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Vet Compares Us Intel on Afghanistan Withdrawal vs. Ukraine Invasion | GZERO World

NATO's darkest chapter: Afghanistan withdrawal (in contrast to unity supporting Ukraine)

The intelligence may have been there - but the ability to draw conclusions unbiased by what Americans needed to believe was not, says Elliot Ackerman, a former US marine who served four tours in Afghanistan and has just come out with a book on the American pullout from Afghanistan called "The Fifth Act."

America's chaotic withdrawal a year ago stands in stark contrast to the highly coordinated US and NATO response to Russia's war. On GZERO World, Ackerman tells Ian Bremmer that when it comes to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US had a degree of objectivity it had lost after 20 years in Afghanistan. The war, he explained, had come to define our military thinking and intelligence capability because the US was involved there for such a long time.

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File photo of Russian soldiers.


What’s wrong with Russian soldiers?

“Success [in war] never did and never will depend on position, or on ammunition, or even on number. [It depends] on the feeling that’s in me, in him, in every soldier.”

So says Prince Andrei on the eve of battle in Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. He predicts that the outnumbered and outgunned Russian soldiers defending their homeland will defeat the superior invading force led by Napoleon because the defenders have the stronger will to fight. The French forces won the battle but lost so many men in the process that their invasion ultimately stalled.

With that in mind, the Pentagon claimed this week that US intelligence sees a potentially debilitating low morale among some Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine. The publicly cited evidence includes reports that substantial numbers of Russian troops have surrendered their weapons with little or no fight, that some have sabotaged their own vehicles and equipment to stall their advance toward Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and anecdotal reports of lost and demoralized Russian troops begging for food.

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