Are We Heading For A “Comical Ali” Situation As Applies (Social) Media Sentiment Upon Ukraine?


Something which many have observed is that there is a bit of a .. dysjunction between what we might tactfully term ‘enthusiasm’ about Ukraine ‘driving back’ Russia, being able to ‘win’ the war, etc. etc. … and the actual facts of the conflict as they become apparent day to day.

That is natural. People have a side that is the underdog – and everybody likes an underdog, especially if it has been attacked.

We also have a natural desire to believe ‘Good News’. The Ukrainians have weaponized this (and to be sure – this is not something unique to them. Pretty much every power or group in history has done something similar even where they are winning), and put out some very, very “would make for an excellent movie” style ‘information’ that has later turned out to be almost unbelievable … precisely because it actually was, as it happened, blatantly false.

Some of that may even not be deliberate – but the result of that much-invoked concept ‘the fog of war’. But much of it almost certainly is, at best, ‘willfully’ ignorant of the actual realities being avoided in the process.

And, as I say – this is not a specific thing to the Ukrainians, it is not meant as some sui generis moral injunction against them alone. If I or anybody else was in a position of my country being invaded, and all I could do to try and keep the fire alive and enlist desperately needed foreign assistance was entirely artificially manufacture a narrative of ‘we’re already unbelievably winning!’ – well, it is not hard to see how these things take hold.

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However, as the Russian advance continues to grind from East to West, as Cities fall or are encircled in areas that were supposedly victoriously retaken by the Ukrainians – and as contemptuous remarks about Russian troops behaving like WWII Soviet Pulp depictions and/or Orcs as cannon-fodder [i.e. incapable of complex thought, tactics, and therefore victory] … give way to what appears to be a rather impressive operational double-envelopment which cuts off Ukraine’s biggest concentration of forces in the East …

The question is left hanging: how are the people who are currently still enthusiastically cheering on Ukraine as the ‘plucky little country that could!’ going to react to all of this?

At present, people sharing facts about the Ukrainian military situation are easy to dismiss as ‘puppets’ of Putin – as Kremlin-sponsored bots, and all the rest of it. If you don’t like what you hear, you simply say that it is false and malicious propaganda.

However, sooner rather than later, this conflict is going to produce its own spectacle of a ‘Comical Ali’ (also known as ‘Baghdad Bob’ – and more accurately as Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the Minister of Information under Saddam Hussein in Iraq).

Apparently, many are too young to recall this person – but we remember well the circumstances in 2003, wherein this Governmental mouthpiece would give the most outlandish briefings. Boldly declaring that American troops were dying, defecting, deserting in the hundreds if not the thousands – and that they were nowhere near cities or strongpoints which had, in fact, fallen or become the subject of fierce fighting earlier in the day or week aforehand.

This reached apexes of ridicularity when he tried the *same thing* in Baghdad – continuing to insist that the city was safe and that the invaders were / had been repulsed … even as you could begin to see American armour appearing *literally in the background* of where he was standing.

This is where we are heading with Ukraine and the ‘piquant’ informational picture coming out of various people speaking about it now.

Then, as now, the side getting invaded had a very … piquant propaganda engine dedicated to convincing people they were winning.

The major difference now is that instead of Comical Ali being ridiculed every time he gets up to speak – people are enthusiastically buying into that narrative.

We are, as it were, on the ‘other side of the glass’ from where we used to be.


  1. So Putin occupies all of Ukraine. Then what? Put in a puppet regime and hope the Ukrainian people become enamoured with Putin and mother Russia?

    All very well to degenerate the Ukrainians, how about focusing on the outcome?

    Ukraine is not Chechnya where it took Russia two goes to install the traitorous Kadyrov. Chechnya 1.5 Million people, Ukraine 38 million people. Physical size of the Ukraine is over 600,000 sq kilometers. Going to take a lot of manpower, equipment and desire to hold a region that size under control of the Kremlin.

    As has been said in the past. Easy to conquer territory, harder to hold.

    What do you think the end game is? Putin must have an idea? No?

    • aim is to destroy all Ukraines military infrastructure, basically to de-militarise it.

      Install a pro russian regime

      This is Putin sending a message to Nato about where his red line as when it comes to Nato’s expansion and what he will do if it is crossed.

    • You’re ignoring his point which is don’t believe everything you read on , google , twitter , etc .
      This is one of the few realistic assessments of the situation in Ukraine that I’ve read most of which are unthinking drivel .

    • Putin’s goal might not be all of Ukraine, but rather the areas in the south and east that are both Russian-speaking (not necessarily ethnic-Russian) and what he believes Lenin ceded to modern day Ukraine. A reduced Ukraine without access to the Black Sea would remain, and would be home to the pro-Ukrainians fleeing/driven from the Russian controlled areas. It could end with a frontline between new pro-Russian states and a resized Ukraine, rather than an occupation of areas hostile to Russian and separatist forces.

      But, who knows? Same for the fate of Kiev.

    • I don’t rule out seeing a “West Ukraine-East Ukraine” scenario negotiated as part of a peace settlement.

    • If I was to try and ‘steelmanning’ his position I think Martyn has covered most of it, but

      Resources and trade – Access to warm water ports. Control of the untapped natural gas deposits in the south of Ukrainian and off the Black Sea coast which could make Ukraine a major petro-state and competitor to Russia in the supply of gas to Europe. Also supply of water into Crimea (home of the Black Sea Fleet) which comes from Ukraine and had been choked off by Kiev depleting reservoirs and impacting farming on the Crimean side.

      Defence – Narrowing the geographical gap through which an invasion could advance into Russia from the west (may seem strange but not if you look at Russian history).

      I think Putin would like control of Ukraine, the Baltics and part of Poland which makes defence of Russia’s western flank much easier. However for resource control I would not be surprised if he would stop with southern and eastern Ukraine and the whole coastline of Azov and Black Seas, from Luhansk and Donetsk in the east to (and including) Moldova in the west.

      • I think Putin would be crossing a red line if he attacks Moldova. Although it is not a member of NATO, the NATO nations might feel obliged to defend Moldova, if the Moldovan government asks. It is simply too far west.

        As for the Black Sea, I expect there will be a massive battle over Odessa. Russia would probably win, but that is certainly not a guaranteed outcome.

        As for a peace settlement, I could see that being done on the Crimea, with a land bridge linking to the Donbass. Maybe with Ukraine being neutral, but with security guarantees, including from NATO.

        Depends on how the war plays out over the next month or so.

        It is worth recalling that in 1940, Finland, which is much smaller than Ukraine, was able to fight Russia to a standstill.

    • Watch this. Please.
      Watch this and then ask yourself? Are [they] here and now exerting their influence on our politics ?
      “The invasion of Ukraine has sparked talk of sanctions and financial crackdowns from Western leaders. But does this ring true and how have these leaders previously profited from connections to Russian money?”
      Russell Brand.

      • Hunter Biden, Burisma, laptops, huge dollars. Graft from the now President.
        We should choose more respectable friends.

  2. We are being bombarded with pro Ukrainian propaganda both in the MSM and especially in social media. People seem to forget we are only getting half the story.

    Most disappointing is the reluctance to highlight Nato’s (and especially the US) role in bringing about this conflict which started in 2014 when the US helped depose the Russian backed regime

    Sad to see so many lives being lost as super powers battle for pride and power

    • Stop peddling the Russia Putin propagand lie that there was a coup. It was a popular uprising against a corrupt would-be Lukashenko type Putin Puppet that Parliament and a large chunk of his own party then responded to. I think you meant to write 2004 though instead of 2014. This all started when the Ukrainians had the gall to reject Russian meddling. Putin had a tantrum thence Crimea then Donbass and now invasion. How dare Ukraine choose democracy and Europe over dictatorship and Russia?

      • “It was a popular uprising against a corrupt ..[insert name of regime leadership no longer considered a US ässet HERE.]”

        You on the CIA payroll?

          • They have been received well in the east. Who says Putin wants it all? He wants a neutral nuke free Ukraine, recognition of separatist eastern states, Crimea and surrounds.

            Its kinda over now for US State Department installed regime, maybe a deal coming up in few more days?

      • who’s money was behind the so called ‘uprising’ (actually the regulation issue US regime change scenario) crimson?
        is a US puppet regime quantitavly better than a russian puppet regime..before answering consider the failure of the US puppet regime in afganistan.

        just askin man..just askin

      • There was a popular uprising after Lukashenko stopped negotiations with the EU and pivoted to Moscow but there was also western meddling (and later Russian meddling) which should not be underestimated. For some reason though in these ‘who is responsible’ discussions few mention that Zelenskyy was fairly elected with most support from Central Ukraine and ‘pro-Russian’ Eastern Ukraine which should put a lid on it?

        Also Russia and Nato promised to respect and protect Ukrainian territorial integrity in return for giving up their soviet-era Nukes in 1994. Sadly for nuclear non-proliferation, this is a very clear message about what NOT to do if you wish to retain territorial integrity.

          • And how fair were the elections when the Party of Regions was effectively banned since 2015, likewise three communist parties of various stripes , and the people of the breakaway regions have not voted .More recently Zelensky has imprisoned the leader of one pro russian opposition party, and 3 opposition news media have been shut down
            Does that seem like democracy to you?

    • Your comment is the most logical response to the situation, while I would like to see the Russians defeated it seems that the only way for that to happen is for other nations to get more involved & the results if that happens are not something I would want to see.
      I suspect that Putin has scored an own goal with his invasion though in that it has united many countries against him & with sufficient financial pain someone will replace him. I don’t know if that will improve things for most people but they probably won’t get worse either.

      • Putin an own goal? Theres a bigger game going on and Putin has to win to survive, maybe for Russia to survive.

        Russia is the worlds biggest exporter of energy, oil and gas. USA wants to own and control that resource plus rare minerals, grain etc. They have for 20 years tried to get control, Putin has thwarted them. Hence NATO pushes east, the West tries to destabilise Russia.

        The sanctions are the biggest push and will be fatal to either Putins Russia or to the US petrodollar. If the Russians can trade the energy the world needs via China and India etc, and clear trade in yuan or gold the US financial empire falls.

        Big stakes. So far the Saudis have refused calls from Biden, he is desperately trying to court Venezuela. The Chinese meanwhile are open to Russia. The US cant backfill their European allies energy needs. Russias offshore cash and gold has effectively been seized, Russia will probably nationalise all Western assets in Russia. Oil price has gone ballistic. Advantage Vlad.

    • Well stated XXX. Now we are getting closer to the truth. This war actually started back in 2014 when the USA achieved “regime change” in the Ukraine. Since that day the USA has set about their plan to totally destroy Russia. Time after time Russia felt the impact of US lies as they steadily readied the Ukraine to host nuclear weapons Time after time Russia warned them to back off but the gung-ho yanks pressed on and on and we’ve ended up with this nasty war that the yanks were gambling wouldn’t happen.
      Nato only exists as the yanks way to help them destroy Russia. Nato has been used as have the Ukraines, whilst the yanks pretend it’s not their fault. Meanwhile Nato, Ukrainia and Russia are left in very precarious positions.
      The yanks seem to be determined to make this Russia’s endgame. Their rushed declaration of extreme sanctions look like they will hurt the EU more than they hurt Russia.
      As an aside the yanks have only got away with all this because of a totally propagandised compliant media, and it still is.
      What a pity there are no sensible Yankee politicianss left, such as JFK ,to stop the military/industrial machine.
      Only direct talks between USA and Russia can bring a resolution now.

  3. Weird how there is so much outrage against Russia taking back former colonies but +crickets+ when China invades Hong Kong against legal agreements, Taiwan, Tibet and takes back pervious disputed territories.

    I’m against the land grab by both super powers, but find it concerning the differences in rah, rah, approach to essentially the same tactics.

    • “+crickets+ when China invades Hong Kong”

      Really? New Zealand’s response was muted and tardy I suppose thanks to the economic dependence created the last 30 years of Globalism.

      As for USA, the volume dial is still set to 11. All the usual neo con ratbags from Iraq debacle etc ginning up war with China over the island Taiwan whose regime calls itself the Government Of The Republic of China.

      Hong Kong “democracy protest movement” is a text book US State Department CIA “color revolution”.

      • James – I remember when the US Department of Information openly affirmed that Tibet was the 5th province of the great nation of China. Do you?
        (Funnily enough, when China turned communist they revised that opinion. Enough to make one a cynic, isn’t it?)

  4. Comparing the propaganda /info war of an invaded democratic country to the propaganda/misinformation of the Saddam dictatorship while simultaneously ignoring and concurrently acting as mouthpiece/purveyor of the propaganda/misinformation of an aggressor totalitarian state is weak sauce and disingenuous. I’ve just lost all the respect I had for you now. Another one of these pseudo-leftists so blinded by hostility to western/US imperialism that they fail to see it when it’s China, Russia or others doing it and become sockpuppet useful idiots for Putin and CCP …a lot of it coz many Leftists still infected with Stalinist/Maoist authoritarianism and/or have anwarrented nostalgia for the “glory days” of the USSR & Maoism. Real Leftists support the right of nations to self determination, no ifs, no buts, no equivocating.

    • Here is a good Twitter account, dont know how much longer it will be up, Twitter is purging any accounts not pushing Washington DC narrative.

    • The Scott Ritter interview is excellent. I could not believe the bland denials coming from both the US and Ukraine about the biological warfare capabilities there. We have to think carefully about all this and not get swept along with the largely one-sided narrative about this conflict. There is a lot about Ukrainian history, politics and even current attitudes (racism and antisemitism) that is deeply unpleasant. This does not mean that the Russian invasion is legitimate – but there are/were motives – even in murder trials, motive needs to be established.

  5. Who hasn’t heard of an old war tactic of “encircling the enemy?”

    From the Eastern(Southern) borders from Poland/Belarus, all the way along the Russian border to the Black Sea, up to Odesa. Then ‘squeeze!’

    The ‘Squeeze’ is on now and has been for a week or so. The Azov Battalion rhetoric is all Ukraine have left. Those Nazi pricks are encouraging citizens to die for them!

    Zelenskyy isn’t in control of anything other than his smartphone and his social media accounts.

    MSM international public enlightenment entertainment social media are hugely influenced by Gobbels contribution 100 years ago that they’re just churning it out like shit, literally.

    The Russians are signalling it can all be over by the end of the week. Let’s wait and see what the Azov Battalion say?

    • The Azov Battalion is surrounded and localised in Mariupol in the South East, i suspect that have little to say re the wider resistance top Russia and they are certainly not the whole Ukrainian professional army and volunteer force. Side note, you know Zelenskyy is Jewish right?. Yes it’s a very bad look to have literal neo-nazis in service to the country but when you have a much more powerful and hostile neighbour you might be forgiven for taking all the help you can get. Remember Finland allied with Nazi Germany against Stalinist Russia. Politics and conflict can get complicated.

      Having said that yes it’s best to treat most war stories (ghost of Kiev etc) with skepticism. Especially if it seems calculated towards building anger and directing public passions at direct military confrontation between NATO and Russia (which is basically WW3 and likely to escalate to nuclear).

      • Wrong. The Battalion with the help of Victoria Nuland in 2014 installed the next 2 Presidents and now Zelenskyy.
        She, Nuland and the US armed them (literally) Nazis to shoot protesters at the regime change at the Maidan coup’d’etat. Not long after that, the Azov chiefs installed themselves in the National Guard and then the Ukraine Armed Forces, military command.

        They are calling the shots and the US & NATO like that way.

      • “you know Zelenskyy is Jewish right?. Yes it’s a very bad look to have literal neo-nazis in service to the country”

        Committing atrocities, since the 2014 US State Department coup, against Russians in the breakaway east Ukrain states. No outrage in Western media about any of that.

        • @Francesca, DP and MR – thanks for the notes and links I’ll check them out. I’m being sloppy, too much focus on international strategic issues and not enough on internal power struggles and their respective backers and agitators.

      • finland got a bloody nose(the USSR got an even bloodier one) in the winter war and wanted revenge, mannerheim the major finnish figurehead a former tsarist officer wanted to attack russia and take what he saw as greater finland…the scandis in general were believers in eugenics and all that went with it…so at that particular point in history no surprise they hooked up with adolf and his bootboys.

  6. Any day now Nato is gonna commit troops and weapons to defend the Ukrainians, any day now.

  7. I think you’ve rather missed the point Curwen. Sure Russia will eventually ‘win’ the war because it will just keep piling in more and more resources until it does so. However:
    > The much feared Russian army has been made to look rather foolish by a tiny, ill equipped citizen force to the extent that the Russians have been forced to temporarily retreat and reformulate their plan of attack, and that will inevitably be to carpet bomb the cities relentlessly until there’s nothing left of any value: A pyrrhic victory.
    > Even without the assistance of the Ukrainians, the Russian army fell on its face. Mobile equipment was unreliable and broke down on the road to Kiev, its conscript soldiers were untrained and demotivated, and its generals were clearly past their sell-by date (you don’t line vehicles up in a row, exposed, on a main road and not expect them to get picked off) . Western military planners will have taken notice. A western force with modern air power would eat this shambles for breakfast!
    > Having gained their objectives the Russians then have to hold them against millions of angry Ukrainians armed by the west to harry whatever forces remain in the country. Could this be Putin’s Vietnam?
    > Lastly the soft, liberal west got an education in realpolitik. European NATO partners are rearming, non-aligned Sweden and Finland are considering joining NATO and Germany will end its reliance on Russian gas.

      • Yes very optimistic given that somehow the demoralised badly beaten Russians are in total control, advancing everywhere. But hell, a Ukie throwing a rock at them is a concept to please some optomists.

        A more realistic view would see Ukraine realise that the West isnt coming to help and negotiate a deal.

  8. Agree wholeheartedly.
    I would add that if the Russians manage to take Ukraine, they face the spectre of a 2nd Afghanistan where they were pushed out eventually just as the yanks were less than a year ago.

    As one of the leaders of ISIS was once famously quoted as saying “The Americans have watches, we have time”.

  9. don’t trust robot voiced youtube vids with badly photoshopped thumbnails claiming a ukrainian boy scout knocked out 3 russian tanks with a tin opener…

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