Only Words Matter

Now let me explain how Ukraine managed to break through the Russian front line so dramatically in a place where there are still 3 Russian soldiers for each Ukrainian.

Ukraine announced its counteroffensive, saying it was going to take place in the South, around Kherson.

“But how about Kharkiv?” people asked.

“No, it has to be in the South for now,” the Ukrainian command responded. “Kharkiv will have to wait.”

And yes, a slow counteroffensive did begin in the South. At the same time, Ukrainians were clearly massing troops near Kharkiv. Russians saw it. But they know that reality is nothing. Only words matter. If the counteroffensive identifies as a woman is said to be in the South, then it’s got to be in the South. Why would they believe their own lying eyes? So they moved all of their reserves to the South. 15 tactical battalions were moved away from Kharkiv.

“Aha!” said Ukrainians and went on a massive counteroffensive near Kharkiv.

There is another layer to the story. There is a third counteroffensive that Ukrainians have been preparing. This one is away from both Kherson and Kharkiv. It’s in the Donbass.

“We have no plans to go on the attack in the Donbass,” the Ukrainian command kept saying. “We will be way too busy around Kherson.” Of course, Russians stripped Donbass bare to send troops to Kherson. And guess what? They now feel very betrayed by reality in which Ukrainian troops have moved into the Donbass.

This is the most elegant way of proving that reality doesn’t care that much about what we say about it. Objective facts exist. Narratives should be modified to suit reality because reality won’t bend to accommodate the stories we tell ourselves about it.

8 thoughts on “Only Words Matter

  1. Actually they’re learning that all of the well-intentioned advice given to them with regard to the “resistance operating concept” (ROC) isn’t as good as diversionary tactics that lead away from the main assault along with “kettling” some resources that would otherwise be routed toward it.

    And so Ukraine’s forces are now fighting to match the Russian forces.

    Could have happened earlier, but ROC sounded so absolutely certain of itself.

    What happened instead is what always happens: agree among yourselves what you’re going to do, but the enemy always gets a vote.

    Insofar as “kettling” goes, while Ukraine’s objectives may yet survive the encounters, it’s clear that what’s being kettled isn’t necessarily Ukraine’s forces.

    It’s all of the resources of the militaries around Ukraine that are being “kettled”, and the Ukraine conflict is being used as a bloody and unnecessary escalation not so much over anything in Ukraine, but instead to weaken these other countries.

    When Petr Fiala had to admit that they’d screwed up by sending so much ordnance and support to Ukraine that it’d take them years to build back what they had, and when other military forces were talking about an “ammo diet”, I knew the real objective wasn’t actually Ukraine.

    But here’s the weird thing about all of this: you’d think that the Ukraine forces movements would be of paramount importance to Russia’s intel community, and that the information would be fed to the Russian forces commanders.

    With satellite intel, they shouldn’t be quite so caught out of the dark.

    So why is it that the Russian intel community was all over BBC reporter Marie Colvin in Syria with their ELINT platform catching her doing a live broadcast they wanted to shut down, but they can’t notice a simple feint carried out over a considerable distance?

    Imagine General Jubal Early in the US Civil War deciding that he’d feint on Washington DC and instead attack Philadelphia, but in an era where there’s satellite and on-the-ground surveillance that can capture movements of individual soldiers, let alone larger combat groups.

    Something about this absolutely smells off.

    It’s like the Russians don’t trust the intel coming out of their own intel community or that they suspect moles so deep in the organisations that the commanders feel they’re better off disregarding what they’re given.

    One interpretation of this could be that Ukraine’s allies have so completely overloaded local ELINT and SIGINT with noise, and given a time-sensitive deadline to meet, the Russian commanders decided that with the lack of high confidence information, they’d go ahead and meet the feint.

    This isn’t just a failure of the Russian intel community if this is the case.

    It’s a failure of systems management according to operations research.

    If true, Ukraine has managed to break these systems for the Russians, but don’t gloat just yet.

    Ukraine’s done an awesome job of breaking the ability of some of its allies to do much to defend themselves, given that they’ve thrown too many chips into the pot and are now involuntarily committed to a positive outcome.

    What if this entire “SMO” was meant as a trap of empires and their allies?

    Afghanistan did quite a number to Russia, and so now Ukraine gets the unlucky task of unwillingly being a different kind of graveyard of empires.

    This is why I keep saying that I’d rather support the people of Ukraine by making it possible for them to cast off both Kiev and Moscow, in addition to Washington DC, London, Berlin, Paris …

    BTW, 16 September is going to be an interesting day potentially, so keep your eye on the news.

    It’s when the US railway strikes will be full on again if a deal isn’t worked out.

    Think of what comes through the West Coast ports via rail and you’ll see how this could get ugly.

    The Port of Los Angeles alone processes everything from food to batteries to electronics of all types, and because of ongoing noise abatement issues, it tends to transfer the TEUs directly to trains so that the intermodal transfers can be done away from the city.

    With a railway strike, all of those operations cease, and freight once again gets stacked at the port.

    Even a two day serious strike could snarl up everything west of the Mississippi and seriously slow down intermodal arrangements east of it.

    These are also objective facts.

    Anything you think you can’t do without that you’ve been relying on as a steady stream of merch from the big boxes, stock up on some of that now, especially the stuff that’s going to have to transit the US interior via railway before an intermodal transfer.

    BTW, see you in a few days, we’re taking two big trucks down to Broward so we can load up the rest of what we need at some warehouses.

    Yeah, guess who’s driving one of them, this’ll be fun.

    At the worst, we’ll have stuff for bartering with our neighbors, and we could use some help setting up the additional Generac as well as the new fuel storage.

    Oh, but aren’t we worried about rampaging mobs when the cities fall and that sort of bullshit?

    No, because we sat down with the big ranchers in the area and worked out a plan to implement a private surveillance network over an area so big you can see it from satellite.

    Ivan’s forces couldn’t walk fifty metres into it without being picked up by the outer layer of repurposed deer hunting cameras.

    So there’s that. 🙂


    1. The people of Ukraine have no desire “to cast off Kiev.” This is all outdated, boring propaganda. Let’s cast off these silly conspiracy theories and all this unjustified pouting and experience joy over the amazing victory of good versus evil we are lucky to witness but not always smart enough to recognize.


  2. “Russians saw it. But they know that reality is nothing. Only words matter.”

    Gives a whole new dimension to the general saying “Вы проиграли Владимир Владимирович!”…


      1. “still living in fantasy land”

        they’re looking for coping strategies…. “NATO beat us!” or “The US beat us!” is more palpable than “The Hohols beat us?!”

        It will probably be some combination of “We were fighting NATO!” and “The government didn’t let us win” (US coping strategy after Vietnam).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There’s some Russian poet who yesterday published a poem with the immortal line “Our faces are covered with Hohol spit.” It’s bad poetry but a great moment of self-awareness.


  3. “Russians … know that reality is nothing. Only words matter”

    Well russian statements can often be understood once you know the code. After they announced a retreat, everyone and their dog knew what was coming…. a bunch of revenge shelling, this time aimed at civilian infrastructure…

    And Zelensky had an eloquent answer (fairly sure you’re going to quote it in a future post)

    Liked by 1 person

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