by Socrates George Kazolias: It is hard to find the truth about what is happening in Ukraine. Neither side can be trusted and the censorship, especially in Europe, and online, is a major handicap. But if you look hard enough, and study past experience, you can fit pieces together.
Lyman and Khe Sanh
I believe Ukraine’s battle to take Lyman is a reverse Khe Sanh. The Ukrainians spent three weeks sacrificing what looks like two Divisions to take the town from a Brigade of Russian defenders. Ukrainian losses are reported to be heavy and it will be hard to replace those NATO trained and equipped troops before the Russians are ready to launch their next offensive.
In the Vietnam War, Khe Sanh was a side-show to distract American attention while the NVA and NLF brought weapons and men around southern Vietnam to launch the 1968 Tet Offensive. American generals called Khe Sanh “The Fight For Nowhere,” an area in north-western South Vietnam with rubber and tea plantations. The distraction worked. The US and ARVN were caught off guard and the fight was on.
The offensive was a military disaster for the Vietnamese but a major political success which helped finally push American public opinion to demand an end to the war. In 1973, the US agreed to withdraw and in 1975, the Vietnamese conquered the country. In other words, it took the Vietnamese seven years to recover from their losses at Tet to retake the offensive.
Fast forward to Lyman; NATO and the collective West needed ‘a win‘ to keep their public opinion ‘on side’ so that they could continue this war “to weaken Russia” (Lloyd Austin) and get Putin out of power (Joe Biden). Despite Ukraine’s military command’s concerns that such an offensive would deplete the forces they will need to counter a Russian attack, NATO insisted the attack go ahead. After all, the Ukrainian Army is now bought and paid for by NATO. It is, for all intents and purposes, a NATO Army, with Ukrainian troops.
NATO chose what appears to be a worthless piece of real estate north of Donbas and the Ukrainians suffered horrendous casualties doing so. Despite being cut off, the Russians were able to break through and extract the last of their defenders there, thus getting the Brigade out. Why do I say worthless real estate? Because, for the collective West and its loyal media, that is what it was when Russia took it in April and because so far, nobody has explained to me what makes it so strategic beyond, like Tet, its political ramifications.
It is in the political ramifications of this Pyrrhic victory that Lyman and Khe Sanh have a commonality. Ukraine’s other attacks along the line have failed all the way to the Black Sea.
The Media’s Dark Role
To listen to the media, you would get the impression that Russia is on the run and that Ukraine is about to win the war. Media pundits repeat what they read in official communiqués and dispatches, also made from official communiqués, as if they are military experts when they have no idea what they are talking about.
Retired officers on media payrolls repeat the same nonsense to create public opinion in favor of the war. These are the same experts who told us for twenty years how much we were winning in Afghanistan and Iraq. Fortunately, in the US at least, those officers are immediately contradicted by other retired officers not on the payroll. Who do you believe?
What the media is doing now reminds me of what I suffered through as a reporter in 1990-91 in America’s first Gulf War. Who can forget the lie that Iraq had the fourth army in the world? Or the Kuwaiti Ambassador’s daughter lying to Congress and America about seeing Iraqis take new-borns out of incubators and smash them against the wall?
I fought hard against the lies being spewed from our newsroom and lost my job as a result. No, the British Royal Air Force did not sink the Iraqi Navy’s ships because Iraq didn’t have a Navy. I remember distinctly, on CNN, the Saudi press officer saying, “Today, the Royal Air Force sank six Iraqi naval vessels of the Zodiac class.” I tried to tell my colleagues that a Zodiac is a rubber raft, but to no avail.
This is what is happening in Ukraine. Journalists are spewing propaganda, using government talking points, giving authority to things they don’t understand in order to keep a needless, bloody, proxy-war going and at the same time feed the coffers of the arms industries.
The news cycle moves fast. As soon as a lie is exposed, the spin doctors come up with a new one known as a ‘heading off story.’ You forget the previous lie to swallow the one they are feeding you now. This technique was perfected during the First Gulf War and especially at NATO press conferences (I’m looking at you Jamie Shea). If Ukraine keeps winning like this, soon Russia will have nobody left to fight against in the country.
As I said at Ramsey Clark’s War Crimes Conference in Brussels in 1991, “Information is a weapon and journalists are its mercenaries.”