The war beneath the surface

In war, everyone lies.

500 years before the birth of Christ, military strategist Sun Tzu laid down the pillar principle of deceit in his still-read treatise, “The Art of War.”

In addition to tactics such as seize the high ground, retreat when outnumbered, the use of diplomacy and spies, Tzu wrote about psychologically demoralizing the enemy to make him unwilling to fight and easy to defeat. It is the war beneath the surface.

I could not find much on current Ukrainian psychological warfare, but evidence suggests it must be powerful.

I did find one article published by the American Psychological Association that delves into the use of misinformation and disinformation by nation states, with particular emphasis on Russia. That’s where I found the term ”gish gallop” to describe Putin’s rapid-fire lying.

It’s worth following the link if you have a few minutes. It does discuss Ukraine’s effective use of social media, without much detail. I am certain there’s a book or movie on this after the war.

Remember — Russia was supposed to swat away opposition and take the capital of Kyiv in a week.

That did not happen, nor will it happen. 

Now in its seventh month, the war has tilted in Ukraine’s favor, enormously helped by maybe $17 billion sent by the U.S., plus more from allies — and let’s not forget invaluable intelligence information.

I know $17 billion is a lot of money, but two things:

What is democracy worth?, and I would rather see it go to Ukraine than to American students in self-assigned debt. 

Probably with U.S. Intelligence, Ukraine faked a counteroffensive in the south before attacking northeast, tearing through Russian lines.

Putin is doing more to destroy Russia’s army than the Nazis did, but in World War II the Germans were the aggressors and the Russians were fighting on their home soil — just as the Ukranians are doing today.

Tens of thousands of “draft age” Russians are fleeing the country, making the flight of Americans to Canada during Vietnam seem like a frat party.

Despite the tight controls on social media and the press, the word is getting out in Russia, as tens of thousands of soldiers will not be coming home. Their friends and family will soon know what is going on, if they don’t already.

I’d like to know how Ukraine is appealing to Russian troops to desert.

I would bet by social media, by phone, by pamphlets, Russian soldiers are being urged to desert, to not fight their neighbors, who will treat them like brothers if they cross the lines.

Far fetched? I don’t think so.

Russian conscripts know they have nothing to fight for, nothing to die for.

Putin may make threats about nuclear weapons, but will he have any troops to load and aim them? 

His lies can’t sustain him. 

20 thoughts on “The war beneath the surface”

    Research is part of a great strategy. Had Putin done his homework, he would had known just how ‘ battle ready’ the Ukes were plus the arsenal they held. Of course, when you decide to go to war and invade your neighbor, you have to be ready for resistance as you plan a quick defeat . The Nazis were well equipped as they invaded and rolled over Europe. Seems like just the opposite with the Russians as they are being lead by Putin.
    keep mending,

  2. My father, who was born on the Polish-Russian border, always said that Russia was a third-world corrupt Potemkin village. Turns out he was right. I’m not surprised at the fierce resistance of the Ukrainians. It looks much like the resistance put up by Poles and Brits in WWII. The only worrisome fly-in-the ointment is that the Russians have nuclear weapons and this sociopath wouldn’t hesitate to use them I’m afraid. Nothing is more dangerous than a madman backed into a corner.

        1. Wanda,
          We are / were cannon fodder. It is well masked today here in the good old USA, but it still exists today and it exist all over the world.

  3. In my mind, Putin’s initial attack on Ukraine should be called a ‘Shitzkreig.”

  4. The Ukrainians have used the Internet to provide information about the war to the Russian people. The Ukrainian government is overcoming the Russian blackout of the war’s status. The large amount of casualties can’t be hidden. Putin’s army can’t hide the truth anymore. I am thinking US cyber-command has helped the Ukrainian Government in providing this information to the Russian populace. Keep up the good work. Not only is this event a military war but also a messaging war.

    1. Al,
      just a tad better than dropping leaflets from a plane.
      You do know that our armed forces have been in Ukraine for years. Just like (?) in Nam (?). Observers.

        1. Tom,
          Sure they were. If it’s coming from the pentagon, it gots to be true !
          Just as in Nam ( and other conflicts ), We were there – as advisors – under Eisenhower’s reign. I wrote of this before. My first wife’s eldest brother -in-law was often offered his choice of duty at ? radio stations ? way bak when. Him being a civilian ( at the arsenal ) politely refused.

  5. We are not sending troops, just Armaments, technical advice, and money to support them. It appears to be a winning solution as of today. However, things can change quickly, hopefully this war will end when Putins is overthrown or passes away.

    1. you go right on believing that!
      2018 has come and gone. According to the Feds, the fifty year confidentiality law is up on me. Maybe I missed it. Maybe I’m just dreaming that I was in service to the feds back in the early ’60s

  6. In light of Vladimir Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons in his war against Ukraine, I though all of you would find the following interesting (and frightening): a retired Rear Admiral, with whom I am friends, told me today that Pentagon studies (“war games”) have shown that ANY scenario showing the use of ANY nuclear weapon (tactical or strategic) by any country will ALWAYS lead to all-out nuclear war within a maximum of one week. I repeat: any use of any nuclear weapon by any country will always lead to all-out nuclear war within a maximum of one week. Vladimir Putin has to be stopped by his own generals or there is a very good possibility the world might be teetering on annihilation.

    1. War games generally show a variety of outcomes. I dismiss the one you report as highly unlikely as Biden has said the West will respond with conventional weapons.
      Putin knows attacking the U.S. will lead to his death and the destruction of Russia.

      1. I’m siding with the Pentagon on this one. I agree with the Brass: the use of any nuke is the beginning of the end. It matters not what Biden will do, just what the rest of the ‘nuclear club’ (China, England, North Korea, France, Israel, etc.) will do.

    This is your previous reply.
    October 7, 2022 at 2:14 pm
    The U.S. takes extraordinary care to NOT use troops as cannon fodder. Military doctrine makes U.S. life extremely important.
    This blog is never boring. Most of the people on here mean well. Then we have the rest and then there is you. Your previous reply is nothing short of amusing. True, I’m not as involved now as I once was. I’ll tell you this. From the swamp, that’s the word. In reality, we are still canon fodder. True, we’ll send a dozen rockets and launch aircraft to ‘try’ to eliminate the fight, but when there’s cleaning up to be done, send in the troops.
    This is not a T.V. reality show. When our troops suit up, you better believe that there will be hell to pay. Look at the last twenty years. “US life extremely important”. right. Next time, try talking to the troops that got ‘dirt on their boots’.
    keep up the rehab !

    1. I am surprised you don’t see the difference between the necessary engagement of forces, unavoidable in war, and criminal waste of life, e.g., the Light Brigade.
      The Chinese and North Koreans with their blind charges, and to a lesser extent the Russian doctrine, is very different from the West.

      1. HAPPY SATURDAY !!!
        As bad as my vision is these days, don’t confuse poor eyesight with military ( lack of ) intelligence.
        Maybe you missed this one. Every war, every side had people used on suicide missions. ( very common in Nam ) I’ll bet that you ( and most ) didn’t know that we used them in WW II. (sic) Funny how research on us is always falling short.
        Don’t confuse the ‘ charge of the lite brigade’ with John Wayne. That, pallie , is an insult. Bet you didn’t know that the Polish Cossacks, defending their homeland against the Nazi invasion, charged into a hail of machine gun fire. Horses and sabers never were a good match against modern weapons. True, to the layman, it’s pure foolishness and suicide. To those that have served, we follow orders, we hope for the best and we do not abandon our fellow comrades.
        You mention the Koreans and Chinese. We view it as a suicide mission. Inevitably, the attacking force – at a high cost of manpower – usually breaks through and overs the defenders. We suffered high causalities in Nam on these attacks . We were over run. What saved us – many times – was our support. Be it airpower, artillery, Naval support or all of the above. Bad subject. We outmanned the North. We out gunned them. We did everything but win ! Why is that ?!?
        Go work that hip !

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