Thursday, March 05, 2015

When a Body Count Matters

I'm not sure what could impress Putin with the need to halt his aggression against Ukraine and deter further aggression other than more dead Russian soldiers.

One of our generals is on board this method of resisting Russia:

While emphasizing the U.S. still seeks a diplomatic solution to the crisis, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges said in Berlin that helping Ukraine with weapons would increase the stakes for Russian President Vladimir Putin at home.

“When mothers start seeing sons come home dead, when that price goes up, then that domestic support begins to shrink,” he said.

He said Ukraine needs intelligence--which I assume means battlefield intelligence--counter fire capability--meaning the ability to fire back at Russian artillery--and something to stop tanks--which would mean infantry anti-tank weapons and probably engineering help to create obstacles. I'd say anti-tank mines, but they are politically incorrect these days.

But by all means, help Ukraine kill Russian soldiers at such a level that Putin can't hide the fact.

Heck, Putin isn't shy about increasing the body count of Russian foes. Why should we be more skittish?

Indeed, maybe Ukraine should be holding moving burial ceremonies for dead Russians in their custody and publishing them online.

Perhaps it has seemed crude for me to be arguing for an effort to kill Russian soldiers all along, but that's the reality of stopping Russia. General Hodges just stated the obvious.

UPDATE: Remember, it seems that Putin was willing to murder the dissident Nemtsov to keep the deaths of his soldiers as subliminal as his wars:

[An associate of Nemtsov,] Yashin said he and Nemtsov had spoken about the Ukraine report about a day and a half before his death.

"He told me he had been in touch with relatives of Russian soldiers killed there and he was planning a trip to Ivanovo to talk to the parents of those killed soldiers," Yashin said.

"He said in the very near future he was going to assemble and put in order various evidence and documents directly proving the presence of the Russian military on the territory of Ukraine and, accordingly, (exposing) President's Putin's lies that there are no Russian servicemen there."

Nemtsov had also settled on a title for the report, Yashin said. He was planning to call it: "Putin and the War".

Little dead green men aren't as cool.

UPDATE: For this NATO official's statement to be true, the identities and total count are necessary:

“Russian leaders are less and less able to conceal the fact that Russian soldiers are fighting – and dying – in large numbers in eastern Ukraine,” Alexander Vershbow said at a conference in Latvia on Thursday, adding that NATO believes the deaths are making the conflict increasingly unpopular among Russians.

So far the "little green men" are polite and bloodlessly victorious. The concealment is still working.