Lt.Colonel Daniel Davies asks the reasonable question, while still repeating all those Ukie propaganda tropes about Russia being "bloodied" in SMO and about Holy HIMARS, the title of his piece does raise this issue: Why Do We Keep Listening to the ‘TV’ Generals on Ukraine? He writes:
Listening to television commentary and interviews of retired U.S. generals, one would be forgiven for believing Russia is on the ropes, and Ukraine was winning the war. Looking at on-the-ground battlefield reality in Ukraine, however, it quickly becomes apparent that the generals’ boasts continue a decade-long trend of rosy combat proclamations that all too often turn out to be disastrously wrong. American media, Congress, and the public need to start applying a little more scrutiny to what these officers say.
The answer to this is very simple: incompetence and professional jealousy. SMO and Ukraine, same as Georgia in 2008, and same as Syria, and same as Ukraine now demonstrated a demolition of not only America's best proxies at given periods of time, but uncovered a fantastical thinking by US military about modern war. Most, with some notable exceptions, Western military professionals exhibited a gaping lack of understanding of not only Russia--that is expected from many--but of even basic grasp of economic mobilization scales, operational and strategic realities. 99% of US military officers of any note forecasts and explanations, be that on TV or in writing, not only were and are wrong, they raise the question of professional adequacy.
Davies lists all, oh so familiar, names of Petraeus, Keane, Hodges, Hertling who continue to embarrass themselves as military amateurs in their view of SMO. But they are just the tip of the iceberg, enough to take a look an Andrew Bacevich's personal views and military "analysis" the so called Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft (in reality Cohen and Soros' funded org) he heads--one cannot shake the impression that far from being a former cadre officer of the US Army, Bacevich is simply stuck in the realities of America's endless and humiliating military debacles and lacks a solid military education which IS NOT a collection of tactical minutiae but must rest on a solid foundation of the military science. Davies still doesn't provide the definition of "bloodied", but have anyone told US military professionals that any serious operational level document contains what in Russian is called normatives (normativity) which describe ranges in losses in personnel and equipment depending on types of operations ranging from capturing the village, town or city to a head on division size battle with different types of opponent. Evidently American officers never heard of those, despite those being a common knowledge. So what "bloodied" is, then? And what is a definition of "significant"? Davies doesn't answer this question.
The Russians are no doubt bloodied and have suffered significant equipment loss, but there is no evidence on the battlefield that they are anywhere near “exhausted.” Most of the artillery promised by the West has already been delivered and it has not, to date, resulted in even slowing Russia’s advance through the Donbas, much less stopped it. The HIMARS launchers have enabled Ukraine to strike deep behind Russian lines, and they have caused severe harm in their enemy’s rear areas. Nonetheless, even that has not resulted in any observable reduction in the still-heavy daily barrage of artillery on Ukrainian positions.
It seems that most of
those US military professionals when talking about REAL combined arms
operations lack even basic understanding of the role of modern air defense, especially of such quality as Russian troop (voiskovaya) AD, which deploys a variety of high end AD systems ranging from manpads to Tor M2, Buk M3, and S-300V4 which already performed extremely well in defending Russian forces preposition and rear areas, including from this very same much touted, and grossly overrated, HIMARS (in Russian). All of those are standard targets for Russian Air Defense, but it seems many US officers still cannot grasp this fact, which is unsurprising, considering the fact that the US Army never fought in modern era under the steady fire impact to the operational depth and simply has no systems which are designed for such classes of targets. Davies continues and admits:
The most important fundamentals of war, the basics of combat operations, almost all reside on the Russian side. Since the G7, G20, and NATO Summits, there have been no additional large-scale contributions of modern weaponry promised to Ukraine. The amount of equipment to date has been a couple of hundred artillery tubes, about 250 Soviet-era tanks, and a few hundred Vietnam-era personnel carriers. Cumulatively, all of this gear – including the HIMARS – are not a fraction of the type of kit Ukraine would need to launch a counteroffensive. The idea, then, that Ukraine could stop Russia’s current offensive and then transition to a counter-offensive to drive Putin’s troops back – as Hodges said he believed would happen before the end of this year – have no valid basis on the ground in Ukraine. But such optimistic, rosy proclamations that are disconnected from battlefield realities are not new for America’s active and retired generals for the past two decades. Take these examples from Operation Iraqi Freedom.
What can I say. The issue here is not What Ukraine needs, but what US and its NATO lapdogs can provide and we already know what happened with the US stocks of much touted, and, naturally, grossly overrated, Stingers, Javelins and M-777. It is a good business for defense contractors in the US who will need to replenish grossly diminished reserves of such weapons, but, for the love of God, can we stop this BS with "take these examples from Operation Iraqi Freedom". I can only repeat what most US officers never heard about, Russian/Soviet strategist Alexander Svechin, who present Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov quotes once in a while:"Each war represents an isolated case, requiring an understanding of its own particular logic, its own unique character". The tiresome comparison of what amounted to turkey shoot of backward, under-equipped, under-trained, under-supplied, illiterate in many instances and incompetently led Saddam's Army, which didn't have even operational air force and air defense, to Russia fighting the best ever US proxy, which for 8 years was supplied, trained and now C2-ed by US and UK officers, is simply risible. But Davies agrees somewhat:
The danger in these types of statements is that they give false hope to the people of Ukraine, give an inaccurate picture to the American people of what’s possible, and encourages Congress to continue funding a strategy that almost certainly will fail. At the very least, it is time to start viewing routinely optimistic claims by some of our active and retired generals with more skepticism.
Oh, I think the danger of these statements is grossly understated, because, judging by the stream of incompetent and militarily illiterate baloney US military professionals deliver from each and every media channel nowadays, one is irresistibly moved to the conclusion that maybe those generals and senior officers are not that good to start with? If they do understand, which I begin to doubt now, what is going on and spew their claptrap for propaganda purposes, that totally disqualifies them as honorable professionals, but if they believe their own absurdity and pseudo-operational and pseudo-strategic psychobabble, then we have a problem--they may, at some point of time, try to come into direct contact with Russian Armed Forces and will sustain catastrophic defeat, which, inevitably, will push the United States, which doesn't have modern historic experience with real war, to escalate towards nuclear threshold.
I remain on record: US Armed Forces never fought in defense of own country. The only type of warfare the US military knows is a naval one, where the US Navy maintained both quantitative and qualitative superiority over nearest rivals for a while, in terms of ground war it was always expeditionary warfare, and achievements of the US ground forces have been more than underwhelming. Desert Storm played a cruel joke on the US military and its fighting doctrine and procurement policies, which resulted in a failure in Iraq and then humiliation of Afghanistan. Modern US Army cannot fight and win conventional war with modern "peer" without sustaining losses on the order of 1,000-1,500 KIAs a day and massive loss of equipment, including a very high PR "value" such as combat aircraft or ships. Neither American public nor US political class will be able to deal with it, which will result in a political upheaval and calls for nuclear strikes, which will mean a death sentence to the US as a country .
Those people in the US military who do understand that, they do not have their voices heard, and, instead, we all are treated to nothing more than jingoistic propaganda, outright Russophobia and simple lies by people who by all measurements are not ready to face the realities of the warfare which, quoting Colonel Douglas MacGregor, looks like this:
In 110 days of fighting the German army in France during 1918, the U.S. Army Expeditionary Force sustained 318,000 casualties, including 110,000 killed in action. That’s the kind of lethality waiting for U.S. forces in a future war with real armies, air forces, air defenses and naval power. Ignoring this reality is the road to future defeats and American decline. It’s time to look beyond the stirring images of infantrymen storming machine-gun nests created by Hollywood and to see war for what it is and will be in the future: the ruthless extermination of the enemy with accurate, devastating firepower from the sea, from the air, from space and from mobile, armored firepower on land.
It is a well-known fact, that today Pentagon has many US officers manning US weapon systems in Ukraine and they do more than that--they collect all possible data on the operations by Russian forces. It is not going to help, because America's problem is much deeper than even fighting doctrine or national strategy, however always flawed and unworkable. It is metaphysical--it is difficult to replicate or respond to Russia's technological and cultural responses to war. You cannot buy this historic experience and warfare culture. It will always be beyond reach. That is why I smile when same people who produced Afghanistan debacle, assure American public that they already learn and apply "lessons" from SMO. They mislead the public because the US doesn't fight like Russia and never did. It never will and it cannot be helped, because in the end it is history itself which is the greatest teacher for those who want to learn. The US military-political class not only doesn't want to learn, it is incapable of learning and the wall of BS surrounding SMO in the US, about which Davies writes, is the best proof of that. Not to mention the fact of best and brightest being removed from the US military for decades.
In related news. Give Americans a credit where the credit is due: