The Imperial Japanese Surrender in Tokyo Bay, Sept. 2, 1945…Plus 77 Years

Since 2010 Chicagoboyz has been commemorating the anniversaries every August or September, the two atomic bombings, the acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration by Imperial Japan and the official Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay. This year’s commemoration focuses on September 2, 1945, when General Douglas MacArthur as “Supreme Commander Allied Powers” or “SCAP” officiated the Tokyo Bay surrender ceremony with Imperial Japan that ended World War 2.

There are several films of this event. There was the official one MacArthur’s Signal Corps camera crew recorded.  There is a film from war correspondent William Courtenay that became a newsreel and  there was a color film taken by Commander George F. Kosco of the US Navy.

The most complete version of the ceremony I’ve found was the Newsreel restored by Critical Past in black and white immediately below.  It is more historically relevant for me as it includes visuals of all the Allied national military & Imperial Japanese signers of the document of surrender. It runs almost nine minutes.

The National Archives has a less restored version of the same newsreel.

The Naval History & Heritage Command has the color film taken by Commander George F. Kosco of the US Navy of the surrender ceremony.

This Dutch Documentary used a colorized versions of the Courtenay film as well as Kosco original color film with no narration, flowing music and text listing the Allied signers and the time they signed.

As decades of time has gone by, the length of time and content of visual memory has changed.  This NBC News piece is typical of how  these WW2 surrender commemorations have changed as WW2’s participants have faded from this world into memory.

Finally, I’ll close this year’s Chicagoboyz commemoration with this Smithsonian Channel commemoration.

World War 2 was both the biggest and so far the most destructive war humanity has ever fought.  It was also humanity’s  only war which has used nuclear devices as weapons of war.  With God’s grace, World War 2 will be our only nuclear war.

But it is the doom of men that they forget…

114 thoughts on “The Imperial Japanese Surrender in Tokyo Bay, Sept. 2, 1945…Plus 77 Years”

  1. I will have to come back for a longer look, but the case of Hirohito has always been interesting. Why and how, in a half-century that had been brutal on monarchies and sometimes to monarchs–especially monarchs whose countries lost–did he escape
    any responsibility?

    Not that I think the results have been all that bad (in fact they could have been much worse) I’m just curious about the case.

    Certainly the fact that he was a demigod, the living head of a cult–pope and emperor in one–explains a lot.

  2. By the time Japan surrendered, the shape of the cold war was already coming into focus. Japan’s position in the far western Pacific, adjacent to Siberia wasn’t lost on the neophyte cold warriors.

    Compared to Germany, the pursuit of war criminals was sort of half hearted. One of the things my father told me about was reviewing film taken by the Japanese during the Bataan Death March for possible declassification. It was ultimately decided to keep them classified in the interest of amity. This was a few years latter. Many of the most notorious were conveniently dead by the end of the war. I think we did hang about 100.

    MacArthur was maybe the most vociferous proponent of preserving the Emperor as the only person who could over rule the bitter enders. There was a fairly serious attempt to prevent the surrender by these in the last hours of the war, so there was some sense to that.

  3. I have been listening to the Dan Carlin podcast, “Supernova in the East.” He pulls no punches regarding the vicious atrocities perpetrated by the Imperial Japanese Army. The wanton slaughter of all the Chinese between 1931 and 1945 was without parallel in modern times. It makes the Nazi atrocities pale by comparison. A question is left unanswered: why? A combination of the militarism, Emperor worship, Shintoism, samurai/shogun tradition, isolation from outside mediating influences all played a part. Yet, nothing can adequately explain the absolute devotion of the entire population to the death cult that controlled Japan during the war years. At the outset of hostilities, Allied soldiers attempted to use European ideas of warfare relative to dealing with enemy combatants–the concept of surrender and civilized treatment of defeated forces specifically–but soon found out that Japanese soldiers seldom, if ever, surrendered. They learned that it was never safe to treat a Japanese soldier as no longer posing a threat, and quickly adopted a more “expedient” means of dealing with them so that they did not sacrifice their own lives in the process. This was made considerably easier to implement as evidence of Japanese atrocities perpetrated on captured Allied soldiers became known. Whether or not any specific Japanese soldier was guilty of committing atrocities became irrelevant, since it was such a universal phenomenon. Thus, except in rare instances, any Japanese soldier not clearly dead on first inspection was shot or bayoneted to make sure. Failure to do so frequently resulted in a “dead” soldier suddenly springing to life and pulling the pin on a hidden grenade. Of course, all of this was known to the Allied authorities in whose hands the decision to use the atomic bomb to seek an end to hostilities, and there was no hesitation to do so instead of facing further casualties–on both sides–well into the millions should an invasion be required. Another question arises as well, viz., why were the post-war inquiries so much more thorough and widespread in the case of the Nazis versus the rather haphazard and constrained way they were handled in Japan? Could it be that the Nazis targeted Jews, whereas the Japanese were not so inclined, but rather ecumenical in their atrocities? Old Nazi war criminals were still being hunted down throughout the rest of the twentieth century, but nothing similar was taking place with respect to the Japanese. I have no other explanation for this, but am open to suggestions.

  4. One interesting part is looking at the differences in dress of the participants; the Japanese are in formal military and diplomatic dress while the Allied brass are in open-necked khakis. Story was that MacArthur told his men to dress that way as a subtle means of letting the know the Japanese lost and that this wasn’t not a meeting of equals. The other side was that MacAthur’s speech was fairly magnanimous toward the Japanese who were surprised they were spared ritual humiliation. If we had a similar ceremony these days I think, unfortunately, a modern day MacArthur would preen for the camera and beat his chest before being dowsed with Gatorade

    I much prefer to speak softly and carry the 5th Fleet

    For whatever shortcomings MacArthur had as a WW II military commander his running of the Japanese occupation was masterful and it centered on how to use Hirohito to keep the country unified. Think how differently the Korean War would have went with a chaotic Japan. Was it worth it to bend the rules of unconditional surrender to allow Hirohito remain Emperor? Oh yea, the purpose of unconditional surrender was in large part to let the losers know they had completely lost and between signs subtle and not subtle on that day, MacArthur let the Japanese know that they had lost.

  5. “If we had a similar ceremony these days I think, unfortunately, a modern day MacArthur would preen for the camera and beat his chest before being dowsed with Gatorade”
    Wait, what? American soldiers weren’t even allowed to throw a flag over Saddam’s statue, remember? And that we 20 years ago. Today Milley would make every American there wear a dress and high heels and a rainbow sash to show how our strength is all due to diversity, and apologize to the Japanese for our terrible offenses against them.

  6. Good discussion. I have read that the Japanese were notably civil and correct with prisoners they took in 1904-05 and 1914.

    It was surely good realpolitik to co-opt the institution, and Hirohito was nothing if not co-optable, as he had shown many times.

    It just struck me that in a way he was like Gorbachev.

  7. He was much more complicit there were some war crime trials but sasagawa became a major philantropist kishi helped loot korea and became prime minister (the late abe was his grandson) and kodama was one of the founders of the ldp and the point person of lockheeds arm sales

    There were some german officials who were a little dodgy but no one that involved in the war machine so compromises made during the cold war helped them avoid accountability

  8. Steve’s point is also one that has bothered me.

    From a strictly prosecutorial point of view, the Japanese didn’t seem to indulge in the same elaborate planning and infrastructure to carry out their atrocities as their German allies. As the great majority of these atrocities occurred in China where chaos prevailed long after the end of the war and other Asian and Pacific Island locations with few surviving Western observers and even fewer written records from the indigenous populations, hard evidence was lacking. One major exception was the Philippines and other colonies with sizeable Western populations where many prosecutions were founded.

    If there was any instance of Japanese troops being disciplined for any atrocities, I’ve never heard of it. They clearly had license to do anything and knew it.

    The lack of the German style top-down organization meant that the perpetrators of incidents that did come to light were the soldiers and their immediate commanders, many of which didn’t survive.

    A less charitable interpretation would be that the great majority of the atrocities were against non-white persons and thus of little consequence. This is hard to refute, given the widespread attitudes in the U.S. at the time.

  9. If we had a similar ceremony these days I think, unfortunately, a modern day MacArthur would preen for the camera and beat his chest before being dowsed with Gatorade.

    I doubt we could win such a war today. Can anyone imagine us building the 800 ship fleet with 60 aircraft carriers now? I fear we will lose the next war and that will be the end of the insanity currently gripping our “ruling class.”

  10. Years ago, before the “Mighty Mo” was recommissioned, my family stopped in Washington where she was berthed. It was a drizzly day and I remember going right up to the brass plaque detailing where the delegation was. It was an eerie feeling, to be there on such a lonely and desolate day where such a momentous event occurred.

  11. Mike K: “I fear we will lose the next war”

    I fear we have already lost it. At the end of WWII, the industries of Japan & Germany were devastated, bombed flat. Recovery happened because of the unprecedented generosity of the US towards its defeated enemies.

    At the current stage of the economic war the US has been losing for 20 years, the industries of the US have been flattened, the equipment packaged up and sent to China and elsewhere. Where is the generous victor who will pay for the impossibly indebted US to recover by rebuilding its productive capacities?

    Our Betters may try (in the Ukraine, are already trying) to start a shooting war to cover up the reality they have already lost the more important economic war. But all that will show is that the former “Arsenal of Democracy” can no longer even build weapons without materials from Russia and technology from China. The next war is over already — we just refuse to look at reality.

  12. Modern Europeans think there is no difference between English, French, Italian, German, etc., that those words are just artificial divisions with no meaning. Most people in the rest of world don’t believe that at all. Certainly almost no one in Asia does. Germans were Europeans violating European rules, punishing them seems more natural than punishing Japanese for doing the same. Some of the very top government officials were prosecuted for war crimes, but going after the average soldier would basically mean going after the whole society.

  13. “Modern Europeans think there is no difference between English, French, Italian, German, etc.”

    I think that’s an exaggeration, but for now, what about Russians and Ukrainians?

  14. Well sure I’m speaking generally, but I think the average Ukrainian would say Russians are bad for supporting their government, not that Russians are subhuman, which is the way Japanese and Chinese and Koreans legitimately do think about each other…

  15. Had we not had the nukes it would have been a grueling ground invasion, operation downfall that would have dragged the uk and the rest of europe into a longer downturm chiang might have fallen sooner under the pressure

  16. Mike – I think that a lot of the difference in the treatment of Germans and Japanese who had committed ghastly war crimes, abuse of prisoners, and mass-killings came out of (first) general war weariness, and secondly because – Germany was a first world, Western, civilized, cultured nation, which had contributed so very much to our culture in the west. That they would descend into such barbarity as to industrialize genocide … well, that was a reflection on the rest of the First World. They had let, in the British sense, the side down. Betrayed the best of our civilization, as we understood it. The Japanese war atrocities were every bit as horrific and brutal … but my sense from research for one of my novels was that Westerners at that time had an attitude with regard to Japanese atrocities, that it was … (ugh) really, what could you expect from those savages from an alien culture? Japanese atrocities were horrific – but they hadn’t been committed by people who were so very nearly us.
    As an aside – until I did the research for that book, I hadn’t quite grasped how lively the south-western Pacific campaigns were, in New Guinea and Malaya, especially – and how very invested the Australian forces were in that part of the war.

  17. Well the japanse atrocities were more like bloodlust in nanking whereas the german plan typified by wansee was a methodical exercise as is their nature

  18. The racial attitudes on all sides, by the standards of say the UDHR which was promulgated in 1948, were pretty basic and brutal.

    Everything that has been mentioned has been worked over by scholars, and will continue to be if we manage to preserve the kind of culture where such things can be discussed.

    One figure of interest, since Nanking was mentioned, was the German Consul(?) Raab, a Nazi who was shocked by what the Japanese were doing and protested. Some Germans–even Nazis–were surprised at the Romanian brand of anti-Semitism when it was loosed in full, and some of the things done by, for instance, some Poles and Reds to some stay-behind ethnic Germans and anti-Communists are nightmarish. As depraved as the Nazis if not as ambitious.

  19. We saw what 4 years of war wrought the first time the collapse of four empires in europe the hohenzollern the austrian the russian in asia it eventually led to the fall of the middle kingdom and in time indochina

    So whatever could ameliorate those consequences was well worth it

  20. Has anyone read “Zen at War” by Brian Victoria, where he tries to look into where the Japanese Zen masters went wrong?
    Would it answer any of the questions Steve asks?

  21. A while back I read both Hornfischer’s The Fleet at Flood Tide and Toll’s Twilight of the Gods, 3rd volumes of their respective narrative trilogies regarding the American Navy during the Great Pacific War. You can read their trilogies from several different perspectives, one would be one of organizational change, how the Navy in Yokohama Bay on 9/2/1945 or fought Operation Hailstone was markedly different from the one that fought 36 months earlier at Savo Island. However the one part that always stuck with me was the role of Hirohito and his role ending the War,

    Since the fall of the Mariana islands the previous year, the Japanese were finally convinced that they could not “win” the war, but they were not yet finally convinced that they could not escape losing it. They pursued twin tracks backed by different factions; one was diplomatic through the Soviets in trying to arrange a negotiated settlement allowing for their control over withdrawal from occupied lands and demobilization and the other was factions in the Army who were mobilizing for the death cult of total defense of the Home Islands. While both initiatives refused to recognize that the Americans would accept nothing short of unconditional surrender, they did present distinct and somewhat competing options and were expressed as a stalemate on the Supreme Council.

    Hirohito was the only one who could have broken the deadlock but for him to step forward and do so would have been an unprecedented use of his authority. There has been a lot of debate whether it was the Soviet entry into the War or the twin atomic bombings which caused him to do it, it could have been both though Hornsfischer and Toll would say the bombings (the overwhelming force gave a honorable way out, to “bear the unbearable”) Whatever the exact reasons, Hirohito allowed the War to end with the acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration and helped ensure that the resulting coup attempt was only an isolated putsch.

    One of the other dimensions of Toll’s and Hornsfischer’s works is the terrible momentum of war, something that is especially relevant given the war in Ukraine. As Miguel Cervantes pointed out in regard to WW I, the world was redone with the fall of the 3 European empires let alone the social and economic devastation to the British and French. Do we think the Guns of August would have happened had any of the combatants had a clue would the war would bring forth? Hardly not, think if Britain had to do it all over again it would go through the Somme, Ypres and all of that for Belgian neutrality? However at each stage the logic of the war, the sunk cost of death and the needs to mobilize the populations to endure the unendurable led Europe inexorably to its doom

    So these days, really since shortly after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there has been a lot of revisionist history about those atomic bombings. Should have Truman done it with allegations of racism, killing Japanese to send a message to the Soviets, etc… My answer to all of them is not would they have dropped the bombs, that’s too easy for people to answer 75 years after the fact in the comfort of the world that those bombs made. The better question is what would they do to otherwise end the war?

    I cannot find it in my notes so I cannot provide the citation, but the estimate was that 75,000 people were dying every month in Asia during the war. Furthermore there were estimates of millions more deaths during the invasion of the Home Islands itself. Keep in mind for those causalities that American analysts had actually underestimated Japanese military preparations for the defense of Japan so the toll would be much more. The recent past of Japanese garrisons fighting to the last man, kamikazes, the willingness of Japanese civilians on Saipan to die made the all of those intelligence intercepts of a Japanese Gotterdammerung seem all too real. If we didn’t invade, then what? Blockade? We already had Japan sealed off, and the country couldn’t feed itself so how many would die during the upcoming winter?

    In short why did those civilians who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki have any more right to live than those who were dying every month or the many more who would die in the months to come? Note, Hiroshima happened only a few weeks after Trinity, we not only did not know of the effects of radiation poisoning killing tens of thousands more but we really couldn’t grasp the power of atomic warfare.

    So what was Truman going to do? We had already endured hundreds of thousands of causalities, untold treasure to build a mighty fleet to come this far. Truman, a WW I vet, knew first hand of the costs of unfinished business let alone of the logic of the Potsdam declaration. The final point was how could Truman ever face the American people, knowing what little we did of the Atomic bomb, and explain how we would endure hundreds of thousands of more casualties when he had a simple solution to end the war.

    When, during the interwar years, we crafted War Plan Orange and thought through how we would fight the Japanese we never guessed that such a war would take the direction that it did. However when the war was actually fought it took on a logic and momentum of its own. Think of it as inertia. The two A-bombs broke that inertia and allowed Hirohito to surrender Japan.

    Two last thoughts:

    Some have argued that the bombings were racist because we never would have dropped them on the Germans. My answer to that was the precursor to Hiroshima was the fire bombing of Tokyo and the precursor to that was the destruction of Hamburg and Dresden. The British had a particular taste for killing Germans and if D-Day had failed and the European War continued into late summer of 1945, the first bomb would have been on Berlin

    The last point is the momentum of war itself. David Goldman had a tweet the other day about how there was the parameters for an April peace deal (well a cease fire) in the Ukraine but that Boris Johnson scuttled it. Think of Biden’s rhetoric about genocide and how Putin cannot remain in office. Now fast forward to today when the lack of Russian gas has Europe facing a potential winter of unrest and in some place of the world famine. What started off as a try by the Russians for a quick coup d’etat is now bordering on an existential crisis. Every step of the way, from launching the war, to Biden’s rhetoric, to probably what comes next has a certain logic to it based on momentum but nobody would ever dream of wanting the outcome

  22. Plenty of us said in February that Europe was going to freeze and parts of the world were going to starve based on the Western response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. We were accused of being Putin lovers and supporting, either implicitly or implicitly, a New Hitler who would overrun all of Europe. The urge to DO SOMETHING overrode all other considerations. Thankfully it looks like famine might not be in the immediate cards, but Europe’s seeing a catastrophe with their electricity supplies well before they are going to have to deal with their lack of heating supplies. We’re in the equivalent of the summer of 1942, I guess, after Peal Harbor but before anything but the immediate aftermath, and while what’s going on today was completely predictable, who knows what the next 4 years will bring?

  23. Mike: “One of the other dimensions of Toll’s and Hornsfischer’s works is the terrible momentum of war”

    Thanks for that thoughtful comment, Mike, and the reference to Toll & Hornfischer. History tells us that nothing goes the way people expect (Everyone has a plan until he gets smacked in the face). Such a pity that we humans are apparently unwilling to learn from history.

  24. Richard Frank’s “Downfall” is still my go-to for the end phase. I haven’t read the operational naval histories, or Frank’s recent book about the Japanese war–and may not, given my already large pile of need-to-reads.

    Clausewitz pointed out that war has a logic all its own. Unfortunately great thinkers like Clausewitz are still crowded out of our educational systems and curricula by the likes of Marx and Freud, just to stick to the DWEMs.

    How all this plays out is anyone’s guess. I stick to my original as-informed-as-I-can-make-it opinion that Putin’s gambit will cost everyone a lot, especially the Russians.

    OTOH the crisis may inspire some much-needed regime change in many places around the globe.

  25. Eddie: “I stick to my original as-informed-as-I-can-make-it opinion that Putin’s gambit will cost everyone a lot, especially the Russians.”

    Could be. Time will tell. The information coming out now about England’s disgusting Boris Johnson telling Zelensky not to negotiate a settlement back in the early days is quite interesting — if it is accurate (which none of us know).

    At that early stage, Russia was apparently prepared to settle for the Ukraine agreeing not to join NATO, recognizing Crimea as being part of Russia, and allowing the Donbas to choose its own way. Very modest. Nothing like the exaggerated Western nonsense that if the Ukraine falls, Russian armies will be on the Atlantic coast. It may also explain why Russia, with those rather modest objectives, has been proceeding so slowly against Kiev.

    But that was then, and this is now. Personal assessment is that the long-term impacts are going to stem from the US/EU sanctions, which are effectively isolating the EU from the rest of the world and turbocharging the development of partnerships within the BRICS. Europe will be a much poorer place when the dust settles, and the US will have lost the ability to run massive trade deficits, causing great disruptions here. How the military situation in the Ukraine turns out will end up being a footnote to those much more significant permanent economic changes. Just one guy’s view!

  26. sacred spaces by burleigh, encapsulates the devastation of the first war, that led to the hecatomb, or the devouring (a turn referrring to the fate of the romani) and the subsequent consequences, through the next half century ‘war is hell’ was so vividly painted,

  27. My comment is now germane here:

    It is reading the last book in the Blowback series that has made a few things clearer. Nemesis by Chalmers Ashby Johnson an ex CIA spook lays out why the CIA is really the most dangerous thing in America. It is the reason Biden is in power. It is the reason Trump rolled over about 4 months into his presidency, and attacked Syria. It is the reason Trump will not get to run again and really is the deep state that runs America.

    It is also real stupid and very aggressive. So the coup in Ukraine in 2014 was CIA as Victoria Nueland freely admitted. Then the CIA weaponized Ukraine and built the greatest set of defences in Europe, armed and trained the Nazis that make up the best troops in Ukraine and then in February, just before the attack of about 80,000 Azov etc troops into Donbass, Russia struck.

    It is using between 20% and 25% of its forces and slowly defeating Ukraine. As it does so the CIA is trying to defeat this slow roll any way it can. As it is not succeeding, it will need to step up its game. American troops in Ukraine is what Putin wants. He would like to defeat America in a conventional war, in Ukraine.

    As he will toss tactical nukes if he thinks he needs to, America will avoid pushing him that far. I suspect America will lose. As this unfolds the Chinese will attack Taiwan.

    It is the sheer madness the CIA has displayed for so many years, a force with control at all, that is making this necessary. The presidents minders. It will take war to deal with this problem, for the rest of the world. What happens to you, is less clear.

  28. By my, probably, almost certainly, imperfect, understanding of Bushido, the prevailing Japanese ethos for the preceding century and more, none of the Japanese participants on the Missouri should have been still alive, let alone acquiescing to surrender. I am specifically unaware of any concept of force majeure that would have justified surrender, to the contrary, death being the only alternative to, or consequence of, defeat. Explicitly, this duty was imposed on all Japanese. The plan to meet the landings with women and children armed with sticks to increase the effectiveness of the machine guns shooting through them as they slowed the assault is perfectly reasonable.

    By this logic, the Emperor, as god, was the only way around this insanity. No other power could have overridden the sense of personal honor of so many officials. As it was, he was nearly prevented from announcing the surrender on radio.

    I’m sure that from Manchuria to Sept. ’45 that the architects of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere would have provided what they considered the irrefutable logic of their program. That a country as bereft of natural resources as Japan couldn’t hope to take its place in an industrialized world without in some way securing access to those things that it lacked. They would have pointed out that they had payed exactly as much attention to the wishes and rights of the indigenous population as their European colonizers. That the indigenous population now also included some of those colonizers was just their tough luck. They did treat those Europeans with slightly more deference than the true natives that were generally exterminated when convenient. I’m reasonably sure they didn’t see 1945 coming when they marched into Manchuria.

    Every war starts as a step off a ledge in the dark, by the time you realize you were too far up to survive, there’s not much to do about it.

  29. I remember reading somewhere that, after WWII broke out, a US senator said that if only he had had a chance to talk to Hitler, he could have prevented the war from starting.
    It seems like those with unwarranted arrogance keep working their way to positions of power, all the while thinking that this time it will be different because they are so much smarter and better informed than their predecessor.
    It’s like too much money and too much power concentrated in one place leads to a concentration of insanity as well.

  30. that might have been William Borah or Idaho, or Gerald Nye, of Iowa, I think. it was the great apocalypse of the previous war, that birthed Hitler and Mussolini and Stalin’s ambition, Nye employed Alger Hiss on his staff, around the time he was recruited by Soviet GRU,

    the late Chalmers Johnson misses his own argument, AJAX succeeded in spite of the CIA because of the impopularity of Mossadecq among the two leading power blocs, the clerics and the merchants, the Japanese red army did further Mao’s organizing, Kim jong il contrary to popular opinion was not the great fighter, he exiled the one who fought the japanese, Chiang for all his faults, did do most of the resisting against the Red Army
    Syria serves as a minor proxy for iran, vs the gulf states and turkey, the latter two parties including qatar nurtured the islamic state and the nusra front as their proxies, as they did in North Africa against the successors to Bin Ali Qaddafi and Mubarak,

  31. Gavin,

    I like those points you made, I think you nailed it as far as the long-term impact of the Ukraine War,

    I agree with those that for the West the critical point of the Ukraine War was in late March, early April. Russia had gained major bloody nose in its drive on Kiev, Ukraine was doing its best imitation of Britain in the summer of 1940, and NATO was seeing itself as reinvigorated with its eyes wide open to the threat from the East. The US and NATO had a choice. Push for an off-ramp and end the war through a negotiated settlement and collect its winnings or decide to double down and go after Putin and bleed Russia dry. We know what they chose to do and the move was praised as the only ethical choice at the time. From the start of the War we had “Don’t give into aggression! Fight Putin! Everyone put an Ukrainian flag emoji on their Twitter account! Alot of cheap sentiment which made doubling down seem the politically smart thing to do. Then we had Biden with his “genocide” and “can’t remain in office” remarks and our Ukraine policy became lashed to the mast.

    As an aside, those Biden remarks had two impacts in the media. The first was that this was Biden’s “Berlin Wall” moment and what a great moral leader he was. The second was that the White House quickly tried to backtrack his comments showing all of us was that this wasn’t a carefully thought-out position. As I tell the man-buns of Arlington, I’ve despised Joe Biden longer than they have been alive. He always struck me as a petty SOB with a giant chip on his shoulder who needed to show everyone how smart and great he was, some people say it is because he went to Delaware instead of an Ivy. This has led him to make some very stupid remarks, saying the quiet part aloud; I remember back in 2016 when he bragged to the press that he held up the billion dollar loan guarantee to Ukraine in exchange for getting a prosecutor fired, the very guy who was investigating Burisma (if Joe Biden was a man in the Mafia as opposed to politics he would have been whacked for revealing the family business in that manner.)

    So why did he say those things about Putin? I think he is petty enough that he felt he got stood up by Zelensky when the latter gave his “I don’t need a ride, I need ammo” quip and I think Joe wanted some of that sweet-Chruchillian-sound bite action…. from such petty men national policy is made. Biden had his Churchill moment and boxed us into a corner because anything short of Putin being removed from power would be seen by everyone as a loss. After all, to paraphrase the quote, if you tell everyone you are going to take Vienna you better darn well take Vienna.

    By late March, we were in a position that we could not have dreamed of a month earlier; Russia had been humiliated and Ukraine was safe. The rational calculations about American national interests regarding Ukraine at that time should have been clear, that we wanted to maintain that country’s sovereignty. So far mission accomplished and at little cost to ourselves. What more could we have had accomplished? A quick calculation would show that we had a number of wasting assets, those things which were at their highest point and could only weaken. The first was popular opinion in Europe and the U.S.; supporting Ukraine was popular because it was a costless way to show virtue in regard to fellow citizens, a differently hued pride flag. Similarly the invasion had unified NATO, pulling together its disparate elements. Taken together that unity, that popular sentiment was at its high point and could only go down as time progressed. The second was the obvious one, of food and energy security. The longer the war went on, the more Russia’s stranglehood on both would come into play and (as we have seen), and the more likely European popular opinion would crack and NATO splinter.

    So by late March, the West was at an optimal point. Russia had been stopped and embarrassed in front of the world., popular support was strong, NATO was strengthened, and none of the costs of energy or food shortages had occurred. If the war ended then the West could escape the long-term problems of crashing popular support and the food/energy famine. The smart move would be to take your winnings and go home. Of course we didn’t and in fact by extending the war we endangered the real foreign crown jewels of American foreign policy interests, the dollar as reserve currency and SWIFT, because the BRICS saw how we would use our privileged position to abuse other countries via sanctions.

    So what could have we have done?

    1) First, at the onset of the crisis in the Fall of 2021, do a rational calculation of your assets and what we could afford to risk. While nobody expected a long war, there are enough weenies down at NSC let alone State, Energy, and Ag to provide a detailed risk assessment briefing in the context of scenario planning. Your National Security Advisor’s briefing could be summarized as short war win good, short war loss not so good (cue minor incursion), long war bad – not just bad as far as energy and food but also because you cannot predict what will happen the longer things go on which is never good with a nuclear power..

    2) Second, in late March as it became clear Russia wasn’t going to win in a cakewalk decide what an off-ramp in terms of ending the war would look like. Yes I know with the way Ukraine was sticking it the Russians everyone was on a cloud nine not seen since the end of the Col War but that is the time you back to #1 above and do a hard calculation. Especially since there was a rumbling fear that Putin would radically escalate the war. As Gavin mentioned we probably could have had the war end based only on the NATO/Crimea/Donbas axis which we would have taken in a heart beat on February 25. Instead with all the risk that a longer war would entail, Biden went with the mob, euphoria, and his own deluded sense of self.

    3) So the argument I get against the peace deal I mentioned in #2 is that it doesn’t really punish Putin and therefore only encourages future aggression. I disagree somewhat that it doesn’t punish but if you really want to give Putin a big strategic kick to the groin you take away his energy weapon. While the costs of LNG are generally higher due to transportation costs, exploiting US natural gas to replace the Russian gas Europe uses would be a huge hit to Russia. Couple that with dropping the benchmark gas price and you ruin Russia’s attempt to sell its gas to the Chinese for anything but at a steep discount. A strategy that would both punish yet not directly confront Russia

    That would have been leadership by taking into account both our interests and capabilities and devising a strategy that could steer us through a confrontation with a nuclear power. What it does take is clear-headed calculation, strategic thinking, and the mobilization of popular opinion toward realistic ends. Joe Biden failed on all three counts. First he failed in strategic planning on day 1 of his administration by knee-capping American energy production which would be the great trump card to play. He furthered those error)s) by not thinking more than 1 step ahead, witness the “can’t stay in power” speech which produced little in the way of benefit while at the same time committing our policy to an unreasonable standard of success.

    Somebody, somewhere down the road from me inside the Beltway has an inside line on the process by which these decisions are made. I would like to think for the nation’s sake, that he will not wait long to expose why this is happening. Silence in such high matters of state is complicity

  32. there were miscalculations on both sides, gerasimov was clearly the uber strategist, he thinks you say ‘hybrid warfare’ a notion created by a white russian who emigrated to argentina, btw, is like a magical invocation, but its a tactic not a strategy, the retreat from afghanistan emboldened him, Russian strategy in the Soviet era, was often fool hardy in Afghanistan, the ZENITH Spetnaz gruppia, took out Tarik Amin, for reasons unclear, instead of focusing on bases of resistance like Ismail Khan in Herat, this was just the beginning of a humiliating stalemate, just five years after the retreat, they learned few lessons, in Grozny, the plan there was to take out Dudayev, that took two years, but they sowed a whole group of scorpions, like Basayev, who had apprenticed in Abkhazia, like khattab who had cut his teeth in Afghanistan, after almost 10 years, they found a durable proxy in Kadyrov jr, but the brushfire still burned,

  33. now this operation, was the triumph of hope over experience, the records of the frunze academy, would have told you not to launch an operation, in the spring in that part of the world,

  34. so that’s on the russian side of the ledger, considering the Western governments have helped target over a dozen staff officers, and maybe three dozen mid level ones, the Russians have been restrained relatively in not striking forward bases in Poland, for instance, that could be a Sincope like provocation, the battle that drew the French and British directly into the Crimean conflict

    but the Ukrainians are still outnumber 3/1 in troops, weapons might now be 4/1, aircraft 5/1, the battle has been mostly over the industrial zone, in the eastern part of the country, that the likes of Akhmatov control, much as with the Bosnian moslems, there isn’t one contiguous force, just a series of militias, often at odds with each other, as much as with the Russians, the Azov the smallest and most well known, the Dnipro etc,

  35. Keep in mind the Russians are not at war, and are using a small fraction of the power they have.

    Once the Ukrainian forces are used up, anyone hear about Azov anymore? The Russians will be able to break out. If I am right they will do that really slowly, and try to upset the CIA to the point they will commit American troops.

    Then a few armies will arrive and the proceedings can begin in earnest.

  36. I don’t think there was a legitimate off-ramp opportunity in the spring, unfortunately. The two sides have been using Ukraine as their plaything for decades, and see the current moment as their chance for a decisive blow, and are not interested in extending the stalemate.
    Russia thought it could decapitate the Kiev regime in a lightning strike and install a friendly regime, like it was able to do pre-Maidan. It also saw itself in a strong position relative to Europe and their dependence on their oil and gas, that may be lessened in several years time. And I believe that they and China figured that they could use Western reaction to the invasion to accelerate their assaults on Western institutions and the construction of alternatives.
    The West, mainly meaning the US and UK, saw the Russian invasion as their opportunity for a new Afghanistan to bleed Russia dry again and force another regime change. They seem to have been surprised that Zelensky didn’t flee the country, in fact by all accounts they urged him to do so. Flooding Ukraine with small arms to support a domestic resistance to a Russian regime and occupation seems to have been what they expected to be doing, not supplying the Ukrainian army with heavy arms to fight a conventional war. The first Trump impeachment showed clearly that the foreign policy establishment in the US and UK are absolutely deranged lunatics, and have been absolutely up to no good in Ukraine.
    The Western sanctions seem to be primarily destroying the European economy. Some might even speculate that that is in fact part of their objective–the Great Reset. It depends on whether you lean towards assuming incompetence or malice. At this point I am starting to lean more towards the latter, given what we’ve seen over the past several years.

  37. Basically Putin ordering the invasion was “iacta ālea est”…now we just have to see how the game unfolds…

  38. Mike: “we probably could have had the war end based only on the NATO/Crimea/Donbas axis which we would have taken in a heart beat on February 25.”

    Not so sure Our Betters wanted that deal. Remember back at the end of last year when the news media was full of stories about Russia massing forces on the borders of the Ukraine, Russia took the very unusual step of publishing documents it sent to both NATO and the US laying out their concerns and basically proposing the NATO/Crimea/Donbas deal. Our Betters blew that proposal off. They wanted war!

    If we dig into the background, someone in the DC Swamp has been pushing for war over the Ukraine since about 2005, with particular vigor after 2014. They wanted war!

    But Our Dumb Betters misjudged their own strength. If they wanted war, war instead of jaw, jaw (as Churchill might have said), they could have limited themselves to providing material & financial support to the Ukraine. Instead, they went all in with direct financial & trade sanctions on Russia — which are now blowing back in their faces.

    As MCS says, Our Betters stepped off a ledge before checking how high above the ground they were. They chose war. Now the Ukrainians are paying the price, and soon the Europeans are going to be sharing their acute pain. So unnecessary!

  39. Penny wrote: “American troops in Ukraine is what Putin wants.”

    Ohmygoodness!! If that’s what Putin wants, then he’s as delusional as you are. If America entered the war it would roll up the entire Russian army in a month. It wouldn’t need a single American boot on the ground, either. American air power alone could do it. The only reason it would take a month is because America doesn’t have enough C-17s to carry the munitions required across the Atlantic any faster.

    You need to step back from the Russian propaganda and come back to the real world. Being that divorced from reality is going to get somebody hurt.

  40. @Mile – MacArthur had another humiliation for the Emperor. He summoned him, which before would have been unthinkable.

  41. N.S. Lyons’ had an interesting post over at his The Great Upheaval Substack regarding China’s food security policy and I couldn’t help but compare and contrast it with our discussions about the energy cliff we’re about to fall off regarding Ukraine.

    Europe isn’t the only entity that has offshored its energy security to potential adversaries, witness our current president. Since the first day of his administration when he canceled Keystone and restricted drilling on federal lands, Biden has weakened America’s energy security in the name of the Green New Deal. Any doubt that this is nothing but a redux of the Obama-Steve Chu Experience of using higher gas prices to produce a transition to green energy was dispelled when Biden finally admitted that the current gas price were part of a “historic transition.”

    The problem of course is that the resultant gas prices are toxic to one’s political health, especially with a midterm election coming up and competitors in the Democratic Party smelling a potential challenge for 2024. The obvious solution would be to restart drilling, but Biden cannot do that because if he crosses the environmental wing of the party he might not make it through 2023 let alone make it 2025, Solution? Kiss up to OPEC+ and some of the worst regimes on the planet. It’s not only about fist bumps with MBS, who quickly shafted Biden. It’s also Iran, the renewed push for an imminent deal with Iran with the upcoming midterms is not coincidental, it’s rumored that Iran has an extra 900,000 bpd of spare capacity that could quickly hit the market and drop gas prices right before November.

    Yep nothing like empowering the “Death to America” crowd in the day of weakening the nation..Speaking of exquisite timing, the Republican nomination campaign will be kicking off in the new year, just as the worst of Europe’s energy crisis begins to hit,

  42. Salman is a ajman on his mothers side they are used to betrayal by all sides in his memoir kushner didnt recognize the deeper game the qataris were playing against him to skuttle thr abraham accords modi knows the regime is against him so does bolsonaro that about 2.8 billion people we have ticked off

  43. Speaking of humor, you know what would be hilarious? I’d like to see the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs give a briefing on Russian military doctrine and capabilities. Can you imagine? These two fat turds have a combined IQ well below either of their body weights. The fact that they both rose to the top of the DoD is the greatest indictment of the military today, beyond even ships unable to not smash into each other or procurement of new systems to ever deliver or all the DEI lunacy.

  44. mkent: ” If America entered the war it would roll up the entire Russian army in a month.”

    Hmmm! Let’s set aside Democrat Party bravado and look at history for some guidance. Remember Operation Desert Storm? How many months did it take for the US even to assemble the forces to take on Saddam Hussein’s highly under-motivated army? And remember the “No Blood for Oil” crowd that were trying to undermine the US effort?

    In reality, if the US moved to being a full belligerent in the Ukrainian war, nuclear missiles would be flying before our transgendered troops had got their high heels on. Are corrupt Zelensky and Biden’s family backhanders worth the death of everyone you know?

  45. “Ohmygoodness!! If that’s what Putin wants, then he’s as delusional as you are. If America entered the war it would roll up the entire Russian army in a month.”

    The US has entered the war. Its using Ukrainians to fight though and that can not go on forever. The tactics, command and intel are all NATO/US at this point. The weapons are also becoming mostly US and NATO supplied.

    The offensive in South is much better understood now. There are 5 waves with a few to come. The first wave was about 5,000 troops, good troops with Ukrainian special forces making up a lot of it. It was supposed to seize towns and villages and then be massively reinforced by the second wave of about 10,000 troops, not quite as good as the first wave, but still very good. The first wave failed and the second wave mostly tried to save the first wave. Both have been effectively wiped out.

    The third wave of 20,000 troops is now, I think attacking. It is not really up to the standard of the first 2 but pretty good. It consists of people who have fought for 4 months in various places in the east, reinforced with some better troops. The remnants of Azov perhaps. It is being destroyed. This is exactly how America would fight, as its American tactics and command in play.

    There are 2 more waves of 20,000 each and they are not as good as the ones before them, with less experienced troops and if they too get wiped out,Ukraine is wide open. Lets not even think about the Third Army and its massive reinforcement of the Donbass, which should turn into a serious attack any moment.

    So fairly soon we should know how things are going to work out. I really don’t think American troops can face they will have to face if they fight the Russians. They are used to fighting savages with no air, no real force, and its not like that in Ukraine.

  46. Being that divorced from reality is going to get somebody hurt.

    Well, that’s something I can agree with.

    The rest, not so much. In actual practice I bet the US air force would run out of ammunition very quickly, in the same manner the US army already is. That is, there aren’t massive stockpiles built up nor is there the capacity to build them.

    Compare and contrast with the footage from the country that used to exist, linked above. What jumped out at me, just a bit, was that almost every single item then used by the American military was made in America, by Americans.

    Now, lately, not even the microchips in American smart bombs are made in America. That’s sounds crazy to me, but I still recall being told that it was OK that these chips were made in China because they were made on segregated production lines. I hope that that’s not true- and they’re actually made in the US- but very little surprises me these days.

    And it gets worse. I think the Deep State would be quite happy to see C-17s coming back to America filled with body bags. That is, they’d love to go to war against Russia, because crazy- and they’d be quite happy to send the Jesusland freaks they despise far away to die.

    Their problem is that we’ve figured that out. Supposedly the army is having the worst year of recruiting since 1973, and I’ve heard of quite jaw-dropping re-enlistment bonuses for the sort of job that used to have none.

    I think sending billions of dollars to Ukraine and depleting American weapons stocks is the best the Deep State can manage these days. The Iraq War wrecked conservative support for foreign wars, and I’ll give the anti-war left enough credit to think at least some of them meant what they said about being anti-war. Hence, I conclude that there is no longer any mass constituency for expensive and bloody foreign adventures in the US, period.

    Despite the best efforts of the Deep State.

  47. Do you believe in magic, in an old maid’s heart?

    How the magic will freeze her, when reality starts?

    And it’s magic, which doesn’t exist, but it can make her feel happy like an old time movie.

    I’ll tell you about the magic, and it’ll wreck your soul.

    But it’s like trying to tell a green ’bout oil and coal.

    If you believe in magic, don’t bother to choose.

    Liz Truss will be giving you the realtime blues.

    Just go and listen it’ll start with a grimace.

    It won’t wipe off your face no matter how hard you try.

    Your feet start twitching and you can’t seem to find.

    Where you can escape to, so just blow your mind…

    Yeah, magic.

  48. Like I said recently, you’re not going to see free market reforms in Europe, you’re going to see communism. Small businesses are going to be wiped out, people impoverished, and industries nationalized.
    (In other ongoing catastrophes, excess deaths continue to grow and grow, and no one even pretends it’s primarily due to covid, and no one’s even talking about it except the internet crazies.)

  49. Hospitals as far away as Germany are taking in wounded from the great counteroffensive.

    Madness witnessed. Survivors of a TOS 1 strike, the thermometric weapon, their survival astounding in its self, trying to put out the fires in all their trenches and foxholes, so they could get back in them.

  50. I recall asking (later Sir) John Keegan in about 1990 (?) if he stuck by his conclusion in The Face of Battle that battle had abolished itself.

    He grimaced a bit and said that there was at least one person everywhere he spoke . . .

    Hemmed and hawed a bit and IIRC concluded that he still thought it possible.

    He was a better historian (though overrated) than prophet.

  51. “Ukraine launches the Great Balakliya Offensive – Russian forces caught off guard.”

    This is developing well for Ukraine and has created much consternation amongst Russian defences. This could be quite interesting, unlike the carnage in the south.

  52. Ukraine/US/NATO launched 80,000 men across flat ground into the teeth of Russian artillery after announcing the counterattack some 5 weeks earlier. An operation so full of holes, that I knew about the 5 waves, early on in the attack.

    They have managed to chase some DPR troops around, taken 4 or 5 villages, and this is at a very large cost in dead and wounded. Just criminal.

    Now the attack into the Izium front was unexpected, has cut through very lightly defended territory into actual threatening positions. the Russians are having to make some serious adjustments and has produced more actual gains than the stupid to the south.

  53. I think Sir John was premature, now large scale mobilizations like world war one and two, are probably out of the question, well saw some clashes in the Gulf War, but many events ended up more like Beirut, then Bastogne,

  54. As of 28 Aug., the Russian Ministry of Fiance has paid more than 48,000 death bounties for Russian Army only KIA. Leading to a reasonable estimate of around 180,000 KIA, WIA and MIA from all forces, roughly the entire initial force in March.
    Note that the 48,000 number is from the Russians themselves and doesn’t include DNR/LNR, Chechen Militia, or Wagner mercs.

  55. Can someone explain to me how the entire invasion force could be killed, wounded, or dead, and yet they’re still there in force, without a general mobilization in Russia?
    I honestly don’t understand how I’m supposed to believe that.
    Speaking of which, I’ve mentioned this before recently, but I find it incredibly curious that there are essentially zero war correspondents covering this war. The entire foreign media coverage seems to have evaporated. I see videos of partying like normal in Kiev, and every Western politician who can goes there for a photo op, but no journalist can drive a few hours to the front lines? Yes, I know there are videos online, I can see those, but where are the “real” journalists who you’d think would be covering the story of a lifetime? And there’s zero coverage from inside Russia? The state of the media strangest thing, and yet it goes entirely unremarked upon…

  56. It is the large, very large number of Ukrainian casualness that should concern you. Ever hear of Azov anymore?

    This is why the reporting through the usual channels has shut down. There are no good stories in Ukraine, just defeat and death. I could flood this place with news, vids etc, but you really do not want to know.

  57. “It is the large, very large number of Ukrainian casualness that should concern you.”
    Well, you mean casualties, and I am curious about that, but the casualness is correct also…

  58. Brina: “I find it incredibly curious that there are essentially zero war correspondents covering this war.”

    Yes, that is curious. The probable explanation is that the “independent” Western media will not pay for any reports by correspondents or freelancers. Media is happy to report whatever is promoted by the Kiev Kleptocrats — old guy shooting down a Russian jet with a rifle that turned out to be a shotgun, etc. Notice the complete lack of reporting in Western media about Kiev’s two recent failed attempts to seize the nuclear power plant, and how reporting on the Kherson “offensive” almost vanished as soon as its failure became apparent.

    There probably are a few George Orwell true believer types in the heart of the civil war in the Ukraine. Eventually, they may write “Homage to Catalonia” type books, so that years from now we may learn what was really happening. In the here-and-now, it looks as if Western politicians are making unwise decisions based on wishful thinking from Kiev instead of on hard facts on the ground. The misinformation is way beyond the “Fog of War”.

  59. Penny, we have noticed that you are fond of making bold but unsupported claims.

    As to war casualties in Ukraine, I recently saw a reference (sorry, I’ve forgotten where) that Ukraine has suffered 100,000- 200,000 killed. Civilians. Not KIA, but Killed By Russians (KBR).

    The usual channels for reporting circumstances on the ground?? Like CNN reporting on Iraq? Like Hamas requiring “Sponsors” for foreign correspondants in Gaza? I don’t miss them. There is, however, a substantial assembly of local and foreign commenters with the appropriate language skills to report on what appears in the Russian and Ukrainian press.
    As always, you have to use your own judgement on what to believe, and then pick a side.
    Nothing new here, it is what we have always done.

    Here is a topical example, it is about Nazis in Ukraine, a favorite topic of a few commenters on Chicago Boyz:

  60. “a substantial assembly of local and foreign commenters with the appropriate language skills to report on what appears in the Russian and Ukrainian press”
    Why on earth would I want to read that? I guess it would be somewhat interesting to know how each side is propagandizing, I mean informing, its citizens, but if I want to actually know what’s going on, I want direct report, not second-hand reporting on reporting.

    “you have to use your own judgement on what to believe, and then pick a side.”
    Why do I have to pick a side to believe? Both sides are selling nonsense, not trying to report truth.

    Blinken just zipped into Kiev, that super dangerous city under siege where videos show the people are partying like they’re friends of the Finnish Prime Minister, to announce he’s dumping a couple billion more dollars down the endless money pit. No word on which former friends of Hunter are getting what.

  61. “As always, you have to use your own judgement on what to believe, and then pick a side.”

    Understanding the the CIA started this conflict is one thing. Understanding that as that is true, Putin has little choice but to break the CIA’s weaponized country threatening him, Ukraine, is another thing.

    Picking a side is really pointless unless you understand what is going on. Even then its probably pointless. I have a Z T Shirt as I do have emotional connections to the people of the Donbass, having followed their fight since 2014.

    Just in the last while, the entire first wave of the great Kherson counterattack was wiped out. The second wave escaped with many dead. there is about 10,000 dead right there, in the first 2 waves. The third, fourth, and fifth waves totalling about 60,000 troops has been very much attrited and the remnants are holding a few villages. So maybe half of them are dead. so 40,000 troops wiped out in a mad stupid attack.

    The contrast with the Izium attack could not be greater. A smart and useful attack into largely undefended areas and swift taking of positions that really screw up the Russian defences, in the mid part of the eastern front.

  62. More about Ukrainian nazis, from 2017:

    Be careful reading. It might be badthink now.

    As always, you have to use your own judgement on what to believe, and then pick a side.

    No, I do not have to pick a side in a war between foreigners thousands of miles away, even though the regime is forcing me to pay for it- at gunpoint, of course.

    That said, this isn’t so much a war between Russia and Ukraine as it’s a war between Russia and Davos.

    I definitely will not be on the side of a murderous cabal of genocidal manics who want to exterminate most of humanity and enslave the rest.

    Right now their deranged incompetence is such that the economies of the EU are imploding, with a very real possibility that large numbers of people will freeze to death this winter. Millions more outside the EU may starve, and certainly the economic dislocations aren’t making the world a better place.

    As far as I can discern, the Russian regime was content to leave me alone, after the Cold War ended. The Davosie keep plotting my death.

  63. It is so good to see the poor Ukrainian mill bloggers with something to actually crow about. They have been just posting BS for so long, and now they have actual victories. ;)

    It was getting boring.

  64. “Can someone explain to me how the entire invasion force could be killed, wounded, or dead, and yet they’re still there in force, without a general mobilization in Russia?”

    It’s worse for the Russians than it looks. Only 200,000 total casualties from 48,000 known dead (they’ve paid off the families of that many dead soldiers) is 3 WIA per KIA. The American ratio is much higher, around 8 I think. A lot of wounded don’t survive to get treated. As to where they get the men; being healthy enough to walk around outside in the DNR/LNR is apparently good for a free Mosan-Nagant rifle and a free (one way) ticket to the front, cartridges extra. The good news for the rRusians is they don’t have to pay off those families. For the rest, you’ll have to ask Putin.

  65. “As to where they get the men; being healthy enough to walk around outside in the DNR/LNR is apparently good for a free Mosan-Nagant rifle and a free (one way) ticket to the front, cartridges extra.”

    In Ukraine they grab everyone. There is an entire class of vids, about escaping from being drafted in Ukraine. Oct 1 they start grabbing all the women too.

  66. If there is one thing the Russians know how to do, it is hats:

    Only the Norks do it better.

    Yes Penny, it is called Conscription. In the US, we had it for the Civil War, WWI, then from 1940-1972 (WWII, Korea and Viet Nam). Canada had it for WWI & WWII. The Horror! Countries faced with existential threats (i.e.-genocide) trend that way. Watsamatter, women up your way not equal to the men??


    Well, now it is (almost) Friday.

  67. The ‘<>’ seems to cancel what was in between, which was:

    “Wait, now you’re up to 200k in casualties? Again, how can that possibly be true?”
    Well, now it is (almost) Friday.

  68. Well sure haha the Russian army is a shambles, but that 200k number can’t possibly be correct, and shouldn’t we try to at least stay connected to reality? Saying that that number is absurd doesn’t make someone a Putin lover…

  69. This is the first actual victory for Ukraine in this conflict. The withdrawals from Kyiv and Karkiv have been touted as great victories by the Ukrainian forces, as they had nothing else.

    Now a significant advance into Russian held territory is not going to win the war, but its a real victory created by these brave and smart people. The Russians are scrambling to get this land back.

  70. It is interesting that the Russian leaning mil bloggers are the ones that picked this up, as it was occurring. The mil bloggers have a host of contacts they get information from. and the most valuable are often the ones on the ground. The people in the conflict zones, soldiers, locals are pushing information to these guys as they get it. Its not unlikely the Russian military was behind the mil bloggers, in learning about this attack. ;)

  71. Pengun: “Now a significant advance into Russian held territory is not going to win the war …”

    Somewhere, long ago, I read a comment from a WWII US officer. He warned his brethren that when your attack is going to plan, you are probably walking into an ambush.

    Certainly, the Kiev forces getting out of their defensive trenches and taking the fight to the Donbas Ukrainian/Russian forces is a bold move — high risk, too. We have to admire the courage of the guys on the front lines. But are they dying for anything more than a PR stunt for “General” Milley’s Ramstein beg-fest for more baksheesh for the ruling clique in Kiev?

  72. Certainly does look like a complete fiasco for the Russians on that whole front. That thread makes Trent sound like a lunatic, though.
    “It will have ongoing political appreciations of Western governments that were applicable to the Front’s operations.
    This will provide Ukraine considerable leverage against a whole lot of EU & US politicians for decades.”
    WTF is he talking about?

    Russia’s major flaw in this whole thing has been thinking the Ukrainians are far more incompetent than they actually are. They assumed the Kiev government would flee in terror, the people would just shrug and accept Russian occupation, and that the Ukrainians couldn’t mount an offensive. I have no idea how far they can go, but it seems unlikely that Russia can mount a major offensive at this point even whenever this one peters out. What did the Russians think was going on for the past 7 months, if not training up Ukrainians as well as providing them with assets and manpower to do something like this?
    Never underestimate the other guy. That still holds true for the West when looking at Russia and China, of course. We’re all locked in this stupid thing together, and there’s tons more turns to go…

  73. This will provide Ukraine considerable leverage against a whole lot of EU & US politicians for decades.

    Nothing makes me want to start chanting slava ukraina like reading about how awesome it will be that the Ukrainian regime will now be better able to blackmail Western politicians.


  74. Trent’s observations on the civil war in the Ukraine remind me of Trent’s observations on the CovidScam. What Trent does — and does well — is catalog the tidal wave of information from secondary sources. If that “information” turns out to be misinformation, then the conclusions will be wrong. The health impact from the CovidScam was much milder than those secondary sources suggested. And we know that Kiev and its Western backers have won the internet battle hands down, with misinformation that began with the non-existent Angel of Kiev and has carried on continuously since.

    So what is really happening? We don’t know. Donbas Ukrainian & Russian incompetence is certainly a possible explanation for the Kiev forces current success. But we have to remember the history of warfare. Was it incompetence when Churchill took no steps to prevent the German bombing of Coventry in WWII, although he knew it was coming? Or was it a necessary price to pay to protect the more important secret that the Brits had broken the German codes?

    One thing is for sure — actions have reactions, and there will be consequences from the Kiev forces successful assault. Perhaps Russia will pull back its forces, apologize, and give the Germans unlimited free gas for the next 5 years. Perhaps President Putin will finally do what so many Russians have been encouraging him to do, and bomb Kiev flat. We will all have to wait & see.

  75. If those darned Ukes would just stop squirming and writhing and take the drubbing they so richly merit!

    Well, it’s one perspective.

  76. The Davosie did a good job focusing Russian attention on the Kherson area- although this killed a lot of Ukrainian troops- and now they have an awesome set of headlines to crow about.

    This reminds of the battle of Trenton during the American Revolution. About to go down for the count, Washington launched a daring attack against Hessian mercenaries. It was a great success, and helped convince foreigners to support the revolutionaries.

    Now Ukraine has a similar victory. But the foreigners are already all-in on supporting them- and now the Russians have a grand opportunity to kill some of Ukraine’s best troops and destroy a lot more foreign equipment. And the economy of Europe is still imploding.

    I suspect Ukraine is going to need all that extra blackmail material.

  77. If those darned Ukes would just stop squirming and writhing and take the drubbing they so richly merit!

    You mean like how the people of the Donbass took their drubbing from Ukraine? For like eight years?

  78. “Nothing makes me want to start chanting slava ukraina like reading about how awesome it will be that the Ukrainian regime will now be better able to blackmail Western politicians.”
    I have no idea what Trent’s talking about here. Ukraine is nothing but a slush fund for the pleasure of Western politicians. What does he think they can capture from the Russians to let them blackmail people they launder money for? What bizarro world is this from?

  79. Update:

    1. The enemy announced the capture of Balakleya. There is no information about the fighting around the city.
    2. The enemy also announced the capture of the western part of Kupyansk. On the other side, the DRG is already operating.
    3. Even according to the statements of the enemy, he has not yet entered Izyum. In the morning and afternoon there were still battles. Part of the forces began to retreat to Oskol at night. The situation in the areas south and west of Izyum is not clear.
    4. After occupying the western part of Kupyansk, as well as Shevchenkovo, the enemy threw groups of DRGs and light infantry to the north, which are advancing towards Veliky Burluk, taking advantage of the absence of a solid front line.
    5. Volchansk is being evacuated. There is conflicting information about whether the city will be held.
    6. Svatovo is under the complete control of the LPR, no one approached him. During the day there was no particular panic.
    7. Krasny Liman and Yampol. By evening, they were held by our troops, who repelled several enemy attacks. The enemy’s plan to rapidly reach Oskol from the south during one day failed.
    8. In the light of the official withdrawal of the RF Armed Forces from the Kharkiv region, it is still difficult to say where the line of deployment of the withdrawn troops outlined by the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces is located.

  80. Was it incompetence when Churchill took no steps to prevent the German bombing of Coventry in WWII, although he knew it was coming? Or was it a necessary price to pay to protect the more important secret that the Brits had broken the German codes?

    I have since read in several places that the Coventry story is a myth. Here,for example.

    That afternoon, Churchill prepared to leave Downing Street by car to spend the weekend at Ditchley Park, northwest of Oxford. As his car prepared to leave, John Martin, his Principal Private Secretary, handed him a top-secret message in a locked box. As the car reached the Albert Memorial, Churchill read the message. It was the latest intelligence from Brigadier Menzies—”C”—head of the Secret Intelligence Services. Churchill immediately told his driver to return to Downing Street, explaining to Martin that he was not going to spend the night peacefully in the country while the capital was “under heavy attack.”[6]

    Coventry was only identified as the target when the German guide beams were indicating it.

  81. Sure, Xennady, just like that.

    Poor Russians, the Charlie Brown of continent-size nuclear-armed former super-powers.

    Light a candle already.

  82. that point has been made in the imitation game, (it strikes why they didn’t return most of the bletchley park crew for ghcq) and in stevensons cryptonomicon, when you have the enemies codes, how do you not tip them off they are aware, the yamamoto downing was supposedly in a zone, where they could not have accidentally intersected him,

    moving closer to the present day, there was a tap that the nsa had on the father in law of one of the hijackers, which had communicated in 2000 and right before the attack, from his base in sanaa,


    Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) announced on Friday that it had begun conducting a “filtration” of civilians in Balakleya, a town in Kharkov Region reportedly re-taken by forces of the Kiev government. SBI agents will be checking for those who “may pose a threat to national security,” the agency said.


    Ukraine had charged the town’s mayor with treason in April, accusing him of collaborating with Russian troops and helping them distribute humanitarian aid.

    Distributing humanitarian aid?!! To the gallows!

    I’m paying for this, as usual. It’s one reason I haven’t leapt into the Ukrainian beet wagon like so many others. I’m rather weary of the endless chaos caused by the Davosie ruling the Western world – and I want it to cease.

    There are many ways this catastrophe could have been avoided, either before it started or soon after, and the West blocked all of them. Worse, I know full well Davos yearns to impose the same sort of brutality upon the West that Zelensky has imposed upon Ukraine.

    No thanks.

  84. Light a candle already.

    Again, eight years of shelling.

    They were supposed to just take it, right? Accept that they could die at any time because of a ukie shell, because Russia bad?

    Yep. I know no one asked, but I think I’ve figured out why I’ve had such a bad reaction to one side of this war. They remind me of the Palestinians. Terror shelling, cutting off the water to Crimea, etc, etc- and just like the Palestinians, I get to pay for it.

    When Czechoslovakia had trouble shoehorning two peoples into one state, they just separated. No muss, no fuss.

    When Ukraine had that CIA-funded coup, the Ukrainians decided to eradicate Russian culture and the Russian language from the country. The Russians objected- and some fraction of Ukraine seceded. The Ukrainian response wasn’t to let them go, like the civilized Czechs.

    Nope. It was eight years of shelling and an incipient invasion.

    Thumbs down.

  85. Just a side thought. Let’s assume that Zelensky’s forces are triumphant, humiliating Russia and sending the Russians back to the border. Then what?

    Obvious “then what” is that the flow of $Billions to Kiev would stop. Even Biden would not want to go into the mid-term elections crowing about sending money the US does not have to rebuild the corrupt Ukraine while US needs go unattended.

    Bottom line — Zelensky likely wants enough success to keep the money flowing in, but not so much success that the Ukraine wins.

  86. “Obvious “then what” is that the flow of $Billions to Kiev would stop.”
    Um, what? They were saying a few months ago it would take hundreds of billions dollars to “rebuild their economy”. You can be sure the money flow will never, ever, ever stop.

  87. “It’s one reason I haven’t leapt into the Ukrainian beet wagon like so many others.”
    Honestly it was the first impeachment farce for me. In order to cover up insane Biden family corruption, they made up that whole ridiculous joke and all the same gang of lunatics, from Fiona Hill to “Lt. Col.” Fatso to Pencil Neck Schiff were involved this time as well. Sorry, no interest from me. I hope the Ukrainian people get to lead happy and prosperous lives, but that’s not in anyone in power’s interest, and I refuse to be jerked around and treated like a moron.
    I hope the Russian people get to be happy and prosperous, and the people of Ukraine do, and most of all, and primarily, that the people of America do, and the primary way that can be accomplished isn’t to funnel infinite amount of money to the CIA and DoD to give some to Kiev and keep most of it for their own nefarious purposes.

  88. Mike K: “I have since read in several places that the Coventry story is a myth.”

    That is an interesting reminder about how difficult it is to know many things during a war. The Germany bombing of Coventry was about 80 years ago. Lots of people have written books & memoirs. Many people blamed Churchill for the massive death toll in Coventry, and he had lots of reasons to set the record straight — if indeed it needed to be corrected. And yet here we are, many decades later, still unsure what really happened.

    So what is happening in the Ukraine today? We don’t know.

  89. Honestly it was the first impeachment farce for me.

    I think I was dimly aware that something fishy was going on re Ukraine even before then, but I figured it was just more of the usual democrat corruption.

    Oops. I certainly didn’t expect this roiling catastrophe.

    And it looks worse in retrospect. Why exactly was LtCol Vindmann on the NSC, anyway? The US army has lots of Ltcols, why the pick the one who offered the job as Ukrainian defense minister?

    This reeks of a long running scheme that has taken without the involvement of the people who are paying for it- that is, the people of the west.

    And of course, the rank-and-file people of Ukraine. Supposedly Zelensky ran on and won by promising to make peace with Russia. We’re seeing how well that went.

  90. Hubris is a sin. It will also lose you a lot of territory if you indulge in it. ;)

    So the Karkiv front abandoned. Much scrambling to create a continuous front again, and now, I suspect in response to the shelling of Zaporizhzhia, Putin has turned off a lot of Ukraine’s power. With missiles.

  91. Let’s remember the basic facts of that insane impeachment fiasco–a military NSC member who obviously has bizarre foreign interests and entanglements listens in on the president’s phone calls, then tells his buddy in the CIA that the president is asking about Joe Biden’s filthy corrupt idiot sone, the CIA guy then runs to Adam Schiff, the CIA IG or whoever rewrites the “whistleblower” process to somehow allow a CIA employee to “whistleblow” on the freaking President about something he only heard about second-hand, and Congress then impeaches the President, based primarily on this fat idiot LTC’s testimony. Said fat idiot LTC is somehow not immediately removed from his post, and no one in the DoD is allowed to criticize him in any way, not for disrespectfully insisting a Senator call him “Lieutenant Colonel”, not for making himself obviously completely worthless as an advisor, not for anything. It’s the most inexplicably bizarre and stupid thing ever, until just about everything that has happened in the three years since.

  92. Why doth treason never prosper, what’s the reason? Because If it prospers, none dare call it treason.

    And if anyone does dare, they’ll send the FBI after them and all their friends.

  93. The Russians appear to be getting their act together. Trying to take a country with so few troops requires a bit more care than was displayed. Its about 8 – 1 for Ukraine in the areas being fought over now, but reinforcements are coming for the Russians.

  94. Been reported for a little while, but it’s interesting nonetheless that Xi’s first trip outside of China since covid started includes meeting with Putin this week in Kazakhstan:
    “LONDON/BEIJING, Sept 12 (Reuters) – Xi Jinping will leave China for the first time in more than two years for a trip this week to Central Asia where he will meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin, just a month before he is set to cement his place as the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.
    The trip, Xi’s first abroad since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, shows he is confident about both his grip on power as he heads for a third term in office and about his role as a world leader at a time of renewed great power friction.”

    Interesting quote here. Good luck finding daylight between Beijing and Moscow. More proof for anyone doubting it that Ukraine is just one battle in the war these two have decided to fight:
    “Xi Jinping ‘Willing To Work’ With Putin To Steer Global Order In ‘More Just, Reasonable’ Direction, Says Top Chinese Envoy”

    You know what’s really weird, though? You know who else is in Kazakhstan this week?
    “Pope arrives in Kazakhstan to start Apostolic Journey”

    I have absolutely no idea what to make of that. Just odd.

  95. dejavu


    he probably took a wrong turn at albuquerque

  96. Well its about over. The new lines are drawn and are holding. Ukrainian attacks are largely failing and its back to the war of attrition in Ukraine.

    Russia managed to get it back without leaving the SMO configuration.

  97. Get what back? A stalemate with 10%+ less occupied ground? They’ve lost any chance that the Euros will try to arrange a deal, no matter how bad the situation gets in the fall and winter. Now it’s entirely possible Vlad doesn’t want a deal, that he thinks he can outlast the Euros, but given how badly he’s underestimated the Ukrainians so far, who is supposed to have faith in his strategic genius?

  98. Control. Its what he lost, clumsily, and now has mostly back.

    No one cares about the Euros, outside the Euros. He will just continue with what he was doing. Your faith is not required. ;)

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