By David Sole
Ukrainian troops are being cynically sacrificed in the service of an unwinnable proxy war against the Russian Federation by the United States and its NATO allies. Reports show that the Pentagon was well aware that the June “offensive” by Ukraine would not be successful as the past 7 bloody but fruitless weeks have demonstrated. Now Washington is prepared to send more military equipment to continue the slaughter of Ukrainian “cannon fodder.”
According to the Wall Street Journal “Western military officials knew Kiev didn’t have all the training or weapons – from shells to warplanes – that it needed to dislodge Russian forces. But they hoped Ukrainian courage and resourcefulness would carry the day.” This July 23 article makes clear that Western military officials knew this at the same time Ukraine began their “Spring Offensive” on June 4.
Courage and resourcefulness could not conceivably overcome “deep and deadly minefields, extensive fortifications and Russian air power” the Journal pointed out and “the campaign risks descending into a stalemate with the potential to burn through lives and equipment without a major shift in momentum.”
The destruction of a generation of young Ukrainians cannot be hidden much longer. The New York Times took the opportunity to interview troops for two weeks on the front lines of the fighting and reported it on August 7. The Times attempted to shape the story in a way to build up Ukraine’s position and to keep Western public opinion behind this losing proxy war. But a close reading actually shatters many illusions.
Speaking of the 36,000 Ukrainian troops recently trained for this “offensive” the Times found that “some brigades suffered heavy losses in the initial stages of this summer’s counteroffensive…At least one new brigade was so badly debilitated from casualties that it was withdrawn from the battlefield to rebuild.”
Many of the troops were “made up of recruits, fresh from basic training.” A battalion commander noted “A lot of people thought it would be very fast and in the autumn we would be in Crimea. But every meter …is very difficult.”
The same commander admitted that “his brigade had taken heavy casualties in the first days of the counteroffensive in June.” “I lost a lot and some of the new guys are mentally broken.” Soldiers “blamed commanders for pushing raw recruits into battle and using untested units to spearhead the” attack and that “experienced [Ukrainian] troops were so thinly stretched along the front line that they could not afford to withdraw them.
As the truth filters out to the public in the West, support for continuing to promote and finance the Ukraine proxy war is eroding. A public opinion poll released by CNN on August 4 interviewed 1,279 adults in July. A majority “oppose Congress authorizing additional funding to support Ukraine in its war with Russia. 55% say no more funding against 45% who support more funds.
Interestingly liberal Democrats want more funding by a whopping 74% while Republicans are against by 71%. During the Vietnam War it was the Democratic Party, led by President Lyndon B. Johnson and Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey who had a record of liberal and civil rights achievements, who used their credibility with the public to drag the U.S. deeper and deeper into the debacle of Vietnam.
When the broader public woke up to the truth, Johnson could not dare run for a second term and couldn’t show his face anywhere in the country without major protests. Humphrey, who had been the face of liberal support for the war, was soundly defeated by Republican Richard M. Nixon for the 1968 presidency. A legacy from the Vietnam War era is that “less than 20% across parties back providing U.S. military forces to participate in combat operations.”
This “Vietnam Syndrome” has kept the Pentagon and Wall Street bosses from using U.S. troops directly in major combat for decades. But the Ukraine war could easily escalate to the point where NATO allies’ troops or even U.S. pilots or ground troops get sent into battle. That would change the dynamics of passive acceptance of the status quo here in the States as well as Europe into a powerful protest movement.