The military-industrial complex rejoices!


The war in Ukraine is draining American stockpiles of things that blow up, so the defense industry has come up with a clever scheme: take a bomb we have in plentiful supply, strap a rocket motor to it (also plentiful) and send those off to a war to blow more stuff up.

The Pentagon is considering a Boeing proposal to supply Ukraine with cheap, small precision bombs fitted onto abundantly available rockets, allowing Kyiv to strike far behind Russian lines as the West struggles to meet demand for more arms.

U.S. and allied military inventories are shrinking, and Ukraine faces an increasing need for more sophisticated weapons as the war drags on. Boeing’s proposed system, dubbed Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), is one of about a half-dozen plans for getting new munitions into production for Ukraine and America’s Eastern European allies, industry sources said.

Although the United States has rebuffed requests for the 185-mile (297km) range ATACMS missile, the GLSDB’s 94-mile (150km) range would allow Ukraine to hit valuable military targets that have been out of reach and help it continue pressing its counterattacks by disrupting Russian rear areas.

How am I supposed to feel about this? I am entirely sympathetic to the Ukrainian cause and opposed to the militaristic imperialism of Russia, but our solutions to the conflict all seem to involve more, bigger, longer-ranged bombs…which leaves defense contractors chortling in glee, and may be necessary to throw invaders out of a foreign land, but I am repulsed by the idea of more effective killing machines.

It doesn’t help that everyone is so blithe about the cost. It’s cheap, they say.

The M26 rocket motor is relatively abundant, and the GBU-39 costs about $40,000 each, making the completed GLSDB inexpensive and its main components readily available. Although arms manufacturers are struggling with demand, those factors make it possible to yield weapons by early 2023, albeit at a low rate of production.

They don’t say how much the M26 costs, but I’d guess that the total cost of a single GBU-38 + M26 is going to exceed the yearly salary of a college professor, so sure, I’ll just visualize it as every shot is a teacher’s or scientist’s career being lobbed at a couple of soldiers to explode into fragments, and the money instead finding its way into a lobbyist/contractor’s pockets.

It’s fine. Everything is fine.

Comments

  1. wzrd1 says

    Good point. Surrendering is cheaper, just ask Poland and France about all of the money and lives saved.

  2. raven says

    This war is incredibly cheap for what it is accomplishing for us.

    We are paying something like 5% of our defense budget to beat and contain an archaic regime of monsters that are a long time and continuing threat to world peace.

    We are paying a lot of money.
    Money comes and goes and is replaced each budget cycle.

    The Ukrainians are paying with the blood and lives of their children, and a lot of both at that.
    And no, those lives aren’t replaceable.

  3. raven says

    Here is one analysis of what the Russian invasion of Ukraine is costing us.
    Sure it is costing us.
    We also are getting a huge amount of benefits from it and the benefits far outweigh the costs.

    This article from CSIS is very long and I just posted the first few paragraphs.

    United States Aid to Ukraine: An Investment Whose Benefits Greatly Exceed its Cost

    United States Aid to Ukraine: An Investment Whose Benefits Greatly Exceed its Cost
    November 22, 2022
    Anthony H. Cordesman
    The Center for Strategic and International Studies

    So far, there has been only limited domestic political resistance in the United States to continuing civil and military aid to Ukraine. A few political figures like the newly reelected Marjorie Taylor Greene have taken a totally negative stance: “Under Republicans, not another penny will go to Ukraine”;

    There have, however, been more realistic warnings about the possible growth of opposition to such aid like those of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: “I think people are going to be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine. They just won’t do it.” A recent poll has also shown that the number of Republicans who feel the U.S. is doing too much for Ukraine rose from 6 percent in March 2023 to 30 percent of all Americas – and 48 percent of all Republicans – at the end of October.2

    Much of this rising U.S. opposition to continuing aid to Ukraine does, however, come from only considering its cost and ignoring the strategic benefits it provides to the U.S. It is developing because far too much of the reporting on the Ukraine war ignores the fact that the U.S. has already obtained major strategic benefits from aiding the Ukraine, and that such aid it is one of the best investments the U.S. can make in competing with Putin’s Russia and in advancing its own security.

    Focusing on the price tag of aid. instead of the value of what it buys, ignores the fact that the war in Ukraine has become the equivalent of a proxy war with Russia, and a war that can be fought without any U.S. military casualties, that unites most of the world’s democracies behind a common cause, that deeply punishes Russia for its act of aggression and strengthens every aspect of deterrence. It ignores the fact that costs of such aid are low in grand strategic terms, and seem likely to be far lower than the cumulative cost of the fighting to save an Afghan government that never began to approach the Ukraine’s unity and national commitment to defend itself.

    Such a focus not only ignores the moral and ethical commitment the U.S. should have to every other free nation, it ignores the fact that Russia is far poorer than the U.S. and its allies. It ignores the fact that Russia is already paying far more of its Gross National Product and economy to fight the war in the Ukraine than the U.S. and its partners, and that Russia has suffered massive losses of weapons, war reserves, and military personnel. As is discussed in detail later in this analysis, U.S. aid has so far enabled Ukraine to do immense damage to Russia’s overall capability to threaten Europe and to fight any future conflict.

    It ignores the practical benefits of the message that sending such aid to the Ukraine has sent to our strategic partners and allies about American capability and resolve. It ignores the extent to which such aid has put practical limits on Putin’s ambitions to restore a greater Russia, and shown other states that they can trust the U.S. to compete with China. It ignores the extent to which such aid helps to rebuild and strengthen the role America plays as the de facto leader of the West and other democratic states. It ignores the degree to which it has revitalized NATO and European defense effort.

    It ignores role that the key allies like Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Poland, other NATO and EU states – and nations outside of Europe like Japan – are also playing in providing aid to the Ukraine. It also ignores the relative economic cost to such nations in providing such aid and joining with the U.S. in sanctioning Russia. While the level of aid from other states has been much lower than the levels of U.S. aid, most of our European and partners and allies are suffering far more from the economic consequences of their support for Ukraine and rise in global energy costs than Americans. While inflation in the U.S reached 7.7% in November 2022, it reached 11.1% in the United Kingdom, 11.6% in Germany, and 14.3% in the Netherlands.3

    It ignores the ongoing changes to Russian strategy that now combine defense in depth with a massive series of strikes on the economy and civilian infrastructure of Ukraine. It ignores the all-too-real limits of Ukraine’s military victories, its many vulnerabilities, and the fact that Russia in now fighting a brutal war of attrition against both civilian and military targets and that Ukraine can only continue fighting with major U.S. aid.

    And, it ignores the fact that the planning of U.S. aid must be tied directly to the search for a viable peace settlement, and that there is no practical chance that such a peace can be won on terms that are acceptable to Ukraine without making a lasting commitment to support Ukraine until Russia is forced to accept such a settlement. It ignores the need to work with the Ukraine and other aid donors to agree on what such a peace should be, to coordinate efforts to pressure Russia into accepting peace terms acceptable to Ukraine and reach a common agreement with Ukraine as to what peace terms will be acceptable.Continues

  4. says

    Money might not be real, but the resources spent are. And necessary evils are still evil. So yeah, it’s OK to hold your nose while doing what needs to be done.

  5. seachange says

    Is this more “how are you gonna pay for that” propaganda, but writ Democratic instead of writ human?

    I am absolutely blithe about the moneycost. The United States of America itself is not a poor country. It is you personally that is poor. You have made an argument from incredulity. (I am not in any way saying that it’s a good thing that you are poor, you and many other citizens SHOULD NOT be)

    Is the forty thousand USD figure correct? Because in defensebudgetese that amount sounds like some toilet seat money right there, and cheaper than an individually-fitted helmet for an F23 pilot. Cruise missles run into the millions. The bug-fucking insane amount of money we spend on military things, compared to this it is nothing.

    There are folks from parts of this country where the average pay is much lower than it is in California where we invest in our infrastructure and our people. These regions claim they are business-friendly and I’m sure they are(?). Yet economically these regions kinda suck. These same regions have citizens that take more than the average amount of federal tax-dollars for benefits, but also scream at the same that the federal government is giving too much away. (Mind you they don’t complain about fakecrime/realnationaldebt when Republicans are in charge).Some of these places grant Medi-Cal money to Brertt Frarvre.

    They are arguing in “howryagunnapayfrit” (for their own suffering apparently) from personal incredulity. From their point of view the things Californians and our government spend money on seem unattainable. (well duh, you don’t invest in your people of course it isn’t attainable).Many folks here, many of them not from California, make fun of them for that.

    Learn who your true enemies are. It is capitalism. It is the culture of this country that doesn’t value education. It is the part of american culture that feels that people must be condemned for irrelevant-to-freedom reason(s) x. It is the cost (on both sides) of the hegemony of power made that is made possible by carbon.

    The unmentioned cost to Europeans is much much higher than to any of us since they are colder and are buying the carbon to heat themselves this winter: from the United States of America our country. Not from you or the other poor people in this country, mind you.

  6. tacitus says

    I don’t see any alternative. A Ukrainian defeat would end Ukraine as an independent nation, and exact a horrendous toll on this generation of Ukrainians, with no end in sight. The chance that Ukraine’s absorption into the Russian Federation would mean a cowed people and end to hostilities is a pipe dream. It would be another Afghanistan on steroids. Decades of chaos.

    A negotiated settlement would only strengthen Putin’s hand and after piling another 250,000 troops into the occupied territories, he would simply invent another pretext to finish the job. The rest of the former Soviet republics (outside of those that joined NATO) would be next.

  7. silvrhalide says

    PZ, you missed the best (“best”) part of the article (added emphasis mine):
    “Although a handful of GLSDB units have already been made, there are many logistical obstacles to formal procurement. The Boeing plan requires a price discovery waiver, exempting the contractor from an in-depth review that ensures the Pentagon is getting the best deal possible. Any arrangement would also require at least six suppliers to expedite shipments of their parts and services to produce the weapon quickly.”

    Let the grifting begin.

    Keep in mind that while the US is giving aid to Ukraine, all the other (justifiably) nervous European countries are ordering US weapons. This means that in addition to the US government Ukraine aid contracts (which said military-industrial complex contractors will be sucking up $$$ from the government trough) the same contractors will be working overtime to supply our NATO allies. It truly is raining money for the military-industrial complex. Christmas came early for those guys.

  8. Pierce R. Butler says

    Reuters: … cheap, small precision bombs …

    Our esteemed host (emphasis added): … our solutions to the conflict all seem to involve more, bigger, longer-ranged bombs…

    My contradiction meter twitched at that.

    I had thought this possibly represented a procurement policy change: some ad-hoc Yankee ingenuity to achieve results with resources-on-hand, while the military-industrial complex raked in its profits from years’ worth of orders from other nations eager to buy weapons of demonstrated capability while cancelling purchases of Russian weapons of demonstrated incapability. But silvrhalide’s # 7 set me straight: the profiteering never slacks off from any angle.

    Will the Democrats dare to push a GLSDB plan with real audits? Will they even try?

  9. raven says

    The rest of the former Soviet republics (outside of those that joined NATO) would be next.

    True.

    The Russians wouldn’t stop with Ukraine.
    They have made no secret of that whatsoever.

    Moldova would be next and they might last a week.
    Then on to Kazakhstan, which would be a real prize for the Russians.
    Kazakhstan has only 20 million people and is rich in natural resources notably gas and oil.
    It is also the largest uranium producer in the world and with the revival of nuclear power, that is going to be important.

    After that, the rest of the Central Asian republics will fall.

    In the end we would just be looking at a newer and uglier USSR.
    I spent most of my life looking at the old USSR and planning for the possibility of all out nuclear war.
    We don’t need to repeat it.

  10. silvrhalide says

    @3 From your post:
    “instead of the value of what it buys, ignores the fact that the war in Ukraine has become the equivalent of a proxy war with Russia, and a war that can be fought without any U.S. military casualties”
    And now I’ve just thrown up.
    Yes, it’s true that the US (and the rest of Europe, for that matter) is getting a lot of bang for the buck (or Euro) in terms of containing/punishing Russia and strengthening democracy and the rule of law (both of which are in dire need of strengthening) but I’m not sure we should be breaking out in our individual happy dances about the fact that the dead are… not our people.

    @5 Yes, the 40K USD figure is correct. The engines are designed to be cheap and replaceable, largely because the US military expects them to be blown up or destroyed in relatively large numbers in any military conflict. It’s the thing powering the bomb delivery, so if the bomb performs as expected, yes, the engine will be blown up too. And yes, 40K USD is cheap in terms of military spending. The US has 11 aircraft carriers, the most recent of which (the Gerald Ford) cost just shy of 13 billion, yes, that’s billion with a B. All other countries have either 2, 1 or no aircraft carriers and most of the rest of the planet falls into the “none” category. It’s not the same as putting a pair of Pratt & Whitney engines in an F-22. For that matter, the reason the pilot helmets are so expensive is because there is enough telemetry in them–miniaturized–to run a surgical suite, plus any number of other functions (tracking, communications, LIFE SUPPORT) all of which have to function at 10Gs or higher. (Or else the pilot stops functioning in pretty short order too.)

    For the people pissing and moaning about the cost, I’d like to point out that what we’ve spent as a nation is the equivalent of the loose change you find in the couch cushions. The US routinely has contracts for military planes that will be obsolete before the contract is fulfilled. Those planes roll off the assembly line and straight into their final resting spot in AZ or NM. (It’s functionally a guaranteed minimum income for defense contractor companies and a jobs and jobs-training program for engineers.)
    Sure, heating costs will go up for the US and Europe but kindly take a moment to appreciate that you actually have heat. The people in Ukraine literally have none. No heat. Russia took out the power plants, a lot of the power/electricity infrastructure and there aren’t a whole lot of fuel deliveries going on right now. The Ukrainians are trapped in a war zone, in the Ukrainian winter with no heat and no electricity, for the most part.

    The Ukrainians are paying the highest price for their freedom, in terms of lives and money. For that matter, it will take decades for the country to recover, given that half of its infrastructure has been smashed flat by bombs and missiles. (I can’t wait to hear the pissing and moaning about the costs of whatever Marshall Program sequel is created. And there had better be one or Ukraine will either be one giant DMZ or else it will be a failed state on the doorstep of NATO.)

  11. silvrhalide says

    @9 “In the end we would just be looking at a newer and uglier USSR.
    I spent most of my life looking at the old USSR and planning for the possibility of all out nuclear war.
    We don’t need to repeat it.”

    Yeah, me too.
    Agreed.

  12. silvrhalide says

    @8 No.

    Most military contracts have a primary contractor, who then subcontracts out to other military contractors for subsystems, parts, etc. These contractor and subcontractor companies are scattered throughout the US, so any time the gravy train rolls in, large parts of the US benefit from the increased income. Which is why it is so hard to kill any government contract–you would then be taking money and jobs away from US citizens and taxpayers. Which would kill the local (and sometimes state) economy. No Congress critter wants that on their record when it’s time to run for reelection.

    In a time of economic downturn and unrest, when the economy is tanking, government contractor money is like manna from heaven.
    So no, don’t hold your breath waiting for that audit. Not from the Democrats, who are supporting the Ukrainians and who need weapons NOW and will turn a blind eye as to the circumstances of their procurement and manufacture, and not from the Republicans, who huge supporters of the military-industrial complex.

  13. microraptor says

    There’s no hypocrisy in simultaneously supporting efforts to help Ukraine and condemning war profiteering.

  14. StevoR says

    Thanks Putin. One man’s evil ambitions. So much harm and damage for so many. So many needless lives lost and avoidable grief, pain, suffering.

  15. unclefrogy says

    here is the quote that says a lot for me

    He said falling U.S. inventories help explain the rush to get more arms now, saying stockpiles are “getting low relative to the levels we like to keep on hand and certainly to the levels we’re going to need to deter a China conflict.”

    and those levels would be in the common phrase over whelming levels of force That is the way we plan to do things like war. the equipment and supplies we have been sending to Ukraine is a drop in the bucket to what we have available and scheduled to be replaced with new upgraded stuff already
    the cost BS is just that BS it is only a cost because there is a democrat in the WH and some of the magas like putin’s money floating their way better then integrity it has nothing what so ever to do with cost, or death or war
    war sucks it is a funeral a failure it is only a good when it stops, this one has one source the ambition of one short man who only knows violence and force

  16. gijoel says

    In an ideal world we wouldn’t need an army, or police, or doctors. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. Still, I wish that wasn’t so.

  17. billseymour says

    I, too, am experiencing a serious moral dilemma about just this point.  At present, for the short term, I must support Ukraine because real people are really suffering.  Maybe some day we’ll find a way to stop wars, but I don’t hold out much hope for that given all the money that the oligarchs make out of it (along with most Democrats and all Republicans in office).

    <aside>
    IIRC, it was Eisenhower who coined the term, “military-industrial complex”, so this is really old news.  I was in the third grade when “I like[d] Ike”, and I’m 76 now.
    </aside>

  18. IX-103, the ■■■■ing idiot says

    If they can get reasonable accuracy for $40k, that would be a good deal. Of course the M26 is spin-stabilized, unguided, and uses a solid rocket motor. I’m skeptical that it would have have the accuracy needed to avoid civilian casualties and would be trivial to intercept — solid rockets can’t be throttled or turned off so it can’t really take evasive maneuvers.

    As for the cost, it’s a regrettable expense that I wish we didn’t have to pay, but I think it’s disingenuous to say that this money could pay more teachers or teachers more. Money is fungible, so that’s just as true of the $1 bill in my pocket. If I had my say though, teachers should make at least 50% more. They’re the foundation our society is built on.

  19. says

    Wow, the number of people who completely fall for the US propaganda is disappointingly significant. Hop in the Way Back Machine and go all the way back to 2014 to see what we’ve been doing there and how two great powers are using this to position themselves for future wars. Russia started what they thought would be a border war and they screwed up. Now we are happily pouring money into our military industrial complex to see what we can accomplish, instead of trying to negotiate out of this.

    The death of an empire is not a pretty thing to watch and it is really scary and I’m not talking about Russia here.

  20. IX-103, the ■■■■ing idiot says

    @20: Can you be more specific? What sort of negotiations are you proposing? If it’s anything like that proposed by Putin via Musk, it’s not worth considering. Russia has gotten away with too much for too long.

    If you think that America is dying, then Russia is holding the knife. Their unchecked subversion has contributed a large part to the current divisions plaguing the country. And I consider their interference in our elections an act of war.

  21. silvrhalide says

    @20 Given that all the proposed negotiations from Russia involve the sovereign nation of Ukraine handing over some of its territory to Russia, there’s a reason that no one is trying to negotiate.

    As far as America dying, well, we are certainly in decline but reports of our death are premature. China was positioned to be the next great superpower but given the toll that Covid 19 has taken on China and the general unrest because of that death toll, they might have done themselves in prematurely. Also, given that they are rapidly running out of water and haven’t been able to feed themselves domestically for decades, their spot on the top is tenuous at best. If it ever even occurs.

  22. raven says

    … instead of trying to negotiate out of this.

    Absolutely meaningless and very stupid.

    How do you negotiate with monsters openly claiming and actually carrying out pure genocide?
    That is what Russia has been and is doing to Ukraine and Ukrainians.

    Julia Davis: November 28, 2022

    Meanwhile in Russia: the host and his guest concur that Ukraine should be erased off the map and even the memory that it existed should be destroyed. The host says that Russia will always be an empire and being in a state of war is only natural for any empire of Russia’s size….
    Video at the (Twitter) link.

    This is the latest from Russian state run TV. The official line of the wannabe Soviet Union is that Ukraine should be erased off the map and even the memory of Ukraine should be destroyed.

    This is right up there with anything the Nazis ever said about the Jews.

    Getting back to how to negotiate with monsters intent on genocide, ask the Jews how that worked out for them.
    Their second attempt at negotiating with genocidal maniacs involved building over 100 nuclear weapons in Israel.

  23. raven says

    Putin threatens nuclear war. The West must deter disaster.https://www.washingtonpost.com › 2022/10/03 › putin-…

    Oct 3, 2022 — Twice recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin has raised the prospect of using nuclear weapons in the war he launched to destroy Ukraine.

    I’ve lost track of how many times the Russians have threatened to nuke me and my cat. As well as a few tens of millions of my closest friends.

    These are tankie troll Ronald Couch’s buddies. Mass murderers threatening to go from 100,000s dead to tens of millions dead.

    There is always a good possibility that any nuclear exchange will escalate.
    It’s estimated that a full scale nuclear exchange between Russia and the USA would kill 5 billion people.

  24. raven says

    Ronald Couch the troll:

    The death of an empire is not a pretty thing to watch and it is really scary and I’m not talking about Russia here.

    Got everything wrong including this.

    I cheered when the USSR empire imploded.
    So did hundreds of millions of captive nations people.
    They all got out as soon as possible and never want anything to do with Russia ever again.
    It’s as close to a miracle as we will get without the gods doing anything.

    That would include all the SSRs, the Baltics, the Central Asians, and all of Eastern Europe.

    In those areas everyone has a friend or family member who was disappeared, sent to the Gulags, or simply killed by the Russians. Or at least knows someone who had that happen.
    I live on the US Pacific coast and know two people who this happened to.

    They all hate the Russians for good reason and they all say something we’ve heard before.
    Never again.

    Ukraine had it as bad as any of the captive nations.
    The Holodomor man caused famine of the early 1930s killed 4 million Ukrainians.
    The Russians claim to have lost 25 million during World War II.
    7 million of them were Ukrainians.
    This is their chance to get rid of the Russians forever and they aren’t going back.

  25. John Morales says

    The military-industrial complex in the USA always does alright.

    But yeah, wars are the best.

    BTW, most recent Perun video, focused on Poland:

  26. silvrhalide says

    @20 Still think that negotiation with yet another Russian dictator and mass murderer is an option?
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/11/26/ukrainians-remember-suffering-inflicted-by-stalin-putin-90-years-apart/?utm_campaign=wp_post_most&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_most&carta-url=https%3A%2F%2Fs2.washingtonpost.com%2Fcar-ln-tr%2F386dfcb%2F6383988b3564ae5f7527d409%2F597776a69bbc0f6826c3fa0d%2F27%2F68%2F6383988b3564ae5f7527d409&wp_cu=5c411ed9e0ce999386860f7d77994200%7CC0DBC0C3123C2BA7E0430100007FAD1A

    From your post:
    “Wow, the number of people who completely fall for the US propaganda is disappointingly significant.”
    Raven and I aren’t the ones drinking the appeasement-flavored kool-aid.

  27. NitricAcid says

    I have been paying attention to Ukraine since long before 2014. There was nothing done in Kyiv to justify Putin’s invasion.

    How do negotiate a peace with someone who demands that you hand over half your property and people, and promises to come back for the rest of them as soon as his army’s better?

  28. heartwood says

    This is literally a case of one nation’s (USA) trash is another nation’s (Ukraine) treasure.

    These are not new munitions. Both are considered operationally obsolete by the US military who has plenty of both. In fact, they had in excess of 300,000 M26 rockets which have been being decommissioned. The air-launched SDB has been rendered obsolete by the switchblade drones. These are both literally trash according to the US military. Rather than disposing of these munitions at home, the USA is off-shoring their disposal to Ukraine.
    Ukraine can’t air-launch the SDB. By mounting the SDB onto the M26, the SDB can be launched from a HIMARS. And that’s how US trash becomes a treasured tool of Ukraine. This is literally a win-win solution.

    As horrible as war is, Ukraine didn’t ask to be invaded. And if we want to prevent a direct conflict between NATO and a nuclear-armed Russia who will use their nukes if their existence is threatened, Russia needs to be stopped before it attacks Poland or the Balkans. That means, we need Russia to lose where they are, in Ukraine. So if US trash can help defeat Russia…

  29. heartwood says

    @IX-103. The SDB is an air-launched kamikaze drone. The M26 only needs to get the SDB in the air and within 1km of target MECO. The SDB then deploys it’s wings and can be directed to a 1m accuracy. So very high accuracy for a very low cost, especially since both weapons are otherwise being decommissioned. The cost is in turning obsolete junk into something useful. After all, the M26 was not designed to launch the SDB and the SDB was not designed to be launched from a missile launched from a HIMARS.

  30. John Morales says

    heartwood, not just the USA.

    Other ex-Soviet bloc countries have, um, transferred old Soviet stuff to Ukraine and are re-arming with NATO stuff.

    But yes, war stuff gathering dust in a warehouse and then having to dispose of it expensively is not as good as using it for geopolitical goals.
    Happily, goals congruent with rule of law.

    In passing, I think it’s almost getting to the point where stockpiles are depleted and grey imports can’t cover the deficit for Russia, which has been digging into its long-term storage of materiel for some time now.

    Troops, too — and yes, I know, not conmensurable — but pretty clear that Russia can’t possibly sustain the longer game, either logistically or economically.
    Too much disparity between it and its supporters and Ukraine and its supporters.

    There’s stuff to do with GDP and with being able to develop the latest and nastiest war stuff, such as amortising it by mass manufacturing and selling it to allies for $$$) and so forth.

  31. says

    @29 heartwood
    Took the words out of my mouth. Think about that when your racist uncle starts bitching about that $21B over X-mas dinner.

  32. John Morales says

    [OT]

    Ronald Couch, this is the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russo-Ukrainian_War

    Russia broke its solemn commitments and invaded Ukraine. Fact.

    Got away with its initial territorial nibbles, but instead of doing that a bit more, it went for broke. Over-reached. And here we are.

    So.

    Nothing to do with US propaganda.

    (Are you one of those who imagine Russia was provoked into belligerence?)

  33. says

    Think about it this way. We’re sending obsolete equipment to Ukraine. They aren’t getting latest model tanks and guns. They are getting M-113s that were in service in the 1960s. They are getting rocket launchers left over from the 80s. They are getting the M-72 LAW. That thing goes back to 1963. They’re getting MP40s that go back to the 40s. We’re not even shipping M-16s their way.

    Check out this list:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Russo-Ukrainian_conflict_military_equipment#Assault_rifles_and_carbines

    We’re shipping them stuff we’ve had mothballed since the Cold War. So at X-mas dinner, when your racist uncle starts bitching about the “$21 billion” we’ve supposedly spent on Ukraine, that’s mostly $21 billion in obsolete assets that were costing us money to maintain. Sure, that M-113 might be worth $100,000 to someone, but to us it’s a useless vehicle that will never be deployed.

    It’s like owning six cars, but you only have two hands and two feet so you can only drive one at a time. Trust me, that $21bil is way over blown. We aren’t sending them billions of dollars and a free uber to Bombs-R-Us. It’s more like inheriting your brother’s ’85 Toyota Tercel with 250,000 miles on it already. If you sold it for $1200 dollars, but you need it to get to work so you take it and shut up.

    BTW, my ’85 Tercel was one of the best cars I ever owned.

  34. StevoR says

    @ 20. Ronald Couch :

    Wow, the number of people who completely fall for the US propaganda is disappointingly significant.

    What propaganda specifically? Are you referring to something in the OP here in which case what exactly? Please clarify.

    Hop in the Way Back Machine and go all the way back to 2014 to see what we’ve been doing there and how two great powers are using this to position themselves for future wars.

    2014 specifically? I small cherries freshly picked by dates but okay.

    I guess you refer to the Revolution of Dignity a.k.a. the Maidan Revolution or Ukrainian Revolution here? :

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolution_of_Dignity

    Plus here – albeit now a bit dated in places :

    https://www.vox.com/2014/9/3/18088560/ukraine-everything-you-need-to-know

    Which notes :

    Putin, addicted, has played up the nationalist cause in eastern Ukraine, the heroism of the rebels, his own heroism in backing them, and the threat of Ukraine’s “fascist” government. Were he to sit idly by while the rebels were defeated, it would show that his rhetoric was a lie and leave him without the nationalist cause on which he now bases his political legitimacy. So, with no other way out, he invaded.

    So it seems Putin fell for his own propaganda and ideology which appears to have sucked you in as well. Yes?

    Russia started what they thought would be a border war and they screwed up. Now we are happily pouring money into our military industrial complex to see what we can accomplish, instead of trying to negotiate out of this.

    What exactly would you have Ukraine negotiate here? Who are you to tell Ukrainians who have been fighting and dying for their land to negotiate but, setting that aside, what negotiated settlement here do you suggest?

    The death of an empire is not a pretty thing to watch and it is really scary and I’m not talking about Russia here.

    If not Russia then which empire is it we are seeing die? I guess you refer to the USA and are a Declineist :

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_decline

    but is that really an empire and is it really dying here? What precisely makes you think so?

    It looks to me like Putin’s avoidable war of choice here is hurting Russia and perhaps slightly helping the USA if anything because if we look at NATO as an “imperial” organisation – which is debatable – then NATO has been strengthened and is adding members and being seen as more essential and necessary than it was before. Putin’s war has totally backfired if it was meant to weaken and deter it and diminsh American influence with Europe including Ukraine itself.

    Anyhow coming back to your first sentence :

    Wow, the number of people who completely fall for the US Russian propaganda is disappointingly happily insignificant.

    Fxed it for you?

    Maybe think about what propaganda you may have fallen for Ronald Couch?

  35. StevoR says

    ^ Fix or clarity : I small cherries freshly picked by dates but okay.

    Was meant to be I smell cherries freshly picked by dates but okay.

    But typographical errors intervened.

  36. mmfwmc says

    I always remember this quote from Eisenhower – not exactly a wimp:

    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
    This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

    Sadly, it doesn’t mean that this spending can be avoided. Just that it’s a fucking tragedy.

  37. KG says

    How am I supposed to feel about this?- PZM

    It’s really not about how you feel or are “supposed to feel”, PZ. It’s about how the victims of aggression – the Ukranians – feel. If and when they decide it’s time to negotiate, outsiders should help them negotiate. So far as I can judge, most of them feel it is time to resist the invaders – if that were not so, their armed forces would not have been able to halt the invaders, let alone launch such successful counter-offensives: you can’t do that with an army with low morale, and a citizen army – as Ukraine’s is – will not have high morale if it does not believe it has the support of the civilian population, huge numbers of which are also involved in keeping the army going, rescuing the victims of attacks on residential areas, repairing vital infrastructure, growing and transporting food… Of course various bad actors – the military-industrial complex, the quasi-fascist governments of Poland and Turkey and others – are taking advantage of the situation. The military-industrial complex in the USA grew up during WW2, and Stalin took advantage of allied help to clamp his tyranny on eastern Europe. Should the UK and USA therefore have said to Hitler: “OK, go ahead and conquer as much as you want, there would be unfortunate results of trying to stop you”?

  38. says

    Seems to me that what Ukraine has been doing since 2014 is to prepare for this exact scenario. They knew it was only a matter of time before Russia came knocking again, so they did their best to be ready.
    That’s also why they’re not inclined to surrender any territory. That’s what they did last time and here we are, again.

    As for propaganda, what amazes me is that when people notice that one side is lying, they somehow jump to the conclusion that the other side must be telling the truth. They could both be full of shit, you know. They probably are.
    By all means, distrust the United States, but don’t for a moment let that trick you into believing Russia.

  39. says

    Think about it this way. We’re sending obsolete equipment to Ukraine. They aren’t getting latest model tanks and guns. They are getting M-113s that were in service in the 1960s. They are getting rocket launchers left over from the 80s. They are getting the M-72 LAW. That thing goes back to 1963. They’re getting MP40s that go back to the 40s. We’re not even shipping M-16s their way.

    Check out this list:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Russo-Ukrainian_conflict_military_equipment#Assault_rifles_and_carbines

    We’re shipping them stuff we’ve had mothballed since the Cold War. So at X-mas dinner, when your racist uncle starts bitching about the “$21 billion” we’ve supposedly spent on Ukraine, that’s mostly $21 billion in obsolete assets that were costing us money to maintain. Sure, that M-113 might be worth $100,000 to someone, but to us it’s a useless vehicle that will never be deployed.

    It’s like owning six cars, but you only have two hands and two feet so you can only drive one at a time. Trust me, that $21bil is way over blown. We aren’t sending them billions of dollars and a free uber to Bombs-R-Us. It’s more like inheriting your brother’s ’85 Toyota Tercel with 250,000 miles on it already. If you sold it for $1200 dollars, but you need it to get to work so you take it and shut up.

    BTW, my ’85 Tercel was one of the best cars I ever owned.

  40. antaresrichard says

    Exploding into fragments coincidentally, was the thought I was recalling just moments prior to reading your blog for the day. Twenty five years ago, I was aboard the USS Hornet and on the flight deck, having broken away from my friends after the tour was concluded.

    Standing deliberately before a fighter plane and its payload, then looking over to the superstructure and back to the bomb, I thought: “All that costly, technological sophistication to ensure this hunk of metal gets to its destination and rips to shreds, tearing asunder as well any person nearby, be they combatants or not.”

  41. seachange says

    @10 silvrhalide @26 John Morales

    Thank you this is useful information.

    Our own Crip Dyke has experienced chemical warfare in Portland in which obsolete materials were profligately used.

    @35 mmfwmc
    qft

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