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Come On, Ukraine, Learn from the U.S. Military

American experts have all the answers for Ukraine

By Bill Astore


August 24/25, 2023 - Information Clearing House - In the New York Times send out, I saw the following story:

Ukraine’s Forces and Firepower Are Misallocated, U.S. Officials Say

American strategists say Ukraine’s troops are too spread out and need to concentrate along the counteroffensive’s main front in the south.

Listen to the U.S. military, Ukraine! Don’t be casualty-averse! Concentrate your forces. Take the fight to the Russian enemy. Use all those cluster munitions we’ve sent you. Commit your armored reserve and punch a hole in the Russian lines. Break through, break out, and drive toward Crimea. You know: just like Americans would do in your place.

One might forgive Ukrainians if they asked, When was the last war you “experts” won for America? Afghanistan? Iraq? Vietnam? Korea? What about ongoing military commitments to Syria and Somalia? If you’re so good at winning wars, how come the U.S. military didn’t win in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Vietnam where you had overwhelming materiel and firepower superiority?

With respect to why Ukraine has its forces “too spread out”: perhaps Ukraine needs to garrison its lines so that it can fend off Russian counterattacks? If Ukraine concentrates its strategic reserve and uses it in a big counteroffensive that stalls, what’s to stop Russia from a decisive riposte? Think of Kursk for Nazi Germany in 1943. Once that huge offensive failed for Germany, using up its strategic reserve, the Red Army seized the initiative on the eastern front and never lost it.

At Kursk in 1943, the Germans committed their reserves in a desperate gamble to seize the initiative from the Soviet Union. When the offensive failed, the Red Army counterattacked and proved unstoppable.

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Headlines like the one posted above from the New York Times are intended to be exculpatory for the U.S. If the war turns worse for Ukraine, U.S. “experts” can point to articles like this, casting blame on the Ukrainians for not following sage American advice.

If “we” win in Ukraine, it will be because of generous U.S. aid and especially vaunted U.S. and NATO weaponry; but if they (the Ukrainians) lose, it’s all their fault for not following the advice of America’s master strategists. And, obviously, even if Ukraine loses, plenty of weapons manufacturers in the U.S. are winning and will continue to win. Indeed, a Russian victory could be just the thing to propel even more weapons spending by NATO countries as well as even larger and more monstrous Pentagon budgets.

William J. Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF), has taught at the Air Force Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School. He currently teaches at the Pennsylvania College of Technology.

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