If you are still wondering why the United States failed to prevail in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially Afghanistan, all you need to do is watch today’s press conference of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Brussels, Belgium. What a veritable clown show! The remarks by Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley revealed two guys with an iron grip on delusion and a total lack of self-awareness.
The audacity of these two failed military leaders to pretend they are qualified to offer advice to Ukraine on how to fight a first world military when their own dismal military records show they failed to defeat a bunch of goat herders and tribesmen that had no combat air, no helicopters and no artillery is the definition of chutzpah. It would be funny were it not for the slaughter underway in Ukraine.
Here are some of the lowlights from Austin’s opening remarks:
He accuses Russia of deliberating targeting civilians (a lie) and ignores the last eight years of Ukraine killing its own civilians in the Donbas.
He accuses Putin of causing world chaos, even though the shortages of food and oil along with collapsing economies in Europe were self-inflicted wounds by NATO. NATO did that, not Putin.
Austin pledges to support Ukraine for the long haul by PROMISING more HIMARS ammo, heavy machine guns, 181 MRAPs and 2000 Anti-Tank Guided Missiles plus an additional $1.75 billion for air defense systems. He failed to mention that none of that materiel will be arriving any time soon because U.S. and European stockpiles are almost depleted.
Along with providing more Cow Bell, Austin insists that the Contact Group will be synchronizing donations into an integrated training plan. Oh yeah, almost forgot, Ukraine will be getting more tanks and air defense systems (which will not arrive for months). He skipped over the tiny, insignificant detail of the lack of logistics support for these systems and the months of training required for Ukrainian troops to be minimally proficient with those systems.
Good speech, Lloyd.
Next up, General Milley. At least he did not mis-pronoun anyone:
NATO and this Coalition has never been stronger and Russia is now a global pariah.
I am surprised no one laughed at this blatantly ridiculous claim. Poland is carping at Germany. Turkey told Sweden no deal on entering NATO. Hungary is expressing grave reservations. Meanwhile, Putin has forged closer ties with China, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Brazil. Time for the Princess Bride:
Russia has lost, they’ve lost strategically operationally and tactically and they are paying an enormous price on the battlefield.
Hey Mark. Losing is when you abandon Afghanistan with desperate souls hanging on to the wheels and wings of departing U.S. aircraft and falling to their deaths. Losing is when the army you trained failed to hold against the Taliban. Losing is when you abandon Afghan allies who put their trust in you. Russia swept the Ukrainians from Mariupol and is in the process of doing the same thing in the Donbas. Exactly how is Russia losing strategically, operationally and tactically? Just because you say it does not make it true.
The nation of Ukraine is united for one single purpose — to expel the Russian forces from their territory and to defend themselves.
At the outset of the Special Military Operation Ukraine had a larger army in the field than Russia. That is no longer the case. Russia destroyed Ukraine’s tank brigades and now Ukraine is begging desperately for replacements. Ukraine’s Army has been decimated by the Russian tactic of using artillery to attack and destroy fixed entrenchments. Even if NATO decided to mobilize and send its own troops to reinforce Ukraine, that would not be enough to “expel” Russian forces. Russia is fighting for its homeland.
The Russian military has paid tremendous costs in their war of aggression and now they’ve resorted to sending conscripts and prisoners to imminent death.
It would appear that Milley got confused about the briefing he received on Ukrainian casualties. Russia’s so-called “conscripts” are military reservists, plus an estimated 100,000 volunteers who signed up. Ukraine, by contrast, is kidnapping 16 year old boys and 60 year old men off the streets in places like Kiev and Odessa. I find it hard to believe that Milley really believes the crap he is spewing. If he does then the United States military is in grave danger with a moron like that in charge.
Countries have pledged tanks 22 have pledged infantry Fighting Vehicle, 16 pledged artillery and Munitions and nine more pledged Air Defense Artillery. The group is focused focused on delivering the capabilities committed and efficiently providing the training the spare parts the sustainment logistics necessary for the Full Employment of these systems. Training, maintaining and sustaining Ukraine remains key for Ukraine to prevail.
It is guys like Milley that are the bread and butter of casinos around the world. He keeps doubling down and betting money he does not have in hopes of turning up a Royal Flush. A man with his experience should understand that even if the West can pony up the new weapons and vehicles and tanks, Ukraine is many months away from being able to use them effectively on the battlefield. Ukraine does not have the luxury of time.
Russia by contrast is waging a very costly war of attrition while Ukraine is effectively leveraging their asymmetric advantages in order to defend itself and the most important asymmetric Advantage they have is courage, resilience and tactical skill.
This is a real head scratch-er. Apparently Milley believes the Ukrainians have the same magical military skills of the Taliban and will be able, somehow, to defeat the Russian military just as the U.S. was vanquished from Afghanistan. Russia enjoys advantages in personnel, tanks, artillery, ammunition, electronic warfare, combat aircraft, helicopters and hyper sonic missiles. There is zero evidence that Ukraine has more courage, resilience or tactical skill than the Russians. In fact, the real asymmetry is that Russia has more trained soldiers than Ukraine by a vast margin.
It’s to uphold the rules-based international order in order that rejects the idea that big strong powerful Nations can attack other smaller countries that borders shall not change.
Hypocrisy, thy name is Milley. This is the quintessential pot calling the kettle black moment from this presser. The list of small countries that the United States and NATO have attacked is long — Afghanistan, Iraq (twice), Syria, Libya, the Balkans, Panama, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, etc. Since 1990, Russia has fought Georgia and now Ukraine. Their military operations in Syria came at the request of the recognized government. I wish that NATO would live up to the ideal of a “rules-based international order.” But the rules that Milley has in mind are house rules. It is a crooked casino.
We’re going to continue to work with Ukraine to address Ukraine’s most pressing needs again you know they’re contemplating an offensive in uh in the spring and that’s just weeks away and so we have a lot to get done so if you think about the numbers of systems that we’re bringing together: Bradley’s Strikers Marders CB 90s, 113s yeah artillery in the list goes on and on. It’s a Monumental task to bring a those systems together, get the troops trained on those platforms and make sure we have sustainment for that for for all of those systems and get those systems into the fight. So that’s that’s really the focus of our our of our conversation today.
Von Clausewitz he ain’t. What General worth a cup of warm spit announces in advance when a “contemplated” offensive will take place. How about keeping your cards close to your vest and not tipping off your opponent what you are going to do?
Looks like NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Mark Milley are not on the same page. Jens made this uncomfortable (but truthful) admission yesterday:
“It is clear that we are in a race of logistics,” he said. “The war in Ukraine is consuming an enormous amount of munitions and depleting allied stockpiles.”
Mr. Stoltenberg said Ukrainian troops are expending ammo at “many times higher” than the current rate of production for NATO members. The situation is putting pressure on allied defense industries.
He said the waiting time for large caliber ammunition — such as shells for the 155mm howitzers sent by the U.S. — has increased from 12 to 28 months, on average.
“Orders placed today would only be delivered 2½ years later. So we need to ramp up production and invest in our production capacity,” Mr. Stoltenberg told reporters at NATO headquarters.
Ukraine, with the help of the West, is sleep walking into the slaughterhouse. Ukraine and NATO’s refusal to wake up and grasp the reality of what is happening is likely to lead to the destruction of both.