I Hate Being Right
April 1, 2022 | View PDF
Okay, the title is a lie. Nobody hates being right. Let’s talk Ukraine. Everybody reading this has been inundated with news from Eastern Europe for the past month and little of it is good. Except that the Ukrainians are taking it to the Russians, killing a lot of their soldiers and making Mr. Putin rethink his own calculus with this whole invasion thing. Like I wrote in one of my prior Robservations, when asked what the Ukrainians were thinking, one older gentleman answered, “We are thinking where are we going to bury all the dead Russian soldiers?” I love that defiance.
Over the past month, I have personally seen my views on this conflict shift considerably. At the same time, I have to temper my views with the strategic and legal realities surrounding this conflict. It is funny how many people are now armchair generals and seem to know exactly what to do. Reality is that when I hear a lot of comments, I immediately know they have absolutely no clue what they are talking about. As for me, I am not about to throw my two cents into the argument of what I think we should do. Why? Easy. First it is not my place and second, I do not have all the facts I would need to make an informed decision.
This is in no way like Afghanistan where I have a definite opinion on what we should have done. No doubt. No questions. We “screwed the pooch” big time on that one and there is absolutely no way around that. As one retired general said, he could have given that mission to any number of 2nd Lieutenants and they would have done a better job. I think our entire leadership team, civilian and military should be thrown out for that debacle. But I digress. The Ukraine is a different animal. Why? Because Russia invaded a non-NATO country. No matter how egregious it is, where the rubber hits the road, and I hate to say this, but this is their war. We, as in NATO, cannot just jump in and spank the Russians. We can’t. I hear cries for a Ukrainian no-fly zone. Really? You do realize that would mean Americans shooting down Russians and like it or not, Russians shooting down Americans – along with other NATO aircraft.
It would mean the widening of a war that nobody wants and all I am saying, cooler heads must prevail. Let’s not forget Vlad has a bunch of nukes that he has already alluded to using if he has to. Or rather, if he wants to. At this point nobody, including many analysts I have listened to, has any clue what is going through the man’s head. The term “loose cannon” comes to mind and it would be appropriate. All I am saying is we need to be careful what we ask for and we need to be sure that we really want to expand this thing.
Not surprising, the feckless U.N. continues to do nothing. After sitting and watching the Russian build up, they did nothing. It was not until after the Russian invasion that they got off their collective butts and called for an emergency meeting. Oooohhhh, the U.N. is having an emergency meeting. Don’t you think they should have laid down the law before the invasion ever took place? After all, the Russians only gave the world almost two months’ notice. Hell, immediately after the invasion, some German diplomat actually said they were caught off guard and did not know the Russians were going to do that. Really? Germany? The massive build up. Hello. Think back to Kursk ’43 and Bagration ‘44, the Russian way of war and how they kicked your butts in WWII. And you didn’t know? Please.
So here we sit. A month into the invasion and the U.N. has the nerve to say things like they may want to launch an investigation into possible war crimes committed by the Russians. What? The invasion of a sovereign nation is in itself a war crime. Let’s not even show the videos of Ukrainian civilians being killed, cities on fire and strictly non-military facilities under attack. You mean like hospitals and apartment buildings? Yeah, exactly. And no, we are not talking about collateral damage. We are talking about targeting of civilians. This is not WWII and Dresden or Hamburg where no laws existed at the time to prevent the strategic bombing. Laws are most certainly in place today and yes, the Russians have broken several of them. Do we really need an investigation here or do the facts that stand out right now give us all the answers we need? But like I said in a previous Robservation, for the U.N. to act on this invasion means they would have to act when China invades Taiwan and the U.N. is simply not going to do that.
As for my opinion changing over time, I am only going to give my opinion and in no way am I saying this is what America should do. Too many people who have “no skin in the game” are way too eager to send other people’s kids into combat. I am not that guy because I used to be the guy flying missions during wartime. Although I enjoyed the heck out of my job, I do not have a right to force others to do what I willingly did but can no longer do. But as this invasion has progressed, I have given a lot of thought about the war. I said earlier that this was “their war” and I am right, it is. But I am beginning to see this whole thing evolving. Again, my opinion only and in no way any kind of policy recommendation.
I see Putin as a guy who until he gets his @ss kicked, he is going to continue being the lunchroom bully he is. He is not, in my opinion, going to stop where he is. Why would he? Except for arms, nobody in the world has actually challenged him except for the brave Ukrainians. Even now it looks like he might be getting support from China and Belarus. Winston Churchill made a comment once that, “An appeaser is someone who feeds the alligator hoping the alligator will eat him last.” Truer words have rarely been spoken. I think at some point, we and the rest of the world are going to have no choice but to stand up to Vlad. Regardless. “But Rob, he has nukes.” Yeah. So do we. I am in no way advocating any kind of nuclear exchange so don’t go Democrat on me. I simply do not fear his threat. I don’t. When I came to that realization about two weeks ago, it made my position easier to support.
I don’t know about you guys, but I love the Lord of the Rings trilogy. At the end of the second movie, Samwise offers up a soliloquy to Frodo. Samwise says, “I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. Because they were holding on to something. . . There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”
I agree with this. There are things worth fighting for. I look at my relatively comfy, easy life and think about those not only in the Ukraine but in other places where people are being killed and oppressed. It saddens me when I look at what is going on. When I see a man start a war, in 2022 for absolutely no reason other than he wants to, I have to say to myself, “Yes, there are things worth fighting for.” If anyone thinks living on your knees kissing the butts of communist dictators is anyway to live, count me out.
But here is a problem we have in this country. Too many love their comfy, I-Phone and Tik Tok lives and to a lot, nothing of true value is worth fighting for. Perhaps they have acquired a taste for communist rump. A Quinnipiac University poll asked Americans if they were in the same position as the Ukrainians are now, would they stay and fight or leave the country?” Sadly, only 55% said that they would stay and fight for this country. That included only 40% of Democrats. Yes, that means 60% of Democrats polled said they would tuck their yellow tails and run away. Overall, 38% of Americans said that they would flee. So, these people are telling the rest of us that this country is not worth fighting for. Shame on them. I find it interesting that the Ukrainians are giving many Americans a lesson on what Democracy means.
Regardless, the mess in Ukraine right now shows no signs of letting up. Let’s all hope that cooler heads prevail. At the same time, I think we all have to prepare ourselves for some tense days ahead. As for me, I will continue to pray peace over Ukraine, its leaders and its people. You should do the same.