Dying for ego

For my mother, whose birthday it is today:

Fig. 1. “F Minus” comic by Tony Carrillo for August 17, 2022, via GoComics, fair use, maybe?

I am not yet caught up.


But let us start with the maps from the past four months of fighting. What is most striking is how little territory has changed hands. The Russians completed the capture of Mariupol and moved forward with an enormous effort in Luhansk, while Ukraine has been nibbling away at their positions in the Kharkiv and Kherson Oblasts, and pushed the Russians off Snake Island in the Black Sea. Other than that, not much. So far in this war defence has been dominant. This could be seen when Russia failed to take Kyiv and then withdrew from northern Ukraine. . . .

With defences dominant and not much territory changing hands, this is a war of attrition. Attrition is normally described as an alternative to a war of manoeuvre, which offers the more enticing prospect of a decisive battlefield victory. The only prospect of victory in an attritional war is through a series of encounters that have the cumulative effect of leaving the enemy depleted and exhausted. . . .

[A]ttrition is disparaged as an inferior and undesirable form of warfare, requiring patience and an ability to absorb pain – without necessarily offering a plausible route to victory. It is often the result, as in this case, of the aggressor failing to achieve an early victory through manoeuvre. It is chosen largely because it is the only alternative to acknowledging defeat.[1]

Lawrence Freedman goes on to point out that the binary between maneuver and attrition is too sharply drawn, that attrition can be a means to maneuver. The trouble is that doesn’t seem to be what’s actually happening. The less evil news is that the tide seems to be shifting achingly slowly in Ukraine’s favor.[2]

“For Moscow, the war may now be all about denying Nato the satisfaction of a Ukrainian victory and saving [Vladimir] Putin’s blushes,”[3] or, perhaps more precisely, delaying Putin’s humiliation and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s satisfaction. Which is another way of saying that people are dying for ego.

Lawrence Freedman, “Russia is still underestimating Ukraine,” New Statesman, August 16, 2022, https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/ukraine/2022/08/russia-underestimating-ukraine-attrition

Elon Musk

Mike Murphy, “Elon Musk jokes about buying Manchester United — but it may not be funny to the SEC,” MarketWatch, August 17, 2022, https://www.marketwatch.com/amp/story/elon-musk-says-hes-buying-manchester-united-but-if-its-a-joke-the-sec-is-unlikely-to-laugh-11660698588


Donald Trump

Coup attempt

There is a new blog post entitled, “The really, really, really wild wildcards in the 2022 and 2024 elections.”

Jan Murphy and Charles Thompson, “FBI delivers subpoenas to several Pa. Republican lawmakers: sources say,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, August 10, 2022, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2022/08/fbi-delivers-subpoenas-to-several-pa-republican-lawmakers-sources-say.html

Tina Nguyen, “‘The DeSantasy Is Over,’” Puck News, August 10, 2022, https://puck.news/the-desantasy-is-over/

Steve Peoples, “GOP rallies around Trump following FBI search of his estate,” Associated Press, August 10, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/gop-rallies-around-donald-trump-a0f20a219b1090fd02f529acf744f246

Amber Phillips, “What could the Mar-a-Lago search mean for Trump legally?” Washington Post, August 10, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/07/what-is-presidential-records-act-how-did-trump-violate-it/

Devlin Barrett et al., “FBI searched Trump’s home to look for nuclear documents and other items, sources say,” Washington Post, August 11, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/11/garland-trump-mar-a-lago/

Erik Larson, “Trump’s ‘Planted Evidence’ Claim Unlikely to Stand Up In Court,” Bloomberg, August 11, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-11/trump-s-planted-evidence-claim-unlikely-to-stand-up-in-court

Erin McCarthy, “Who is Rep. Scott Perry, the Trump ally from Pa. whose phone was seized by the FBI?” Philadelphia Inquirer, August 11, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/pennsylvania/scott-perry-jan-6-trump-fbi-raid-20220811.html

Tara Palmeri, “The Trump Informant Guessing Game: Knives Are Out!” Puck News, August 11, 2022, https://puck.news/the-trump-informant-guessing-game-knives-are-out/

Steve Peoples, “Trump’s bond with GOP deepens after primary wins, FBI search,” Associated Press, August 11, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/2022-midterm-elections-wisconsin-donald-trump-marjorie-taylor-greene-b5c2ee83bb655c43e1deb9c46f2a6020

Andrew Solender, “Political threats spiral,” Axios, August 11, 2022, https://www.axios.com/2022/08/12/political-threats-spiral

Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent, “Merrick Garland’s surprise announcement calls the Trump-GOP bluff,” Washington Post, August 11, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/08/11/garland-announcement-trump-fbi-bluff/

Devlin Barrett and Josh Dawsey, “Agents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago seized 11 sets of classified documents, court filing shows,” Washington Post, August 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/12/trump-warrant-release/

Alex Leary, Aruna Viswanatha, and Sadie Gurman, “FBI Recovered Eleven Sets of Classified Documents in Trump Search, Inventory Shows,” Washington Post, August 12, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/fbi-recovered-eleven-sets-of-classified-documents-in-trump-search-inventory-shows-11660324501

Lisa Rein, “Under fire, Homeland Security watchdog delays probe — with GOP help,” Washington Post, August 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/08/12/joseph-cuffari-homeland-security-watchdog-investigation/

Betsy Woodruff Swan, Kyle Cheney, and Nicholas Wu, “FBI search warrant shows Trump under investigation for potential obstruction of justice, Espionage Act violations,” Politico, August 12, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/08/12/search-warrant-shows-trump-under-investigation-for-potential-obstruction-of-justice-espionage-act-violations-00051507

Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo, “Trump calls for ‘immediate’ release of Mar-a-Lago warrant,” Associated Press, August 12, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-search-unsealing-the-warrant-5e00a3e6728cd77daa0d2180d078fcb6

Clyde Hughes, “Rep. Greene files articles of impeachment against Attorney General Garland,” United Press International, August 13, 2022, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2022/08/13/-Marjorie-Taylor-Greene-articles-impeachment-Merrick-Garland-Attorney-General/4231660394406/

Arwa Mahdawi, “The Mar-a-Lago search prompts a big question: who snitched?” Guardian, August 13, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/aug/13/mar-a-lago-search-ivanka-trump-week-in-patriarchy

Renato Mariotti, “Espionage Isn’t the Strongest Case Against Trump. It’s Simpler Than That,” Politico, August 14, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2022/08/14/trump-classified-documents-doj-opinion-00051584

Marcy Wheeler, “Trump's Timid (Non-Legal) Complaints about Attorney-Client Privilege,” Empty Wheel, August 14, 2022, https://www.emptywheel.net/2022/08/14/trump-claims-the-ssa-receipt-includes-privileged-materials/

Sadie Gurman and Aruna Viswanatha, “Merrick Garland Weighed Search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago for Weeks,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/merrick-garland-weighed-search-of-trumps-mar-a-lago-for-weeks-11660601292

Tom Hamburger and Eugene Scott, “Giuliani is target in Ga. criminal probe of 2020 election, lawyer says,” Washington Post, August 15, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/15/trump-2020-election-georgia-investigation/

Eugene Scott, “Graham must testify in Ga. probe of effort to overturn 2020 election, judge rules,” Washington Post, August 15, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/15/trump-2020-election-georgia-investigation/

Isaac Arnsdorf et al., “Trump is rushing to hire seasoned lawyers — but he keeps hearing ‘No,’” Washington Post, August 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/16/trump-lawyers-fbi-raid/

Natalie Andrews, “Liz Cheney Concedes to Trump-Backed Challenger in Wyoming Primary,” Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/liz-cheney-faces-uphill-fight-in-primary-against-trump-backed-opponent-11660642201

Matt Ford, “Trump’s Republican Defenders Inexplicably Forgot To Expect the Worst,” New Republic, August 16, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/167422/gop-response-mar-a-lago-search

Lauren Gambino, “Judge to consider unsealing Trump search affidavit as legal worries mount,” Guardian, August 16, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/aug/16/donald-trump-search-affidavit-legal-cases

Julia Ioffe, “The C.I.A.’s Trump Deja Vu,” Puck News, August 16, 2022, https://puck.news/the-c-i-a-s-trump-deja-vu/

Maria Sacchetti, “Homeland Security watchdog Cuffari faces rebukes from lawmakers in missing texts case,” Washington Post, August 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/16/missing-secret-service-texts-cuffari/

  1. [1]Lawrence Freedman, “Russia is still underestimating Ukraine,” New Statesman, August 16, 2022, https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/ukraine/2022/08/russia-underestimating-ukraine-attrition
  2. [2]Lawrence Freedman, “Russia is still underestimating Ukraine,” New Statesman, August 16, 2022, https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/ukraine/2022/08/russia-underestimating-ukraine-attrition
  3. [3]Lawrence Freedman, “Russia is still underestimating Ukraine,” New Statesman, August 16, 2022, https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/ukraine/2022/08/russia-underestimating-ukraine-attrition

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