[Content Warning: War, Terror]
They all look so young. They’re just kids, for fuck’s sake.
One of the many great crimes of politicians / the system is that they prey upon the young, to get them to invest themselves heart and mind in militarism. There’s a whole superstructure of authority and propaganda that goes along with it, to make it work. It’s still a scam. It’s just a very big, very well-funded, vicious and violent scam.
The young guy in the far corner of the elevator has just realized that his leaders are not omnipotent. I’d like to hoist a glass in his honor, because that is a great moment of realizing “oh, shit, sarge is a fuckup.” I wonder if one of the squad suggested “maybe we should take the stairs?” Now, taking the stairs will become standard operating procedure.
This is a great case-study in insurgency warfare. As the insurgency gets worse and worse the invader has to worry about every single thing – which is still not enough because the insurgents are constantly innovating to take advantage of every possible line of attack. Turning off the elevator is brilliant. Throwing a smoke bomb into the shaft under the cab would be horrifying.
The kid in the back has probably never heard of Smedley Butler, but he’s learning that “War is a Racket”
From what I have seen in the news the Russian army that first moved across the border had a lot of conscripts. Russia is a country that all citizens have to serve in the armed forces for a time, which mostly means low level army service. As a group they are young, poorly trained and have no experience in combat. Depending on conscripts was a mistake on Russia’s part. Probably they used conscripts to fill in for where they had used local militia or mercenaries in other wars but those forces are more motivated, more experienced and more expendable.
Pierce R. Butler says
Camouflage clothing and helmets – with bright red stripes?!?
Marcus Ranum says
Pierce R Butler@#2:
with bright red stripes?!?
Tactical as all fuck, isn’t it? But I guess its one way to tell who’s who. “Hey that guy’s talking Russian – shoot or not? (Y/N)”
The hilarity of it. Captured by average citizens, detained and disarmed without injury to anyone but Putin’s ego.
I remembered after the fact: Jaz Coleman, on why the band is named Killing Joke:
@2 Pierce R. Butler: The stripes could be the same reason Russia is putting the white Z on their vehicles. It is part of the claim of being an international peace keeping force. By international standard the international force needs to be clearly marked.
Pierce R. Butler says
JM @ # 6 – Thanks, but I still don’t understand – “clearly marked” to me would signify, say, an electric pink helmet or something otherwise impossible to obscure.
And can you explain that “Z”? The Cyrillic alphabet has no such letter – do they mean to signal to western Europeans that they’ve come to hunt for Zelensky, or that they admire leftist ’60s movies, or the Batman of mid-19th-century California, or ???
@7 Pierce R. Butler: The Russians are not aiming for real international support, just giving a bit of cover to their actions. So it’s more important that it’s easily removable later then it’s really a good signal. As for the Z I have no idea. Common conjecture is that it’s the first letter of something in Russian translated into English but I would expect the Russians to be public about it if that was the case. It may just have been a random easily drawn symbol.
There is basically no way to tell a Russian and a Ukrainian apart, they’ll probably have 90% the same gear. I see all the Ukrainian tanks marked up with blue and yellow on the track panels so that they don’t shoot the wrong tracks by mistake. The uniform markings are there for the same reason, not shooting your friends by mistake probably justifies some level of camo degredation.
Sorry, that comment probably came across a bit inappropriate. I think it still stands in the sense that in a combat situation it is potentially hard for the groups to tell each-other apart (probably easier for the Ukrainians). This is part because there are Ukrainians and Russians on both sides, and basically there are no hard language or visual short-cut cues that can more easily prevent blue on blue… and even when there are, you still get them.
Not sure if that’s clear enough. Yell at me if it isn’t.
Via Pharyngula :
Perhaps too optimistic a take on how Ukraine is doing?
@ 9. witm : Agreed – reminds me of how on later Apollo missions the Commander had a red stripe on his helmet. Wonder if size or colour or other denotes rank here too as well?.
@ 1 JM
As I mentioned on the Intransitive blog, as of 2020 the Russian army is 2/3 “contract” and 1/3 conscript. Russia started making the transition to a professional force sometime back in the early part of this century.
According to the Russian General staff and Putin personally (assuming the subtitling was correct) there are no conscripts in Ukraine.
@ 6 JM
Somewhere I read that there are three letters each with a different meaning but I cannot find the site again. All the letters seemed Latin, or at least according to the writer did corresponded to anything in Cyrillic. IIRC “Z” was “victory”.
Nothing to do with identification it seems. The writer who is ex-USSR military seemed a bit bewildered by it.
And according to Trump, he’s still the elected president of the United States. Also, the bag lady at the corner says this is all down to the influence of Saturn.
Pierce R. Butler says
According to MSN.com,
At least they didn’t choose to use the peace sign – this time.
Russian training is obviously soft.
I vividly remember in basic training arriving at a roadside at the head of a section, and seeing two options to get across. I crawled onto the road, and the training corporal was INSTANTLY in front of me shouting “what the FUCK ARE YOU DOING? Get in the fucking culvert!”. I had seen the concrete culvert half full of water running under the road, and decided staying dry was easier. “Easier” is not how they want your day to go in training. They want you to get used to going the hard way. I and my section went through the culvert, emerged soaking but “alive” (as opposed to “dead” which is what we’d have been crossing the open road, even on our bellies, presumably), and for the rest of basic got used to going the most tactically sound way, even if it was more effort.
Clearly this bunch of numpties never got that lesson. Getting a fucking lift? Amateurs.