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From Russia With Angst

Remember a post I did a while back called “They Call Us Saddam’s Soldiers…”? It was a small vignette about the anguish a soldier feels when he’s reviled by the very people he was fighting for because his side *lost.*

Russia has its Saddam’s Soldiers, too. They’re the ones who fought in the Last Hurrah of the Soviet Union. They’re the Afghantsi. When they returned home, they were reviled because they were the embodiment of a failed war. The ones who were discharged had problems readjusting to civilian life, the ones who stayed in were shunned by their Highers who had dodged the fight. And they all came home with their own Cyrillic-lettered PTSD.

What I’m going to say in the following sentences may surprise a couple of you, shock one or two, and confuse the daylights out of a bunch of the rest of you. When word started to filter out of the Glorious Soviet Union about the Afghantsi and their "homecoming," a lot of VietVets didn’t see defeated soldiers from the Other Side, they saw *us* as we had been twenty years previously, and they decided to do something. They traveled to Russia and started talking to the Afghantsi, in ones and twos, then in small groups (Afghantsi, like Viet Vets, don’t gather in large groups in public – must be that whole Target of Opportunity mentality). The VietVets started storefront PTSD counseling centers. They helped the Afghantsi get their acts together, giving them a twenty-year jump over the stumbling blocks. We had to learn the hard way, but we didn’t want to see them have to do it like that – we figured just being stuck in what was left of the Soviet Union was tough enough. So, soldiers who had lived and trained for the day they’d meet in battle and try to kill one another wound up drinking and talking and helping one another over the boulders that life had dumped in their respective paths.

“It’s just a thang, man. Just a thang…”

Brother-In-Arms became more than a catchphrase. Friendship replaced enmity on the most basic level.

The ‘net was a Godsend. It still is.

All that was a leadup to the message that was posted on the VietVet aviation forum I belong to. Read it all, and suspend judgment until you’ve finished. Both correspondents wanted you to see this, and the only editing I did was to arrange the chronological sequence and add the odd punctuation mark and notation for those of you who don’t talk Russian MilSpeak.

Ready for a first-person account of what's going on in South Ossetia?

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I got the following report from a friend in Russia. [Redacted] is a veteran of the Afghan war. Like soldiers all over the world, he does not trust the mass media to tell the truth or the whole truth. His English is not perfect but you can read his feelings and his thoughts on the current conflict in South Ossetia. Regardless of where one stands, a soldier's thoughts and feeling convey the harshness and cruelty of war.

[Name redacted]
[Callsign, RVN Unit and dates redacted]

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From: [Name and callsign redacted]
Subject: Georgian-South Ossetian War
To: “[Name redacted](My US Brother in Arms)"
Date: Saturday, August 9, 2008, 1:25 AM

I see that in your press and TV say only lie about war in South Ossetia and about Russia. I want to tell you, because you [are a] Veteran and you can to say about it to your Brothers-in-Arms! Our War Veterans want to tell about it to your Veterans!!!! Now I want to tell you about Georgia. Georgian President Saakashvili think that he is Stalin or Hitler! And he started War against South Ossetia in day when started Olimpiade (Day when all Wars may stop!!!).

A war chronicle is in South Ossetia

Latest reports about events in the area of conflict in real time.

On August 8, active battle actions began in the area of грузино-осетинского [“Georgia-Ossetian”] conflict. Georgia fires [on the] territory of South Ossetia from artillery instruments, VVS [“Voyenno-Vozdushnyye Sily” -- the Air Force] of Georgia is inflicted by shots on territory of unrecognized republic. Comings from a region reports are contradictory and refuted periodically. We conduct the short chronicle of events in the area of conflict in report of informagentstv [“a TV news report”].

00:06 Georgia began an intensive fire [on] Ckhinvali. Shortly before midnight on Moscow time a fire from the large-calibre instruments of the capital of South Ossetia of Ckhinvali began from the Georgian villages of Nikozi and Ergneti, and also yuzhnoosetinskikh [“South Ossetian”] villages. The representatives of unrecognized republic declared that the Georgian troops actually began war and storm Ckhinvali.

00:42 Georgia promised to put in a constitutional order in South Ossetia. A commander named a military operation the Georgian peacemakers of Mamuka Kurashvili in the area of Georgian-Ossetian conflict "setting in a constitutional order in South Ossetia". He called the Russian peacemakers, deployed in the area of conflict also, not to interfere in a situation.

01:38 Assault of Ckhinvali is conducted on all of directions. Authorities of South Ossetia declared that the Georgian side fired [on] Ckhinvali from options "Hail" [Operation “Hail”], howitzers and large-calibre mortars.

02:08 Georgia declared beginning wars with South Ossetia Georgia notified peacemakers, razmeschenykh [based] in the area of conflict, about beginning of war in South Ossetia.

02:37 Abhazia sends thousand volunteers to South Ossetia. The president of Abhazia Sergey Bagapsh in night on Friday drummed up the urgent conference of security Council; in report of MASS-MEDIA, Abhazia will send for help to South Ossetia about thousand volunteers.

03:46 Georgia began a tank attack on the South outskirts of Ckhinvali. The Georgian army began a tank attack on the South outskirts of Ckhinvali, the president of South Ossetia Edward Kokoyty declared. Yuzhnoosetinskie forces, he underlined, offer resistance. Gosministr [“State Minister”] of Georgia Temur Yakobashvili, in same queue, declared that Ckhinvali was in the ring of the Georgian troops.

04:20 An infantry went on assault of Ckhinvali.

04:33 Russia demanded convocation of meeting of SB UN on a situation in South Ossetia.

04:48 In Ckhinvali a reinforcement arrived from North Ossetia.

06:49 Abhazia moves troops to the border with Georgia.

07:12 Georgian MASS-MEDIA was reported about the appeal of reservists.

07:23 the Georgian aviation inflicted a blow on South Ossetia.

08:56 Georgian troops were begun fire of the Russian peacemakers.

09:23 Georgian MASS-MEDIA was declared about taking Ckhinvali.

09:36 Georgia opened mediacentr [“media center”] for illumination of war in South Ossetia.

09:44 Three Russian peacemakers are injured In South Ossetia.

10:04 Georgia promised guidance [the leadership] of South Ossetia "ugolovno-pravovuyu [roughly, “unconditional”] amnesty" Authorities of Georgia will declare guidance of unrecognized republic South Ossetia, including its president Edward Kokoyty, "ugolovno-pravovuyu amnesty". The prime minister of Georgia Vladimir Gurgenidze told about it.

10:09 Sovbez of UNO renounced to condemn Georgia A security of UNO council on Friday renounced to accept Russia and condemn the use of force in a грузино-осетинском conflict. Sovbez only expressed an anxiety concerning growth of tension in the area of conflict.

10:21 Mamsurov and Kokoyty refuted report about taking of Ckhinvali. The presidents of North and South Ossetia of Taymuraz Mamsurov and Edward Kokoyty refuted report about the capture of Ckhinvali and declared that organize the joint defensive of unrecognized republic.

10:39 Georgia declared about bombardment of the territory Russian VVS.

10:58 Georgia called Russia to interfere in a conflict with South Ossetia. The official Tbilisi called Russia to interference with a conflict. According to a minister on the reintegration of Georgia Temura Yakobashvili, the Russian side "must interfere, as the real peacemaker, and it can it to do". [Note: my emphasis]

11:09 Gosministr on the reintegration of Georgia Yakobashvili: "...soprotivlenie senselessly [“senseless fighting”]. It conduces only to the large victims and to large destructions"

11:09 Gosministr on the reintegration of Georgia Yakobashvili: Georgia controls all of settlements of South Ossetia except for Ckhinvali and Dzhavy.

11:10 Michael Saakashvili declared universal mobilization The president of Georgia during an address to nation told about the vision a situation in the area of conflict and declared universal mobilization [of] reservists.

11:10 Command of peacemakers: at the fire of positions of the Russian peacemakers in Ckhinvali there are killed and ranenye [wounded] exact number of lost [missing] and injured not named; before reported that at the fire of positions of the Russian peacemakers got wounds three servicemen.

11:19 "Rustavi-2": Georgia hammered together [slang: shot down] an arriving from the side of Russia airplane. The Georgian MASS-MEDIA assert that above Burn one of four airplanes, whipping off bombs on a city is hammered together. In obedience to [according to official] information of the Georgian journalists, the hammered together airplane arrived from the side of Russia.

11:32 Gryzlov: Russia will protect the citizens in South Ossetia. The speaker of state Duma of Russian FEDERATION declared that Russia would not "give up polnomasshtabnykh [“full-scale” or “all-out”] and operative measures which will be required for defence of the Russian citizens in a region and maintainance of safety on our South borders in connection with intensifying of situation in South Ossetia".

11:38 Plenipotentiary of South Ossetia in Russian FEDERATION: Georgia plans the ethnic cleanings in the area of conflict The "purpose of the Georgian political elite today is the ethnic cleaning, they want to clean territory of South Ossetia from Ossetic [the Ossetians], what and right now military powers of Georgia" zanimayutsya [“are engaged”], - the plenipotentiary of unrecognized republic in Russian FEDERATION Dmitry Medoev declared.

11:48 Saakashvili demanded from Russia to halt bombings of the Georgian cities That Russian FEDERATION allegedly inflicted the row of airshots [slang: strafing] on the Georgian settlements reported Georgian MASS-MEDIA.

11:48 North Ossetia sends 50 busses after yuzhnoosetinskimi refugees.

11:47 Saakashvili laid Russia to large-scale military aggression. The president of Georgia "before the whole world" laid Russian FEDERATION to military aggression.

11:54 MFA of Russia the "delirium" of report of Georgian MASS-MEDIA about the hammered together Russian service airplane [an Su-25]. "It is a delirium, next infamous enough provocation of Georgian authorities", the representative of the Russian foreign-policy department declared. Before that above territory of Georgia the airplane of VVS of Russian FEDERATION was allegedly hammered together reported Georgian MASS-MEDIA. Confirmations of this information from independent sources did not act.

12:10 (11:42) The First Channel [TV – Channel One]: The Georgian army took a center Ckhinvali street fights proceed in a center [in the center of] Ckhinvali. As a correspondent of the First Channel reported from the place of events, the Georgian troops almost fully took the center of city under the control. Also fights go at the base of the Russian peacemakers.

12:18 Giving orders to the peacemakers: bitter fights go in [the] center [of] Ckhinvali.

12:20 USA demanded to halt bloodshed in the area of conflict. A white house called opposing sides to go back to negotiations.

12:36 Peacemakers: On positions [of the] Russian soldiery an aiming fire is conducted. The "command of the Russian peacemakers confirms definitely, that is conducted purposeful fire on elimination at the place of distribution of peacemakers in Ckhinvali", a command representative declared.

12:37 Parliament of North Ossetia called Russia to help South.

12:37 Georgia refuted information about attacking the Russian peacemakers. Zamglavy of Georgian MVD Eka Zguladze declared that Georgian subdivisions tried to protect the representatives of peacemaking contingent in the area of conflict.

12:55 The Yuzhnoosetinskaya republican clinical hospital is blasted an artillery fire, an university burns. The fire of the Georgian artillery is blast a yuzhnoosetinskaya republican clinical hospital in Ckhinvali. Building of university, being in a direct closeness from the staff of peacemakers burns. Intensive street fights proceed.

13:07 Minoborony of Russian FEDERATION: Russia will protect peacemakers and citizens of Russian FEDERATION in the area of conflict. "Georgian guidance untied a dirty gamble. Blood, spilled in South Ossetia, will be on the consciences of these people and their surroundings. The peacemakers and citizens of Russian Federation we will not give" in offense, - talked in the report of Department of Defense of Russia.

13:12 General Secretariat of NATO called to cease a fire in the area of грузино-осетинского conflict and begin negotiations. Secretary General of NATO Yaap de Khoop Skheffer [phonetic spelling of Jaap de Hoop Scheffer] called authorities of Georgia and South Ossetia to halt fights and go back to peaceful negotiations. Authorities of Georgia, will remind, the entries of country want in the complement of Severoatlanticheskogo [“North Atlantic”] alliance.

13:20 Georgian guidance suggested to pass [governmental power] to managing unrecognized South Ossetia Dmitry Sanakoevu. He occupies the post of chapter of "temporal administration of South Ossetia" - by a structure which is of interest the Georgian population of region.

13:32 the Red Cross called to give a humanitarian corridor for a grant a help the habitants of South Ossetia.

13:42 the Britannic MFA [Minister of Foreign Affairs] called immediately to halt battle actions in South Ossetia.

13:45 sent Tbilisi to South Ossetia two battalions of reservists. Two battalions of reservists of Georgian military powers were sent in the area of Georgian-Ossetian conflict from a base in Kutaisi. The third battalion is there formed. Reservists and volunteers going on bases in Vaziani, Burn, Batumi and Senaki.

13:45 A gas pipeline is gun-puffed [slang: blown up by cannon fire or strafing] In Ckhinvali. Before reported that in a center the capital of South Ossetia fights are conducted, a hospital is blasted, an university burns.

13:59 (13:37) Georgia On-line: "The large groupment of 58th army made an effort break through to South Ossetia" Occupying successive anti-Russian position edition reports about allegedly. Attempt this, the Georgian assures MASS-MEDIA, was stopped. Georgian soldiery, 10 certain "hirelings" are detained.

14:10 There is the last post of resistance of yuzhnoosetinskikh troops In Ckhinvali. In Ckhinvali there is an only one post of yuzhnoosetinskikh troops, which continues resistance in the district of Carz. Artillery bombardment Ckhinvali proceeds. The Georgian tanks entered in a city. An artillery fire is blast a republican clinical hospital. The injured is sent in Lower Zaramag, in the district of Rokskogo of tunnel [the location of the Roki Tunnel].

14:15 Ckhinvali: Hackers attack yuzhnoosetinskie sites. Hackers organized the up-diffused DoS-атаки [online DOS attack] on informative server of South Ossetia.

14:22 To South Ossetia a reinforcement moves from North.

14:30 Mayor of Tbilisi: Georgia promised to cease a fire in South Ossetia on three hours From 15:00 to 18:00 in South Ossetia a moratorium will be declared on battle actions, that refugees were able to abandon the area of conflict through a corridor, sozdanyy [“made” or “created”] in the mud flow [flood plain] of Ergneti (border between South Ossetia and Georgia). The mayor of the capital of Georgia of city Tbilisi comes forward as this information generator.

14:31 Peacemakers named the taradiddle of word of mayor of Tbilisi about a cease-fire. The commander of the Russian peacemakers Marat Kulakhmetov declared that words about creation of humanitarian corridor are a "next taradiddle of the Georgian side". [Note: "Taradiddle" in this context means "yadda-yadda-yadda."]

14:36 Putin fears the influx of the Russian volunteers to South Ossetia. The prime minister of Russia Vladimir Putin declared the president of the USA to George Bush, that persons interested to help the habitants of unrecognized republic it will be "uneasily" to stop [reluctantly halted?] from a journey to South Ossetia.

14:59 Medvedev promised to punish guilty in death Russians in the area of conflict. Who and as a president of Russian FEDERATION going to punish, not specified.

15:00 The "First Channel": Georgia halted artillery bombardment of South Ossetia temporally. The mayor of Tbilisi declared before, that Georgia would cease a fire on three hours, in order the habitants of South Ossetia were able to abandon territory of unrecognized republic. We will mark that a corridor for the output of refugees conducts exactly to Georgia. Perestrelki [gunfire] proceed in Ckhinvali.

15:01 Medvedev laid Georgia to the most rough violation of international law.

15:06 The column of the Russian tanks moves on Ckhinvali. The correspondent of the First Channel in South Ossetia reported in direct ether [in a live broadcast] with reference on power of unrecognized republic, that yuzhnoosetinskie troops passed to counter-offensive and Zarskuyu deblocked a road, connecting a republic with Russia. From his data, the column of the Russian troops moves on this road.

15:29 Georgian troops retreat from Ckhinvali. Georgian soldiery began to retreat from the capital of unrecognized republic South Ossetia. The secretary of sovbeza [“Security Council”] of South Ossetia told about it. Presently the column of the Russian tanks moves toward Ckhinvali.

15:33 Georgian MASS-MEDIA: The Russian airplanes are bombed by positions of the Georgian troops. The Russian airplanes are bombed by positions of the Georgian troops in South Ossetia, the Georgian MASS-MEDIA report. At least five Georgian soldiery got wounds. About lost not reported. [Note: I think he meant Russian planes attacked Georgian positions, not vice versa].

15:52 The Ossetic militiamen destroyed 4 Georgian tanks. Yuzhnoosetinskie militiamen cleaned [cleared] from the Georgian troops of Zarskuyu a road on which the Russian tank column moves in Ckhinvali. On claims of yuzhnoosetinskoy side, militiamen destroy Georgian bronetekhniku [APCs / AFVs] and oust the Georgian troops from a north to the south of Ckhinvali.

16:00 Georgia threatened Russia [with] war. Sovbez of Georgia declared that [Georgia] would declare war of Russia, if information about the input of the Russian tanks to South Ossetia will be confirmed.

16:11 Defence Dep of Russian FEDERATION: in a help a reinforcement is directed to the Russian peacemakers in South Ossetia Minoborony reacted on a new about a tank column by a statement, in which reported that a help is directed to the Russian peacemakers.

16:14 Russian tanks entered in Ckhinvali. The column of Russian bronetekhniki [APCs / AFVs] entered in Ckhinvali. Before Georgia threatened Russia war in case if information about the input of Russian bronetekhniki on territory of South Ossetia will be confirmed.

16:20 Georgia laid VVS of Russia to the shots on a military base with the American instructors. The Georgian side assures that the Russian service airplane on Friday in the day-time accomplished a bomb blow to territory of military base in a neighborhood of Tbilisi. There deployed including the American instructors. [Note: My emphasis]

16:40 Fights were halted In Ckhinvali. A city practically is fully blasted, electricity a power-off and there is a sharp shortage of water, stationary public-call connection [landline telephone service] does not work. Mobile communication also will shut down soon, because charging cellular telephones nowhere.

16:50 Plenipotentiary of Russia at NATO sent entire countries -participants of Severoatlanticheskogo alliance of note in connection with грузино-осетинской war.

16:58 MFA of Georgia asked a world association to rescue a country from Russia. Minister for foreign affairs Georgia Eka Tkeshelashvili called foreign countries to take on the rebound on Moscow, in order to halt "direct military aggression" on Georgian territory. A minister for foreign affairs [in the] Russian FEDERATION Sergey Lavrov reminded that Georgia yet in the morning on Friday called Russia to play the role of peacemaker. "We do it,” - Lavrov said. [Note: My emphasis]

17:01 Kokoyty: Volunteers helped to force out the Georgian troops from most districts of Ckhinvali

1720 An ultimatum was produced: Kokoyty ordered the Georgian troops to abandon Ckhinvali [by] 18:00 under threat of elimination.

17:26 Minoborony of Russian FEDERATION: The Georgian troops shoot peacemakers and locals on bulldoggen [slang: outlying guard posts] observant posts. Helper of central administrative board of Ground forces a Colonel Igor Konashenkov declared that the Georgian tanks in support shot a staff and camp of peacemakers; the Georgian troops, according to him, do not give medical services to take out injured from the area of fights in Ckhinvali.

17: 26 Minoborony of Russian FEDERATION: about ten Russian peacemakers perished, 30 injured in the area of грузино-осетинского conflict.

17:34 In Ckhinvali estimated the quantity of the persons lost [missing] in "thousands". The representatives of South Ossetia estimate the number of lost during a fire the Georgian artillery and VVS of Ckhinvali in thousands of persons. According to the chapter of news-department of yuzhnoosetinskoy part of the mixed control commission on the settlement of conflict of Inal Pliev, lost [missing, or fled] "probably, thousand, because absolutely all is blasted".

17:45 Medvedev charged Putinu, Shoygu and Nurgalievu to help the habitants of South Ossetia

17:53 Sergey Lavrov: In South Ossetia the Georgian side conducts the ethnic cleanings, a humanitarian catastrophe comes to a head.

17:55 VVS of Russia inflicted a blow on the Georgian military air field The Russian bomber whipped off a bomb on the military air field in Marneuli on the south-west of Georgia, injuring an air strip. It was before reported that bombs had been downfaulted [dropped] on a military base in Vaziani, and also on cities Burn and Kareli.

18:00 the General of Army Vladimir Boldyrev led an operative staff central administrative Board of Ground forces of Russian FEDERATION in Vladicaucasus in connection with events in South Ossetia.

18:06 the "First Channel": a 58th army began the fire of the Georgian troops in Ckhinvali. Two tank columns of 58th army of Russian FEDERATION rounded Ckhinvali on Zarskoy to the road and began a fire.

18:22 Kokoyty: hundreds perished Ossetia; destroyed 4 Georgian tanks

18:29 Kokoyty: "We fix also the facts of marauding in Ckhinvali from the side of Georgian soldiers. It was just revealed to me that at the robbery of one of houses three Georgian soldiers were killed in Ckhinvali".

18:58 Saakashvili destroys the Georgian contingent from Iraq. The president of Georgia Michael Saakashvili declared about the conclusion of the troops from Iraq from "Russian aggression". [Note: He was trying to say "deploys" rather than "destroys"].

19:07 Georgian MASS-MEDIA: three persons perished at bombardment of the military air field in Marneuli Three persons perished and five injured as a result of today's bombardment of the military air field in Marneuli.

19:23 Russia breaks in aviasoobschenie [“landline telephone service”] with Georgia. From midnight of August, 9 Russia halts aviasoobschenie with Georgia.

19:27 Gosdep sends a mediator to South Ossetia

19:32 At an airraid on the Georgian air-base a few service airplanes are destroyed. As a result of airraid, carried out Russian VVS on a marneul'skuyu [forward?] air-base, perished and got wounds a few employees of base, a few service airplanes are destroyed.

19:37 Defence Dep of Russian Federation: Subdivisions of the 58th Russian army were crushed down by Georgian gun emplacements, firings a city and positions of the Russian peacemakers Subdivisions of the 58th Russian army, which are near Ckhinvali on territory of South Ossetia, crushed down Georgian gun emplacements, firings the capital of unrecognized republic and Russian peacemakers. About it the helper of central administrative board of Ground forces of Russian FEDERATION told Colonel Igor Konashenkov.

21:03 Kokoyty: the victims of fires and assault of Ckhinvali were become at least by 1400 persons. The president of unrecognized republic South Ossetia announced the first results of counts lost [casualties] as a result of military operation of Georgia.

21:23 Border of South Ossetia was crossed by 200 volunteers from Russia. According to one of volunteers, from North Ossetia in South a column arrived from 20 "Gazelle" [20th Motor Rifle (Mech Infantry) Battalion – the “Gazelles”].

22:51 12 Russian volunteers [Peacekeepers] perished In South Ossetia, yet no less than 50 persons got wounds. The command of Russian peacemaking forces in the area of грузино-осетинского conflict reported new information about losses.

23:16 From Batumi toward Ckhinvali 20 trucks left with Georgian soldiery . According to eyewitnesses, from Batumi in Yuzhnyuyu Ossetia directed no less than 200 servicemen.
On August 9, 2008

00:07 Su-25 of VVS of Georgia is hammered together In South Ossetia .Shots, confirmative elimination of the Georgian hedge-hopper, are rotined in ether of Channel to "Conduct" [Confirmation of Georgian Air Force Su-25 shootdown sent to “Conduct”].

00:19 Kondolizza Rays [phonetic spelling—Condi Rice] called Russia to call troops off from South Ossetia. The "Russian troops must abandon Georgian territory", talked in the statement of chapter of state Department of the USA.

00:33 Site MFA exposed to Georgia to the attack of hackers. On the site of the Georgian foreign-policy department kollazh [“montage”] appeared from the pictures of Saakashvili and Hitler.

00:57 Airplanes of VVS of Russia were inflicted blow to port of Poti and military base in Senaki. The Georgian side reports that as a result of fire there are lost [missing] and ranenye [casualties].

01:46 Saakashvili is ready to declare extraordinary position in Georgia. According to the representatives of the Georgian government, proper statement of Saakashvili will do in the morning on Saturday.

02:01 Georgia declared evacuation of strategic objects. Evacuation passes in building of Minoborony and district of Tbilissi, where the residence of Saakashvili is located.

03:27 Sovbez of UN again not able to make a decision on a situation in South Ossetia . The second for days meeting of Sovbeza of UNO again made off without acceptance of some decisions.
He closed with this...
Your Russian Friend and Airborne Brother-in-Arms,
[Name redacted]
09.08.2008 8:58 [e-mail address redacted]
Motherland, Honour, Courage

He loves his country, y’see, despite of all the revulsion and the Afghantsi putdowns and the Cyrillic-lettered PTSD.

But he’s not cheering for Rodina to prevail – he’s crying for the killing to stop…


Now where else can I expect to see this account today... um... Milblogs that pick up the link, and that's IT.  MSM won't touch this, Bill.  If it wasn't for the VietVets who reached out to the Afghansti, we wouldn't be hearing this.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate you posting this.

When the story first broke, I thought 'THOSE F'IN RUSSIANS!  INVADING A TINY NEIGHBOR, AND FRIEND OF THE US!"  Until now, the Georgian Army represented the third largest international contingent in Iraq, right behind us and the England.  I thought about this fact, and realized that if there was ever a time to invade Georgia, now would be the time: a good portion of their military is in Iraq, and many world leaders are in China for the Olympics.  F-ERS!

But then the rest of the story started leaking out. Facts like South Ossetia has been trying to secede and has been operating as an independent territory since 1990; Russia extended citizenship to that territory in the early 90's; Georgia actually launched the initial attack as an attempt to reign in SO's dissidents... and now your report.

The truth, as usual, is often clouded and not obvious in the initial moments of the event.  I wrote a comment at Lex's a couple of days ago that alluded to the facts above.  If Russia considers SO to be Russian citizens, it makes perfect sense why they would "invade" and protect them against an aggressor that doesn't recognize their autonomy.  It seems to me that if SO wants to be independent, or a part of mother Russia... LET THEM.  Is it REALLY worth the fight, the death, and the destruction to bring SO back into the Georgian fold?  Unless there's some economic goldmine in SO, I can see no reason to force them into submission. 

The report you've provided backs up my suspicions.  I'm certainly not claiming to be clairvoyant, but by the end of the day Friday, it was apparent to me that more was going on than was being reported.
Very interesting post by the Russian vet.  The only caveat that I could suggest would be to confirm his sources for the timeline of events.

If he has independent sources within South Ossetia, then they are more credible than would be the state-run, Putin dominated press in Russia.
Still lost in the fog of war, what happened just before Georgian forces went into S. Ossetia? Was there some kind of provocation, a straw that broke Georgia's back, so to speak? They point to Russia's extension of passports and citizenship to residents of S. Ossetia since 2000, providing Russia with S. Ossetian "Russian citizens" that "must be defended." The other issue seems to be Russia's disproportionate bombing and rejection of Georgia's ceasefire offer, as well as their opening up of a second front through the Black Sea. It sounds like western democracies are squarely in Georgia's corner, as it's been trying to build it's democracy. What kind of support among the Russian populace is there for this? What a mess.
As I look at as a vet from the Viet Nam era, most of us gained a sharp nose for "BS", especially when it came from government. In this case, it smells not so much as a vet, but more like a hard line Soviet Union view. The Russians would just love to bring back ALL OF GEORGIA, BACK INTO THE MOTHA' LAND.  Reason, there are major oil and gas pipelines with ports at the Black Sea. Don't forget, Georgia has no communication. Russia has taken over all of the servers on the internet. Until everything stops on both sides and EVERYBODY STOPS FIRE ON ALL THREE SIDES, INCLUDING RUSSIA, GEORGIA AND SOUTH OSSETIA, THEN WE TALK, ALL OF US.  UNTIL THEN, I DON'T CARE WHO PUTS IT OUT, MSM OR ANY BLOGGER IT'S STILL 100% ALL-NATURAL BULL.
I know what you're saying, Grumpy, but many of the things he's saying make sense.  If nothing else, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taught me to believe those on the ground, doing the work, over ANYTHING reported on the nightly news.  As I said, the truth is clouded and lies somewhere in between the official Russian and Georgian reports.  The report this guy is offering up may be slanted toward the Russian side of the story, but it's more centrist than anything else I've read on CNN, Fox, or network news.  Calling the Georgian president "Ben Laden" is overkill and emotional, but get past that and look at the events leading up to this action.  You'll see that much of what he says has more of a ring of truth to it than what we're hearing on the nightly news.

That's the point of it, Grumpy -- his concern wasn't for who's right or who's less right, it was to get everybody to stop blowing the place to kingdom come.

In this case, it smells not so much as a vet, but more like a hard line Soviet Union view.

Trust, but verify. And that's all I *will* say, until someone no longer holds me to my word...

Well, I don't see the reports of four days of artillery and mortar attacks on Georgian positions that provoked them into attacking. 

And, I find the time line interesting, but I'm not buying jack because this fellow is getting his info from?  Russian TV?  Or, where?

Pretty damn complete time line for someone outside the situation.  I don't trust the Russian Pravda machine anymore than I did twenty years ago.  Anymore than I trust Cuban or Chinese or North Korean.  In Russia, free reporters who report information the government doesn't like get shot outside their houses on their way to work. 

I'll buy it when I win my billion dollar lottery for the EU.  I just got another email today insisting I was a finalist. 

Pretty damn complete time line for someone outside the situation.

Going fishing, are we?

I'm very glad that you interested of this situation!Thanks to all of you!!! I'm this Russian Vet.My name is Vadim.I have many best Friends in your country and all of they it's yours Brothers-VietnamVets.And we have Friendships 10 years!And I was first who take my best wishes to your people on 11.9.All our people were with your nation! Yes,Propaganda from all sides very diferent.But I know situation from all sides.And I watched American TV News and there sayd only for Georgia!Only LIE!!!! I don't balieve ANY propaganda.I belive only to my Brothers-in-Arms with wich i was at War!!!!! I don't write to you, what I watched.I don't want to write to you,whow georgian soldier killed civilian old woman with 2 children,and I don't want to write to you, that it's Geaorgia everything attacked South Ossetia on night when civilian people sliped and in day when opened Olimpiada like as Faschists!And I have Brothers-in-Arms with wich I was in Afghan in 2 sides(in Georgia too). I only want to send you this: 34 thousand refugees from Sonth Ossetia. More than two thousand killed citizens of Ckhinvali. Broke ossetic cemetery in a court schools №5. 12 Russian peacemakers - shot up in barracks of Georgian PEACEMAKERS from CANNONS.Propaganda????? Saakashvili make ginocide! And Russian President and Goverment very long time heard lies from Georgian President.But now all World see,what such Georgia and Georgian democracy. Today I received many letters and 2 from Germany.My Friend tell me, that Germany and all people in Germany and they Goverment for Russia and against Georgie.They named Georgian President as Faschists and they don't understand,how Georgia may start War when opened Olimpiade! Later we with all my Brothers-in-Arms(Russian.Ukrainian and other Veterans) will do our Open Letter for all of you Brothers! And we will do information that you can see what such Georgian democracy!
It's different from what we hear, true, but the Russian mass media is just as nutso, if not more so, than ours. Hence all the rumors of American CIA involvement etc. All I'm seeing so far is the results of conflicting sets of ex-communist-style BS journalism.

I'm with Grumpy here. While mucking around in a popular secession sounds sinister, after the whole Russia-Ukraine pipeline/possible assassination attempt thing, I have a hard time believing the Russian Federation is anywhere near altruism. They've really been going out of their way to get on everyone's nerves lately. I respect the overall intent of the message, but hold the credulous tone in doubt.

That said, if all Russia really wanted was a quick return to status quo, I must concede they've already made a pretty quick job of it. The future may tell.
@AFSister, you have a good point, "the truth is clouded and lies somewhere between the OFFICIAL RUSSIAN AND GEORGIAN REPORTS" (Emphasis only mine!) Sis, the Russians have been the only ones able to give any kind of OFFICIAL view. The Russians control ALL COMMUNICATIONS, INCLUDING INTERNET SERVERS FOR AT LEAST ONE MONTH OR MORE. THEREFORE GEORGIA CAN NOT GIVE AN OFFICIAL REPORT.

@BillT, I agree, it is his point, to shut things down. The only thing I wanted to do was highlight a very important, "STARTING LINE". Then, we start the long term "marathon",  the "FINISH LINE" will be determined by our (globally, including us) actions. Do yourself a favor and look at the history of the region.

Bill, I agree with your assessment  on all sides, "TRUST, BUT VERIFY." -Ronald Reagan
No offense, but I've been called a fascist plenty of times.  It kind of loses its meaning after awhile.

Going fishing, Bill?

Just saying.
Excuse me for saying so but you should read his email the way we used to read any article from "Pravda"  - eyes and ears at shoulders' width... 
This guy is giving you timeline fed from the government owned TV channels, Russia does NOT have any independent TV channels since 2007.
 The autonomic republic of S. Osetia did NOT have a legal right to declare it's independence or it's desire to be incorporated into Russian territory, as well as Abkhazia. The agreements of Dec 1991 were that the now independent states retain the borders drawn in the Soviet Union, in order to prevent such conflicts.  Russia has been formenting these separatist movements since 1991 to ensure Georgia's ineligibility for NATO membership.  Giving out Russian passports to and recognizing legal property rights of the citizens of an independent separate state are the clear legal and internationally recognized steps towards annexation.  As far as I am aware, every country has the right to preserve integrity of its territory and state.  This is what Georgia is trying to do.  Russia is simply following the steps of the Sudeten and '68.  And it seems to work, AGAIN,  as the EU and us are willing to through Georgia under the bus.
At last, a little bit of Soviet/Russian psychology here: a person who lost the best years of his life in the war declared by the  system that is now declared to be the worst and useless in the history of the world will ALWAYS pine to get that system back because he only got putdown AFTER the system collapsed.  When the afgantsy just started to come back, people adored them, they were our heroes, they could get their bottle of vodka without standing in line, any alcoholic would give them his last drops of vodka... Only when perestroyka came and glasnost began we learnt about the atrocities we were committing in Afghan and that's when there was a backlash against afgantsy.   This is the reason why Russian people of 50 and older pine away for the return of the Soviet Union and that's why the majority of the military pines away  for the return of the Soviet Union when the military were gods, they had their pride and their money, and everybody paid attention to the Soviet bear. 
I could go more but that will turn this post into a multi-hour lecture...
I hotela by znat' otkuda vy berete svoyu informaziu.  Vse chto vy napisali i skazali polucheno is gosudarstvennykh istochnikov.  I ponimau chto khochetsa vernut' byluyu slavu and byluyu stranu no eto nelzya delat' za schet drugoy strany.
I don't know this is Olga or this is Givi or Georgiy! And my information from all sides! Maybe georgian soldiers not killing more then 2000 civilian or not killed wounded peacekipers or your artillery not shoot in day when civilian people sleeped?So made only FASCHISTS!!!! Ya ne znayu Olga vi ily Goga!I tak vrat nelzya!Eto koschunstvo,kogda bolshe 2000 lyudey pogiblo i kak vashi ubludki ubivali grazhdanskih!!!!!I ya ne bral eto is Rossiyskih TV!Ya imeyu vozmozhnost smotret lyuboy kanal vo vsyem mire!Poetomu Olga ili Givi uidi s etogo sayta!
Мы приветствуем комментарии от обоих pf Вы
I send to you information about Georgia and about South Ossetia.Maybe not good translate.Sorry!:-) 1783 — Russia and Georgia sign the Georgievskiy treatise, setting Russian protectorate above the reign of Kartl-kakheti (East Georgia), broke by the Persian and Turkish invasions. 1795 — Iranian shah intrudes to Georgia and beggars its capital of Tbilisi. Critical position is created in a country. The attack of Aga-Magomet-Khan on Kartli became reason for the entry of Russia in war against Persia. The population of Kartli-Kakhetii as a result of continuous wars was abbreviated to 100 thousands of persons. 1800- December22,1801-Tsar Paul I, executing the request of dying George XII, signs the Manifest about tacking of Georgia (To Kartli-Kakhetii) to Russia, promulgated on January, 18 1801 , already after death the tsar of Kartli-Kakhetii. 1810 — Imeretinskoe a reign (Western Georgia) joins in with Russia. And a little bit of history on the aktual topic 1. To 1920g. Ossetia did not enter in the complement of Georgia. 2. In April 1922 years by the decree of VCIK and Advice of Folk Commissars By Georgian SSR on nationally-state to delimitation of Zakavkaz'ya was created Souyh-Ossetinskaya autonomous area in composition Georgian SSR. 3. In 1990 to the year Georgia officially gave up confession basic legal norms, touching its status in composition of the USSR, that accepted after 1921 year Sonth Ossetia, in same queue, took advantage of situation and declared sovereignty, arguing the position that to 1922 years its territory did not enter in composition of Georgia. Cited data, that it was clearly, that to no jurisdiction of Georgia above Sonth Ossetia CAN not BE. This is not Russian Propaganda!This is World History!:-)
Grumpy,  you said that only the Russians have been able to get out official word.  Not true.  The Georgian president has appeared on US television a few times now since the fighting started.  Most of the MSM quotes are from Georgian officials; very few are from Russian sources.  I've seen quotes from the Russian Ambassador to the UN, but nothing from Putin or Medved.
I don't know about Russia shutting down Georgia's communication lines, but word is getting out of Georgia.

Olga, you said "As far as I am aware, every country has the right to preserve integrity of its territory and state. This is what Georgia is trying to do."  Yes, you are correct, and I believe that too.  The question in my mind though centers around SO, and their apparent desire to leave Georgia.  If they have been acting as a sovereign state, and wish to secede, why not let them?

Vadim... welcome, and thank you for bringing this to light. 
First of all, telling me to get off (Poetomu Olga ili Givi uidi s etogo sayta!)  this site just because you do not like what I said is going against everything this site and this country stand for.  It also clearly demonstrates your inability to have a productive discussion so indicative of the Soviet set of mind when the opponents are just shut down, literally and figuratively.
Second, if we are going to step down to the level of  'your bastards were killing civilians (kak vashi ubludki ubivali grazhdanskih!!!!!)', then we have to remember how our soldiers were driving their tanks over civilians in Vilnius in Jan 1991 and how our paratroopers hacked away with the tactical shovels at civilians in Tbilisi in 1991.   Seems to me this is more the Soviet/Russian modus operandi not Georgians.  Especially, after they just been through the training with the US military forces.  Someone with the wild imagination may even construe your argument as indication of your belief that your US brothers-in-arms taught Georgians to 'kill civilians'...
Third, for your future reference because we want you to be able to freely present your opinion on this site,  in the blogosphere, there is a rule, that one who invokes accusations of Fascism and Nazi for his/her opponents, loses the argument right away.
AFSis, your argument of 'if they want to secede why do not let them' will open the doors to the major re-drawing of the states' lines in the entire world.  Do you really want to go this way??  Our acceptance of the Kosovo independence has already came back to bite us in the arse with Russia and Vadim citing Kosovo precedent as justification for what they are doing.  Since South Osetia has 5% of ethnic Georgian population, this situation is a clear analogy with Kosovo.
I will contest only one thing, Gospodin Vadim, and that is that things cannot be.  Many things that shouldn't be but yet still are.  Take al-Andalus which existed for at least a century, or the attempt of Taiwan to suceed in 1947 despite treaties with Portugal making it part of China.  Both moved against 'world history' but are(or were).  Right or wrong seems detached from 'is'.  I say nothing about right or wrong of it, the 'fair' or 'unfair' of it.  Only that the 'impossible' actually is possible.

1783 — Russia and Georgia sign the Georgievskiy treatise, setting Russian protectorate above the reign of Kartl-kakheti (East Georgia), broke by the Persian and Turkish invasions.

Well, sir, no offense, but this was hardly an altruistic move any more than the current conflict is altruistic.  Catherine II was carrying on previous Czar's policies of gaining access to the Black Sea because without the black sea ports, Russia had about two cold water ports that were not open all year round and limited their ability, even back in the day, to import and export goods.  It limited their Naval capacity.  one country with a few good ships could blockade Russia half the year and the weather would do the rest, starving Russia out.

Since the Ukraine and Georgia seceded from the Russian Federation, that has left an extremely small spit of land and ports for Russia to import and export out of, limiting the amount of goods, not just oil and gasoline.  That limitation has been the bane of the current Russian economy.  all that oil money and little ability to spend it.  Worse, all that oil money makes for a single source economy.  Export and import is needed to diversify the Russian economy.  One good alternate energy source and Russia becomes a third world nation again.

We get it, even if the Russian citizens don't. 

Would you  like me to review the rest of the historical events you speak of with a little more context?

OH, and let's talk about drill here, drill now and all those reserves we've been talking about.  In ten years, that oil would drive the price of oil down significantly or bring it back down to normal inflation rates with the rest of the economy.  Thus, putting Russia back on its heels economically, again.

One of the other things during the eighties, our lovely oil boom, that helped drive the Soviet economy into the dust bin. 

I imagine our putting a moratorium on certain oil drilling in the 90's was a great help to the Russian energy sector and helped a shakey Russia survive.  Unless nobody gets why we put ANWR off the drilling list, even today.  Take a look at its location, boys and girls.  What would be interesting is to look at how big the oil field is and into what waters.  Very likely such negotiations are similar to the negotiations we used to have over fishing waters two hundred or a hundred years ago. 

History and geography are wonderful things.
@AFSister, RE: 10 Aug 2008, 3:56PM, I've been thinking about this. I believe we are all running on a few sources of information. As I've been doing this, I've been focused on something "BillT" quoted from Ronald Reagan, "Trust, but verify." BillT, you were right! Sis, there was nothing you said, in any way, that was wrong or out of place. IT IS TIME FOR ME TO SHUT UP! I would like to see an independent verification by an outside source. I would also like to see an additional two equally independent things, analysis and assessment. There is a major difference between the two.

To: AFSister and BillT,  THANK YOU.

Just a few footnotes.

If you know nothing else of Russian history, know this: It is significantly driven for the need for warm water (year 'round) ports, and the ability to protect, and defend them.


Rodina is Russian for "Motherland," but that doesn't begin to convey what it means to Russians. It is totally independent of Government. Perhaps because Russia has historically been virtually land-locked for significant periods, their intense loyalty is TO THAT LAND, and its PEOPLE as distinct from the government. Being cut off from trade by sea made/makes them feel almost strangled, deprived of breath, and at the mercy of their neighbors for life itself, IMO. That's a feeling that lives in your core, and it ain't about who can sell more cars, or whatever.

We, on the other hand, have two of the worlds major oceans to swim in, so it's hard for us to understand, at a core level. Those two oceans are part of who we are, and we take them for granted, like air.

But the Framers of our Constitution didn't. They envisioned our westward expansion, and ensured that there would be no restraint of trade between, and through the states -- otherwise Kansas, and Iowa, etc. might feel cut off, dependent, resentful, and even paranoid, too.

Smart guys.

I'm not defending the present, or past governments of Russia -- far from it -- or straining to see similarities between Russian history and motivations, and our own that aren't there. But I am trying to shine a bit of light on what may not be apparent from the recent news, and what may lie beneath the surface.

I agree that an unbiased, outside evaluation of the situation would be beneficial, but the chances of that happening are slim.  That's why it's so important to read all we can get our hands on, from both sides, and piece together a story that is as close to an unbiased truth as we can get.

Olga,  I believe that if a sovereign state wishes to become their own nation, there's reason to consider it.  I don't know enough about South Ossetia or Georgia to know why Georgia is insisting that SO remain a part of their country.  It just seems to me that if a state wants to break away, and have been governing themselves for a long period of time, it should be discussed and considered.  That's why I've said that if SO wants to secede, and there's nothing of importance to Georgia in that region... let them secede.  Is it really worth the bloodshed, not to mention the international relations, this has cost just to keep SO a part of Georgia? 

Based on your theory, if the Sudeten Deutch wanted to reintegrate back into Germany, there was nothing wrong with Hitler annexing that part of the independent state of Czechoslovakia, especially, considering the prior history of the region with the Czechoslovakia having been a part of the Hapsburg's Empire (read German nation, including Austria and part of Hungary) for a very long time, and therefore, should not even have taken that part of the land into its territory and just let Germany have what it wants, there was nothing important there for the Czech people. 
And for the record: I have family in North Osetia, in towns of Alagir and Beslan.
Yes, it is for Georgia.  You need to look at the geography.   I'll post on it for tomorrow so it seems a little more obvious as to why it was important to both Georgia and Russia.
Brothers! Someone from you sayd that "Attack the message, but do not attack the messenger." We can poke holes in someone's statement, but we don't poke holes in each other. We disagree with one another, but we don't tell people to leave, because everyone is a guest. Some are "Family," because they have commented here for years, and we give Family more latitude in their comments -- the ladies also get more latitude because we are gentlemen (all Brothers-In-Arms are Gentlemen!). I like to see that you are passionate in your beliefs, but do not interpret an attack on your beliefs as an attack on you, personally." Yes,I sayd to Olga to live.I want to say Sorry for all of you,but not for this Olga(or who is it)!I can't be Gentlemen,when badly say about my Brother!She sayd that Afghan Veterans all alcoholic and only drink Vodka!Yes,I can drink some Vodka,but only with my Brothers-in-Arms!And yes,I'm Afghan Veteran(and not only Afghan!) and I fight for my Country,like as all of you!And I proud of it!!!!I have for it many Combat awards!And I thinked,that any war for me closed!But for last 3 days I watched children eye,when they parents killed,I wacthed young soldiers from all sides(Russian,Ossetian and Georgian),old people in blood!And I cann't to see it.I hate any War and Politicans,which do war! I again want to say Sorry for all of you,Brothers,but not for this Olga!!!!! And about war:yesterday Georgian ships attacked Russian ships,and Russian ships open fire only for defence!Do you remember Gulf of Tonkin on August 2 1964? I wish you all and to your family all the Best,Brothers!
Afghantsi dude, what did you expect the Georgians to do?  Let Russia blockade their ports, their food, their lifeline, without a fight?  It's war after all, not peacekeeping humanitarianism, whatever your television tells you it is. 

Frankly, it was a single missile launcher against an entire Russian black sea fleet.  Suicidal, yes.  Crazy brave?  Hell, yes.  I expect the captain of that ship will be lauded as a Georgian hero for decades. 

The Russians sank that ship without loss to their own.  I'm thinking that's not exactly something to engender sympathy here. 

To kat-missouri! Ok!I will be Afghantsi dude!But who are you????? Is this your democracy,when you don't want to know truth and want to offend me?And when faschists and terrorists is Heroes?I very sorry to hear this!I proud to have many Friends in your country, and all of they REAL HEROES and they never say bad words!We always say truth one to another,but never offend!Japanese Kamikadze,that attacked American ships and Muslims terrorists - Heroes too?And bustards-terrorists,which attacked on 11/9 too Heroes??????
Something new to think about, kat.

11.08.2008, Ckhinvali 07:29:48 Georgia opened an irrigatory channel [irrigation canal] and lights the stove [a natural gas pipeline] western part of Ckhinvali, reported RBC official representative of government of Sonth Ossetia Irene Gagloeva. Water inundates western part of city, morally, the Georgian side wants to flood basements of houses and deprive the habitants of city of possibility to take shelter from bomb shots.

I'll check it out.

To kat-missouri! And terrorists,that killed children in Beslan and in Moskow too Heroes?
Let me introduce myself, so that you will know who it is that is offending you.  My name is Kathleen.  Everyone calls me "Kat".  I am from Missouri, a state in the middle of the United States.  That is just in case you are not familiar with our geography since I do not know where you are at while writing on this blog.  If you would like me to call you something other than "Afghantsi dude", please, introduce yourself. 

Second, if you believe refusing to call Georgia's president a fascist or refusing to refer to its armed forces as war criminals or terrorists is offensive, you are likely to be well and truly offended by anything I write.  If my refusing to swallow Russian propaganda is offensive to you, prepare to be offended. 

Please note that other than those items I refer to you as Afghantsi based on Bill's post and make no other comment as to your associations, origins or political beliefs.  Your voice will be heard here, but it does not guarantee that we will agree.   That is real democracy and debate.  In such, there is no such guarantee, even in the politest conversations, that you will not be offended by contrary ideas or beliefs.  Frankly, sir, if that is how this discussion will go, I might be inclined to point out the numerous parts of your posts that I consider offensive, but it gains nothing so I do what we do here in the United States: point to parts of the debate and agree or refute them as best we can.  

As to the question of the heroics or not of the captain of the Georgian missile ship I will point out to you that 1) he is a uniformed officer of the Georgian military confronting another nations uniformed military; under any legal definition he is not a "terrorist".  2) I noted that it was the Georgians who would see him as heroic; 3) Let me point out, again, a lone missile ship against the entire Russian Black Sea fleet.  You think he has done something wrong.  I believe he did the last right thing he could do in defense of his nation.  We will have to leave it at that considering our opinions as to who is right and wrong in this conflict.

As to the Japanese Kamikazi, you may have noted that it is some sixty years later.  Are you saying that I should hold some grudge against the Japanese and despise them today because of a war that ended over sixty years ago? 

And, sir, if you want to talk about offenses, the idea that you are comparing an armed conflict between two uniformed militaries, that are easily recognizable on a field of battle, fly national flags and are subject to the commands of their uniformed officers in defense of one nation or another to the acts of fanatics strapping bombs to themselves, walking into a civilian market and blowing up men, women and children in the name of God, is incredibly, extremely offensive.   You will note that I have as yet to refer to Russian forces shelling Gori, a civilian center, as a war crime or act of terrorism.  Please restrain yourself from making hysterical comparisons.

Fortunately, I recognize that you have a vested interest in this war and I have had an opportunity to see, read and hear about the effects of war in an urban populated area where enemy forces are deployed on either side so I don't buy anyone's propaganda.  But, you are dangerously close to unpardonably offending me.  I cried for the children of Beslan.  My sympathy does not extend to the Russian invasion of Georgia since, to my knowledge, the Republic of Georgia had no part in that attack or the attack on the Moscow theater or various other attacks by Muslim extremists in Russia.   Maybe they did not tell  you on Pravda that Georgia is a predominantly Christian nation?

Bill, I'll see your Irina Gaeglova and raise you an article from May of this year regarding the lovely Ms. Gaeglova's ministry of Baghdad Bob information minding.

I imagine two things: 1) that the pipeline's destruction was incidental to the battle, possibly even to cut off energy to the region.  I hardly buy it as an act to kill or terrorize civillians.  2) Opened an irrigation canal to flood out civilians?  How about a desparate attempt to cut off advancing Russian forces who are even now rushing towards Gori via the major highway out of Ts'khinvili?  I imagine, without a map, that it was an attempt to flood out roads or possibly destroy a bridge to slow the advancement. 

At this point, Georgia is desparate.  the effects on civilians in the area is likely incidental.  Not to mention our friend Vadim has just been telling us about the 34,000 refugees that left Ossetia for Russia.  If I recall, that is about the entire population of Ts'khinvili.  How many are left that haven't actually been evacuated?

My final word: Fallujah.
Oh, by the way, Bill, on the flooding via the irrigation canal, I would surely like to know how the Georgians did it since I have been reading nothing but Russian "news" indicating they had "liberated" Ts'khinvili and Georgian "news" that they had withdrawn from Ossetia.  Exactly what Georgian Special forces or highly accurate. extremely long distance artillery did the Georgians employ to accomplish this fantastical deed? 

Or, hey, maybe somebody's information on the position of enemy forces isn't exactly accurate?  Or, bizarrely, some earlier fighting weakened the canal and let the flood waters loose?  there are too many scenarios.  Then again, as I noted above, there is a possibility that the Georgians let it loose for the reasons I note above. 
Hi, kat! Toldja I was gonna check it out, right?

The canal runs from a reservoir in the center of the city to the south, then southwest into farmland once it passes the city outskirts. It doesn't take accurate artillery fire to shake a canal bank loose -- it's just packed dirt. And you're right, it could also have happened as a result of the continuous pounding from both sides. What I find interesting is that neither side appears to have deliberately targeted the *reservoir* for destruction.
Bill, I'll see your Irina Gaeglova and raise you an article from May of this year regarding the lovely Ms. Gaeglova's ministry of Baghdad Bob information minding.

Heh. A Press Secretary who tells a journalist he can only stay in-country five days isn't even in Bob's league, kat.

It is not necessary to argue, propagation or not propagation. It was necessary to look on August, 7th in Moscow on the osset. Women in the morning cried and black scarfs, and men ossets have put on leaved from Moscow Caucasus. Also it is not necessary any propagation.
"Afghantsi dude"???? Oh, come on.  You're better than that.  He's given you his name, and his commentary name.  Use them, out of respect, like you would anyone else. 
Sorry if I don't feel inclined to be super polite when we are in the middle of a propaganda blitz form our Russian friends.  Frankly, I didn't catch his name until later.  I might also add that I only refer to people here by their real names when given leave to do so or it is part of their screen name.  That is actual politesse. 

Beyond that, I'm being as polite as I can so I appreciate people not lecturing me on some line I don't believe I've crossed. 
This is my last letter in your dude site! To Kathleen My name is Vadim.I'm Lt.Col(Ret)Airborne and SF.Where I live,I don't tell you,becouse I have family!This is one from former republics of Soviet Union.Not Russia!I'm Officer and I very good know,how to be in Uniform! And how you sayd about uniform, Chechenian terrorists too had Uniform and they killed children fom Georgian weapon. I'm very good know Geografia and History (USA too). Kathleen!My English not very good and you can say me many bad words, but I want to say only one:You have information only from one side and from your Propaganda!And you don't known anything about this wars and about Georgia and about situation in South Ossetia!And I don't want to swear.It's not Democratia,how you think.You named this as democratia(but you know only yours democratia),but I think that this is the Middle Ages!!!You can agree with me or not,but I think so!And all what you say to me,this very offend not me(I'm not schoolgirl),but all civilized people.And I don't want to speak with you anymore-you not interesting for me!And not I'm dude!It's you DUDE!!!!
Heh.  All the fun happens when I'm having a gout attack and can't keep up, much less referee...

Keep it civil, please, or keep it quiet and you're all doing a pretty good job, absent that first burst of emotion up there.

Clearly, we have some people with strong feelings and strong ties to the region.

Events continue to unfold - but remember this truism of military operations - the first reports are almost always wrong.

More info builds the picture, and I for one, don't mind the fact that AfghanVet is providing the Russian slant - because western media is running with the Georgian slant, and lets face it - the truth is somewhere in the murky middle - all of which you guys have already said - I'm just showing you I *have* been reading!

Well, I never said I minded his input.  I just said I wasn't prepared to swallow it whole as the "truth" without challenge.  Lt Col (Ret) Vadim finds that reluctance offensive.  Nothing I can do about that. 

Chechenian terrorists too had Uniform and they killed children fom Georgian weapon

Sir, you say it is your last letter.  That is also your choice.  I will say now that you do a great disservice to your own uniform, that of my own nation or any other nation and greatly reduce the laws of land warfare and the Geneva Conventions by insisting that Chechen terrorists putting on some camouflage equals the uniform of a sovereign nation that is signatory to those same conventions.  Or, that every act is equal.  Are you seriously suggesting that the Beslan massacre is the same as Russia and Georgia trading blows over S. Ossetia? 

In which case, I cannot tell which is worse: reducing either nation's military to the equal of terrorists or raising terrorists to the equal of any sovereign nation's military. 

As for the "Georgian Weapon" are you speaking of the AK-47s, the Dragonov sniper rifles or the plastic explosives that were used to rig the school?  Must be the plastic explosives because the rest are Russian made weapons.  We should know.  These weapons have killed our soldiers for almost a decade in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Maybe we should blame the Russians for their deaths since it is their weapons that are being used?  If your English is not so good, that is called "sarcasm" or "irony" as I have no intent on laying the blame on Russia.  

so, explain this "Georgian Weapon" or is that propaganda, too? 

kat-Missouri, just wanted to say that I love your style!!! You smoked him and you smoked him good.

the laws of land warfare and the Geneva Conventions by insisting that Chechen terrorists putting on some camouflage equals the uniform of a sovereign nation that is signatory to those same conventions.
Um, Kat, he kind of has you on this.  YOu have read the additional protocols that say donning cammies like this does grant one a form of legitimacy on the battlefield so that one cannot be hung, right?  The add'n protocols were crafted precisely for resistance groups and the like standing up in places of authortarianism.  So, yes, a group wearing a distinct uniform and having a defined chain of command and responsibility does constitute a legitimiate force.  Legitimate forces can still screw up and do horrible stuff that goes into the realm of war crimes. 


Of course, now we'll hear yet again how this is raising some picanniny force to levels of legitimacy that it never should be, yet again.  (Not a typo, intentional.)

ANd I was right.  The equivalence of state forces to terrorists or terrorists to state forces in a false dichotomy, when the more accurate way of looking at it is a) legitimate on the field by use of distinct uniform(as simple as black armbands) and a chain of command responsible for conduct b) nature of conduct.  Again, read the add'n protocols and you'll see that Vadim has a kernel of truth to what he says. 

I'm disappointed that the old Cold War feelings of 'hate the Russkies' seems to be coloring this so heavily.  Sure, theres the root for the underdog and stick by friends elements also present, but a big bit of this seems to be based on old hatreds.  Why?  Vadim's provided a perfectly logical different explanation of events, as suitable as what we're getting from our own media which is why we believe Georgia is 'the underdog' and 'agrieved party', and people are getting angry at him for it.  I can't see any other reason for that then we haven't let go our hatred of RUssia.  Believe me, if you look at many of our E. and C Asian friends their as dark harted as the media makes Putin out to be(and maybe is, I don't specialize in Russia, Japan and China's my bag).  SM Rhee of Korea was worse and we propped him up for decades, not to mention our support for the truly fascistic KMT regime of Taiwan(which can be mitigated by the fact that the alternative was worse).  So it's not like any American can claim clean hands and the high ground here.  There's a point where you gotta ask the skeptics question:  how do you know that and how can you believe it's true?  I'm pretty sure that's the Chief's point in posting this given what he's said higher up in the thread(and that AfSis and Grumpy have since admitted that they don't know enough to move to full Righteous Anger Condemnation of Russia based on what they've gotten from the MSM). 


The move earlier today by Russia to broaden the conflict *does* support Kat, but only after the fact.  It looks to me like the decision to stand against Russia, without understanding the roots of the conflict(and, I'm sorry, but a weeks prep does not make one an expert on the situation, at best it makes you conversant in one narrative), is based on old Cold War feelings not wanting to go softly into the night.  I don't know who's right or who's wrong.  I just know that calls to committ US forces here in such a screwball situation over old hatreds or chips on our shoulders about 'how dare they mess with our friends' is going to cost *us* more than it's worth.  That's the @55hole doctrine in play..  Weary is the head and all of 'dat.   

Hey, don't run off,, Vadim.  We always want another view 'round here.  Our Castle Cats just are tempermental and finicky(oh, I'm going to pay for that one, big time.  I think I moved up on BCR's orbiting weapon station targeting list.  I think there's maybe two people higher.  This sucks.) 

Can we call Godwin's Law.  Olga, sorry but the parrallelism between the Sudenten and SO is wonky.  So is more like Taiwan than Sudenten.  They've operated apart and voiced a desire for autonomy.  Sudenten never did.  Hitler just made the appeal to racial solidarity as cover for it.  Not the same thing.  I'm sure you have a better way of expressing your point, which I'd love to hear, but linking it to Hitler is a cheap rhetorical trick that is often invalid(hence Godwin's Law appelation).   


"If Russia considers SO to be Russian citizens, it makes perfect sense why they would "invade" and protect them against an aggressor that doesn't recognize their autonomy. "

So if Mexico decides it wants to protect those millions(?) of illegal aliens in  Arizona they are justified in sending the Mexican military into Phoenix to do so? Doesn't sound so good when applied to our homeland does it.

Excuse me, who is being lectured here?  Frankly, I am not the one that said they were offended because someone had a different opinion than I do.  However, I was becoming offended by his overt offense at being challenged.  Are you or anyone else on here suggesting that I should let Vadim state his position without challenging it?  

 Number two, and with all due respect, propaganda is propaganda.  I've seen enough over the last eight years to know when I'm reading it, from whomever's side it is coming from. 

Three, I don't recall ever mentioning throwing US forces in, though the thought has crossed my mind.  There is something rather offensive about watching an ally being swallowed while we flap our hands and worry about whether we are offending someone with our little blog disagreements.

Four, you know very well that Vadim was not referring to any added protocols of the Geneva Convention when he was referring to the "uniforms" of the terrorists and equating those terrorists to the Georgian military or government.  It was cheap propaganda, nothing more, but  nice move on the defense since I did bring it up. 

Five, don't assume that I have only suddenly been reading all about Russia and the Caucuses or any other Russian relationship.  Just because I don't post them here does not mean I don't read it.  There is only so many hours in a day and I have a hard enough time posting relevant commentary on American wars or politics.  I do work and no one is paying me for these comments or posts so you get what I can give.  But, don't assume that means I just started reading about Russia and Georgia last Wednesday.  I have a long list of posts I wrote in 2005 and 2006 on the subject on my old site long before I started posting here. 

Unlike some folks, I have not forgotten that Russia and China recently signed a mutual defense pact.  A good reason not to go fly off the handle and bomb Russian troops out of Georgia.  Particularly while every nation has athletes in China or our president was there.  Very bad move, wouldn't you say?  That is only one of numerous regional and global realities, but it does not mean I know nothing or that it makes it better going down. 

Finally, hate the Russians for the Soviet Union?  Cause of angst on this blog?  Let me repeat, my irritation began when our ultra-nationalist Russian friend claiming some imagined offense because I disputed his claims.  I have not once referred to him in a derogatory manner, accused him of being a fascist, communist, terrorist or any other referrence.  Frankly, I am now getting more irritated that I am being even mildly lectured over any conversation with him when I have treated him with more courtesy and reasoned conversation than I ever put up with anyone else in comments.  That goes for Charlie and our old friend Cliff. 

I realize that somewhere this is a major concern that any such challenges will have our friend running off in a fit of pique since he is unused to such open conversations and challenges.  But, let's be serious.  My antipathy for Russia has a much more current reason than the twenty year old fall of the Soviet Empire.  I hardly need that to recognize Russia as a rival who still has nuclear weapons, still imprisons political dissidents, still shoots reporters on their door steps, nationalizes industries, fixes elections and any other point I can make about modern Russia.  Oh, yes, including arming some crazy Iranian guys with nuclear material and/or equipment that can be turned into nuclear bomb among the various other rival actions of the nation. 

Do I seriously need to create a longer list of why I am not all that fond of the Russian Bear in 2008?

I know.  we aren't lily white and neither are our allies, blah, blah, blah.  Whatever.  I've got work to do.
 The way things are headed for this country, it's not hard to  imagine a time when a majority of the people in a certain region of the US that had been annexed by conquest a hundred years or so ago, let us say the Southwest, were able to establish a separate nation. (which so many seem to want right now) It might well receive international recognition.
  I don't know about you, but I would never regard that nation or its government or the filthy traitors that live there legitimate. If there were a 'war' with them, if they started it, all the better. If my government provoked them into starting it, even better. All I'd care about is that my country recover what it had lost. These sentiments may or may not be moral or just or acceptable to the international community, but they are what every red blooded patriot would feel, be he American or Russian. So I can feel where Russia is going with this.
 So I am defending Russia against Georgia? No. Just asking if and when we are Russia's shoes, would any of us do otherwise? Of course, we're not in their shoes , at least not yet.   We have a harder dilemma.  On one hand, it is shitty and lowdown to let a brave people who have aided us and trusted in us be squashed.  Remember the last chopper out?  On the other,  practically speaking, what can we do beyond wring our hands?

Sometimes the world stinks.

Well, damn good thing we defeated the British twice or they might still be longing for the US as a colony, heh?

and, why does the same not apply to Georgia and Ossetia?
 in a certain region of the US that had been annexed by conquest a hundred years or so ago, let us say the Southwest,

Uh, let us say that we bought that territory and any "conquest" was several hundred years ago by the Spanish.  But, please, otherwise your point is valid except where the Georgians have instituted a democracy out of an authoritarian, tyrannical government.  We're supposed to support that, remember?  Sic Semper Tyrranis?

Such comments about people breaking off from the US for ethnic reasons seems to ignore that the US is not a tyrant and is already a democracy.  Pardon me if I declare a significant difference there. 
 A philosopher sitting on a cloud above it all might lay down the principle that it is wrong for unjust countries to take back what was once theirs but right for just countries to do so.  Sounds reasonable enough. This philosopher might give permission for Washington to crush an ungrateful  region that had broken away, but deny it to Moscow.  Down here, it's so much harder to live by these distinctions.  My country right or wrong etc.  I can't and won't hate the Russians desiring to restore their country.  At the same time I won't give them a jolly old thumbs up.
They gotta do what they gotta do.  We gotta do what we gotta do.  If we stiff Georgia, nobody will trust to stand with us.  We would be like a defunct currency.   But there are worse things, like a shooting war with Russia.  But if you got an idea, let's hear it.


Our boundaries are very clear.  Mexico has not extended citizenship to US states.  Arizona has not been operating as an autonomous state, separate from the rest of the country, nor do their citizens wish to become a part of Mexico.  Your arguement is flawed.

If the US split up like the USSR did, the boundaries would be less clear.  That's what Georgia is facing now.  The citizens in South Ossetia have been operating as an independent state, and from what I've been able to gather over the past few days, wouldn't mind being a part of Russia again.

That being said, you're taking my comment out of context.  The entire comment explains why it is understandable why Russia would step up to the plate and defend those they consider to be Russian citizens.  If the claims that Georgia killed Russian peacekeepers, the claim is furthered.  I'm not saying I support their actions (which I do not), but I am able to see both sides of this conflict more clearly now.

Vadim's participation and contribution to this post should not be taken lightly.  He does appear to have intimate knowledge of the situation from the Russian side, and wanted Americans to know both sides of the story.  To call him names is juvenile, and to assume he's without credentials is immature given the source of the story.  Why is it that when Bill presents "the other side of the story", from someone he obviously has some trust in, we assume this source isn't credible?  Why is that when a Russian soldier offers up his first-hand report, we "naturally" assume he's lying and spreading propoganda?  Vadim's report was issued to try to put to rest the "Russia is the only aggressor" story being spewed by our media. 

I don't necessarily believe that the Georgian president is a terrorist, as Vadim stated,  and I fully support President Bush's assessment of the Russian over-reaction to Georgia's attempts to reign in South Ossetia.  What I don't believe is, as Charlie Brown's Teacher put it, how willingly and easily we have slipped back into the Cold War attitude against Russians. 


I assumed he was spreading propaganda because some of the first words out of his mouth was to call Saakashvili a fascist and the Georgians terrorists and then attempted to equate that to Islamic fanatics in Iraq or Beslan.  I admit freely that colored my opinion of anything he said after that. 

Secondly, when someone rolls up on you with such a nice complete time frame in such short order, you know they weren't getting it from some bad media.  And, when they roll up on you with that kind of information that fast, you know they had a reason to do it.  Finally, do you think Vadim was the only Russian hitting the internet with information?  Because, I've read a number of sites that suddenly had an interesting and unprecedent number of Russian citizens showing up in the comment sections with a similar outreach.

Pardon me if my paranoia kicked in. 

My final piece is simply this: having watched eight years of information warfare with so many accusations against our men and women for attrocities, sometimes real, largely fabricated and never proven to be part of some larger policy, do you think that we should accept such accusations about an ally?  Because Bill T's Russian friend said so?  Or have we not learned enough about information warfare to actually understand how this game is played?  

Mind you, Vadim might be an honest man with honorable intentions, but it does not mean I have to trust what his government says, even if he is the one repeating it.
Thanks for the opportunity to segue in, kat.

Vadim was one of the rescuers in the Beslan rescue. He lost a lot of friends and got shot himself when he went into the school. They found the ammo boxes the terrs smuggled in -- they had Georgian Army markings.

That's one of the reasons he went off, but he couldn't find the English words to say it when he was upset.
PS...the cold war was never over, it just changed masks. 

When your country is THE super power, you are the king of the hill and everyone wants to pull you down; friend and foe alike.  To pretend that is not true is to believe in the Kumbaya world of Obama, et al.  It is to believe that countries will suddenly stop trying to do what is best for their own people or nation for some greater altruistic purpose, even unto martyrdom of an entire nation.

I don't pretend.  If anyone honestly believes that Russia (142 mil people) invaded Georgia (4.5 million people) to protect 70,000 Ossetians as an altruistic act, I have a plug nickel worth a $1 mil I'll be happy to sell you.

That, my friends, is why I believe Vadim was feeding us the Russian party line.  Feel free to believe otherwise.
They found the ammo boxes the terrs smuggled in -- they had Georgian Army markings.

I'll say two things on that: 

1) I understand his anguish.  It was a terrible act.
2) Bill, you know as well as I do that South Ossetia and Georgia proper was (still is?) a hotbed for smuggling guns and drugs.  That did not mean that the Georgian army was supplying the Chechens, particularly the Islamists. 

I'll add the last part again:

Vadim might be an honest man with honorable intentions, but I don't have to buy the Russian government line.
Well, the original intent of the post was to get people talking about how we're mostly seeing one side of the coin -- or, more aptly, we're only seeing one page of a four or five-page story. Vadim's timeline showed us another page.

Sure, he's a Russian and a nationalist. I'm an American and a nationalist. Although each of us would have killed one another if we'd been called to do so in the past, we're not at each other's throats *now* and we find we both agree on some things at a visceral level:

1. War sucks, because bad things happen to good people even more than in normal life.

2. Politicians are not to be trusted.

I think it is you who missed my point. Russia as I understand it has been issuing Russian passports to South Ossetia residents. So do the residents feel they are Ossetian or Russian? And what is the percentage that feel they are Russian already? I read other information that says maybe 3% at most but I am no expert on this particular geographic area.

My point was if its ok for Russia to grant citizenship to persons living in another country what is keeping Mexico from doing the same thing? (Kat, Yes I am aware of The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo) We are overrun here with illegal aliens that want Arizona to be part of Mexico. The analogy between Ossetia and Arizona may not be complete because the legal residents of Ossetia want to be part of Russia but that was not what I was trying to point out. We have people living here that want to be part of Mexico, even though they moved here because Mexico was a bust for them. Why is it ok for the 3% of Ossetians who want to be Russians to turn the country over to Russia but those who want to turn Arizona over to Mexico is not ok? I was trying to frame the issue into relevent western thought.
OK, I’ll admit I bring a bias into this in that I’m a Southerner. My forefathers tried to succeed from the USA and failed, so if the US says that SO can’t succeed from Georgia: is that hypocritical? Yeah, I know that was over a hundred years ago, but world history says that amount of time is a drop in the bucket. What about the US supporting the Texas war of independence and then later annexing same…? I think we should do what BillT has done and support and engage any person who is willing to expound on this forum and remember from whence we came.
Sorry about the echo... I fell in again!
There were 3 reasons for this action by Russia and Putin:

1)  The reacquisition of a former Soviet republic in pursuit of Putin's desire to re-establish the USSR's former glory and power.

2) The seizure of Georgia's ports and oil pipeline infrastructure.

3) The attempt to show that the US and the West are unwilling and incapable of stopping this action, thereby undermining our credibility.

Looks like "mission accomplished" for Putin and Russia.
Re Ammo Boxes at Beslan - If the Russians weren't so busy trying to take away chunks of Georgia, maybe they could cooperate instead and do something useful like clearing out the Jihadis in the Pansiki Gorge and elsewhere.

Frankly the Georgians are completely paranoid where anything Russian is involved, which probably causes them to make poor decisions.  On the other hand, just because you are paranoid doesn't mean that they aren't out to get you, as recent events would seem to demonstrate.  Frankly, the very swiftness of this Russian invasion is itself damning evidence.
Apparently, Putin likes the Kosovo and Saddam paradigms as he is now comparing Saakashvili with Saddam insisting that Saddam raised "a few Shiite villages" and was hanged while Saakashvili raised ten Ossetian villages all at one time according to Putin. 

I am pretty sure that Russia has no intention of leaving Georgia without arresting and or killing Saakashvili. 

anyone else like to add some Russian moral equivolancy? 

Speaking of the Shi'ite, nice of Putin to mention that and stick a finger in our eye.  All things considered, I have the same sick feeling I had in the summer of '91 when the first reports came out about Saddam mowing down whole villages while we talked about UN mandates and threw our allies under the bus. 

Putin's a regular stand up comedian. 


1)  Some of that was aimed at you, Kat, but it's the height of hubris to think that a forum as big as this that it all was.  We've had, what Can.#4 say 'someone with stealth bombers and massive ordinance penetrators' and another commentor say that no matter who is in charge in Russia it's the same old, evil, authortarian, evil, imperial minded, evil, warmonger, did I mention evil, bastards.  If that doesn't sound like *someone* is a) talking about the US doing something and b) someone having a grudge well, then, where do I buy this magical ticket to reality you've got? 

2)  For someone who's been, what, 3 weeks on the whole Russia-Georgia thing you're saying some bizar absolutes.  Russia sucks?  Fine.  So do a bunch of our allies.  (Saudi, Kuwait, Bahrain if you pay attention to latest reports of increased activity there because they're getting tired of all the Westerners in skimpy skirts(Maggie!!!!!), a list as long as my 42inch arm).  So, if everything is so crystal clear, so perfectly arranged so that you can say with absolute certainty why Russia is and must be bad why not enlighten the rest of us proles, eh? 

3)  Challenged?  Dude, whatever.  If saying I'm disappointed means you're being challenged, well, then, I guess we're going to have a lot of problems around here.  This isn't a game.  It isn't about who being able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt who's right, Kat.  When you do that this becomes impossible.  Maybe you're having a bad day and taking frustrations out.  I can sympathize, but, hey, if you're going to be rude(and AFSIs called you on it) don't you *DARE* turn around acting like the innocent party when someone does the same to you.  YOu aren't that tall.(Neither am I for that matter.)  Calm down.  You're starting to act a little like someone else who constantly gets into fights around here.  It isn't a direct affront to you, and if you're taking it as such, maybe you're talking yourself a little too seriously.  I know, I'm no prince either, an order of magnitude bigger than my butt can back up.  Just sayin', Kat.  Calm down. 
4)  do you think that we should accept such accusations about an ally? Because Bill T's Russian friend said so? Or have we not learned enough about information warfare to actually understand how this game is played?
Funny you should say this.  It's a double edged sword, innit?  Maybe our ally is a scumbag who lies?  It's happened.  Marcos was one.  But, I guess that should *never* give one pause to think they don't have the sit completely understood and under control.  Nah.  (Of course, this point can only be used to prove that our enemies our evil, our first assumptions are correct, and anyone who says otherwise should be lumped with traitors like the One Utah crowd.  Yer challenging me, dude.  And all that.)
It's an analysis, and a fair one, but whence the certainty?
Because you can use the 'do you still beat your wife' of calling it propaganda?  There's self re-inforcing arguments that are valid, but simply ruling something out it not one of them. 
5)  THe COld War isn't over?  and yet you say this isn't about old hatreds. 
6)  mea culpa.  Nobody says the US has to be Big Dog anymore.  The statement about remaining KotH says something to me, and it isn't about Russia.  it's about this need for perception of US being Big Dog that nobody dares frack with.  That ain't healthy, imo.  If that's the filter you(general) use when looking at this you should be cognizant, and fracking honest, about the bias it introduces to your analysis.  It's bloody clear that you do that, Kat, so these claims of disinterested objectivity fall apart.  So you're left to explain why your bias doesn't mess up your analysis(saying why 'no harm, no foul' applies).  But you don't.  You fall back on fallacies and accusation that other *must* be liars(instead of they could, with the trust but verify line that Bill and grumpy adopted).  That doesn't prove your case.  Sorry, my friend, but it doesn't.  It's sad, I want to agree with you, but you're going about this in such a poor fashion.  It's a mea culpa.  It's 'it's hard being Ruler of The World' kind of thing. 

7)  Kat, you should know there's a difference between hyperbole and propaganda.  All that time you spent back at your old place working on informational warfare?  Honestly.  This is just an odd thing.  So he used hyperbole.  So do you!  Should we now say we can't trust you and that you're an in the tank propagandist?  No!  Yet, because you've defined it down, you're able to slander a man and claim nothing he says is valid.  That's a neat trick.  Except it isn't a valid or truth-finding means of argumentation.  That's a stolen base too many and I'm surprised you didn't catch yourself on it. 

8)  The whole point is, why so certain and how do you justify it?  If you take nothing away from this other than this, I'll be a happy man.  We don't know enough, Kat, to be as certain as you are.  It is possible that Vadim is telling the truth in a general sense that Georgia fomented this.  It is possible, that, yes, Viriginia, the Cold War ended and that the reason it is so easy to find Russia the bad guy is because for much of our lives 'damn russkie' was interchangable with 'damn commie bastard'.  You're way too certain, speaking way to often in absolutes, based on what info is available to us.  Waaaaay to certain that your unstated, but obvious to me, assumptions are correct without rechecking them. 
I'm not even saying you're wrong, really.  Just sayin that maybe, you know, you might want to at least consider that you're not.  From there comes more Sanger proof arguments, Kat.;)  Really, I'm saying this as a friend(so I don't get why you're taking this as a throw down of the gauntlet challenge like you are), be a little more the skeptic of your own ideas.  That's not the same as doubting yourself, but it is 'red teaming' yourself. 

Calm down and, as Bazz Lurman says, don't forget your sunscreen.(Oh, I may not live thru the hell I'm gonna catch for this one.  See y'all onthe other side if I don't.) 

Dear Charlie, not liking the Russian manouvers now does not equate to left over hatred of Soviets anymore than not caring for affirmative action or illegal aliens equates to racism in the US.  Didn't you just give me a lecture about that a few months ago?

Practice what you preach. 
And, I should turn it to you again, why are you not sure?  Ever heard of Georgians massacring Ossetians in the last who knows how long?

But, I have heard of Grozny being leveled and mass graves in Iraq.  I believe that gives me a pretty decent platform to base that surety on.  

But, you know, I"m tired right now.  If you are so sure the Russians are right, print their news reports and put your name on it. 
I'm just checking here - but did I read an oblique suggestion from several points that we should unleash Dusty and his kind?

Y'all may be all keen to add another bit of expened ordnance to the task list - but let's say we take out the Roti tunnel.

And Putin has a submarine take out, oh, the Golden Gate?

Or, if we don't like that - Norfolk Harbor?

Or, Kuwait City.  Any of the other ports in the Gulf through which our supplies flow?

Because remember, folks- we talkin' on the Russian border here.

Or have I mis-read things?

I'm taking fun drugs right now, so I might be misreading things - but lets remember in whose backyard this taking place, and the limits to our ability to influence things other than via diplomacy.

They want to recall me to support the GWOT, no big deal.  I'd rather not get called back because me and the guys my age are the only ones who remember and have practiced, Corps level fire planning, and giving Bill and Dusty a chance to do that whole Fulda Gap thing we all dreamed about - even if it was in other places we're all familiar with... like Kursk, or Belgorod.

Not likely, no - but good golly gee aren't we busy enough?

I think you should re-read my answer to Vadim and also his last post where he is stating that Kat knows only 'her democratia' but he does not believe hers is actually a 'democratia'   This is Vadim's issue: he is not capable of  conducting a productive discussion/argument. 
Last night I finally found an article where at least some Russian people stood up to the Putin/Medvedev's system and called cat a cat.  You should read the comments, 1/2 of them had to be editied by the website manager for extreme profanity, the rest of it drips with hatred of this civil rights protectors (pravozaschitniki, like Elena Bonner, the widow of Academician Sakharov), Georgians, Americans and every Western nation that supported Georgia.  
Plus, I am sorry but you guys do not really know the depth and width of Russian government propaganda. 
BillT, as I said before, I have family in Beslan.  And I personally believe that the way Russian troops conducted the rescue was inherently flawed with the typical Soviet premise: kill the bad guys and do not worry about the collateral damage.  The same way they used the gas during the Moscow Theater rescue, the large amount of hostage was lost because nobody bothered to tell the doctors what kind of gas was used and what to do to help the hostages who succumbed to the gas during the rescue. 
Again,  every country has a legal right to protect its country's integrity and unless South Osetia is internationally recognized as a sovereign state, it is the part of Georgia.  Any invasion of the foreign troops without that country's permission is an act of war.
Lastly, I disagree with the characteristic of my Sudeten analogy as inappropriate.  Historically, it is 100% correct.

Kat.. Charlie's right.  Re-read, chill, and, dare I say it... open your mind to alternative thought.
" ... but good golly gee aren't we busy enough? "

Hey, John, hope you start feeling better soon.

I'd suggest we're so busy because we're constantly putting out the small fires that Russia has either created or helped to create through their proxies in their long-running war against us.  In an effort to avoid the potentially larger, messier, and more catastrophic result of addressing the root problem, we've been content, or perhaps just resolved through our inability to do anything else, to allowing ourselves to be bled little by little through these constant pin pricks.

We may need to do this, and/or we may have few other options, but it's very frustrating. Especially for a people, like we Americans, who have traditionally had a "can-do" attitude and believe that "where there's a will, there's a way".  It seems that we've lost that will recently, and that we allow our fears of the potential consequences of our actions to paralyze us into stasis and inaction, pursuing "diplomacy" and "sanctions" that ultimately fail because the aggressor knows full well how to manipulate his fellow travelers in the "international community" in such ways as to make their consequences meaningless.

As is usually the case, there's no good or easy answer to this mess.  But if we're going to basically give the arsonist a pass and continue to allow our attention to be diverted by all these small fires, then we're going to need to do 2 things:

1)  Expect to be burned more often, and by increasingly larger fires as the arsonist becomes more emboldened by our failure to stop him.

2) Hire more fire-fighters and buy more pumpers, and hope that the fires don't start happening in our neighborhood, on our street, or at our own house.

Unfortunately, this applies to radical Islam as well as to the Russian problem. 
And it just sucks to have to say to Georgia something like this:

Hey, dudes!  Thanks for all your help in Iraq, and thanks for wanting to join NATO and be democratic and all of that. We thought it was a good idea at the time, and we really appreciate you guys trying!

But you know, you guys are really in Russia's back yard and well, we're just too busy right now to do anything more than ask Putin and Russia to stop their attacks and you know, come to the table and talk so we can try to resolve this thing peacefully.

Sorry about all those dead people in your streets.  But you understand, surely ... don't you?

P.S.  - You won't hold this against us in the future will you?  We can depend on you to help us out again, can't we?  I mean, after you regain your independence and sovereignty from Russia on your own, that is?
I never suggested we do anything.  I did suggest we were going to do nothing as we did in the case of the Shi'ite in Iraq with similar results: loss of life and loss of standing with these folks, as fdlc points out.  Can we do anything and is it feasible on a larger political/military scale?  Probably not.  That doesn't mean I have to feel good about it.

I have my mind open and in the realm of geopolitics it tells me that there are more things at play than a country the size of North Carolina and a province the size of Rhode Island when compared to the size of Russia proper and the geo-political realities of the region. 

It also tells me that there is a reason that they found Georgian Army marked ammunition at Beslan that Vadim points to.  Search for Abkhazia and Shamil Basayev, the leader of the Beslan attacks.  Abkhazia would be the other separatist region in Georgia that Russia has been supporting. 

With my open mind, some grasp of history and a good search engine I know that Basayev and many other Chechen's went to Abkhazia to fight in the early 90's.  A separatist movement that was fomented by Russia in order to gain control of the northern rail heads and ports (four of them if you look at the map) in the newly independent Georgia.  As we know ourselves with the mujihadeen of Afghanistan that turned into Al Qaeda, when you support a guerilla war, all sorts of unsavory people tend to show up and use the efforts as a spring board.  

Georgia eventually called on Russia to come in and help subdue the situation (that they started).   Basayev left  Abkhazia, but is reported to have maintained significant  contacts with rebel leaders there (people who turned up in the  new Abkhazia government, I might add). There being a war there, the Georgian army at some point and likely Georgian armories for Georgian forces, access to said ammunition was not and is not exactly controlled by the Georgians after they left. 

I mention the significant amount of smuggling that goes on in Ossetia that has no real resources or means of economy.  Even the CIA factbook has a majority people living on subsistent farming and subsidies from Russia.  Smuggling is a way of making a living.  Particularly in unstable regions as we should know from Afghanistan and Iraq.

The fact that Vadim implied Georgian complicity because of the appearance of Georgian marked ammunition didn't seem to make anyone blink.  I would suggest that it is not me who needs an open mind because of some old Soviet prejudice I allegedly hold, but others who may have let our current interraction with Iran smuggling arms to Iraq and Afghanistan prejudice our opinions as to what constitutes "truth" or not.

Basayev did not go away a friend of Georgia.  He did go away a friend of Abkhazian rebels.  That Russia now supports and protects.  War makes for strange bedfellows doesn't it?  So, how did Georgian marked ammunition end up at Beslan? 

No one was or is innocent, but to believe that Russia is an honest broker here or that Georgia and the Ossetians are the only cause of this incident?  There are natural resources to the east, ports on the Black Sea, NATO and EU, Russia's fear of being surrounded and isolated by western centric nations, the continuing Russian schizophrenia to want to be wealthy like the west, but maintain its own political and cultural identity; . the Russian economy that cannot expand unless it can diversify away from energy exports and can have large enough and plentiful ports to import and export goods, Russian sphere of influence.

So many things that have nothing to do with "Soviets" unless you count that Putin came up through the Soviet system and was the head of the KGB at the end.  Or, that many of his associates at the head the current government are from the same.  The Soviet Empire does not exist anymore, but that does not mean that the Russian geographical or economic limitations or needs have changed.

As much as I note that Georgia needed to maintain its territorial integrity, Russia cannot thrive or expand without its fall.  That's reality that requires an open mind to evaluate the expanse beyond Georgia. 
 I'm with fdcol63.

A few points.

While we have been fighting off an ideologically deranged, irrational, and evil enemy, another totally rational, but no less evil enemy has been quietly feeding that deranged enemy. And waiting. And watching.

We are, indeed the world's lone super power, but we do not look like it, or act like it in the eyes of many in the world. It has been generations since we utterly, and totally devastated, and defeated the nazis, and the Japanese with our military, industrial, and moral might. I'm not taking anything away from the valiant efforts of our allies, but without us, the outcome would have been quite different, especially winning the Peace with the Marshall Plan, etc.

But, to our present antagonists that is ancient history. To many in the world, we do not appear to be that country today. Even Gulf War I is ancient history. We showed up for that one with half a million troops to drive Saddam out of tiny Kuwait. Then, ages later -- in the public's consciousness of time -- we show up after 9/11 -- 9/11!!!!! -- with what, about 130,000 troops?


Much of the world sincerely thinks that's it. They think that's all we've got. After downtown NYC was attacked, they have a right to think that we would show up with everything we've got, and they do. The more sophisticated observers may know we have more capability, but they can be forgiven for thinking that what we showed up with is ALL we have the WILL to show up with.


Yes, we finally did mount the Surge, and we have won in Iraq, but we had won in Viet Nam, too -- militarily. But all anyone remembers is that last helicopter taking off from the embassy roof, and totally forget that that was years after our military had left. The more sophisticated observers note that we abandoned the South Vietnamese by cutting off aid. Yes, a whole lot of other things happened, but I am talking about

Perception. Today.

Early in JFK's Presidency he screwed up by abandoning the Bay of Pigs operation, and it was a disaster. And, weakness begets aggression.

The Soviets, thinking they were dealing with a wuss, launched what became the Cuban Missile Crisis. JFK quickly perceived the dagger at our throat, and pulled out all the stops. He told the Soviets in no uncertain terms that we'd not hesitate to destroy the missiles in place, and the ships bringing more. He meant it, and they knew it.


I think that even if we HAD sunk a few Soviet ships, the evil, but rational Soviets would still have backed down.

But, that was all forgotten in the morass of the PERCEPTION of Viet Nam.

Today, the Russians aren't doing what they're doing because they think they're strong enough to defeat us militarily. They know they're not. Not yet, anyway. They're DOING -- I emphasize DOING -- what they're DOING, because they think we don't have the WILL to DO anything to stop them. Sure, we're fighting the terrorists, but they think that's wearing us out, and that we don't have the will to stop them now, never mind when The Anointed One becomes President. They think we'll just talk, and make nice.


The world is NOT governed by the astute use of diplomacy. The world IS governed by the aggressive use of FORCE. Evil has never, and will never quit trying to devour all that it can, whenever, wherever, and however it can.

You do not stop evil by negotiating with it. You stop evil by stopping it. Stopping it from doing what it is doing, and or by making it want to stop. Negotiations only work AFTER you have demonstrated that you are ready, willing, and able to take hits, and inflict worse. We defeated the greatest empire, and military power on earth -- TWICE! We sure didn't do it with our military might, we did it with our WILL.

Now WE are the greatest military power on earth, but HAVE we lost our will? I don't think so, but the WORLD does, at least enough of them do. The Russians certainly do.


A decisive military blow against the Russians may, indeed, result in retaliation. So what? What WOULD have happened if we'd stood up to Hitler in the late 1930s? Yes, we were weak, but so was he.

Should we be paralyzed by fear that they'd take out the Golden Gate Bridge? We already lost the WTC! It just made us mad. I assure you that a Russian attack on us would make us really mad, and our response would be devastating. The Russians aren't suicidal, just opportunistic. The new leader, and the new Nomenklatura are indisputably evil, but equally indisputably they are comfortable, and rational. They know where their virgins are.

One of our Founders, George Washington, I think, said something to the effect that a people who would trade their Liberty for "peace" deserve neither. It may not look -- today -- like our Liberty is not in danger, but it is, folks. We have the Mexican army -- for years -- making repeated deliberate armed incursions in force across our border, and, from the world's point of view, we do nothing. We allow what can only be called an invasion by people, many of whom aggressively or passively demonstrate that they do NOT want to become Americans. They march in our cities carrying our flag upside down, while carrying THEIR flag in broad daylight down our streets, and, as far as the world can see, we do nothing about it.


Passive inaction begets aggression.

The last world war started JUST LIKE THIS, and cost, what, 50,000,000? 100,000,000 lives? Are we really going to be that stupid again? Are we really going, once again, to delude ourselves that evil, voracious men can be transformed by earnest negotiation, and reason?
"15:06 The column of the Russian tanks"

Boy those Russians are fast.  It would take us weeks to invade Mexico.  Good thing Russia had a couple of Divisions in marching order on the border when this "crisis" started.  What a coincidence, almost like it was planned for months by Moscow.
At least six to seven weeks.  Russian troops had been massing since about June 19.  We just weren't paying much attention. 
We still aren't. The Olympics and Edwards' love child are the top stories.
 Which was the plan
I sheet you not, BB.  SOmeone did say we should throw down.
By Cannoneer No. 4 on August 11, 2008 5:24 AM
Somebody takes out the Roki Tunnel. Maybe somebody with stealth bombers and Massive Ordnance Penetrators.

Or we sit around singing Kumbaya hoping for change.

Here's you another map. You do good work with maps.

Now we've got people saying that Russia is the cause of anti-US terrorism.  Look, they stopped sponsoring these movements in the mid-80s.  The USSR had a major internal fight over whether support for terrorists was in line with Lenninist-Marxism. (The New Terrorism, Harris.  Barnett's grad thesis.). So that sounds kinda off.  Which is why I'm saying that for someone to say that Russia's responsible for terrorism, and other things, then there's something else in play then disinterested objective thought and observation.  Namely, old hatred die hard.      
Exhibit a:  " hardly need that to recognize Russia as a rival who still has nuclear weapons, still imprisons political dissidents, still shoots reporters on their door steps, nationalizes industries, fixes elections and any other point I can make about modern Russia."
Note that 'still'.  One word is very important here.  "Still".  That ties it to something.  What would that tie be?  Maybe the idea that their dirty wastards becasue they were dirty wastards?  Hmm.  The mind does boggle so. 

I think says quite a bit too.  "Excuse me, who is being lectured here? "  Heh.  Yeah.  What is all that lecturing and WHO is it coming from. 

And, Kat, puhlease, eight years of doing it for fun on the internet makes you an undupable expert, when people who spent their entire careers studying info operations can and do still get beat?  Yeah, okay.  You should quit your day job and take over the CIA or the State dept or NRO or DIA if you're that cool.  Sorry, I'm not buying this.  And, ultimately, that's my point.  You're saying a lot your butt and your brains can't cash.  This isn't a writing or philo class where pumping out a few tidbits of info makes your point unassailable because you put together 3-10.  Sorry.  But you need to calm down and chill a little. 

And hey, I'm tired too.  I spent 10 hours on the loading dock today.  If that wasn't a reminder that I shouldn't take myself too seriously on this, to think that because I've read a half dozen books on this I know enough to say with absolute conviction that I *KNOW*, well, then I don't know what is.  
I prefer fox moulder version: trust no one
Oh, so your hero a conspiracy nut?  LOL.  There's two sides to that, Kat.  One, you don't let people derail you.  Two, you don't let people derail you and you go out and make serious mistakes. 

Plus, I never liked the X-Files.  I never got why it was so beloved.  That and Twin Peaks.  Why?
Oh, and now I'm gonna go lay on my couch and groan.  I haven't worked like this since I was driving and going to the JC nights.  So, if anybody needs me it'll be until tomorrow. 

Hey, Armorer, can I have whatever groovy drugs your taking?  Knees, hips, ankles, shoulders, shoulder blades(or the skin above them), biceps, triceps, and delts all got the aches(my pectorals would hurt, but I've got almost none to speak of).  But, i lift ergonomically sound so I don't have a bad back.  ;)
All information is propaganda.  Official information is official propaganda. 
 " ... All information is propaganda. ... "

I dunno, kat. I'm gonna have to disagree on this one, with the following clarifiers:

All information can be used as propaganda.  But some data are just objective facts.
Mr. Smith - any war we fight now, is fought with th forces we have now.

I'm a warrior, a logistician, and a military historian.

There's a reason Mr. Putin is doing what he's doing, his assessment - other than going whole hog with nukes -  is that we can't do much about it, directly.

And just because we think we're abandoning an ally, doesn't mean we self-immolate in response.  Nation-states don't have that luxury of being Charles Bronson in Death Wish.

If Mr. Putin wanted to start an arms race, he may have managed that.

But do something direct, right now?  With as many easy-to-close choke points as we'd have to go through?

I don't think so.

Too bad I rulez about blogging stuff that I can['t afford to break.  It does handicap my ability to defend myself here.
But some data are just objective facts.

Which we turn into propaganda
Didn't you just give me a lecture about that a few months ago?[This is written in the order that I read it]

Ah, don't worry. He'll just recycle it around a bit.

Too bad I rulez about blogging stuff that I can['t afford to break. It does handicap my ability to defend myself here.

That's what foreign auxiliaries are for. To do the job you can't or won't do. That is as true for Iraq and Afghanistan as it is for Georgia.

And the "diplomats" are half way in league with the Saudis and Russian rich peeps to begin with. So, don't count on them unless it's a knife in the back.

You're saying a lot your butt and your brains can't cash.

That's hilarious.

So, how did Georgian marked ammunition end up at Beslan?

Probably the same way Russian AK 47 ammo ends up everywhere. Blackmarket and corruption. In that area... that's pretty much a staple of economic life there.

No one was or is innocent, but to believe that Russia is an honest broker here or that Georgia and the Ossetians are the only cause of this incident?

Some people are more susceptible to propaganda than others.

You people write more than I do, now that I've actually seen how many comments I have to read to catch up.

No offense, but I've been called a fascist plenty of times.

Compared to me? That's funny when you think about the differences we have in terms of whatever. If they call you a fascist, they don't want to see what I believe. No siree.

And my information from all sides!

When all sides are biased, the importance rests upon accurate analysis of data. To derive correct conclusions from biased news from both or more than two sides, requires independent intel analysis, not specifically independent intel resources.

What is true is that Russians believe South Ossetia isn't part of Georgia. Why is that so and what part did Russia play in this? And they believe this regardless of their political stance towards America.

The question in my mind though centers around SO, and their apparent desire to leave Georgia. If they have been acting as a sovereign state, and wish to secede, why not let them?

Why didn't the Union let the South secede? Why doesn't the US and Iraq let the Kurds secede? Cause when you get divided like that, bigger and better nations will eat you up. And Russia's pretty big in that region by now.

It just seems to me that if a state wants to break away, and have been governing themselves for a long period of time, it should be discussed and considered.

When people are calmly discussing legal matters in a room and a murderer breaks in, like say Russia, what are you going to talk about? One uses force, everybody else doesn't have enough force to counter it. Would Georgia attack Russia, with a lot of their military in Iraq and with no guarantees by the Americans for military aid and not being in NATO? How stupid would the strategic leaders and generals have to be for that, unless the decision was made on a lower level by commanders that took the Russian bait cause all the good low level commanders are in Iraq.

Terrorists fire at Americans all the time in order to get return fire and get civilians killed. Why shouldn't the Russians use something they have seen work great in Iraq? Especially when it will hamstring the US's aid to Georgia?

Japanese Kamikadze,that attacked American ships and Muslims terrorists - Heroes too?

When you read the letters to their families, yes. Some were dupes, some were cynical and bitter and knew that the Japanese government were telling people lies, and some were idealistic and hopeful. All did their duty, as they saw it. It was a valid tactic, just ineffective cause it was used when it didn't need to be used. Americans, when they run out of ammo or weapons, will sometimes do kamikaze attacks. Johnston DD, for example, Leyte Gulf.

Beyond that, I'm being as polite as I can so I appreciate people not lecturing me on some line I don't believe I've crossed.

Well, I'm on your side. Doesn't that count?

Chechenian terrorists too had Uniform and they killed children fom Georgian weapon.

I don't think you guys would have allowed Chechnians in a Chechnian military uniform into Beslan, a school of yours. Unless you did, which I don't really recall. It doesn't matter what the uniform is. If you recognized it, it was a uniform, and you would have stopped them before they went into the school or had an altercation in front of it or before they rigged it with bombs. But if you didn't, it was no uniform.

Do you know how many people and Americans were killed by Soviet and Russian "weaponry"? A lot. Unless you have a direct trace to Georgia Policy, it don't mean anything. Yes, Kat and I were thinking on the same level, but independent of each other.

You named this as democratia(but you know only yours democratia)

Russian version of democracy seems to be different than our own version of democracy. Which isn't surprising, given that little bit about First and 2nd Amendments.

The add'n protocols were crafted precisely for resistance groups and the like standing up in places of authortarianism.

People added them in cause Arafat needed some justification for killing babies and women. Convenient. Vive le Revolution.

I hardly need that to recognize Russia as a rival who still has nuclear weapons, still imprisons political dissidents, still shoots reporters on their door steps, nationalizes industries, fixes elections and any other point I can make about modern Russia.

Don't forget about that little two fer assassination deal they did on Britain and Luschenko, Kat.

That being said, you're taking my comment out of context. The entire comment explains why it is understandable why Russia would step up to the plate and defend those they consider to be Russian citizens.

Russia really doesn't give a damn about their citizens. They ain't classical liberals nor Jacksonians.

Why is that when a Russian soldier offers up his first-hand report

We have no idea where he got his data. You can't say it is first hand, since he doesn't seem to be fighting Georgians in Georgia, you know.

Some issues are first hand, but not those.

we "naturally" assume he's lying and spreading propoganda?

You don't have to lie to spread propaganda. You just say what you believe to be the truth, and if that happens to be something you got from your motherland, well, that's that.

Or have we not learned enough about information warfare to actually understand how this game is played?

The problem is, some people don't think of Georgia as an ally, or that they are worth defending, or that Russia is worth attacking. AF believes so, as I believe she mentioned before.

Vadim's timeline showed us another page.

it's good for raw data crunching, but the analysis of what it actually means, depends on the individual doing it. Two people looking at the same facts that happened in the same order can come up with diametrically different conclusions, as you well know.

Which is why it is so useful to have second views and out of the box thinking.

And Putin has a submarine take out, oh, the Golden Gate?-John

You think Putin wants to do that and give the US an excuse to kill him? I do not believe he is delusional enough to believe RUssia can take on the US in a conventional fight or even a nuclear one. The US has invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. Russia may be thinking they need to catch up. But in all respects, we have killed more of our enemies than Russia has killed theirs. And when it comes to a nuclear exchange, Russia can't beat our little reflexive trigger fingers on that score. And they know it, or else they are insane and misreading us.

I'm with fdcol63.-Bill

Is that why you were keeping silent all this time...

Much of the world sincerely thinks that's it. They think that's all we've got. After downtown NYC was attacked, they have a right to think that we would show up with everything we've got, and they do. The more sophisticated observers may know we have more capability, but they can be forgiven for thinking that what we showed up with is ALL we have the WILL to show up with.

We used less than 5% of our total military power in war time for Afghanistan. And I'm not talking numbers, just stuff. No nukes, no bomber strikes, no naval use except for logistics and whatever else they were using it for.

All the time they were talking about the military being stretched from 2005-2007, I just kept thinking "we haven't even started fighting, all this stuff is like built for peace and endurance, not war". That means it is an artificial restraint made by politicians cause they don't want to go into a war economic and political and military footing.

The world is NOT governed by the astute use of diplomacy.

They are not going to forget you said that. Hope you don't have to go underground again from the diplomats' wrath and re-education conditioning hunters.

One of our Founders, George Washington,

It was Franklin and many Leftists intentionally misquote him. It is 'don't trade a temporary security for permanent liberty'. That is what he meant and what he said. Security and liberty are both necessary, but you cannot trade permanent liberties for some temporary sense of security. You need actual security, because actual security provides actual liberty and doesn't just kill it forever.

Are we really going to be that stupid again?

Probably. The human race evolves wisdom by killing each other after those golden ages of peace. Just human nature, I guess. An advantage and disadvantage of not being born with racial memory like insects or what not.

By kat-missouri on August 12, 2008 4:37 PM All information is propaganda. Official information is official propaganda.

Do you have the same definition of propaganda as I do, that it is just the art of persuasion?

But do something direct, right now? With as many easy-to-close choke points as we'd have to go through?

If you can't hit them direct, use some subterfuge. Sign a mutual defense pact. Do something or else you're just going to wait until Russia cooks something new up to make you react.
that it is just the art of persuasion?

Yes.  And I'm practicing it now.  LOL 

Really, it isn't that I did or did not know Vadim or think that he was lying for any direct purpose.  It was exactly because all information is propaganda when it is delivered to persuade someone of an idea.  In this case, however honorable or nice Vadim was in person, he was spreading official Russian timelines created for Russia's purposes.  That makes it Russian propaganda.

Just like I used to go on different websites for Iran and Iraq, etc and link to stories or write my opinions about things.  (still do sometimes, but I like to write original thoughts much more)

I've argued with Jihad supporters, European leftists, anti-American whomever.  It wasn't because I thought that I was going to change their minds (though sowing a little doubt is a nice side benefit).  It was because there were American citizens and others who were being persuaded by that information.  Particularly, in the beginning of the war when some of the few existing Iraqi blogs consisted of a lone pro-American blog, iraq the model, that was constantly under comment attack by these folks and River's Bend, which was anti-American. 

The point was not necessarily to persuade the rival opinion, but to keep others from being unduly persuaded by presenting contrary information and ideas. 

Maybe that is Byzantian thinking and placing too much importance on those efforts, but it seemed important at the time.  In short, information war at the lowest disseminated level.

When I saw Vadim's last plea on the time line for Americans to stop this and work against the CIA, all instincts kicked in and it seemed to scream "propaganda".

I know, somewhere in there, for Vadim at least, was the idea that war was bad and someone could stop it.  But, it simply wasn't going to happen.  We don't control Russia , nor Georgia to the extent that anyone thinks we do.  Georgia is its own nation and had to decide how it would survive with Russian forces staging across its borders.  It chose and it lost, to my great disappointment and to their greater disappointment I'm sure.

I think this will have to become a post about information warfare. 

<B>Particularly, in the beginning of the war when some of the few existing Iraqi blogs consisted of a lone pro-American blog, iraq the model, that was constantly under comment attack by these folks and River's Bend, which was anti-American. </b>

River Bend or another female Iraqi blog seemed more pro-Baathist and Saddam than anti-American. They didn't like us cause we ousted their protector and tribal leader, one might suppose. He made the trains run on time, what can they say. We didn't. We are now, though.

There was also an interesting reaction that might be related to Russia's experiment with "democracy". When people try to go from autocracy and oppression to liberty and expression, what tends to happen is that they are still trying to find a strong man or some kind of strong central belief or policy or something. To some it may be nationalism. To others, a person. To still others, a belief.

But in the end, it always becomes us vs them in a sort of tribally mutually exclusive version of "democracy" that just means one vote, one time. They don't see them as allies or loyal opposition which helps you govern, even if they are not in power. Just look at the Democrats and how they behave and that is essentially the kind of suspicion a lot of Russians and Iraqis went through and are still going through actually. It's about us vs them.

It's kind of sad actually, which is a consequence of America not being an expansionist Empire. America doesn't expand, she doesn't annex territories, and she doesn't even accept petitions to be annexed.

Funniest joke history played on the human race yet.

I also think it would be too dangerous if I start reading Kat's mind like I did with John's.

You know, like where they post something, I read it line by line and respond in order, and they just happen to be the same kind of responses. And I'm able to guess what they are implying.