It was all over. Endless columns of T-64 tanks were about to steamroll through the Fulda Gap all the way to the English Channel. Elite paratroopers, armed to the teeth, were marching into an unending row of Il-76 transport planes that took off every minute, from every airfield. Early warning radar stations were overwhelmed as a tsunami of ICBM launches consumed every point on their screens. Against all odds, we managed to wake our German allies and prepare them to make one last stand. As they marched forward to show… Wait. Oh no. Are those broomsticks?
That's the kind of Cold War mentality that could have motivated Lt. Gen. Frederick "Ben" Hodges to go off on a bizarre rant on Tuesday, when he blasted NATO countries for not racking defense spending. He particularly berated Germany:
"For the most powerful nation in Europe, which takes a leadership role in the EU, it is unacceptable to have helicopters that don’t fly, or aircraft you can’t use."
"I am sure Putin wants to destroy our alliance, not by attacking it but by splintering it."
"If you don’t believe Russia is directly involved in Ukraine now, you’ll never believe it. You don’t want to believe it."
There are only a few things that Lt. Gen. Hodges needs to prepare for the doomsday battle he never got to fight. NATO countries have to prepare an army that can at least try to withstand what has to be an inevitable Russian onslaught.
As for Lt. Gen. Hodges, he remains the commander of the United States Army Europe (USAREUR) Command, and on Wednesday Evening launched Operation Atlantic Resolve, live-fire exercises in northern Poland, which include the US Army 2nd Cavalry Regiment and Poland's 12th Mechanized Division.