Alright, alright, critically evaluating the situation, there’s a chance that Ukraine launched that attack. But given the timeline above, I really hope it was a second own-goal in a single day, because that’s a hell of a lot funnier.
Let’s check in on how Russia’s draft is coming along.
I wonder why the draft commissioners themselves don’t get on a bus to the front. They appear to be in far better condition than the poor saps getting dragged off instead:
The passivity of the Russian psyche blows me away. It’s an entire society built around the notion that life is shit, but that’s okay because you can drown the pain away with vodka.
No matter how bad or incompetent Russian authorities are, no one protests. Those who could afford it fled, and everyone else just rolls with it. Meanwhile, Russia is doing everything possible to kill some of these guys off before they’re even in Ukraine, where they’ll likely freeze to death in trenches if a Ukrainian shell doesn’t get them first. I mean, look at the photo at the top of this story. It’s obvious that none of these conscripts are properly outfitted for freezing rain and the bitter cold that’s fast approaching.
I’ve often written that the challenge with new weapon systems isn’t training the operators, it’s training the maintenance crew. For example, a Patriot air defense system operator trains for 13 weeks before heading off to their unit (where seasoned NCOs continue their education), while the soldiers who maintain it train for 53 weeks—a full year, or four times as long!
In practice, this is what it looks like in Ukraine:
Whenever those systems need maintenance, they have to be trucked out of the country, back to Poland, Lithuania, or Romania, where people who know what they’re doing can bring those systems back online. As you can imagine, it’s an incredibly inefficient workaround. Presumably, there are Ukrainian mechanics and maintenance people learning from NATO personnel doing the repairs, but that takes time.
It’s likely the biggest reason the U.S. and allies haven’t outfitted Ukraine with Western battle tanks, and it’s absolutely the reason Ukraine hasn’t gotten Western warplanes.
In 1989, my unit provided MLRS support for a cavalry unit patrolling the Czechoslovakian border. Two days after the Berlin Wall fell, a couple of Army buddies and I snuck into East Germany to take pieces of the border wall, and then went to Berlin to grab our piece of the wall. That’s me with the punk rock hair and leather jacket, on the then-East-West German border grabbing myself a historical souvenir:
Crazy to think neither of those countries exist anymore in that configuration.
As many of you know, my son is making his way through a pre-Ranger program, and will start Ranger school in two weeks. This is a nice mini documentary on one of the first women to graduate from the school, which also offers a pretty good luck at the grueling school:
You won’t be surprised to learn that the incel “Manosphere” has attacked those women, attempting to belittle their accomplishment. They claim “special treatment” that includes the exact same pre-Ranger program that my son is currently attending. So dastardly! Also, they complain that one of the women was about to quit, and some general talked her out of it. You see, male quitters don’t get a pep talk the way the ladies did. Not fair!
But let me offer a bit of extra context for that video: There is an anecdote about Mountain Phase that is quite telling. At some point during that phase, students must hike up a mountain wearing 100-pound rucksacks (no exaggeration), water, and a full squad’s worth of weapons (which includes heavy machine guns). It's an all-night, all-day ordeal, all uphill, made worse by severe sleep deprivation and starvation. In the video, a guy says he was carrying extra weaponry and couldn’t do it anymore. Look at him: strong guy, looks a good 160-170 lbs. So he asks for help carrying his load, and no one steps forward (“they all looked like deers in headlights”) except for the 150-pound female protagonist, adding even more weight to her load.
Fuck anyone who belittles their accomplishments. Most wouldn’t last the first hour.