken for that truth, and perhaps it never did, as the established media themselves are certainly not immune to being manipulated by clever and convincing operatives with an agenda. Social media like Twitter are not be all that credible, either, being as much given to repeating disinformation produced by a calculated campaign as the established news media. The best that we might have to go on is brief communications from people whom we have previously known and trusted, who – for reasons of profession and family – might be on the scene or adjacent. Anecdote is not data– but at this moment, it’s all that we have. The search for that golden truth nugget may be easier once all the dust is settled, the memoirs written and the official archives declassified … but then those historians on the search will have their own firmly held, hotly-defended theories, which will be good for a different kind of wrangling, when the fog of battle has cleared and the dust has settled. Discuss as you feel fit and qualified to observe.

60 thoughts on “The Bodyguard of Lies”

  1. First ever serious “twitter” war…Ukraine obviously has the entire Western intelligence community coordinating their twitter response, it’s quite impressive how they’re flooding the zone. Makes it impossible to know what’s going on, though, so much fraud and fakes. I’ve given up as of today, there’s too much noise…

  2. Signal to noise is indeed low. We outsiders need to be careful about some of the rah-rah being pushed in the media — there is a significant risk that we could find ourselves participants rather than observers. The economic sanctions being pushed by foolish Western politicians are going to hurt us at least as much as they hurt the Russians, and trying to send in arms & ammunitions carries a high risk of the fighting spreading beyond the borders of the Ukraine.

    What I cannot understand is — Where is the usual “International Community” pushing for a cease fire? Instead, the outsiders are pouring gasoline on the fire. Dangerous days! It is so frustrating that the fighting could be brought to a close by the simple act of any NATO member standing up and promising to veto any attempt to bring the Ukraine into that increasingly aggressive alliance.

  3. Curious, that, Gavin. Curious, indeed.

    And I remain absolutely resolved that the US ought not to get involved officially and militarily. No American blood for a war that Biden blundered into.

  4. One other thought about how to make sense of the Bodyguard of Lies — it is worth listening for the dogs that don’t bark.

    Why do we see so little in Western media about what is happening around the Donbas and Crimea? Why did India refuse at the UN to join the Cool Kids in condemning Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine?

    Think of it like looking at a magician’s performance. Keep an eye on the hand from which he is trying to draw away your attention.

  5. India has long been a Russian ally, and they know that Kashmir is as complicated a issue as Crimea is, Imran Khan seems confused as to which master Xi or Putin to defer to,

  6. “watching with unswerving attention” — Well, I guess a lot of people may be doing so. But I suspect I am far from alone in having spent as much time watching the “war” coverage as I did watching the recent Olympics: zero.

    What would be the point? As noted, it is all lies and propaganda. If there is any truth to be found, it will not be in the established media or on anti-social media censorship platforms.

    I could wish the USA had not created the conditions for this war, but it is not like average people have any influence on the government in this age of Dominion and fraudulent vote harvesting. The Deep State will do as it pleases for its own power and profit. The best we little people can do is stay out from underfoot as the giants fight and hope not to be caught in the intentional destruction.

  7. I think the only thing necessary to prevent this war would have been for the Xiden regime to simply tell Putin that Ukraine would not be joining NATO.

    The regime did the exact opposite. Hence I conclude that the Deep State actively wanted this war to happen, either because it has had a longstanding desire for regime change in Russia or simply to cover up for their obvious incompetence.

    Blood is on their hands. Again.

  8. Nothing about this makes any sense. Put aside the Russian behavior, the US/Western actions, jumping up and screaming about imminent invasion, was really bizarre. Now the open belligerence from the US/Europe, rather than even mouthing platitudes about any sort of ceasefire, etc. Imagine if Russia/China had acted that way in Iraq, or Afghanistan…
    And all the players from the ridiculous Ukraine impeachment farce are back, and my spidey senses are tingling off the charts to see so many of the Dems tweeting about that today, when it’s totally irrelevant to anything actually going on.
    Also starting to see people who really should know better talking about “regime change” in Russia, which is a psychotic thing for Westerners to be talking about. I almost wonder if perhaps there are people who think that they need to act/talk “crazy” a la Trump (or their deranged view of him, of course) in order to try to shape events.
    The whole thing stinks from top to bottom. Kind of like the entirety of the last two years, or even five years. I suspect there are plans, stupid plans, that keep getting made and implemented and having implications that require even bigger and stupider plans, and it’s all going to collapse at some point and bring us all to grief.

  9. Well, Boris Johnson was facing “Partygate” about his ignoring the Lock Down restrictions he imposed on the English plebs — but that is now forgotten about. Similarly, Biden* has benefitted from the diversion from blowback about his own Lock Downs. And none of us know who “Generalissimo” Milley is traitorously talking to this time — Russia or China?

    It may be as simple as Western Political Classes needed a distraction — and pushing Russia into invading Ukraine was the best distraction they could come up with. But they seem to be ignoring the obvious very high potential for their distraction to escalate to something wider, even to global nuclear war.

    Since the Western Political Class is failing, I keep hoping that China will step in and resolve the issue by guaranteeing the independence & security of a shrunken Ukraine. Of course, that will require Chinese troops in the Ukraine on NATO’s border. Great job, Biden*!

  10. David — Thanks for the link to that article. It makes a good point about potential food supply ramifications of the situation in the Ukraine. But I had to laugh about the naivety of this statement:
    “Russia can effectively use this deal [with China] to avoid … the fallout from Europe choosing not to buy Russian hydrocarbons.”

    In reality, If Europe chooses not to buy Russian gas & oil supplies, Europe will descend into chaos — blackouts, brownouts, industries stopping, prices shooting up. The blowback from European sanctions on Russia could be very painful. And of course any increase in the price of energy will affect the cost & availability of fertilizers and diesel which will in turn reduce grain production this coming summer.

    If only we could have any confidence in our Political Classes!

  11. Those who have actually looked into the sanctions have noted that they clearly are designed to avoid impacting the ability of Europe to buy Russian gas. Even the choice of banks was made to avoid impacting ones that are used in energy trades. It’s all kabuki.

  12. The invasion looks poorly planned and executed. The kind of thing that you might get if you weren’t planning on invading, right up until Pelosi came out and said you weren’t man enough to invade.

    IMO, the “peacekeepers in Donbas” move was the entire plan – a little saber-rattling, a few anti-Russian actions in Donbas, a call for “relief” from Russian plants, and then you move some troops in. The American “Intelligence” community probably had a lot of indications that this was the case. But then Biden – knowing there’s no invasion planned – steps up and says you, Putin, won’t do anything, because you don’t have the guts to do face him down, and also you’re short, and probably gay.

    This changes the calculus, because the dictator can’t lose face. It no longer matters that: the projections for victory are bad; the cost/benefit ratio sucks; the logistics aren’t in place; the international community will go bananas; the timing is bad. What matters is, if you don’t invade, it’s because you’re afraid of Gropey Joe. Invading is still a bad move, but at least it’s not a weak move.

  13. One has to wonder — Musk noted that you could still get access to satcoms through Starlink.

    One has to wonder if they were smart enough to put any kind of imagery systems on those sats… because, even if they aren’t as up to snuff as the best of the military spysats, they are there ALL THE TIME, so they could likely be collecting a realtime idea of what actually is happening across a pretty good range of locations…and recording it for later comparison against what is/was/will be said about the various events — and the prevarications of Russia, the Ukraine, and the US governments before, during, and after things have happened.

    Musk is an interesting character. He seems like he’s the kind of guy that, in a different universe, WOULD have become The Batman. :-D

  14. }}} Why did India refuse at the UN to join the Cool Kids in condemning Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine?
    }}} India has long been a Russian ally, and they know that Kashmir is as complicated a issue as Crimea is, Imran Khan seems confused as to which master Xi or Putin to defer to,

    I would call attention to the fact that India and China have long long been enemies (something many in the West are less conscious of), much as France/Germany and France/Britain… so, given China/Russia are mildly inimical due to the common border, I would say that Russia seems a natural ally to India in that regard, so they may well be agreeing on neutrality of anything they are each involved in.

  15. }}} It may be as simple as Western Political Classes needed a distraction — and pushing Russia into invading Ukraine was the best distraction they could come up with. But they seem to be ignoring the obvious very high potential for their distraction to escalate to something wider, even to global nuclear war.

    WHAAAT? Political infighting, like allowing National Socialist Germany to re-arm, on the presumption that they were natural enemies of the Union of Soviet Socialist “Republics”, with the notion that they would attack each other and weaken each other….

    That kind of stupid miscalculation?

  16. They based this incarnation of tony stark on elon musk he was even a cameo in the second (generally) regretable film, and used his hangars for an antagonist

  17. I went down the Twitter rabbit hole yesterday and found some super cool stuff about this war, and a bunch of garbage and everything in between. I think I have a general idea about what is going on, but still have so many unanswered questions, and highly doubt I will get those answers for years.

  18. Don’t trust Elon, he’s deep in bed with the ChiComs…
    I get dozens of substacks, mostly non politics, and the number of cooking newsletters including ostentatious pro-Ukraine messaging is amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it, except maybe for BLM virtue signaling in 2020. It’s kind of disturbing, to be honest. The phoniness combined with the vehemence, makes one see how trivially easily people are manipulated.

  19. Of course, there also are dogs that do bark — and then we wonder: Why are those dogs barking?

    British Petroleum just walked away from its part ownership of Russian oil company Rosneft, valued at something between $14 & $25 Billion. That is a huge gift from the unwitting shareholders of BP to the shareholders of Rosneft, because Russia still has all the real property — the oil wells, the gas wells, the pipelines, the markets. And this is supposed to hurt Russia?

    To continue with the inscrutable English, they are imposing burdens on the Russian plutocrats who have done so much to pump up the London property market. That will indeed hurt some rich Russians, but it will also hurt a bunch of ordinary English people for years to come as plutocrats from around the world absorb the lesson that there are risks in investing in London.

    Meanwhile, the Swiss have destroyed centuries of their banking tradition by imposing sanctions on Swiss bank accounts held by Russians. Again, it will have long-term negative ramifications for the Swiss economy as the global wealthy find other safer places to keep their money. Why are the Swiss throwing away one of their main assets — their reputation?

    Back to the English — their head of military intelligence MI6 says that the war in the Ukraine is necessary to advance the homosexual/transgender agenda. Has anyone told those noble Ukrainians on the front line that they are fighting for anal sex?

    None of what is happening on “our” side makes any sense!

  20. Mark Steyn has a very interesting article about the situation in the Ukraine which is well worth considering:

    An extract:
    “Has there been any Washington scandal that has not involved Ukraine in recent years?

    The Trump impeachments? Ooh, he telephoned …Ukraine!

    The “Russia investigation”? Putin wanted Trump to win why exactly? Oh, no problem: because he’ll roll back sanctions imposed for Moscow’s actions against …Ukraine!

    Do we have any witnesses to any of this? Yeah, sure, the really good guy’s some Colonel Vindman. He’s an immigrant from …Ukraine!

    On the other hand, Obama made Biden his point-man in …Ukraine!

    Biden told the Ukrainians they had to clean up all the corruption. They took the hint and put Hunter on the board, and Joe, Jim and the rest of the mob family suddenly acquired extensive “business interests” in Ukraine.

    Oh, and the biggest source of foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation is …Ukraine.

    Don’t you find it curious that, for an unimportant country with a piffling economy, Ukraine looms so large in Washington?”

    Read the whole thing.

  21. Now the story of several countries “donating” fighter planes to Ukraine has fallen apart. Never made sense anyway.
    Basically at this point nothing on twitter is to be believed. Pre-invasion there were some good osint twitter accounts, it’s all an op now. Best probably to unplug and just let things unfold, trying to track in real-time is hopeless right now.

  22. The fact that there are no images of the Russian flag being raised over the Ukrainian Parliament is strong evidence that things aren’t going well for Russia. Nor would the issue be settled even if there were. You win wars by destroying armies not occupying buildings and there don’t seem to be any signs that the Russians have come to grips with the Ukrainian Army.

  23. The Walt Disney Company announced they will no longer show its films in Russia.
    We live in the stupidest possible timeline.

  24. MCS: “there don’t seem to be any signs that the Russians have come to grips with the Ukrainian Army.”

    Equally, you could say that there don’t seem to be any signs that the Ukrainian Army has come to grips with the Russians. But actually, whatever is happening is hidden from us just now. And people who follow Western media are likely being given a rather biased impression.

    Just as yardsticks, here are some of the approximate times it took for the early WWII German Army (which we can probably all agree was on top form) to undertake invasions of several European countries:

    Belgium — 18 days (tiny country)
    France — 46 days (comparable in size to the Ukraine)
    Norway – 60 days (rugged terrain)

    It probably is also worth noting that civilian casualties have been light in the Ukraine — which implies a more careful advance than the WWII German Army was taking.

  25. Argue all you want about Russian justifications, it looks to me like Putin has screwed the pooch.

    As for our own pooch-screwings, so what? I didn’t find the rationales for a lot of ours to be convincing, but good or bad they created new realities and those had to be dealt with.

    Before last week, Europe was at peace and trying to deal with immigration and refugee crises which Putin has just made worse. That is an attack on the legitimate interests of Russia’s neighbors in itself.

  26. “Before last week, Europe was at peace and trying to deal with immigration and refugee crises which Putin has just made worse. ”

    Maybe showing the world European women holding signs saying “refugees welcome” wasn’t a good idea?

  27. There was no single issue posing a greater threat of Russian opposition than admission of Ukraine into NATO. This has been known for decades in American and European diplomatic and security circles! Yet, Biden mouthed words suggesting that such a development was acceptable to him–by explicitly stating this decision was up to Ukraine. Putin has long declared this to be a bright and non-negotiable red line, which any effort by the western nations to implement would immediately trigger a Russian military response. (Imagine the American response to Russian declarations that Mexico would be joining the Warsaw Pact–do you believe for a minute that American political leadership rule out resort to a military solution? That is how Putin and most Russian leadership viewed Ukrainian membership in NATO, and rightfully so. Putin was prepping his forces for this incursion for months, signalling loudly and clearly what he intended to do if the matter persisted, yet it persisted, both in Ukraine and in the Biden cabal, which clearly saw the need to distract Americans from the utter devastation his (rather those who control him) policies are doing to unravel, deconstruct, destroy the country over which he now dictates. His SOTU speech will clarify this; I predict he will call for “patriotic” Americans to support his brave and principled opposition to Russian aggression. Hooray democracy! Meanwhile, his cabal continues to eat away, termite-like at the very supporting members of this country in its effort to “fundamentally transform” (remember how long ago those words were uttered and by whom) it. Pavlovian idiots who respond affirmatively to his ersatz calls for “patriotism” abound on the stupid right. Those on the left understand his meaning and laugh behind their hands.

  28. “Before last week, Europe was at peace and trying to deal with immigration and refugee crises which Putin has just made worse. ”

    Russia is the biggest supplier of potash to Africa. No potash, less food. No food, Africans move to guess where. Europe needs to cut a deal with Russia.

  29. Steve,
    Study the Monroe Doctrine, started off as pure brag ended up with the Cuban Missile Crisis and Granada. It was never more than whatever ability and resolve we had to enforce it. The Warsaw Pact crumbled away in 1991, any attempt by the rump of the Soviet Union that Putin commands to reinstate it is up to the rest of Europe to tolerate it or not. The consensus seems to be not.

    The notion that one state could appropriate just as much territory as it could conquer had convulsed Europe in near continuous war from pre-Roman times to 1945. Europe seems to have wakened to the fact that the bad old times can and may have come again.

    It’s official – Europe won’t transfer fighter planes to Ukraine. Poland decided not to, and Slovakian defense ministry spokesperson confirms to me just now: “Slovakia will not provide fighter jets to Ukraine.”

    Don’t believe anything you see or read. Wait a few days, at least. Most of this conflict is on-line. Ukraine and the West is cleaning up on that front.

  31. Brian: “Don’t believe anything you see or read.”

    That appears to be the best approach for now. The same torrent of misinformation that pushed the CovidScam is now being deployed against us over the Ukraine — but for what purpose?

    Lots of images this morning of a miles-long convoy of Russian vehicles heading towards Kiev. Stop and think about that! If the images are real (not something filmed years ago in another country), it means that the countryside is either supporting the Russians or has been completely subdued.

    Imagine that kind of convoy in Vietnam. The Vietcong would have shot up the first & last vehicle and then massacred the rest of the convoy. Or imagine it in Kuwait — the US would have done the same thing using air power. So we can deduce that Ukraine’s military has neither partisans nor air power. Of course, the whole thing could be a scam.

    Another puzzle — the West has tried to isolate Russia financially, but Russia is still shipping the gas without which Germany freezes in the dark. Why?

  32. I think the bottom line is that we’re being played – by the Russians, the Ukrainians, our own Ruling Party, and for good measure, the Chinese as well. All have their own intents and purposes for doing it, and the best that we can do is to be aware that they all are!

  33. because oil would be $200 a barrel, if they did, Klaus Schwab, over in his Alpine redoubt is the real enemy, Putin just fell for it, yes such a convoy could be sniped at from nearby mountains, mine the main access road, they were in need of tank buster aircraft,

  34. Like I said a few days ago, the sanctions were deliberately written so as to not interfere with Russian energy sales to Europe. The banks that are usually used for that are excluded, etc. It’s all kabuki.

  35. Our wonderful friend and ally Pakistan continues to make clear what side it’s on.
    Islamabad: Envoys of 22 countries, including EU, have written a letter to Pakistani government, urging it to condemn Russian actions in Ukraine.
    Just IN: Pakistan says it will not participate in UN general assembly debate on Russian invasion of Ukraine.

    I have no idea still what military plan Russia has, seems they’re obviously going for a tortoise strategy, not the hare, but it seems clear that the main goal is to create some much stronger non-US/EU institutions…
    Just In: Russia to invite Pakistan, China, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, India, Ethiopia & other countries in “Anti Fascist Conference.”
    Grand Conference aims at combating fascism, to be held in Moscow in coming months.

    If that’s the goal, then “we’re kicking you out of our club” is not just pointless but actively counterproductive, because lots of countries won’t want to be junior members of the US/EU club, completely dependent on their goodwill.
    Not saying we shouldn’t do it, but the problem is that that only really works if people in fact want to be in your club, so you need to be careful that you behave in a way to ensure that they do.
    Repelling the likes of India and Saudi Arabia so quickly, after such progress was made under Trump, is a catastrophic blunder that could only be accomplished by people as smart as our genius elites.

  36. pakistan has been on china’s side, at least since they provided technical expertise to their nuclear program, they are the local hegemon, so don’t anger the dragon, they also trained some of the uighurs and some of the chechens, but that was for another time,

  37. Brian: “the sanctions were deliberately written so as to not interfere with Russian energy sales to Europe”

    Clearly! But that assumes Russia will go along with the charade. It would be so easy for Russia to put in its own counter-sanctions (ie cut off the gas); or to invent some cock-and-bull story about how the financial sanctions have messed up their marketing system and they can’t sell any gas until they sort it out; or even simply shut down the pipelines across the Ukraine as a precaution since there is a war going on over there and the pipelines might get damaged.

    Sgt Mom is right — we are getting played! But why?

  38. Why would Russia cut off the gas? They do in fact need the money.
    They’re moving forward with their non-Western institution building objective, which seems like it must be the primary goal.
    Where the Ukraine invasion specifically fits in or is required for that is completely beyond me.

  39. My comment about Europe’s refugee crisis doesn’t mean I’m not aware of the self-inflicted nature of the problem. I frankly don’t care much for Islam or Muslims and have hated seeing my beloved Europe infested with large and growing numbers.

    Putin is now doing in Europe’s heartland what Russian-supported leaders and movements have been doing all over the Greater Middle East for decades (not without some contribution from us)–creating masses of poor and uneducated refugees who will seek safety in the former imperial metropoli– the Christian, post-Christian, democratic (you know very well what I mean) civilized countries of the West.

    It no longer matters that Putin did or did not signal something clearly. Putin will soon find out what the US and Israel have learned–if you are perceived as strong and your enemy weak, over time you will be seen as the bad guy regardless of the justice of your case.
    That’s just the way modern connected humans roll.

    Good luck at the “Anti Fascist Conference.” The Red, Islamic, and Indo- and Afro-slow learners are as fascist a crew as ever connived.

  40. Brian: “Why would Russia cut off the gas? They do in fact need the money.”

    But the geniuses who claim to be our “leaders” have cut the commercial cords so that Russia cannot buy anything from the West with that money. Therefore German money is useless to Russia now. So why continue “selling” gas?

  41. Before this started, I said it was kabuki theater.

    Now, it’s kabuki theater with dead kids, and they’re bombarding cities. Threatening nuclear war, unless everyone lets them.

    The fact is that about the only leader who even remotely looks like a leader is a former comedian and voice actor.

    All of them need to go, top to bottom, side to side, up and down. This never should have happened–Kids are dying in Ukraine because assclown “leaders” can’t figure out how to work together amicably, and because “Russia is asshole”.

    Make no mistake about it: This is on Russian paranoia, more than anything else. I’d lay you long, long odds that in the world where we did what Putin says we should have, and guaranteed NATO non-expansion into the former Soviet bloc? We’d have been watching the lights go out, one by one, in each of those formerly independent nations that were created when the collapse happened. They’d have found some other excuse, some other justification. Why? Because, that’s what Russia does. It’s on the level of historical imperative or psychosis–They’ve been doing it since the days of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, and they’ve reduced it to what amounts to a national imperative.

    Go read the histories, and note well how being a neighbor to Russia means eventually going under the yoke. They’re trying to reassert that, right now, in real time. Will they get away with it, yet again? Remains to be seen.

    There’s a reason that the Islamic conceptualization of the “House of War” and the “House of Peace” exists. And, we have to remember that when you enter the Dar al Harb, all bets and expectations need to be abandoned; uncertainty and chaos rule the day and night.

    I think Putin forgot that, and we may all pay the price.

  42. Someone in the EU finally had a clue and realized the implications of their defense minister openly handing over the keys to ex-NATO Mig-29’s to Ukrainian pilots at a NATO airbase, with a brass band playing and lots of photographers, and letting the Ukrainians fly those Mig-29’s from the NATO base directly to a Ukrainian base.

    So the direct transfer is off while they figure out some other way to do it.

  43. The aircraft are useless to Ukraine without the AWACS cap. I doubt they are set up to do ground control with Ukrainian equipment, and that’s not a trivial thing. At. All.

    Like as not, some geeeniooous political type came up with this after a visit from the Good Idea Fairy (TM), and didn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground about all the issues involved. I’d have to ask someone familiar with it, but if my understanding of what it took to upgrade those aircraft to NATO standard is correct (read an article on it in one of the military periodicals, years and years ago), there isn’t a hell of a lot of compatibility. Soviet-style aviation assets are generally run as if the planes are manned drones–The ground controller does a lot more than the NATO guys do. Generally, the NATO concept is that you’ll always have an AWACS up, and that system of systems will maintain situational awareness and tasking. I doubt that there is still compatible equipment mounted in those aircraft, because it’s a pretty extensive refit that takes up a lot of room.

    Stupid idea, anyway–If NATO is gonna do that, give the Ukrainians NATO-standardized combat aircraft and then help run them with AWACS, well… They might as well just do the job themselves, and cut out the middleman who has no idea how NATO does things. It’s a hell of a cultural shift, from one system to another. NATO is still pretty much invested in that “Knights of the Sky” mentality, while the former Soviets are into “Manned Missile”. I think it would take weeks just to get them up to speed on all the terminology and language, let alone get it all coordinated and working.

  44. At this point, and just for myself (although I suspect others commenting may share my feelings) I resent the heck out of being played through the news and social media. I’m sorry as heck for the ordinary Ukrainians caught in the middle of all this and wish them the best of luck in keeping more or less independent of Putin’s Russia, but I’m seriously annoyed at being played … by everyone. Our own establishment press and the feebs in our government most of all, most especially those politicians and kin of politicians who have been taking payoffs from the sort-of-previous Ukrainian government. In the political corruption stakes lately … why does the Ukraine come up all the time, hmmm?
    I resent the heck out of every media and entertainment outlet suddenly declaring solidarity with the Ukrainians, when I am almost certain that most of them couldn’t find the place on a map.

  45. “No armchair generals at this group blog, merely a collection of somewhat well-informed amateur (and perhaps a sprinkling of professional) analysists trying to make sense of what we can see, dimly through the fog. Truth is a nugget of pure gold somewhere in that fog and dirt; finding it may be more a matter of pure luck.”

    Indeed, armchair generals have really been pouring out of the woodwork on this one. The problem is worsened by the fact that actual news reporters have now apparently gone extinct. There’s a great bit describing the “fog of war” in Stendhal’s “The Charterhouse of Parma.” Like Stendhal himself, the young hero idolizes Napoleon and absconds to join his army. He finds it in the midst of a battle and is completely confused by everything going on around him. Stendhal wrote with authority. He was with Napoleon’s army during its march into and disastrous retreat from Russia.

    More recently my great grandfather experienced the phenomenon in the brutal and bloody Battle of Franklin during the Civil War. He was with the 72nd Illinois at the point where the Confederates broke the Union line before being thrown back by a counterattack. He had no idea who won and wrote his mother asking her to tell him what the newspapers had to say about the battle. He probably would have been happy had he known. The Rebs lost six generals killed including their best division commander, Patrick Cleburne, seven wounded, and one captured. Their army was decimated and was eliminated as an effective force a bit later by George Thomas at the Battle of Nashville.

    At the moment the fog is thicker than ever and, as Sgt. Mom says, if we want to understand what’s really going on, we’ll just have to be patient. As usual, the “news” is just propaganda.

  46. yes all but the most important question are answered,

    some years ago Andrew Klavan wrote a series of novels about a character called the Scorpion, he was an American raised by a Arab chieftain who became an Special Forces Operator then ran freelance, one of these was set in Yemen and the Ukraine, this was before the whole 2014 fracas, he is enlisted to investigate an assasination attempt on the ruling party candidate, which would bring the country to the brink of Russian intervention, of course he ends up on the run, and at one point ends up in Chernobyl where he discovers the big secret behind the plan,

  47. Oh, the fog of war is a thing, indeed. You don’t know how bad it is until you’re in the middle of it, seeing it for realsies, either.

    I’ve come around to the idea that most military history (and, probably a lot more…) is basically mostly bullshit once you get down in the weeds of it all. Hagiographies and press releases, misinterpretations by people who don’t know what they’re looking at, and outright lies meant to cover up mistakes or make someone in particular look good.

    I mean, you can rely on most of your big-ticket stuff, like D-Day being June 6, 1944, but… Past that? Oh, dear God. I’m here to tell you that the participant in an action that tells you he knows with certainty what happened in it? That guy you can safely discount as delusional and likely lying his ass off. The guy that tells you “I have no fscking idea what was happening, I had my head down in the foxhole and I heard a bunch of shooting and artillery…. Can’t tell you a thing past that.”? He’s probably not lying, but his eye-witness testimony is worthless because he didn’t eye-witness a damn thing. Even though he was in the middle of it all when it happened.

    As Observer/Controller at the NTC, you learn this really quick. Even when you’ve got a couple years experience in the job, and you think you’re pretty smart, the actual instrumentation is going to tell you another story, entirely. I lost track of the number of times I’d be watching an AAR, and the player unit commander would get up and say his piece about what happened, and then the senior O/C would pull up all the slides from the Tactical Analysis Facility and show just how wrong he was in his apprehensions…

    I watched a firefight between an insurgent group and an American platoon that drove them to ground in Iraq. We had perfect visuals of what was going from overhead, through an RPV, but no comms with anyone out there because the retrans site was down. We could hear fine, though. Young LT is taking fire and directing fires at where he thought they were shooting from; reality was, they weren’t there, they were in a fold of terrain that he couldn’t see–But, he’s firing at an empty hillside, calling for fire, doing all the right things to win the fight. Midway through his live-fire exercise, the insurgents get swept off the battlefield by some MG fire from some position out of direct line of sight from the UAV–And, it tears them up. We’re all like “YEAH!!! Get some!!”, sitting there in the Divisional HQ. Everyone figured that some other American unit saw what was going on, and delivered the hate. Next morning, we’re briefing that action to the CG, and we get a cleared throat from one of the aviation liaison officers who’d been flying that night and observing it informs us that the tracers on the fire which whacked our bad guys had been green, not red like US ammo would have been. So… Though we never knew for sure, the best guess we had was that the insurgents who ambushed our platoon got killed by their own friendly fire. That LT in charge of that fight is still convinced he won it by blasting the ever-lovin’ snot out of an innocent hillside.

    You don’t know what you don’t know, and you don’t even know what you think you know. Not on the battlefield, anyway.

  48. Kirk’s firefight anecdote is an example of our problem on the tactical level. That’s bad enough, but it scales up.

    The US can–could–go almost anywhere in the world and shoot the place up, but our situational awareness follows the pattern of the hapless lieutenant all the way up the chain.

    We will see if Putin’s (mostly) barracks shitbirds and conscripts have the motivation required to cow the Ukes in the next few days.

  49. I’m sorry, but this is all complete insanity:
    EA Sports stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and like so many voices across the world of football calls for peace and an end to the invasion of Ukraine. In line with our partners at FIFA and UEFA, EA Sports has initiated processes to remove the Russian national team and all Russian clubs from EA Sports FIFA products including: FIFA 22, FIFA Mobile and FIFA Online. We’re also actively evaluating related changes to other areas of our games.
    The Glasgow Film Festival has withdrawn two Russian titles from its 2022 program in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

    Complete and total madness. Never seen anything like this in my life. The world’s gone completely insane.

  50. Maybe everyone is crazy except Putin! That’s one to reconcile the various theories proposed.

    He’s Russian deepstate crazy like a fox, trying to come out as a lion.

  51. Brian: “Complete and total madness. Never seen anything like this in my life.”

    Oh yes you have! It was another lifetime, but do you remember “Covid”? Every day, worried announcements about tens of thousands of “cases” — most of whom were healthy and had no problems. Vast numbers of reported deaths — most of whom turned out to have pre-existing conditions and have lived longer than the average life span. But on & on went the litany of fear. Masks! Double masks! People arrested for walking alone in parks! And any voices of reason were immediately mocked & defenestrated.

    The world has seen this kind of thing before. In the UK, they called it “Project Fear” — first rolled out against the referendum on independence for Scotland, and later rolled out against Brexit.

    It is the weaponization of media to accomplish a goal established by the Ruling Class. We should all be suspicious when we see that kind of unanimity. Especially when the potential outcome could include thermonuclear war.

  52. “In the UK, they called it “Project Fear” — first rolled out against the referendum on independence for Scotland, and later rolled out against Brexit. It is the weaponization of media to accomplish a goal established by the Ruling Class. We should all be suspicious when we see that kind of unanimity.”
    Indeed – we should be suspicious, seeing this kind of mass unanimity out of the clear blue. I am certain that something of the same kind of “JournoList” is in play here, or is it just something like a mass flock of birds, suddenly deciding to shift course, wheel and turn – all these intellectual journo and political sorts, feeling the same thing in the air and acting independently with each other.

  53. Sgt. Mom: “I am certain that something of the same kind of “JournoList” is in play here”

    It could be. You know a lot more about how media works than most of us, Sarge.

    But I wonder if the mechanism could actually be more juvenile? Sort of like Junior High — where the Kool Kids mock some unfortunate fellow student, and then all the hangers-on who wish they were one of the Kool Kids join in the mocking.

    One think is for sure — there is not a lot of serious thought going on, at least not in government-controlled media & tech-company-controlled social media. Which is quite frightening, considering how high the stakes may be in a world in which every single one of us is potentially in the field of fire.

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