” … How the U.S. Totally Misjudged the War in Ukraine”

Mechanized Infantry

The war in Ukraine isn’t going the way Russian President Vladimir Putin expected. And he’s certainly not the only one who was caught by surprise—the U.S. expected a rapid Russian success, with the Kremlin’s tanks inside Kyiv within days.

Many U.S. officials from the CIA, the Pentagon, and the White House believed Russia would quickly conquer Ukraine when it invaded last February. But Ukraine mounted an effective defense, and the Russian forces have retreated in some areas after ferocious counter-attacks. The outcome of the war hangs by a thread, and the U.S. was simply not expecting to find itself involved in a major international conflict that could go on for years.

Former military officials and intel insiders have told The Daily Beast that reviews are underway after failures in human intelligence and “lethargic” analysis led to warped predictions.

The misjudgment in Washington, D.C., was near-total. The U.S. did accurately warn that Putin’s threat of invasion was real, while some intel agencies—including those in Kyiv—sought to play down the likelihood of all-out war, but after that the biggest land conflict in Europe since World War II has confounded the world’s most extensive and costly intelligence agencies right here in the U.S.”

Comment: Well, pilgrims, we got it right here. The problem with the big intel agencies; CIA, NSA, DIA, etc. is that they are “mature bureaucracies” filled with careerist place seekers who have no real talent for analysis and merely seek security in IC wide groupthink. The agencies themselves are fiefdoms in which the senior bureaucrats are “swords around the throne,” who see themselves as protectors of the agency head against “dangerous” analysts who wish to challenge IC wide consensus. I wrote about thus many years ago in an essay entitled “Artists vs Bureaucrats” which will appear again in my new book “The Portable Pat Lang.” pl

This Is How the U.S. Totally Misjudged the War in Ukraine (thedailybeast.com)

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27 Responses to ” … How the U.S. Totally Misjudged the War in Ukraine”

  1. Gordon Reed says:

    There is also the situation with Iraq where the intelligence was fixed and manipulated to justify an invasion.

    • Pat Lang says:

      You miss the point that the intel agencies have much better info than the policy side of government and have a basic duty to resist bullshit. This tension is always present. Policy people want to create reality. Intel people have the duty of describing actual reality.

  2. California Triathlete says:

    Can’t wait for the book!

  3. Lars says:

    I don’t doubt the analysis, but how do you fix it? Russian intelligence failed miserably too. So, what else are they all getting wrong? This is an area where mistakes are very costly.

    • Pat Lang says:

      You need to break the bureaucrat grip on these agencies and make them much smaller communities of talented eccentrics.

      • Eliot says:

        Col. Lang,

        I believe education system that produced those eccentrics no longer exists.

        – Eliot

        • Pat Lang says:

          Quite possibly. My wife observes that British “police procedurals” on TV are much better produced than ours. I tell her that this is because we are no longer well enough educated to do as well. There are exceptions. “Bosch” would be one.

          • borko says:

            Watching US police procedurals (and not just them) is like watching a bunch of physically perfect androids imitating (shallow) human emotions.

        • jim ticehurst.. says:

          The Education System was the KEY to the Kingdom..
          In the United States…Overt Infiltration..Done Covertly..And Then Protected…Politically as
          Free Speech..Until Donald Trump and Elon Musk..

          Controlling Minds ..and Populations in a Democracy
          by the Bureaucrats…Until There Are No Artists..Just
          Professors like Bill Ayers of Chicago..And
          Liberation Theology ..Marxism ..Applied..By a President of the United States…
          A New Statistic..from the Department of Education..

          Percentage of Growth on Population in Public Schools

          Students…7.6 Percent
          Teachers…8.7 Percent
          District Administrators..Bureaucrats ..87.6 Percent..

          THEY Control The Material..And Subject Matter..
          Twenty years now ..We see the New Artists..On the Streets of America…The Art of Chaos..Violence..and
          Anarchy..The Final Stage,,,,,, Manifesto…

      • jim ticehurst.. says:

        Col. Lang..
        Im glad you made that Comment.Thank You. ..I wondered how you would change the ICC..and also if You would consolidate any or Eleminate any..and who would Be Lead..Do you believe there is enough talent..around any more..Is Counter Intelligence even a Priority..?? Thanks..

  4. Fourth and Long says:

    Is it possible that US Intelligence advertised a prospective Russian invasion of Ukraine as likely, in their view, to be wildly successful and rapid so as to deceive the commanding elements of the Russian government into an overweening confidence regarding likihood of success, thereby also forfeiting the serious degrees of preparation necessary? And increasing thereby the likelihood of calamity?

  5. Steve_01701 says:

    correct me if I’m wrong but I recall your opinion was that Russia was NOT going to invade Ukraine.

    • Pat Lang says:

      Yes. I thought they would confine their ambition to the ethnic Russian parts of eastern Ukraine and act through the rebels. When they did not do that and tried to destroy the Ukrainian state, I thought Ukraine would put up a hell of a fight. Which they have done.

      • Bill Roche says:

        Russian objectives were never to be satisfied w/Crimea and the Donbas. It was always, always about restoration of empire.

  6. TTG says:

    Our IC has a terrible track record of assessing the effectiveness of allied and friendly militaries, even when we’re largely responsible for building/training them. That assessment is rightly the job of those training/working with those armies rather than the IC, but perhaps the trainers are too heavily invested to do a good job of assessing capability.

    We truly screwed the pooch in assessing the state of the Russian forces. They fooled us, but they also fooled their own leaders. We should have been looking closer at their astoundingly kleptocratic MIC, something that would have looked more like a criminal investigation rather than a traditional collection/analysis plan.

  7. Leith says:

    IMHO there was certainly some dissent within that official IC opinion that Moscow would triumph in Ukraine. Minor dissent and probably squashed. Who and how many is the question. Unfortunately those who dissented will probably never be recognized.

  8. Jim Ticehurst says:

    There seems to have been a Lot of Screwed Pooches..Food Fights..Failures…FUBARS..
    .Idiots..and Assholes …The Ugly Americans…… .So Many Pound Animals Eh….

    Pats Right…either far to Many BOBOCRATS..Or Traitors In Cubicles.(Ames)
    Very Few Artists Like Pat..He Should Be a General Without Doubt..And Put in Charge of Reorganization..We May Have Time For That…If Those Five Stars Line Up..

    • Pat Lang says:

      I don’t have time for that.

      • jim ticehurst.. says:

        Col. Lang..
        I Know ou Dont…But Beleve you should have gotten that
        Promotion Long Ago..and Been at the Table…As a ICC Policy
        Perhaps The Queen of Cuba…ANA MONTES..Would not
        Have Carried out Her Long Operation inside the DIA..as a Spy
        For Cuba…(Extreme Damage)..
        .Nor Would The FBI Have
        Their Own Inside Spy on The Russian Desk..
        Robert Hanssen.That they told.That Montes was Actually a Spy For Cuba..(Not Knowing Hanssen Was also a Spy)

        ..Hanssen Never Told Them rather He Warned Montes..
        Twenty Years…All Preventable…

  9. longarch says:

    John Helmer has predicted a demilitarized zone. I cannot judge whether Helmer knows anything about the subject.

    Helmer wrote:

    The Kherson manoeuvre, announced by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and General Sergei Surovikin on November 9; the electric war campaign which has followed*; and the cutoff of troops, arms and supplies by train from Kiev to the eastern front, first announced by the Russian Defense Ministry on November 24, foreshadow how the military are preparing to establish the Ukrainian Demilitarized Zone (UDZ), its depth to the west of the Dnieper River, and the cities to be included in Russian-controlled territory.

    This is a future to be established by the Russian General Staff, negotiated and signed by military officers of the NATO-controlled commands in Kiev and Lvov. The outcome is an end to hostilities with an armistice that is not a peace treaty.

    The model is the armistice of Panmunjom of July 27, 1953, which ended the Korean War. The terms of the armistice took two years to negotiate by US, Korean and Chinese officers. The Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ) which was the outcome was four kilometres in depth. The Ukrainian demilitarized zone (UDZ) will be up to one hundred kilometres in depth, depending on the range of the US and NATO missile and artillery weapons deployed on the Kiev side of the Dnieper. On the ground inside the UDZ there may be no electricity, no people, nothing except for the means to monitor and enforce the terms of the armistice.

    Military source: “The maps speak for themselves. The РЕЙД will consist of several heavy armoured spearheads with the objective of occupying and destroying enemy logistical hubs and transportation routes as well as any infrastructure. This will include whatever remains of the Ukrainian electrical grid in the target zone. Once the destruction of these targets has been completed, the remnants of the infrastructure will be mined, and the area planted with sensing devices. The armies will then begin a rapid, staged withdrawal behind Russian lines where the process of fortification and entrenchment has already begun.”

    “Civilians and disarmed Ukrainian troops – except for the Ukro-Nazi units — will be allotted one or two corridors through which they will be permitted to leave the zone. They’d better not dawdle.”

    It may be that Helmer is a fantasist or a Russian asset. I am not qualified to judge him. His text appears to merit attention.


  10. Lars says:

    After reading some output by John Helmer, there is little doubt that he is well connected to the tops of the Russian government and is regurgitating their propaganda. Not a word about the casualties, lost equipment, lost ground and any other number of items. No doubt the Russians would like to stop fighting given the considerable losses they have already suffered, but why would Ukraine willingly give up territory that they are starting to reclaim? Besides, who would want to trust Russians? Remember, they said they would not invade Ukraine.

    John Helmer has lived in Russia since 1989 and has been “going native” over the years. I am sure he has been given all the wishful thinking available in Moscow. He has also missed a lot of reality, both regarding the Russian economy and their dismal military efforts.

    I would consider him what he is and that is another Russian propaganda asset.

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