Air defense will not make 200,000 Russian troops withdraw from Ukraine
Washington still cannot decide if it really wants Ukraine to win, while for Ukraine, ‘defending’ means losing
General George S. Patton said: “Nobody ever defended anything successfully. There is only attack and attack and attack some more.”
In Ukraine, at a minimum, that equates to ATACMS, F-16 fighter jets and HIMARS-delivered cluster munitions. It means M26 dual-purpose improved conventional munitions rockets supporting a push by Ukraine south toward the Sea of Azov and the Crimean Peninsula.
That is what US retired intelligence officer Jonathan Sweet and economist Mark Toth write in their opinion piece for the Hill.
During the 15th Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting held at Ramstein air base in Germany on September 19, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called upon allies to provide Ukraine with “additional air defense systems and interceptors” — specifically, Patriot, IRIS-T, HAWK, NASAMS, SAMP/T, and other air-defense systems.
He opened the meeting by stating, “Air defense is saving lives. So, I urge this group to continue to dig deep on ground-based air defense for Ukraine.” He also emphasized the necessity for air defense to “protect Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, including grain and energy supplies.”
While that is all true, no amount of air defense is going to kick the 200,000 troops out from occupied Ukraine. That will only be accomplished through offense.
“Air defense weapons will not destroy or damage the Kerch Strait Bridge or any other bridge sustaining Russian forces on the Crimean Peninsula from Russia or Russian occupied southern Ukraine by ground transport or rail. Nor will they affect the sea ports and airfields. Nor, significantly, can they affect Russia’s third defensive line near the village of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region. Russia’s ability to wage war will continue, unabated.”
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley referenced a “very high bar,” when warning that a Ukrainian victory will take a “very long time.” It is a sad irony that the Biden Administration has made that bar higher by failing to greenlight the weapons Ukraine needs for a decisive victory, the authors of the article say.
It has been nearly two weeks since ABC News suggested that the Biden Administration was considering supplying Ukraine with the Army Tactical Missile Systems, or ATACMS. President Joe Biden, in his Tuesday address to the United Nations General Assembly, despite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in attendance, made no reference to ATACMS. Instead, Biden reiterated his call to world leaders to stand firm against “naked aggression,” and once again “cast solidarity with Ukraine in its war with Russia as a necessary step to deter other would-be aggressors.”
Interdicting drones, ballistic missiles, and hypersonic missiles over the skies of Ukraine will not win the war. Austin and Milley know this. It is merely an extension of the attrition-based battle being waged on the ground, in the trenches — substituting soldiers for missiles, at an unsustainable cost.
“What wins the war is to strike the launch sites beyond Ukraine’s borders; to destroy weapons systems that launch the drones and fire the missiles; to interdict munitions before they are fired; to destroy “third line” defensive fortifications before the lead elements of the assault force arrive.”
The deep fight and interdiction of supply lines are what Ukraine so desperately needs to win this war, the authors conclude.