Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Georgian Riff

I have just about reached the end of my patience with the mindless propaganda regurgitations about the Russian-Georgian conflict. Enough!

Virtually every expostulation from the vaunted Western media, even the more even handed ones, has "cute" little phrases like, "We still don't know who fired the first shots that led to the Georgian military moving into South Ossetia Friday...". Hello! Isn't the very phrase "...the Georgian military moving into South Ossetia..." rather a telling one? Could it be the joint NATO-Georgian war games completed just prior to the Georgian blitzkrieg may have had something to do with it? Could it be that the main Georgian assault on Tskhinvali, which made NO distinction between military and civilian targets, have had something to do with things? And, as for the "brutal Russian counterattack on Georgia", when viewed from the perspective of targets attacked, was far more selective than the Georgian assault which ignited the instant conflict. Among all the tales of horror emanating from the multiple paps of the Western house organs, we are told of the "taking of Gori" and the "civilians fleeing in terror" from the advancing Russian horde. What we are definitely NOT told is that there was a major military base at Gori (as well as a good number of NATO and American military advisors). We are NOT told that much of the fleeing was done by the 'crack Georgian military' when Saakashvili's all or nothing bet came up a cropper.

Much of the Western "coverage", such as it is, portrays the "scrappy, spunky Western oriented" Georgia as a "democratic bulwark" based on a grassroots Western style democracy which sprang from the so-called "Rose Revolution" which catapulted the Harvard educated Saakashvili to power. What essentially all the Western coverage elides is the fact that the "Rose Revolution" was stage managed, fomented and funded by the West. It also neglects the fact that Saakashvili has been, from the outset, nothing more nor less than a Western sock puppet, bought and paid for by the West specifically to be a thorn in the side of Russia. And, by gosh, Georgia has been dutifully playing its part as such. Much like the snotty little kid who acts the bully on the schoolyard and, when challenged, calls on the services of a much older, much larger brute to act as his enforcer. In the case of Georgia, we, "the West" are that enforcer.

Also, I'm really impressed at the feigned horror of the Western propaganda organs at Russia's daring to "attack targets deep in Georgia, far from South Ossetia". Odd, when the US/NATO combine illegally attacked Yugoslavia in 1999, the very first attacks that opened that 79 day bombing campaign were aimed, not at targets in Kosovo but at Belgrade...hundreds of miles from Kosovo, I certainly didn't see any shock or horror evinced from the Western media. Quite the contrary, all the Western media, "liberal" and neoconservative, were howling for more blood. From the very outset many of the very same "pundits", "opinion makers", "foreign policy experts" who are now decrying Russia's quite legitimate actions were at the forefront in demanding more carnage, more lethality, just MORE in terms of aggression against Yugoslavia. The vast majority of Russia's attacks have been aimed at military targets in Georgia and were carried out with an eye to degrading Georgia's military capability. Have there been mistakes, collateral damage? Of course. But let us not forget, every time the US/NATO hit schools, hospitals, residential areas, trains, bridges, etc. in Yugoslavia, that too was "collateral damage" (even though the "collateral damage" in Yugoslavia was far and away more disproportionate to the military damage wrought). Not so with the Russians in Georgia to date. Though the Russians have struck Georgia proper, its targets have been military with the occasional stray ordnance, hardly the situation that applied to the US/NATO and their gang rape of Serbia in 1999. Hardly like the intentional bombing by NATO of hospitals (cluster bombing of the Niš hospital and its environs, for example), embassies (the very precise bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Beograd, for example), the bombing of Slobodan Milošević's private residence (with the admitted aim of assassinating him), etc. ad nauseam.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Have we looked in the mirror lately?

“Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him without hate--and quickly.” ~ Lazarus Long from “TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE”, By: Robert Heinlein

The above quote from Robert Heinlein came to mind recently while vaguely listening to TV news. The story was about the 'heroes' returning from Iraq. It caused me to recall reading news stories and watching German newsreels about the Wehrmacht 'heroes' returning from the occupation of the Soviet Union. I recalled how all the Russians who were fighting against the Nazi occupiers were referred to as either 'bandits' or 'terrorists'. Odd, isn't that the same way we refer to the Iraqis who are fighting our 'heroes' in their country? Even more odd, I recalled the story of one of the Afghan detainees now in Guantánamo who is being held as a terrorist because he threw a hand grenade at the invading U.S. troops. As I seem to recall, those wascawy revolutionaries (Americans) were doing exactly the same thing to the British troops during the Revolutionary War. Oh, and BTW, the Brits were calling our Founding Fathers and the American Revolutionaries 'bandits' and 'terrorists' as well.

Though Thom Hartmann, among others, has made the point more than once, it needs to be repeated; what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan is in no wise a war, it is occupation, pure and simple. By all rules of civilized war (what an oxymoronic expression!) defending yourself, your family and your country from invaders is sanctioned under the Geneva conventions. And, to make matters worse, what we, America, have visited upon Afghanistan and Iraq is the prime war crime of 'waging a war of aggression'. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq threatened nor could realistically be called an existential threat to the United States, and that would be the only legal justification for waging war without UNSC imprimatur, which we did not have. Not that that makes any difference to us, it counted for absolutely nothing when the U.S. (NATO) engaged in a 79 day bombing war against Yugoslavia. The U.S. is now raising all kinds of accusations against the Russians for rushing troops in to South Ossetia to defend their own countrymen (cca. 90% of the population of South Ossetia are ethnic Russians), decrying Russia's intervention on it's own border (oh BTW, riddle me this, why do we never hear of North Ossetia? Maybe because it is part of Russia?). The intervention of the Russians was asked for by the leaders of the “breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia”. Yet, somehow, while the Americans are decrying Russia's intervention in South Ossetia (after 10 Russian peacekeepers had been killed by the Georgian military), they can't seem to see the utter hypocrisy of this position, especially while America is engaged in illegal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan stemming from illegal invasions. Odd, isn't it?

We 'love' the Iraqis (and Afghanis) so much that we call them “towel heads”, “hadjiis”, “camel jockeys”, etc. ad nauseam. Of course, to make it easier to murder fellow human beings, it helps to denigrate them and make them less than human. After all, didn't we call the American Indians “redskins”, “savages”, “beasts”? Didn't we call the Germans “Huns”, the Japanese “Nips”, “slant eyed devils”, the Vietnamese “gooks”?

I recall in my youth how Americans were puzzled how so cultured, educated and civil a people as the Germans could have possibly backed a regime as murderous and monstrous as the Nazis. Have we really looked in the mirror lately?
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