Tell the Establishment ‘No Intervention in Ukraine’

Kurt Schlichter, At the Army War College a decade ago, they were pretty insistent on having an actual objective that supports actual American interest when you committed American blood and treasure.

Of course, no one in DC ever listens. No matter how many stupid wars we get into, no matter how many times we end up burying a bunch of soldiers and looking like fools, there’s always someone in DC ready to send your kid off to Whocaresistan to do something for some reason that no one ever bothers to explain to us, the people who either do or whose kids do the dirty work.

I’m at a loss as to the concrete American objective in Ukraine. When you ask the question – or the reasonable follow-up of, “Fine, and how many Americans dead or maimed is achieving that objective worth to you?” – the best you get is a blank stare. Usually, you get told you love Putin, as if protecting American lives from being wasted on another impulsive crusade is playing into his bloodstained hands. But we must break this cycle of tragic failure by asking these questions, and demanding the answers.

What is the American interest served by intervening in Ukraine against Russian aggression?

And how many dead and maimed Americans are you willing to expend in order to achieve that objective?

These questions are not unfair or unreasonable, and they are certainly not unpatriotic. But the Beltway brigadiers sure get huffy when you dare pose them. And they positively freak out when you suggest that if America is going to commit itself to the defense of another country that we should go through the process of declaring war to do so. But declaring war means having a debate, and the last thing they want is a debate because, as we all know, there is no critical American objective to be achieved by sending our forces to fight Russia over this border dispute.

We’re not supposed to ask the important questions, and that’s sure convenient. Hell, they might have to explain why we have some moral obligation to get our kids killed securing Ukraine’s borders at the same time we have some moral obligation not to secure our own. And there is no good answer. There’s no good answer to any of these questions.

Now, this is where they will motte and bailey you – they state their real position (“We must fight Putin if he further invades Ukraine!”) then, when there is pushback, retreat to a less controversial position (“Why, ‘intervening’ and deterring Russia does not necessarily mean going to war!”). But here’s the reality. Deterrence is just making a fool of yourself if you are not willing to back up your big words. Backing up a Ukrainian red line means young Americans with rifles, and the willingness to fix bayonets if your enemy does not yield. Putin isn’t some Ivy League sissy who doesn’t know an F35 from I395. He understands power, and he’s a serious, though evil, man. Our elite? Not serious.

That includes our current military leadership, who have given us no reason to believe they could competently execute large-scale combat operations against a peer competitor like Russia. People talk like we would win this fight walking away. Why would they think that? If you go to the Army War College today and you ask the aspiring generals, “What is America’s greatest strategic threat today?,” half of these colonels will obediently answer “Climate change.” An officer corps that thinks the weather is more dangerous than the People’s Liberation Army is not leading a serious military. A military where a ruined billion-dollar ship’s crew did not have firefighting training, but which you can say with 100% certainly that each crewman had trans awareness training, is not a serious military.

Nor is there any indication we are even ramping up for a fight in Ukraine so that we could back up the saber-rattling. Putin has tens of thousands of troops deployed to attack. What do we have? This is not 1988 when I served in West Germany in the Cold War. V Corps and VII Corps are gone, and we have not revved up a REFORGER-style surge of forces to Ukraine. Our allies? Please. So, what’s our plan? Some airstrikes? Maybe we shoot some missiles? Putin takes the hit, then hits back, hard, and not necessarily in theater either. Does he take out our satellites? Unleash a cyber attack on our infrastructure? It’s up to him – he’s going to be calling the shots and well inside our decision cycle. What do the krauts do when a flurry of hypersonics turns Ramstein airbase into a smoking wasteland? The strudel munchers are going to be terrified and whoever just replaced Merkel is going to tell us we can’t fight from German territory anymore – watch it happen.

So, we lose, and it makes Afghanistan look like a “1” in comparison to the Ukrainian “10” on the “1-10” national humiliation scale. Or maybe we draw and dig in on Ukraine’s version of the DMZ – we’re never going to build up the forces to push Putin’s army out of the territory he took under Obama. And the Chinese will be there taking notes on how we run a conventional fight. They will index our electronic activity, learn our tactics, and note our weaknesses. And they will leverage that all against us when they decide it’s time to annex Taiwan. That is, if they don’t gobble it up while we’re mixing it up in the land of borscht n’ vodka.

I like Ukraine. I worked with Ukrainian soldiers on deployment, and I went there four times to train them. The soldiers are tough patriots. Their generals and their leadership are utterly corrupt. Frankly, the suspicious eagerness to expend other people’s blood in Ukraine seems less like defending American interests than protecting certain Americans’ investments. Cynical? Exactly what has our glorious establishment done in the last five years that would make you expect anything but it to be totally corrupt and incompetent?

I’m no dove; I’m a hawk who’s been burned. I hope the Ukrainians win. I am open to arguments that we should provide them weapons to kill Russians – very open. But I say not one drop of American blood for this ill-considered misadventure. We need to break the elite’s cycle of strategic failure once and for all.

I know the arguments. “We can’t betray an ally!” Except we do not owe Ukraine a defense. Treaties are made through a constitutional procedure that ensures our senators, and therefore the American people, get a say in the weighty decision to commit US lives to the security of another country. No American has the right to bind us to bloodshed in any other manner. Any such promise is void.

Russia is bad. I get that too. I was a VII Corps platoon leader shivering in an assembly area near Stuttgart practicing to help stop the Red Storm back before a lot of these Poser Pattons were born. I want them to lose this conflict. But, like most normal Americans, I am sick of ineffectual interventions based on badness instead of a clear-eyed assessment of American interests. Putin sucks. I hope the Ukrainians paint their soil red with bear blood. But this is not our fight.

“If Putin takes Ukraine, then he’ll be emboldened to threaten our NATO allies!” And when he does, to war we must go. NATO is based on a treaty. We committed. If we wish to uncommit to NATO – an idea that deserves debate – there is a process for that too. But until that happens, if Russia hits our treaty allies, then we must go to war.

But that’s not this situation. We are led by a feeble incompetent who is advised by fools. Our military is broken and has not won a full-spectrum, high-intensity conventional war in decades. And the American people are sick of seeing the lives of their sons and daughters – our amazing warriors – squandered in ill-considered conflicts that our garbage establishment has neither the competence nor, apparently, the intention of winning.

We must say, “No intervention in Ukraine.” This is their country and their fight. That’s just how it is. My test for whether any conflict is worth it is whether I could explain to the mother of a paratrooper from Omaha who just found out her son was killed in action why it was worthwhile. The proud mothers of the boys from the 82nd and 101st killed at Normandy understood. But I could not make that case to them over Ukraine.

This is not our fight. Give the Ukrainians our prayers. Maybe give them weapons. But we should not send our sons and daughters unless our ruling caste can satisfactorily answer these questions:

What is the American interest served by intervening in Ukraine against Russian aggression?

And how many dead and maimed Americans are you willing to expend in order to achieve that objective?

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