Yesterday, I made a Tiktok about a CBS report on the 101st Airborne's deployment to the Romanian border with Ukraine.
I was, of course pilfering a write-up from my colleague Kyle Anzalone.
As of this writing, the Tiktok has 17.9 thousand views. Which is incredible. It is embedded at the end of the email.
People are pushing back at me in the comments, which I am grateful for. They are of course, wrong, but the fact I'm getting pushback means that my content is reaching new ears.
Many of the commenters will not be swayed, but if there are also people who agree with me (1135 likes), then the video is likely reaching people in the middle.
I was, however, surprised that none of my detractors pointed out that in the video's title, I spelled "Airbourne" the British way, which is wrong.
The most interesting comment I got was from an ostensible U.S. paratrooper.
It is unclear to me if this commenter is claiming to be part of the 82nd Airborne or the 101st. It is further unknown to me if the U.S. military allows soldiers to reveal the details of their deployments, or to actively use social media apps like TikTok. I somehow doubt it, but I could be wrong.
Nonetheless, it made me think about my piece.
I could confirm that the 101st was deployed to Europe for the first time since WWII. I could confirm that troopers from the 101st division did replace troopers from the 82nd. It seems the 101st deployed to Mihail Kogalniceanu Airbase in July.
But it is my understanding that the 101st's deployment to the Romanian border with Ukraine is new and that is not where the 82nd was stationed. The war games the 101st are conducting are new and the statements from the 101st's commanders, saying the unit it "ready to fight tonight" in Ukraine, are new.
It is also my understanding that the 101st are the closest U.S. forces in proximity to Russians, at least officially. They are openly training for war with Russians.
The underlying CBS report states the 101st has been deployed within 3 miles of the Ukrainian-Romanian border. I have circled the rough area in red on the map above.
All of the above are interesting to consider when following war games and deployments, especially thinking about why the U.S. media would be allowed to report on this.
Is it to "send a message" to Russia? Is it to trick Americans into thinking the war is closer to actual combat than it really is? Am I, as the commenter suggests, "chugging western war propaganda?" Or am I parroting Putin talking points?
The reason I highlight this story is to warn Americans against further escalation and provocative action in lieu of diplomacy.
Watch the Tiktok, read the news stories and decide for yourself what is supported by evidence and interpret for yourself what it all means.
And hey, it'd be cool if you gave me a follow.