Ukraine War, 20 March 2023

Tom Cooper
5 min readMar 20


Hello everybody!

Reading different comments of the last days and weeks, it’s obvious that too many people have too much time, and everybody knows better, of course. ‘Instead’ of trying to find out what’s going on, there’s too much discourse on what and who is right, and what and who is wrong, and — especially — when and where is Ukrainian counteroffensive going to take place, and what is it going to look like. Indeed, there are characters explaining insanities like, ‘it doesn’t matter if Bakhmut holds, if Melitopol is still in Russian hands’. …There are people complaining about a ZSU officer being demoted for going public with his critique of superiors. But, best of all is when super-smart US advisors are complaining (in the public, even if ‘indirectly’) about the ZSU’s ammunition expenditure in the Bakhmut area, because — and this is super-morbid — ‘this is depleting stocks necessary for a counteroffensive’. And, of course, everybody is repeating this and the old one about ‘committing forces to hold Bakhmut is depleting forces necessary for Ukraine’s counteroffensive’ — like they’re some sort of religious dogmas…

Beg your pardon?

By side that we’ve seen how über-smart are US advisors — the last 20+ years in Afghanistan and Iraq. And again in Ukraine of February 2022, just for example. And, that nifty sarcast in me would especially love seeing US troops holding back with their ammunition expenditure in any kind of a ‘fire contact’…but: why all this pushing for a Ukrainian counteroffensive? Why should it be ‘good’ that this ‘must’ take place, that occupied areas must be liberated right away, and this ‘must’ happen tomorrow….better today, actually?

Partially, such ideas remind me of the Russians and their ideas about ‘Ukraine must be conquered, must fall, Ukrainians must subject themselves, West must bow, everything and everybody MUST….’ ….and, partially, they remind me of Iran of late 1980 and early 1981. Back then it was ‘Iran must counterattack’, ‘Iran must liberate Khuzestan’, ‘either Iran counterattacks now, or it’s never going to counterattack’, and of course: ‘Iran’s going to win, because it’s better than the Iraqis’….and then that golden statement: ‘you’ll see’….. In this regards, a few of Americans, and some of Ukrainians do remind me of few Iranians: too many geeks that know everything better, and are sure they can do everything better than anybody else could, and before soon, too…


Iranian public pushed its own army into a counteroffensive for which the latter was simply not ready. In January 1981, Iranian Army then launched that major counteroffensive: drove an armoured division with three brigades of Chieftain MBTs into well-prepared Iraqi positions. At an ill-suited point in time, in the middle of the rain season. Half of MBTs were lost when struck in mud, and another third was knocked out by Iraqi T-72s….

Thank you, politicians, armchair generals and war correspondents: lots of people died. Nothing was achieved.

….or if, then that for the rest of the war Iranian armour didn’t play an important role any more. Or that it took Iran another 1,5 years of preparations, until army was really ready, and its commanders really did get their act together. Only then did they smash the Iraqi army in Khuzestan and liberate all of the province at once. Ironically: I do not know anybody who’s counted all the Iranian losses from this process of ‘learning the lesson’, and none of politicians, armchair generals, nor war correspondents that was pushing ‘like hell’ in late 1980, ever assumed responsibility for all the Iranian losses of January 1981, of course…

Right now in Ukraine, the situation is such that the VKS has managed to suppress Ukrainian air defences in the Avdiivka area not only enough to target local Ukrainian fortifications with guided bombs calibre 1500kg ‘from stand-off ranges’, but even for its Tu-22M-3s medium bombers to bomb the place with free-fall FAB-3000s. And for Su-34s to do so with other free-fall bombs, too.

Anybody out there who understands what that means — or is it so that because this is next-to unknown, it doesn’t happen, and thus doesn’t matter…?!?

For those for whom I need to draw this: the PSU is so busy just defending all of Ukrainian cities and the power grid from Russian ballistic- and cruise missile attacks, that it’s got not enough air defence systems, and not enough (heavy) surface-to-air missiles to properly protect its troops along the entire 1,000+ kilometres of the frontline. It can’t cover its artillery deployed in the Avdiivka area, which in turn means that this artillery can’t knock out the Russian artillery, which in turn means that the Russian artillery is — just like the Russian air force — free to support the advance of its ground troops….

But, you want to run a counteroffensive under such circumstances, eh?

Face it, and accept it, people: we all only ‘must’ pay taxes and we must die. That’s about the only certainty in humanity.

Therefore: NO, Ukraine ‘must NOT’. No, ZSU must NOT go into offensive. Especially if it’s NOT ready. And right now it’s NOT ready. It lacks ammo, it lacks mini-UAVs, it lacks ammo, it lacks night-vision equipment, it lacks ammo, it lacks air defence systems, it lacks ammo, it lacks experienced and well-trained troops, it lacks ammo, it lacks skilled commanders, and it lacks yet more ammo. And where it’s not lacking all of this, it’s got growing problems with troops who are just fed-up of killing: should you have any problem with understanding this, go and enlist, volunteer, spend your Sundays shooting 100+ people to death. Then see what happens to you...

…or cool down, and learn to be patient. This is no video game, nothing where you can cheat by having endless supplies of ammo and troops: it’s a big, massive, murderous, dirty war. Such wars are not won by chest-thumping nor by big-mouthing, but by patience, careful reconnaissance, by lots of training, by stocking enough ammunition and supplies, attrition of the enemy while training enough own troops, and a careful selection of the time and place. That’s none of your or my business, and no business of all the other possible armchair generals and war correspondents in the social media: that’s the business of ZSU’s ‘faggot generals’.



Tom Cooper

From Austria; specialised in analysis of contemporary warfare; working as author, illustrator, and book-series-editor for Helion & Co.