Welcome to The View from the Front podcast, a show about military and defense news, designed for serious people who love their country more than they love their political party. It’s a show for moderates, who are tired of their news being from the left or the right, or being over-the-top and scary. I fully understand how frustrated most Americans feel at how divided we are, and I am the very opposite of most news organizations, who often write articles that are too alarming.
My name is Stan R. Mitchell and I’m a prior infantry Marine, who dropped the sword and picked up the pen. After joining the Marine Corps at the age of 17 to serve four years in the infantry, I exited military service, earned a degree, and spent ten-plus years in the news business; initially as a reporter, but then going on to start a weekly newspaper. What can I say? Anyone crazy enough to start a weekly newspaper at the age of 27 is probably a dreamer and an optimist, and I confess that I’m both.
I owned that weekly newspaper for nine years, from 2004 to 2013, but once it was clear that owning a newspaper wasn’t the best path to financial security, I went on to become an author. To date, I’ve written eleven books, and while it’s true I’m still writing, I’m now here, as well, a twice-a-week podcaster, who’s still in love with both this country and the news.
And I see this podcast as a small way to continue serving our country, doing my best to inform and unite us in a time that we’re as divided as we’ve probably been in a hundred years.
If you were to ask anyone who lived in Oak Ridge during the nine years that I owned that weekly newspaper, they would tell you that I sought to downplay controversy, I worked hard to understate headlines, and I did my absolute best to never create panic, which is a terrible way to sell newspapers (but a responsible way for a media outlet to act).
I plan to do these same things with my podcast. I love the news, and we need the news, but we need to have news that’s less over-the-top. News that folks don’t dread to hear, because it’s too scary. And news that isn’t so blown-out-of-proportion and fear-based, that it was clearly written to be shared and scare the devil out of people. The news shouldn’t be a game intended to grab eyeballs and monetize dollars.
It is an absolute fact that our democracy doesn’t work if we don’t have informed voters, and since we’re talking about the news and informed voters, let me say this: I’m convinced that foreign-policy decisions are the most important decisions that we face as a country.
They lead to greater consequences on the world stage, and they can lead to tragic deaths. Either because we shouldn’t have intervened somewhere. Or perhaps because we should have. America is the world’s leading power, and we mostly lead the world from a position of moral authority, showing other countries how they should behave in regards to ethics, restraint, and providing freedom for their citizens.
Foreign policy decisions can be tragic and heartbreaking, and it’s important that we get them right. It’s also crucial that when we get them wrong, such as when we did in the Vietnam War, then the faster we can course correct, the faster we can reduce how many lives we lose.
I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do think much can be gained from discussing these issues, and creating a community where we intelligently discuss the troubles confronting us, and where we work to come closer together and respect each other’s views with more patience and kindness.
A house divided cannot stand, and I strongly believe that more unites us than divides us. I will not remain silent while politicians seeking their own personal gain try to throw gas on a dangerous fire, doing their best to tear apart this country so that they can advance to a higher office. I will also not remain silent when we have media organizations doing great harm to our country by scaring people or creating panic.
We face great challenges as a country, but America has stood together for more than 240 years, and it’s only together that we can pass on a better future for our kids. So, let’s get a little better informed. And let’s work to get a little more united as a people.
Thank you for being patient and allowing me to share that monologue. I think it’s important people hear what I’m about before they listen for too long. And I think it’s also important my regular listeners hear this message enough that it sinks in. That it affects what they believe. That it affects how they act.
We need to hold and cherish the beliefs that got us here today. Beliefs such as patience. Kindness. And a strong belief that our best days lie before us. These are beliefs that got us to this point. And they’re also the beliefs that will get us to a brighter future.
Thanks again for your patience on this intro. I know it’s not the sort of fast-paced, really hip, Twitter-friendly, Tik-tok cool intro that fits most podcasts that go viral, but maybe we’ve got a few too many podcasts that are like that. Maybe we need to go back to something deeper. To something firmer and more solid. To something we can build a foundation from. And that’s what I’m offering.
And with, let’s get started.
What follows are the source notes for this podcast. I apologize that I don’t have time to type up well-written, full episodes as I used to do. I’m still working a full-time job and squeezing in my research and recording the episodes as best I can. Maybe in the future I’ll be able to do full write-ups, as well.
The view from the front by Stan R. Mitchell is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Source notes follow below, with subject heading in bold. (I again apologize for not being able to do full write-ups at this time.):
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv and Kherson have recaptured more than 270 square miles of territory in the south and in the east, where they advanced up to 31 miles into Russian lines and have retaken more than 20 villages.
“We have not lost anything and will not lose anything,” Mr. Putin said at an economic conference in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok.
Showing no sign of stopping the invasion, now in its seventh month, an ever-defiant Mr. Putin said that Moscow had raised its international stature and rid itself of “harmful” elements inside the country. He also reasserted his interpretation of the war in Ukraine as the culmination of his effort to subvert an unjust world order led by the United States.
The Biden administration is sending the Ukrainian military more radar-hunting missiles, U.S. officials said Thursday, a move intended to bolster its aerial-attack capabilities against invading Russian forces.
The weapons, known as high-speed, antiradiation missiles, or HARMs, are part of a $675 million arms package that President Biden has newly approved for transfer to the government in Kyiv. The military aid also includes additional rounds for rocket artillery systems that Ukraine has used against Russian positions hundreds of times, remote-detonated antitank mines and 105mm howitzer cannons and rounds for them.
“Ukraine is fighting for its life,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during a news conference at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where he announced the latest weapons transfer at a meeting of several countries supporting Ukraine’s war effort. “It’s fighting for its sovereign territory, and its democracy and its freedom. But the stakes reach far beyond the front lines. They affect us all.”
As far as your first question, yes, we do have indications that Russia has approached North Korea to request ammunition. I'm not able to provide any more detail than that at this point in time, but it does demonstrate and is indicative of the situation that Russia finds itself in terms of its logistics and sustainment capabilities as it relates to Ukraine. Certainly, as has been said, we assess that things are not going well on that front for Russia, so the fact that they're reaching out to North Korea is a sign that they're having some challenges on the sustainment front. Thank you.
Q: Just a quick follow then. You talked about they're in a process getting these weapons. Does that mean they have, like, sent the money over? They're waiting for the shipment? Have they not sent money over? What part of the process are they in?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so the information we have is that they have approached North Korea, but beyond that, I don't have any further details to provide.
Q: And just to follow up, why declassify this information now? Is it because you received it now, or because the process of declassification took awhile? I guess why now?
GEN. RYDER: So what I would say, Idris, is that as this campaign has unfolded, we've tried to make an effort to ensure that the public and the international community understand the situation that Russia finds itself as they, again, continue to wage their campaign in Ukraine. This information is relevant to the fight in the sense that, again, it's indicative of the situation that Russia finds itself in and shows the fact that they are trying to reach out to international actors like Iran and North Korea that don't have the best record when it comes to international stability.
Q: Just to follow up on that, we heard from Colin Kahl a couple of weeks ago that there were no new assessments that China was going to invade Taiwan any sooner than we've previously thought. Is that now that a couple of weeks have passed since these exercises happened and we've seen China, you know, continuing to violate Taiwan's airspace, is there any new assessments going on about the prospect of this happening in the next five, 10 years?
RYDER: Yes, I'm not aware of any new assessments.
Sea drones captured by Iran:
Q: Hey, yes, Liz Friden with Fox News. Thanks for taking my question.
As far as the Iranian capturing the sea drones last week, there were two different incidents in the Middle East. Does the U.S. make anything of this happening suddenly, as the Iran negotiations are ongoing with the nuclear deal?
And is this part of a greater trend?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks for the question, Liz.
So we do not see the two as connected. Again, as you're aware, in the case of the saildrones, we did recover the drones and it's just another example of Iranian activity in this region that is unprofessional and problematic.
And so certainly we'll continue to keep an eye on that front, but again, to answer your question, we do not see those two as connected.
Q: Oh, okay, sorry. Look, going back to the Saildrones, can you say on what basis these were recovered, what demands did you -- did the U.S. Navy make to the Iranians, and was there a threat leveled, was there a kinetic force considered?
And stepping back more broadly, can you say how many of these have you deployed in the Gulf and are they only there or is the Navy using them in such a large number elsewhere in the world?
RYDER: Sure. To answer your first question -- so as I understand it, the Iranian Navy held these Saildrones on their deck of their ship overnight and returned them the next morning. In terms of how long they've been operating in the vicinity or in this area, these drones are operated as part of 5th Fleet's Task Force 59.
They've been operating in the region since the beginning of the year, so January of 2022. And they are a way that we are able to provide information to NAVCENT quickly, as far as safely transiting the area, providing information in terms of potential issues or threats in the area, but bottom line is that, again, there was no situation in which forces were, as you put it, hostile. They took them and then the two U.S. Navy guided missile destroyers that were operating in the vicinity responded, moved into the area, but then shortly after, like I said, overnight, the Iranians released them. Thank you.
On Tuesday, the inspectors reported having found Russian military equipment parked inside buildings, as well as damage to buildings housing fresh nuclear fuel and radioactive waste. Plant operators, they said, were being denied access to some parts of the facility, including the cooling ponds. And even the on-site emergency center has been compromised, and is now being used by Russian military personnel, the inspectors said.
For Europeans alarmed at the prospect of a Chernobyl-like nuclear disaster in the heart of the continent, the visit by the inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the report that resulted made it only clearer that there is little the world is able — or willing — to do. Not only is the agency powerless to stop the fighting around the plant, the shelling persisted even while they were there, at one point forcing inspectors to take cover.
Motivation and wisdom:
Final three, and then we’re done:
And then I always like to end with this one:
And with that, thanks for joining us this week on The View from the Front.
The View from the Front is a reader-supported publication. The best way to make this work sustainable, and to help improve it, is with a paid subscription. But at the same time, free ones are appreciated, too!
As a reminder, please be kind and try your best to love your fellow Americans.
Let’s all work together to unite this country.
So, please, try to be a better person each and every day. Try to be kinder on social media and how you interact with others with whom you disagree.
Also, if you have a dream kicking around in the back of your mind? Go after it. If you have that friend or family member that you know you should reach out to? Reach out to them.
Finally, and this especially goes to all my awesome military folks listening out there, if you need help, reach out to someone. Please. Call that friend or family member. Do it for us all. We’ve already lost too many of the greatest folks that this country has produced to suicide. So I’m asking you to be brave once more, and show some vulnerability. Take a deep breath, breathe, and call a friend or family member or someone who can help.
I appreciate each and every one of you. Every tweet, every share, every email, etc. I can’t even tell you how much those mean to me, and I love each and every one of you all.
Please join me again in our next episode, and please stay safe until then.
Thanks again, everyone! You guys are the best. As always, don’t forget to check out my books. You can find all 11 of them on Amazon.
And with that, I’m out.
Stan R. Mitchell
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my books. I’ve written a CIA/Marine sniper series, a detective series, a private investigator series, an action-packed Western, a motivational/biography book about President Obama, and two realistic war novels: one about World War II and one about Afghanistan.