Ukraine War Escalation Or Not?

The Biden admin recently announced it would no longer compel Ukraine to limit its use of American supplied long range armaments (capable of flinging hot iron 190 miles down range) to its own country. Translated: Ukraine can now use American ATACMS to strike targets — only certain targets — inside Russia.

Russia, of course, has no restriction on using their weapons to strike Ukraine anywhere and everywhere.

MGM-140 ATACMS firing M-39 missile with range of either 103 or 190 miles from an M270  MLRS launcher.

WTF is an ATACMs, Big Red Car?

The MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) is fairly old technology (first envisioned in the 1980s, but continuously updated) designed originally by Ling Temco Vought (LTV) and then obtained through acquistion by Lockheed Martin.

It fires a solid fuel propellant rocket (M39 and M39A1) fired by the tracked M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). It, the missile, is made in four variants, one with a maximum range of 103 miles and the other 190 miles.

So, what’s the beef, Big Red Car?

The US initially supplied the Ukrainians with the shorter range ATACMS 16 months after the Russians invaded Ukraine and after a year of Russia knocking the snot out of Ukrainian cities and military targets. The Russians recently bought long range missiles (and 152mm artillery rounds) from North Korea.

One of the strings attached to the American provision of the ATACMS was a prohibition against striking targets inside Russian territory. Dumb  policy sayeth the BRC.

So, what changed, Big Red Car?

Recently the Biden admin said the following:

 1. OK, since Russia is knocking the bloody snot out of Ukraine using North Korean missiles and Iranian/Chinese drones, y’all can use the ATACMS to hit back, but only inside Ukraine.

 2. Then, they said last week, well, OK, y’all can use the longer range ATACMS — only supplied two months ago by the US to Ukraine — to attack Russian targets, but ONLY TARGETS FROM WHICH RUSSIA IS ATTACKING KHARKIV.

Kharkiv is Ukraine’s second largest city and the Russians are attacking it from ground and air to take the pressure off the Russian forces in the south and southeast of Ukraine.

America is a feckless, unreliable, confused ally

American military intelligence believed that Ukraine would last for one week under the onslaught of a gigantic Russian invasion initially targeted on Kyiv. Surprise, surprise, surprise — military intel and the CIA were both wrong. Honestly, how did they get it this wrong?

After much hand wringing, the US supplied the Ukrainians with HIMARS — capable of flinging a missile 50 miles, twice the range of the largest Ukrainian artillery then in action — in June 2022.

The US supplied the ATACMS shorter range (103 miles) missiles 16 months after the Russians invaded, and two months ago sent the longer range (190 miles) missiles.

The Ukrainians are doing great using these missiles and have destroyed a substantial amount of critical gear and installations.

The US also held critical aid — think money to buy artillery shells for Ukrainian artillery to  shoot it out with the Russians on a daily basis — for a long period of time whilst the US Congress engaged in partisan politics.

Bottom line it, Big Red Car, lunch plans

Fine, dear reader. Here’s the bottom line:

 1. The Biden admin was slow to provide critical help to Ukraine in the form of missile/artillery systems that could create parity and an advantage over Russian artillery/missile systems.

 2. The US gear is good to damn good. The M-39 missile has multiple guidance systems that Russian electronic jamming cannot defeat and, thus, the Ukrainians have had great success knocking out Russia’s most advanced anti-air capabilities.

 3. This slow support and the unprincipled delay in funding cost Ukrainian lives and gave the Russians a bit of momentum.

 4. The restriction that Ukraine not use the ATACMS on Russian targets except for those supporting the assault on Kharkiv is a weirdly fine distinction that is nonsense.

The Ukrainians are doing fine. Don’t believe the doomsayers. The Russians are attacking Kharkiv to take the pressure off combat operations in the south and southeast. Stay the bloody course, you bastards.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car.