I am thankful to have my readers who live outside the borders of the United States and are not able to take the temperature of the body politic. That is one of my goals — i.e., explain the societal insanity that is widespread, especially among the establishment political class. Case in point, retired General David Petraeus.
He is interviewed by the Georgian Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and confirms, by virtue of his responses, that he is either one of the dumbest men to ever pin on four stars or one of the most intellectually dishonest. Perhaps both.
Let me give you some of the low-lights from the interview:
RFE/RL: Where do we stand now in the Ukraine war?
David Petraeus: I think we stand near the end of the Russian winter offensive, which has not achieved its objectives so far, and which probably will culminate short of achieving those objectives. And even if [Russian forces] ultimately take Bakhmut, it will have come at such a cost that it will have been an unwise offensive.
And then we are awaiting the expected Ukrainian late spring-early summer offensive, which will feature Western tanks, Western infantry fighting vehicles, artillery, and a variety of other systems, and the kind of training and unit development that will allow Ukraine for the first time to achieve combined arms operations in this particular war — something that Russia has not done in the past and something that the Ukrainians did, to a modest degree, in the Kharkiv offensive last fall.
“End of the Russian winter offensive”? Apparently David does not realize that Spring started a month ago and the Russians show no signs of backing off. And what were the Russian objectives? I have a $1000 to anyone who can point me to a list of Russian objectives for the “winter offensive.” The only objectives I have seen posted in the media are demilitarization, de-nazification and ending the artillery attacks on the Donbas. And the Russians never specified a timeline. In other words, Petraeus is fabricating a strawman and then knocking it down.
Then there is the public obsession about Ukraine’s upcoming counter-offensive. I am not aware of any successful military campaign in history that was preceded by repeated public proclamations about the “imminent counter-offensive.” That kind of incomprehensible breach of military doctrine serves as a reminder of David Petraeus’ failure as a military commander and as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
And what about those “Western tanks” that will turn the tide against Russia? General David may want to reconsider his prediction given the “skill” a couple of Ukrainian tank drivers demonstrated this week at a training base in Poland:
Whoops! One less tank for that offensive.
So that’s where we are. We completed a year in which Russia lost the battle of Kyiv, lost the battle of Kharkiv, lost the battles of Sumy, Chernihiv, and Kherson, and they have not achieved their winter objectives. And now, [they] will be faced with a spring and summer offensive by new Ukrainian forces that are being trained and equipped in Germany, Poland, the U.K., and Ukraine that, I think, again, will achieve what Ukraine sets out to do.
Let’s ignore for a moment that Russia did tactical retreats and did not engage Ukraine in any of the so-called battles listed by Petraeus. He glosses over the fact that Russia repeatedly has defeated Ukraine in the Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk and inflicted massive casualties on Ukraine in the process. How about Mariupol? Not only did Russia defeat entrenched Ukrainian forces but is rapidly rebuilding the city.
RFE/RL: What do you think would be the aim of such a Ukrainian counteroffensive?
Petraeus: I think it will be twofold. One will be to ensure that the Russians are not able to reinforce or to resupply Crimea through the southeastern part of Ukraine — so to sever that ground line of communications that they achieved by their offensive last spring and summer. And then, second, to bring about the crumbling, perhaps even collapse, of Russian forces in a fairly broad area of southern Ukraine as they liberate more of the Ukrainian territory that the Russians captured last year.
General Dave apparently has not taken time to peruse any of the leaked U.S. military briefing slides that report the complete destruction of Ukraine’s air defense system by the middle of May. He also is ignoring the evidence that this is true as Russia ramps up the number of sorties with fixed wing aircraft delivering monster glide bombs. Then there is the fact that Russia has been busy over the last eight months building stout defensive positions, replete with dragons teeth, mine fields, intersecting fields of fire and artillery zeroed on avenues of approach.
RFE/RL: Let me ask you specifically about Bakhmut. Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of General Staff General Mark Milley said recently that Ukrainians have turned it into a slaughterhouse of Russians, that they are getting hammered there. Could this have been the Ukrainian plan all along, to use so-called bottleneck tactics and waste Russian manpower?
Petraeus: I don’t know whether it was all along, but it clearly has become that over time. Early on, I believe even Ukrainians would have observed that Bakhmut has no real, true geographic significance; it’s not a great rail or road hub the way some other locations are. But I think they came to see the value of defending an urban area against a force that was very unprofessionally just throwing soldiers into this particular cauldron and allowing those soldiers — as General Milley said — to be hammered. The losses have been staggering, while the gains have been incremental and incredibly costly. And I think over time, as well, [Ukrainian] President [Volodymyr] Zelenskiy clearly came to recognize the need to not give Russia anything that it could portray as a victory or as Russian forces achieving the objectives they set out for themselves.
Welcome to the twilight zone. My foreign readers need to understand that Petraeus genuinely believes this nonsense even though public media reports clearly show that Russia is not suffering massive casualties and is not attacking in human waves. The bulk of the fighting is being done by the Wagner Group and they are using tactics that minimize their casualties while turning Ukrainian positions into Charnel houses. As of today, even Ukrainian sources are reporting that Ukrainian forces have been pushed out of 90% of Bakhmut and the Russians are happy to destroy units and equipment attempting to reinforce those beleaguered Ukie soldiers.
The apex of General David’s delusion is revealed in this bit of “analysis”:
But what the Ukrainians will do in the upcoming offensive, this is going to be vastly different. This is going to be combined arms operations, which the Russians have never achieved even at the outset, despite having had months deployed in Belarus and in Russia on Ukraine’s borders, when they could have been training on these kinds of tasks. That’s a staggering failure, in my view. If you’d given me, as a commander, months to train for an invasion, I think I could have done a good bit better job.
I have two words for General Dave — Iraq, Afghanistan. What major victories did he achieve in those two theaters? The answer is none. And he was not up against entrenched forces, with artillery and HIMARS, and tanks, and he failed to defeat guerrilla forces armed with assault rifles and an occasional mortar. He has never been in charge of a battle against forces using combined arms. This is just one more example of his arrogance and lack of critical thinking skills.
I am not shocked by the shallowness and ignorance of Petraeus. It is those qualities that enabled him to earn four stars through his skilled practice in the art of sycophancy. And I assume that some of his proteges, who are gifted with the same degree of incompetence, are in command positions ready to lead U.S. forces into disaster.
I do not believe that Petraeus is engaged in a psy-ops designed to lull the Russians into complacency. But Russian military analysts must be scratching their heads over General Dave’s complete misrepresentation of what has transpired in Ukraine since February 2022 and are asking themselves, “Are the American Generals really this stupid”? I don’t know about all American Generals, but when it comes to David Petraeus the answer is a resounding, Yes!