I lost all faith in the American democratic system and its media when President Bush initiated a false war against Iraq and got away with it. This time, the U.S. media and Bush Administration are lying about a different war — the one between Georgia and Russia. To understand the complex nature of this conflict, a brief review of history is necessary.
Throughout its long history, Georgia, the country, has had difficult relations with Russia and its other neighbors, including the ethnically different Ossetians. Georgians and Ossetians did not always get along. In one instance, Georgian leaders asked the Russian tsar for permission to enslave the Ossetians. The answer was no. During the Russian Revolution, Georgia seceded from the Russian Empire and sided with Mensheviks (tsarists), thereby starting a conflict with the Ossetians and killing about 5,000 of them until Bolsheviks intervened and forcefully returned Georgia under Russia’s control. During Stalin’s rule, Georgia (Stalin’s homeland) was assigned some of the Ossetian and Abkhazian territory together with their historic inhabitants. As the Soviet Union began to disintegrate in the early 1990s, Georgia declared its independence without any resistance from Russia. However, when South Ossetia and Abkhazia tried to declare their independence from Georgia, they were greeted by a brutal military campaign aimed at keeping these tiny regions under Georgian control. Unfortunately for Georgia, it had to live with their de-facto independence due to strong resistance from these breakaway regions and Russia’s intervention. Long story short, Russia became the only third party peacekeeper, albeit a biased one, in this conflict until now.
In 2008, the United States and Europe recognized Kosovo’s independence from Serbia despite Russian and Serbian opposition. Russia warned the United States that this is a dangerous precedent that could ignite the old conflict between Georgians and Ossetians, who might seek independence according to the Kosovo’s scenario. Meanwhile, Georgia being lead by charismatic, pro-Western president Mr. Saakashvilli sought to join NATO and the EU. However, Georgia’s unresolved territorial disputes with South Ossetia and Abkhazia formally precluded its membership in NATO. Mr. Saakashvilli could resolve this conflict in two ways: (a) officially recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia’s de-facto independence from Georgia or (b) drive out or physically exterminate all Ossetians and Abkhazians because they would never again want to live peacefully under Georgia’s control.
On August 8 of this year, Mr. Saakashvilli, probably inspired by his famous countrymen, Joseph Stalin (who allegedly said “no people, no problem”) chose plan (b) by secretly launching the blitzkrieg-styled, all-out offensive on South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers. The date of the attack was chosen strategically — right before the Olympic Games. Judging by captured Georgian military maps, Saakashvilli hoped to capture most of South Ossetia in one day and make Russia’s military response (if any followed) look contrary to the peaceful spirit of the Olympiad. According to numerous Georgian statements quoted even in the U.S. media, they were assured to receive American military support in the case of Russian military retaliation. This raises an important question. What did Bush promise to Saakashvilli so as to embolden him to carry out a military attack that would likely provoke a retaliatory response from a giant, nuclear-armed, Russian military?
As we learned from the Iraq debacle, the U.S. news media is not interested in asking uneasy questions. On the contrary, U.S. news channels neglect to mention that the Georgian attack has cost over 1,600 Ossetian lives and prefer to give the bulk of attention to Georgian claims without checking them for accuracy. The Ossetian accounts of Georgian atrocities, such as carpet bombing of the Ossetian capital, raping, execution of civilians by running them over with tanks, and throwing grenades in the basements where civilians were hiding, failed to make it in to the U.S. news reports as well. The fact that Mr. Saakashvilli has a spotty democratic record and that the U.S. government has spent over $40 million of American taxpayers’ money on arming and training Georgia’s military has also escaped the American news reports. On the contrary, Russia’s military response to Georgia’s initial offensive on the South Ossetian population is instead portrayed as an aggression against a small, democratic, and piece loving nation of Georgia that also happens to be an American ally. Even worse, a statue of Joseph Stalin still proudly stands in the main square of the city of Gori in Georgia, reminding all of us whose bloody legacy Presidents Saakashvilli and Bush are really carrying out. While the American media acts as the propaganda tool for the U.S. and Georgian presidents known for their dishonesty, the regular people of South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Georgia, Russia, and the United States have much to lose from this conflict.
It would be nice if the violence in Georgia ended as soon as possible, but it will not end until the United States puts pressure on Georgia to recognize South Ossetian and Abkhazian independence from Georgia as the United States did for Kosovo. Until then, the Russians are forced to defend Abkhazians and Ossetians militarily by weakening Georgia as much as possible in order to preempt any future attacks from Georgians. Any attempt by the U.S. government to back Georgia militarily may provoke a war between nuclear armed Russia and the United States. So, how many of you are willing to die in a nuclear holocaust for yet another blunder committed by the Bush Administration and left unquestioned by the American media?