The Empire Strikes Out

Falling through the universe at the speed of life

By David Glenn Cox

It is the oldest and the deadliest weapon soldiers face. More deadly than the spear, the gun, or the trebuchet. Hunger has reduced many a great and grand army to miserable wretches, without ever firing a shot. We read about such in history books but somehow, it’s all different now. We have computers and missiles and cell phones and such now. Wars are quicker than they used to be back in the days when we were having say a hundred-year war. 

Russian prisoners say they are frostbitten and haven’t eaten in five days. Russian soldiers are carjacking Ukrainian civilians. Last seen changing into stolen clothes and heading north towards Belarus at a high rate of speed. Or soldiers that are holed up in Ukrainian homes hiding from the boss. And hiding from the patrols the boss sent out, to kill those caught hiding from the boss.

One soldier complained his outfit only had one Kevlar vest, and the Colonel took it for himself. It’s hard to contemplate this level of incompetence, even in an army where it is dangerous to say “no.” They have no maps or GPS, just follow me. Soldiers and even officers are mutilating themselves to get out of this grand highest fluster cluck of perhaps all time.

Apparently, the plan was a quick strike and well, we don’t need a plan “B” in case that doesn’t work. Of course, it will work, don’t be such a doubting Thomas.  “Yes sir, of course it will work! I will be silent and ask no further questions!” With conscript soldiers being told that they were going out on weekend exercises, suddenly discovering they are being shot at. Discovering they have been cast into a lethal war zone, completely unprepared. Knocking off Russians Generals like ducks at a shooting gallery assures, this fluster cluck will remain permanent.

I’m the officer replacing the officer, who was replacing the replacement officer. In a battlefield where the best armored vehicle you’ve got is no safer than a 1962 Volkswagen Beetle. And if they didn’t think to bring extra food along, How much extra ammunition did they bring? We know how much, this much, as the guns and camp grow silent save for the rumbling bellies. The disappearing faces and numbers at roll call.

The Russians air dropped 300 men to take the airfield at Hostemel. Normally the troopers take an objective and hold it, until reinforced by stronger forces. Only in this case, there were no stronger forces sent and they were wiped out to the man. A rescue mission was hastily arranged, and two four-engine cargo jets loaded with 300 more soldiers were sent and both were shot down en route. Wasted and cast away pointlessly. A Chechen hit team was sent to assassinate President Zelensky but were apprehended at the border, after being squealed on by Russian security.

It’s unfathomable, the greatest military fiasco since a Gallipoli. And the greatest military fail since the Japanese at Midway. To storm off to war totally unprepared militarily. To put another crack rock in the pipe and assume that it will all be okay. Generals under house arrest and Generals sent to the front with direct orders to stop all the incompetence immediately. Every day losing a $40 million jet fighter or two, or a helicopter or three, or convoy of twenty-three trucks.

Reservists are being called up and a new batch is being conscripted, but they will fare no better than the last. Tanks and personnel carriers being brought in because there is nothing else that they can do.  The Russians cannot admit defeat, until their army shows them how. Five days without food is an ordeal by itself.  Let alone freezing in a tent without a stove. With death waiting around every corner from a missile fired from a mile away that you could never see coming.

The Russian offensive to take Kyiv has failed, and the Ukrainians have pushed and surrounded a Russian force of an estimated four thousand men against the river. Cut them off from resupply, leaving only death or surrender. The Putin apologists abroad appear on TV and threaten a nuclear strike against Warsaw. Not once, but on almost every Russian channel. Heads up, next week on Faux News! “Could the Ukrainians push the Russians too far?”

The big bad wolf is scared, and he is going to huff and puff and blow your house down scared. The official position of the Russian government is, you better stop or else! The BBC confirmed yesterday, that the Belarusian railroad workers have severed Ukraine, from their rail network. Meaning most all supplies destined for the Russian Army in the North of Ukraine have been effectively stopped.

Tick tock says the clock, tick tock. General Petraeus said the Russian Army only had ten days of umph left in them. And he said that, almost a week ago. Much of the equipment captured by the Ukrainians this week, has been jamming equipment and electronic warfare equipment. Equipment not found on the front line, but in the rear at the command post. Either the equipment was not positioned properly, or the front line moved suddenly.

Putin faces an economic time bomb, a military time bomb and a political time bomb. It is difficult to see a way for him to back down and live or to move forward and live. Already they are fighting for staples in the grocery stores. Give it ninety days. The army doesn’t have ninety days. Putin probably doesn’t have ninety days either.

It’s the collapse of the Soviet Union 2.0. The Empire Strikes Out! The end of the Czarist dreams of a greater Russia. The end of the chapter in the history book. I had a history book once, that divided eras by the deaths of famous figures like Napoleon. It marked the end of one world and the beginning of another. Like the death of Queen Victoria or the end of World War Two.  The final collapse of the Soviet Union and from there? God only knows.

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