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Why Do We Keep Listening to the ‘TV’ Generals on Ukraine?

McMillan TAC-50 Sniper Rifle
Image: Creative Commons.

Listening to television commentary and interviews of retired U.S. generals, one would be forgiven for believing Russia is on the ropes, and Ukraine was winning the war. Looking at on-the-ground battlefield reality in Ukraine, however, it quickly becomes apparent that the generals’ boasts continue a decade-long trend of rosy combat proclamations that all too often turn out to be disastrously wrong. American media, Congress, and the public need to start applying a little more scrutiny to what these officers say.

For example, retired Gen. Ben Hodges said last week that the “Russians are exhausted,” from four months of fighting and that if “the West sticks together through this year, then I think (the war) will be over (early 2023).” Earlier this month, retired Gen. Mark Hertling told a CNN audience that as Ukraine “gets more and more artillery” from the West, Hertling concluded that he believes “you’re going to see a gradual turn in the tide.”

On July 10th, former Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, Gen. Jack Keane – echoing Generals Hodges and Hertling – told Fox News that despite Russia’s progress in the Donbas, the “Ukrainians still have a real opportunity…to take back territory and we should not underestimate them.”

And yet, there is little credible evidence to suggest that any of these claims are accurate.

Russia vs. Ukraine: The State of Play Right Now 

The Russians are no doubt bloodied and have suffered significant equipment loss, but there is no evidence on the battlefield that they are anywhere near “exhausted.”

Most of the artillery promised by the West has already been delivered and it has not, to date, resulted in even slowing Russia’s advance through the Donbas, much less stopped it. The HIMARS launchers have enabled Ukraine to strike deep behind Russian lines, and they have caused severe harm in their enemy’s rear areas. Nonetheless, even that has not resulted in any observable reduction in the still-heavy daily barrage of artillery on Ukrainian positions.

Furthermore, nothing has slowed the Ukrainian casualties – reportedly up to 1,000 per day – from Russian artillery, rocket, and tank fire. Nothing has changed the dynamics in the air where Russia dominates the skies to the tune of up to 300 sorties per day to about 20 for Ukraine. And there has been no change to the fact that Ukraine is running critically short of ammunition for its howitzers while Russia can continue to manufacture almost limitless numbers for themselves.

Why Russia – Sadly – Has the Advantage Against Ukraine

The most important fundamentals of war, the basics of combat operations, almost all reside on the Russian side. Since the G7, G20, and NATO Summits, there have been no additional large-scale contributions of modern weaponry promised to Ukraine.  The amount of equipment to date has been a couple of hundred artillery tubes, about 250 Soviet-era tanks, and a few hundred Vietnam-era personnel carriers. Cumulatively, all of this gear – including the HIMARS – are not a fraction of the type of kit Ukraine would need to launch a counteroffensive.

The idea, then, that Ukraine could stop Russia’s current offensive and then transition to a counter-offensive to drive Putin’s troops back – as Hodges said he believed would happen before the end of this year – have no valid basis on the ground in Ukraine. But such optimistic, rosy proclamations that are disconnected from battlefield realities are not new for America’s active and retired generals for the past two decades. Take these examples from Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Generals Keep Missing on The Predictions 

In March 2003, the United States invaded the country of Iraq. The initial phase of the war was an unqualified success, as the U.S. deposed the Iraqi army and its leader Saddam Hussein in little more than a month.  Things started going south shortly thereafter, as almost immediately upon completion of the conventional phase, American authorities disbanded the surviving elements of the Sunni-dominated Iraqi Army. Within months a Sunni-fueled insurgency was born.

Over the following three years, the insurgency continued to grow, and violence against both Iraqi civilians and U.S. military personnel exploded. In January 2007, President George W. Bush ordered a troop surge to try and quell the violence.

Bush tapped Gen. David Petraeus to lead the surge, and over about 18 months, Petraeus’ new tactics – combined with a brutal crackdown by al-Qaeda in Iraq repression against their Sunni co-religionists – worked to bring down violence in the country. Bush then ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops to be accomplished by December 2011, ordering the U.S. military to train the ISF so they could provide security for their country without U.S. military personnel.

Early in that process, Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling, then-commander of 1st Armored Division and Multi-National Division-North, said in February 2008 that “the Iraqi government is beginning to become more capable,” and that it was “a great honor” to work with “the great Iraqi security forces.” By June of that year, Maj. Gen. Hertling said that all “the cities that we have in the northern part of Iraq, I think have been secured.”

Hertling was so confident of success, in fact, that he said his U.S. forces were “literally in the post-Gettysburg phase of this” war, adding that “(w)e have defeated (al Qaeda)” in the cities and were now pursuing them in “small villages and towns.” The fight in Mosul, Hertling specified, was an Iraqi-led operation and that the ISF “are growing in capability, Iraqis are stepping forward.” By 2014, however, “post-Gettysburg” Mosul would become ground-zero for the rise of the Sunni-dominated, anti-government Islamic State.

One year after Gen. Hertling left Iraq, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, commander of all U.S. Forces in Iraq, boasted that the ISF “are in charge everywhere in Iraq.” Odierno specifically credited young Iraqi military leaders “who have adapted over time” and made dramatic improvements. Since 2008 the ISF had “gotten much better”, the general claimed, “and that is what has helped to drive us towards a more stable Iraq.”

About a year later, then-commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq, Gen. Lloyd J. Austin said that as the mission concluded, “the stage has been set for Iraq’s young democracy to emerge as a leader in what has been and what will continue to be a very dynamic region.” But had it?

My Own Experience 

I worked with a military training team in part of 2009 providing coaching and mentoring to an Iraqi battalion astride the Iran/Iraq border. What I observed there over a period of months was that the Iraqi troops did not genuinely desire to be trained, put very little effort into it, and showed no appreciable improvement by the time we departed. I later spoke with dozens of other U.S. officers who likewise trained Iraqi battalions during the same timeframe, and not one of them had a different experience than I did.

Less than three years after the last American military troop left Iraq, the world discovered just how incapable the ISF had indeed been when in June 2014, a comparatively small band of Islamic State militants stormed into Mosul and put to flight entire Iraqi army divisions. As a War on the Rocks analysis of the debacle later discovered, the “stunningly weak performances” of the Iraqi army wasn’t due to intense ISIS military pressure, but the ISF “had been failing for over a year before they finally crumbled on June 10.”

During the years that general after general continued to tell the American people that the ISF was improving, was taking the lead, and providing adequate security for their country, the truth was something very different. The first time the ISF came under any internal pressure, they folded like a house of cards. Iraq’s collapse wasn’t the fault of the American troops – responsibility for the failure rests entirely on Iraq’s corrupt leaders – but the U.S. senior leaders gave inaccurate public assessments and led the American people to believe that the ISF was capable when they were not.

That dynamic of unfounded optimistic claims is being repeated in Ukraine. There is no valid basis upon which to claim the Ukrainian army will go on the offensive within months from now and drive Russia out by the end of the year, as Gen. Hodges has claimed.

The danger in these types of statements is that they give false hope to the people of Ukraine, give an inaccurate picture to the American people of what’s possible, and encourages Congress to continue funding a strategy that almost certainly will fail. At the very least, it is time to start viewing routinely optimistic claims by some of our active and retired generals with more skepticism.

Now a 1945 Contributing Editor, Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis

Written By

Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis1.



  1. Roger colman

    July 18, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    It takes time to destroy the Russian economy. Even putin said yesterday that damage to his economy is “colossal”. So ultimately his people are dying in the front at 1000 a week plus thrice that wounded, whereas ukraine ‘s 50 military supply nations have a relatively benign zero death rate as a cost. They can go on and on on this.
    So if Russia was not exhausted Daniel, and ukraine is losing more Why is Russian momentum slowing every day since 24 February?
    Lastly having withdrawn the Baltic fleet from the north western black Sea, they have removed their ships back to Russian ports proper. Crimea. For Russia is not defendable if the kerch bridge is gone.
    Whether this week or next month or next year the 50 nation s up port block simply has the technology as nd relative size to ensure that the grinding to dust of the rusdisn military continues.
    You write with blind eyes

    • Don Klemen

      July 19, 2022 at 7:37 am

      Thanks, I agree 100%
      Its amazing our press is silent on Ukraine.
      Winter fuel shortages,continued Russian advances, Belarus preparations, big trouble brewing. Its a sad affair. The Russians will be dependent more on Chinese and Iran. I wonder with china needing more fuel and farmland, and disputed Russian territory, who will Russians get to support them when the chinese decide they want their territory back.
      Its sad, the europe is opening, moving torward single currency, trading, and Russia has fuel, factories, and could prosper. They helped develop many of these countries they now are destroying.

      • abraham lincoln

        July 19, 2022 at 4:01 pm

        Exactly. Daniel Davis’s articles are increasingly disconnected from reality. Why does he focus on RETIRED TV Generals who get paid to blabber on TV? Are they in charge of our military? NO, they are RETIRED, PAID talking mouths who don’t matter.

        Why does he think the unwillingness of Afghans to do anything has any relevance to Ukraine? It has none. Davis appears to be increasingly detached. He selectively quotes certain stats, while ignoring others.

        • TheDon

          July 19, 2022 at 4:48 pm

          I read all the comments.
          Yes Ukrainians will defend their homeland.
          Russian soldiers will follow orders.
          But as any war, theres 2 losers, one big, one small, many many total casualties.
          Just incredible to me Ukrainians and Russians are at war. Senseless consideration of future generations and their counties growth. It sure doesnt make them stronger, and the world is taking notice.

          • Crimea

            July 21, 2022 at 1:41 pm

            Agree , but the Neocon Zionists love to see the Slavs kill each other and they are the ones in control of the US Foreign policy. A Zionist President in both the US and Ukraine with Nazi armies , pretty much says it all.

        • Jim

          July 19, 2022 at 5:29 pm

          Simple, ‘Ol Abe, if the American People sour on the war, you know, the sovereign in this country, they can force the government to cut off Ukraine:

          If so, kiss Ukraine good-bye.

          And you can go pound sand.

    • Michael Droy

      July 19, 2022 at 12:08 pm

      You literally failed to read a single word of that report.
      I guess you are exactly the kind that the likes of gen Hodges lies for.

    • Serhio Abrams

      July 19, 2022 at 12:32 pm

      You are very ignorant in this regard. The Russians have only been building up their offensive power for three months now, their losses in manpower are minimal, and the Ukrainian troupe is getting bigger and bigger. More than 2,000 military corpses in one day.

      • abraham lincoln

        July 19, 2022 at 3:58 pm

        Serhio, you are a Russian and it shows.

    • James Bond

      July 19, 2022 at 2:44 pm

      “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”
      – William J. Casey, CIA Director (1981)

      • abraham lincoln

        July 19, 2022 at 4:02 pm

        He never said that. You are a leftist.

    • Ali

      July 19, 2022 at 5:00 pm

      You need more common sense on how shit work lol. Everything he said is true to the bone , you’re just deep in the propaganda salt.

  2. Gary Jacobs

    July 18, 2022 at 6:54 pm

    Hmm, for as overconfident as this author points out the Generals are on TV, he seems equally overly pessimistic. We did, after all, witness the Russians being forced to withdraw from Kyiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, etc. Their supply lines are shorter in the Donbas, and they finally concentrated their fire to take a small area. I dont hear anything convincing me they would be able to replicate that elsewhere. They are also now launching S300 missiles as surface to surface. Not a good indication that they have a lot of precision guided cruise missiles left. After that they are down to artillery and MLRS, whcih they do have a lot of but those a short range.

    Also not mentioned in this article is the UK training program that aims to have 10,000 new Ukrainian troops every 120 days. The 1st class graduates soon. It would be nice to see 20+ more Himars and/or M270s as well. It would also be nice if we accelerated development of the 90mile range Himars rockets if we are not giving them ATACMS.

    Bottom line: it looks like a measured, fighting strategic retreat in the east for Ukraine. Could even be a rode-a-dope. If they pin down Russian forces there, and play to Putin’s ego and his need to take Donbas to distract from actual strategy, that’s a solid plan for Ukraine under the circumstances. The real prize for Ukraine is in the south. Ukraine has already made gains toward Kherson, and are only a few miles outside the city. Taking Kherson would be big for them to have another Black Sea port. If they can get into Nova Kharkova a few miles east and cut off the mouth of the Crimean Canal from the Dnipro River… that’s a strategic win, and something with which to negotiate to turn the water tap to Crimea back on later in exchange for further Russian withdrawal. If they get to Melitopol, then they have cut off the land route from Crimea to Donbas all together.

    Only time will tell how this plays out. Could go a number of different ways. There is a need for differing opinions to game it out, and the counterpoint to the rosy predictions is useful. However, The extra irony of this article is that before the war, nobody gave Ukraine a chance at all. Most of the generals thought Russia would overrun Kyiv in days. Now this guy says the reports are too rosy… I suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle.

    • marcjf

      July 19, 2022 at 1:59 am

      The “soldiers” the UK are training are intended to have 3 weeks not 3 months training. The 3 months relates to the number over time.

      This looks more like cannon fodder than trained infantry.

      • Gary Jacobs

        July 19, 2022 at 10:22 am

        Marcjf, wrong. It is 10,000 in 120 days, with the plan to make it 10,000 more *every 120 days. As well, they dont have to be front line troops. The new guys can be trained to fire more HIMARS, and obliterate more Russian ammo depots from a safe distance. I suspect there will be some that show they are capable of quickly learning to be infantry… and the UK will do a decent job of knowing the difference. They already have experience with this. 22,000 Ukrainians have already been trained by the UK through Operation Orbital between 2015 and 2022. They are simply ramping up a pre-existing program.

        • Stephen

          July 20, 2022 at 1:49 am

          But your last sentence is surely the point. We trained the existing Ukrainian army and Russia defeated it. Clearly. The absence of Blitzkrieg by Russia is not a sign of impending defeat. They are following their playbook and it is directly descended from the way they defeated Nazi Germany: updated for modern weapons and designed to minimise their own casualties.

          It is no doubt great that the U.K. is training light infantry. But the Russian way of fighting is to avoid closing to rifle range until they absolutely have to. How will it help? The British last fought a high intensity, combined arms war war against a peer adversary as long ago as the early 50s. That was only a brigade deployed. The last major deployment at scale was 1944-5. How do our troops know how to fight or train for such a war? The Ukrainians and Russians by now know far more about intensive war than we do.

          I am British and am saddened by how bellicose people here are. Russophobia seems well entrenched. We and America have created the conditions for this war and are now committing national suicide through measures that fail to deter Russia but cost us more than the other side. We are also totally immoral in that our governments know that British people will not be prepared to die in this cause so they cynically push Ukrainians to do so. The Ukrainian elite are even worse. Young men are now being rounded up and forced to fight.

          Oh and the constant comments about HIMARS as a game changer takes naivety to new levels too. Very like 1945 wunderwaffen. None of this western kit makes a jot of strategic difference.

          A plague on the house of the war mongers. I have a simple statement: any armchair warrior who supports the war has the option to put their body where their mouth is and join the fight on the ground. My preference though is that we make peace and I have no intention of fighting.

          • PVN

            July 20, 2022 at 9:54 am

            Steven, Golden words, there are still people in the West who are not soaked in false propaganda! I support your opinion!

        • from Russia with love

          July 20, 2022 at 4:54 pm

          “Marcjf, wrong. It is 10,000 in 120 days, with the plan to make it 10,000 more *every 120 days. As well, they dont have to be front line troops. The new guys can be trained to fire more HIMARS, and obliterate more Russian ammo depots from a safe distance.”
          several questions arise…
          while 10,000 soldiers are being trained in Britain in 120 days, who will fight in Ukraine while these soldiers are being trained? territorial defense that underwent theoretical training for 5 days and armed with AK?
          these 10000 shouldn’t be on the front line? who will be on the front line? the same territorial defense?
          10,000 HIMARS operators? HIMARS have to deliver 20 pieces, not all have been delivered yet, some have already been destroyed, what will these 10,000 HIMARS operators do without HIMARS? destroy warehouses and headquarters of the Russian army? in a month since the appearance of HIMARS in the Ukrainian army, how many warehouses have they destroyed? four? according to unverified data? and another warehouse of ammonium nitrate in Khkrson region? per month? The Russians are destroying several UAF ammunition depots and command centers every day. what do you expect?
          777, HIMARS is very small on the scale of this war. these weapons cannot be used massively, there is not enough ammunition for them. do you know the result? I use these weapons to terrorize the population in the territories controlled by the Russian Federation. so far, all that the West has achieved is that it has given the Armed Forces the opportunity to regularly bombard the residential areas of Donetsk and Kherson. If I’m not mistaken, this is called sponsoring terrorism.

          • Gary Jacobs

            July 21, 2022 at 4:42 pm

            to ‘from Russia with hate’…

            All one has to do is read non-Kremin supplied news to know you are ignoring quite a bit of news that is not only not going your way…it is reinforcing my points. The Ukrainians have struck in the last couple of days at Russian ammo depots in both Skadovs’k, and Lazurne in Southern Kherson Oblast. All one has to do is look at a map and then check the range on HIMARS at 43 miles to understand that in order for them to strike so far south they have to have a front line very close to northern Kherson City. HIMARS would never be right on the front line.

            News is beginning to filter through of Ukrainian forces massing in different places for a counter offensive to retake Kherson in the not too distant future, and right now they are shaping the battlefield by obliterating the ammo stocks and other supplies of the Russians.

            As for the east, the Ukrainians have established new defensive lines on higher ground much more favorable to them to defend, and if the Russians take much more ground to the west it will cost them dearly and be very slow. To pin down the main Russian forces while more supplies and troops come in as well as a counter offensive in the south is good tactics and strategy.

            How this all turns out is still yet to be determined. The one thing that is for sure is you should stop swallowing Putin’s propaganda hook line and sinker.

            To the others who wonder what happened with all the training beforehand, I refer you again to Russians retreating from Kyiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, etc… That said, there were too many Ukrainians and other westerners who did not believe, even on Feb 23, that an invasion would happen. That was a mistake, and now they are all working to correct that error.

  3. magneto

    July 18, 2022 at 7:01 pm

    The upside is the Russian use of ancient Soviet weapons and replacing losses with even older equipment. Western weapons are superior as witness losses of Russian tanks.

    The russians have finally got their act together and concentrated their offensive so that they take advantage of the concentrated artillery. All one can say is that the ukraine deemed to be getting it act together using HIMARS, to destroy the Russian ammunition dumps that facilitate the artillery.

  4. Goran

    July 18, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    Ukrainians will rather die than accept subjugation, motivation to fight is obviously not the problem at hand so it’s a bit confusing as to why would Davis choose to lean into that line of reasoning by comparing Ukrainian military to other militaries that did lack motivation to fight.

    • Begemot

      July 19, 2022 at 4:21 pm

      “Ukrainians will rather die than accept subjugation” Then why did over 6 million Ukrainians flee Ukraine as soon as the shooting started? The enemy was in the east and these Ukrainians headed west. How committed to defending Ukraine is that?

      • Gary Jacobs

        July 19, 2022 at 5:02 pm

        of course there are a lot of women and children among those refugees, but then again Russians like to kill, rape, and kidnap women and children so they had reason to flee. There are also a lot of those men who got their families safe and then went into training programs to help defend Ukraine. 10,000 about to graduate in the UK.

        • Begemot

          July 19, 2022 at 9:40 pm

          Most of these refugees were from west and central Ukraine, that is, areas not under immediate threat from the Russians when the war started. The rush to Europe was mostly a desire to escape Ukraine to get to the cushy life they imagined would be made available to them in Europe. They had no commitment to Ukraine that they were willing to risk death for. Look for most of these refugees to resist returning to Ukraine when the war is over.

          And there has been resentment expressed by members of Territorial units, especially in western Ukraine, to being put into the battle to defend Ukraine. These ultra-nationalist west Ukrainians don’t think defending eastern of central Ukraine is worth risking death for.

          What a pathetic country.

    • from Russia with love

      July 20, 2022 at 5:13 pm

      bad news for you.
      Ukrainians normally live in the Russian-controlled territory of Kherson and Zaporozhye regions. if it weren’t for the terror from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who regularly shell residential areas, they would live a full peaceful life.
      now the motivation to fight for ukraine is 10 years in prison in case of refusal to mobilize and barrage detachments of ukrainian nazis. many still think that it is better to go to the army than to prison, but when they get to the front they realize that they were very mistaken.

  5. Bobby

    July 18, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    Jesus. Does the author work at a “White Flag’ factory or is he just a quitter?

    • Dan Lee

      July 20, 2022 at 1:50 am

      LtCol is a respectable career rank in the Army. But, there were good reasons Austin and Hertling progressed much further. Davis’ assessments are fundamentally flawed; he failed to to address the fundamentals on the ground. Possibly, Davis is reaping some rewards for short-selling the UA campaign?

    • Stephen

      July 20, 2022 at 1:52 am

      Are you on the ground fighting the war? It is very easy to talk tough when other people are doing the dying.

  6. Ghost Tomahawk

    July 18, 2022 at 7:48 pm

    If we pumped up oil production and became a net exporter again this would hurt Russia. Sadly, this was the strategy to be employed at the onset. Better yet, should never have been discontinued to begin with. Now economic pressure is moot. Now the US/ the west has 3 choices.
    1.Keep throwing good money after bad and bleed themselves dry an eventual Ukrainian loss.
    2. Walk away and let this play out as it will.
    3. Intervene and see what happens.

    Only way Ukraine doesn’t lose is if the US directly gets involved.

    Stay tuned to the TV for more misinformation and propaganda… while the economy implodes and its Russias fault ?

    • Eugene

      July 19, 2022 at 11:33 am

      If the US intervenes, there will be no one to win. As Einstein said: “I do not know with what weapons the Third World War will be waged, but the fourth World War will be waged with sticks and stones”

  7. Luis Espinal

    July 18, 2022 at 8:00 pm

    So, what exactly do you propose, Mr. Davis?

    You never seem to quite say it. Specifics, please.

  8. CRS, DrPH

    July 18, 2022 at 9:57 pm

    “Russian air-defense troops just shot down one of the most sophisticated warplanes involved in Russia’s wider war in Ukraine. One problem. It was a Russian warplane. A brand-new Sukhoi Su-34M fighter-bomber. A video of the wreckage confirmed the plane’s identity: it’s the Su-34M with the registry RF-95890, one of just 10 or so Su-34Ms that Sukhoi so far has delivered to the Russian air force.

    ….Russia is losing, deal with it. If we keep putting the boot in with HIMARS, the military will rebel against Putin & he knows it.

    • from Russia with love

      July 21, 2022 at 5:00 am

      Last month, Russia lost 1 aircraft, and from friendly fire. both saws are alive and evacuated. Ukraine also recently shot down its own. at the same time, over the past month ukraine has lost more than 30 aircraft and slightly fewer helicopters. and this despite the fact that the Russian Air Force makes an average of 200 sorties a day, while Ukrainian aviation makes an average of 20 sorties. who’s losing? boy are you sick?

  9. pagar

    July 19, 2022 at 3:12 am

    Hmm, US media, US tv networks, US generals and biden and his (grovellin’) NATO arse lickers JUMPED the proverbial gun and baited russia into a bloody war in europe. A war which russia shall win in the end.

    The US only very very recently has had some success with its hypersonic weapon ‘tests’.

    Imagine, if biden and his war-loving cohort had doubled down on hypersonic systems instead of stupidly supplying/pumping countless sums of money to the bottomless-pit nazists in kyiv, the US military would by now be stationing a hugely formidable hypersonic arsenal in europe and other places.

    With deadly US/NATO hypersonic arsenals in place or right at the border of the enemy, it would be GAME OVER for russia (and other nations that refuse to bow to washington).

    • mcswell

      July 19, 2022 at 11:45 am

      It’s only “game over for Russia” if there’s a way to use those hypothetical US/NATO hypersonics, not to mention the fact that between successful testing and deployment could be years. And then what kind of warhead–nuke or conventional–would you put on them, and what targets would you hit with them? The US and NATO have refused (for good reasons or bad) to target anything in Russian-dominated Ukraine, much less in Russia. In sum, I think putting a bunch of $ into testing and perfecting hypersonics would do no more for the US/NATO standoff against Russia than our ICBMs, IRBMs and SLBMs do currently.

      Oh, and there are no “nazists” in Kyiv, except in Putin’s imagination. The ones who are behaving like Nazis are exactly Putin’s minions.

    • from Russia with love

      July 20, 2022 at 5:21 pm

      ummm… what do you mean? Russia already has hypersonic weapons. it has already been deployed. it is already in mass production. you want to say that for the USA the GAME IS OVER? or do you really want this weapon to be in Cuba and Latin America?

  10. aldol11

    July 19, 2022 at 6:23 am

    let’s stick to verifiable facts
    1 Russia lost the battle of Kyiv
    2 Russia has NOT won the battle of Kharkiv
    3 Russia has lost the battle of Snake Island
    4 Russia weapon and fuel supply is now at the mercy of HIMARS due to the reliance on centralized depots near railroad stations
    5 the training of Ukrainians by US and UK is on going
    6 Russia has an increasing deficit in manpower and smart weapons
    7 Russia does an inordinate amount of threatening, this indicate insecurity and weakness

    • Jim

      July 19, 2022 at 9:33 am

      There was no battle of Kiev. The Russians did a blitzkrieg hoping (gambling) for a coup de main, full governmental collapse. That did not happen, their intel was faulty. It was a twofer in that it did pin down a portion of Ukraine’s army in western Ukraine.

      • mcswell

        July 19, 2022 at 11:48 am

        Tell that to the Russian paratroopers who landed at the Hostomel Airport just outside Kiev.

      • Tim

        July 19, 2022 at 12:23 pm

        Dude, it’s useless to explain even the most obvious things to them.
        Russians have a saying about such people: “you will piss in their eyes, but they will tell you – this is God’s blessing”
        The power of CNN is too strong, and of course one or two article, even from the person who really understands what he is talking about, will not change anything.

    • CRS, DrPH

      July 19, 2022 at 4:25 pm

      8 Russia is losing the naval battle to a country lacking a navy! RIP Moskva!

      • from Russia with love

        July 21, 2022 at 5:09 am

        if Russia lost the war at sea, then why does the Black Sea Fleet continue to operate freely in the Black Sea and strike military targets in Ukraine with Caliber every day? where is the victory? why does Russia remain an obligatory participant in negotiations on the export of Ukrainian grain by sea?
        Are you sure you are not claiming that Ukraine defeated the Russian fleet? looks like you’re lying ?

  11. Jim

    July 19, 2022 at 9:45 am

    The track record of generals saying the U.S. is winning when they are not goes back as far as Vietnam.


    Vietnam and since have been wars that needed political support so generals (and retired generals) lie to the politicians & the public to keep the wars going.

    It’s Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the football, all over again.

    Court-Martial a few of these lying generals and throw them in the stockade and it would stop.

    • Jim

      July 19, 2022 at 11:13 am

      Why does John Q. Public believe these lying generals?

      Two reasons.

      One reason is that the public respects generals as being professional & honorable (honest), embedded in their respect & support for the U. S. Military generally, further embedded in a respect for expert authorities in general (many times misplaced respect, [we’ve seen a lot that recently in other fields, i.e., medicine]) .

      The second is that war generates a “war fever” and even blood-lust among many (particularly men) and in that mental state, people believe somebody (generals & retired generals) who tells them what they want to hear. In psychology it’s called ‘confirmation bias.’

      This website is a perfect example: judging by the comments, many readers display this tendency to believe only what they want to hear (and discount anything that contradicts their predispositions).

      T.V. generals know all the above and take advantage of that.

      Most T.V. viewers also are not told that many if not most T.V. generals have conflicts-of-interest (they get money from defense contractors as board members or consultants and/or lobbyists.)

      In other words, many if not most T.V. generals are bought & paid for by the defense contractors (And many active duty generals look forward to… dream of… being retired and getting on the above “gravy train.”)

      Retired generals who don’t promote this pro-war agenda don’t get these gravy train gigs (and they know it).

      John Q. Public knows little or nothing about the above motives & conflicts-of-interest of these T.V. generals.

      • Jim

        July 19, 2022 at 12:07 pm

        Perhaps, I’m gilding the lily, here, but it needs to be noted that cable T.V. shows often don’t have opposing views on the “war of the moment”, they only present one side of the debate (pro-war).

        There is no debate or argument on the wisdom of starting the war, and no debate or opposing view of how the war is going, only cheerleading. I’ve rarely if ever seen two retired generals with opposing views debate each other on T.V. air.

        If all you ever see & hear is one side of the issue or debate, it’s hard to formulate or “think out” an opposing view to the one you’ve been exposed to on the cable news program or “nightly news” half-hour program… night or night.

    • Tokyo Woes

      July 19, 2022 at 3:49 pm

      They may be overly optimistic, they may want to make the folks at home feel like we’re winning – and we are! No one is dropping rockets on us. See. Peace with honor, Jim.

  12. Serhio Abrams

    July 19, 2022 at 12:34 pm

    You are very ignorant in this regard. The Russians have only been building up their offensive power for three months now, their losses in manpower are minimal, and the Ukrainian troupe is getting bigger and bigger. More than 2,000 military corpses in one day.

  13. goldhoarder

    July 19, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    If you view it as a money laundering operation instead of a war… it will make a lot more sense.

    • Jim

      July 19, 2022 at 3:56 pm

      Yes, you are quite right. A very sophisticated money laundering operation.

      And a conjob (confidence scam) where you want something badly and the confidence man knows that so with a smiling face and an ingratiating manner he leads you down the path, and after you have been defrauded, you can’t believe it, don’t want to admit it, until it’s undeniable, but too late.

      You know what they say, “It’s harder to convince somebody they’ve been duped than it is to actually dupe them in the first place.

      Ukraine is one big money laundering operation, the biggest black market hub in the world.

      … Suckers…

  14. Stefan Stackhouse

    July 19, 2022 at 4:16 pm

    I have to wonder how much access to up-to-date classified material these retired generals still have. I would expect that they maintain their security clearances, and they probably get some info as a mater of courtesy. However, do they really get the full daily brief as they did when they were active – especially now that they are enjoying retirement and rarely set foot in the Pentagon?

  15. Roger Bacon

    July 19, 2022 at 4:45 pm

    While we should always be cautious of battlefield projections by generals who aren’t on the ground, I believe Ukraine will surprise everyone once again.

    If the number and the figures on paper were the whole story than Russia would have steamrolled Ukraine in a week — like everyone expected. The missing element in everyone’s calculus is morale.

    Russian morale is bottom of the bucket low. They don’t want to be there and they realize everything they were told about “liberating Ukraine from Nazis” was a lie. On the Ukraine side morale remains high. They are fighting for their homeland and their families. The Iraq war is not the apt comparison here. Vietnam is.

    In Vietnam America had every advantage Russia has and more. The only things Vietnam had were morale advantage and home field advantage. We all know how that turned out.

    • Jim

      July 19, 2022 at 6:16 pm

      The idea that Ukraine would collapse in three days, as many in government & U.S. intelligence stated, I suggest was a head-fake, so when Ukraine didn’t fall in three days, it would make Ukraine look strong & tough and gain sympathy with the American People, so as to get political support for the Ukraine policy.

      Americans root for an underdog, but only if it looks like they have a shot to win.

      U.S. intelligence knew how much money, training, weapons, and physical preparation (the defensive fortifications) had been put into place in Ukraine — I seriously doubt they would do all that and think it would collapse… but if they did… what fools they would be to put that much work in, in the first place.

      It would not the first head-fake by the U.S. govt. and it won’t be the last.

  16. Eric

    July 19, 2022 at 4:56 pm

    “Alexander Sladkov, a prominent war correspondent for state-run broadcaster Rossia 1, said Monday that Ukraine had successfully attacked Russian command centers.
    ‘Ukrainian missiles and artillery have struck decision-making centers several times. With results. The centers are small but important,’ Sladkov said on Telegram.” (Tenisheva, Anastasia; Effectiveness of Ukraine’s HIMARS Fuels Concern in Russia; The Moscow Times; July 12, 2022)

    Ukrainians have themselves said that the destruction of Russian ammunition depots have reduced the volume of artillery fire coming from the Russian-occupied side of the Donbass.

    Also, in the Iraq/Ukraine analogy, the Ukrainians would be the highly motivated “insurgents” and the Russians are poorly motivated. Many Ukrainians are highly motivated to learn.If we simply give them the military and humanitarian aid that is already allocated by Congress, Ukraine can certainly switch to offensive operations within the year. Yes, it will take some time.

    This article is poorly reasoned. Why does anybody still listen to retired Lt. Col Daniel Davis?

  17. Ali

    July 19, 2022 at 5:02 pm

    Agreed with 90% of what you’re trying to say. CNN post some bullshit anyways and you can’t listen to one side always. As we all know Russia is a giant and is calculative all the way, good luck to the terrorist army of the government, butchering its people for no cause.

  18. Dane002

    July 19, 2022 at 10:39 pm

    The Russians are using the ground and pound and over time it will defeat the Ukrainian Army… it is brutal and is not shock and awe but at the end of the day numbers will win.

  19. Dan Lee

    July 20, 2022 at 2:17 am

    The level of thought and analysis by Davis is disappointing. The comparisons between very different, very dynamic scenarios couldn’t be more disingenuous. Taking screenshots of Iraq’s past status out of context and then comparing those screenshots to the current state of play in Ukraine is blatantly fraudulent. Furthermore, the ACTUAL FUNDAMENTAL FACTS ON THE GROUND in Ukraine were twisted and/or ignored by Davis in this article.

    There is plenty of open source data to help us lean in the right direction. Sure, we can all admit that the future is NOT predictable. But, UA forces are hitting above their weight and inflicting serious pain on the RU forces. We should quit f’king around and give them all the weapons they asked for. A crippled Russia is good for the world. (Do we need to argue this point as well?)

    After this article, I can not place any confidence in Davis’ future work. This article was pro-Kremlin propaganda.


    • Denis Kulikov

      July 20, 2022 at 1:14 pm

      A crippled USA is good for the world, for the Russian world, isn’t it?
      USA declares that it is a war of the West against Russia.
      Russia also says that this is a war not for Ukraine, but against the hegemony of the US.
      Now, a simple question. How better to collapse the hegemony of the US?
      Quickly achieve military objectives or prolong a military crisis?

    • Jim

      July 20, 2022 at 1:32 pm

      You guys miss the point:

      (Maybe intentionally so.)

      It’s the LYING.

      We know, the generals lied about how it was going in Vietnam, the generals lied about how it was going in Iraq, they lied about how it was going in Afghanistan.

      It’s the lying about how things were going, not about the quality of the fighting men, or even the specific nature of their lies in that particular war.

      It’s the lying… stupid.

      If somebody lies to me, they’re likely to lie in other circumstances, thus, I distrust their statements about other questions at issue: how is the war going?

      Hard to know (if their lying) if all you do is listen to lying T. V. generals.

  20. Denis Kulikov

    July 20, 2022 at 10:34 am

    Naive Daniel, even you don’t understand how you can so brazenly lie to your senate, your people. They can lie to everyone and everywhere.
    The daughter of the ambassador of Kuwait lied to the senate, and was not shy. Colin Powell shook a vial in front of the UN. That they were just wrong? The ambassador’s daughter didn’t know she wasn’t a refugee, and Colin didn’t know he was shaking an empty vial? Or he’s the outspoken moron who brought anthrax to the UN meeting. He was just wrong?!
    You’re afraid to admit what you’re a veteran of and who you’ve served.

  21. Pink and Blue Prince

    July 21, 2022 at 9:35 pm

    CNN, Fox, MSNBC etc brainwash the American People into thinking America is always right and its enemies and frenemies are always wrong. On foreign policy, the West makes the same mistakes and expects different results.

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