by Larry Johnson
Now there is a shocker. George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense, Bob Gates, and his Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice are not satisfied with their responsibility for the U.S. debacle in Iraq and are doubling down by pleading in an op-ed to escalate the conflict with Russia. I am still mystified how such well educated people can be so stupid.
They wrote this opinion piece because they see the writing on the wall — i.e. Ukraine is losing and time is on the side of Russia. Gates and Rice repeat the lie that Putin is intent on conquering all of Ukraine and wants to re-constitute the Soviet Empire. Remember, these two are recognized in the United States as experts on all things Russia. Just a reminder that abject ignorance defines their expertise. Here is the salient part of their op-ed:
Absent another major Ukrainian breakthrough and success against Russian forces, Western pressures on Ukraine to negotiate a cease-fire will grow as months of military stalemate pass. Under current circumstances, any negotiated cease-fire would leave Russian forces in a strong position to resume their invasion whenever they are ready. That is unacceptable.
The only way to avoid such a scenario is for the United States and its allies to urgently provide Ukraine with a dramatic increase in military supplies and capability — sufficient to deter a renewed Russian offensive and to enable Ukraine to push back Russian forces in the east and south. Congress has provided enough money to pay for such reinforcement; what is needed now are decisions by the United States and its allies to provide the Ukrainians the additional military equipment they need — above all, mobile armor. The U.S. agreement Thursday to provide Bradley Fighting Vehicles is commendable, if overdue. Because there are serious logistical challenges associated with sending American Abrams heavy tanks, Germany and other allies should fill this need. NATO members also should provide the Ukrainians with longer-range missiles, advanced drones, significant ammunition stocks (including artillery shells), more reconnaissance and surveillance capability, and other equipment. These capabilities are needed in weeks, not months.
That’s right — they want more Cowbell. Just send more stuff to Ukraine and that will solve the problem:
Gates and Rice are pushing a “red herring” and ignoring reality. The West is not holding back on sending weapons and ammunition to Ukraine. Just the opposite. The United States and NATO have sent Ukraine an unprecedented amount of aid and it has not stopped the Russians. Moreover, the United States and NATO no longer have ample stocks of some key weapon systems and ammunition, especially artillery shells, to send to Ukraine. The military cupboard is bare.
But let us ignore reality and indulge the fantasy that NATO can magically find, “longer-range missiles, advanced drones, significant ammunition stocks (including artillery shells), and more reconnaissance and surveillance capability” to send to Ukraine. Who is going to operate those weapon systems? And the timeline for training Ukrainian troops to operate these systems with some measure of competence is counted in months at a minimum. What Gates and Rice propose is utter nonsense.
Multiple sources now are reporting that Ukraine is suffering catastrophic casualties as they desperately try to hold on the Bakhmut:
Russian forces have ground down their Ukrainian opponents in fierce fighting near Bakhmut/Artyomovsk, with an American mercenary commander recently acknowledging that Ukraine is suffering “extraordinarily high casualties” in that sector, and Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, Vadim Pristaiko, describing his side’s casualties as “huge” and “indigestible.”
Kiev has publicly proclaimed that it plans a major offensive in the spring, but Rice and Gates wrote that Ukraine may have “weeks, not months” to stay in the fight.
Hell even Ukraine’s cherubic President Zelensky acknowledges that, “the bloodiest battles are near Bakhmut (aka Artemovsk) and Soledar. The situation is very grave.”
I am posting the following map so that you can see the road network from Soledar to Bakhmut. It is only 12 to 15 miles depending on your route. It appears that all roads between Soledar and Bakhmut are under fire control by Russia. This means that Ukraine has no easy means to send reinforcements to Soledar.
There is a video of a couple of Ukrainian soldiers talking frankly about their precarious situation:
Ukrainian fighters from various locations in Soledar share their impressions after encountering the Wagner assault force.
“They broke through our defenses. It’s a pity we couldn’t stay longer. There was a heavy assault. We retreated. We are waiting for reinforcements.
In Soledar, fighting continues in the residential areas in the central and northern parts of the city.
The Wagner PMC assault squads, after advancing from the south and north, have taken up positions at Soledar Mine 1-3, as well as on Nosova Street.
While yesterday the Ukrainian propagandist Butusov reported that Soledar was 95% controlled by Ukrainians, by the evening, Arestovich admitted that the situation in the city is difficult, while leaving the city is not in the plans of Ukrainian forces either.
The truth is that Russia is methodically moving forward and Ukraine has been unable to mount a credible counter offense. As noted in the previous section, the Wagner Group is now controlling the entrances to 3 of the Salt mines in Soledar. And Wagner remains active on other fronts: