Justin, but no cigar. The real aggressor in the Russia-Georgia fight is the
fight promoter, the U.S. Our government trained, armed, and equipped the Georgian
army to be among the strongest, pound for pound, in the world. We coached them
to bomb the population center of Tskhinvali. And the U.S. had advisers in the
country, naively assuming that Russia would not attack a country with U.S. troops
At the very least,
the U.S. should learn to bring a country into NATO before stationing troops
there, not after. Best of all, the Bush administration should get out of the
bear-baiting business. Bush won't do this, but his successor (if it's Obama
and not the rabid Russia-hater McCain) should restart the Strategic Arms Reduction
Talks (START) with Moscow. This would be nonproliferation by example, and it
would mark a return to treating Russia as if they matter.
~ Tikhon Gilson
Raimondo doesn't seem to acknowledge that in a some conflicts, neither side
might be in the right. His basic approach is: America is always wrong when it
tries to intervene in a conflict. Since the side America supports is wrong by
definition, the other side must be right. So since America intervened on the
behalf of the Kosovar Albanians, the Serbs must be right. But since America
opposes Russia's intervention on behalf of the Ossetians, the Georgians must
be wrong, even though in other respects the relationship between Serbia-Kosovar
Albanians-Kosovar Serbs is pretty close to the relationship between Russia-Georgia-South
Ossetia. So while stories about Serb atrocities against Albanians are downplayed
or denied, stories about Georgian atrocities against Ossetians are accepted
uncritically; Mr. Raimondo is simply inverting the propaganda of the American
The fact is both
the Serbs and the Albanians are nasty pieces of work, just as both
the Russians and the Georgians are nasty pieces of work. Of course, this
also supports an anti-interventionist position for the Americans, who should
know better than to get involved in such brawls. Mr. Raimondo is in the end
right, but for the wrong reasons.
~ Jonathan Gress
Damn Blot: A Letter to Powell
really liked Colin Powell and said several times that I would vote for him if
he ran for president, but when my husband and I saw the UN speech that evening
we looked at each other in shock and said what the heck is he suggesting?
I was stunned as I watched the rest of his speech, and we both decided that
he had been threatened by someone in power to give that speech (because he was
so credible?) and that everyone who heard it would believe it. We realized right
away that he was being used as a stooge by this administration, and it was a
sad thing to see. Colin, how could you have let them use you in that horrible
way? Think of all the lives that could have been saved if only you had told
them this is wrong and stick it in your ear. If you don't come forward
with the truth I am sure that millions of us will never look at you the same
way again. Please do the right thing for all the dead from our country and all
the innocent civilians killed in Iraq.
~ Linda Walden
is there to say? Except: ultimately the president is responsible for his decisions.
People lied and dissembled because he wanted them to.
Why did they do
it? Why did they condone error? Because they were human and not independently
wealthy – their jobs, i.e., their self worth depended on their jobs. Most
of us most of the time derive our estimate of our value from our jobs. That
sense is our schwerpunkt – the thing we must defend. The most concrete
way to do it is to hold onto our job because the job pays for everything else
– cars, good addresses, theater tickets, invitations, etc., etc.
What should one
feel toward those who succumbed? Anger, pity, sympathy, empathy?
The moving finger
has written and having written has moved on. We should also, but trying to end/reduce
the ongoing damage of the choices we made.
I guess you can
add depressed to my answer about how we should feel.
~ Fred Feer (Agency
Nice letter to
Powell, but it won't move him one bit. Remember My Lai? He hasn't lost any sleep
over that incident. Didn't even learn from it. Why does the public continue
to believe that Powell "once" had integrity, if only Bush hadn't ruined him?
More likely, Bush would not have picked him if he thought Powell had an ounce
of integrity. Let's stop giving Powell the benefit of the doubt that we would
deny any other member of the Bush cabal. Powell is a liar, a warmonger, and
a coward. And I'm also from the Bronx.
~ J. Contursi
in the Caucasus
is unfortunately moving back to autocracy and Georgia is an imperfect democracy
Russia and Georgia are members of the Council of Europe, as are all 27 EU member
states and other European democracies, for a total of 43 countries. All are
parties to the European Convention on Human Rights and all are subject to the
compulsory jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights, before which
any individual can bring an action if he believes that his human rights have
that Russia is "moving back to autocracy" while Georgia is, however imperfectly,
a democracy is absurd. What is true of one Council of Europe member state is
true of all of them. If hyper-authoritarian Britain, with its spy cameras on
every street corner, for example, is a democracy, so is Russia and so is Georgia!
If any one of those is not a democracy, then the others are not also.
It is precisely
this sort of pathetic ignorance of reality on the ground that has made Americans
the laughingstock of the planet and has got the U.S. into so many of its current
messes, Georgia included!
~ Michael Kenny
countries are more authoritarian than others. (I think the Council of Europe
is largely a joke, and so is the European Convention on Human Rights. They are
somewhat symbolically helpful, but, really, who cares?) Empirically, it has
little to do with aggressiveness in their foreign policies. I don't even understand
There are organizations
that measure political and economic freedom empirically, and the U.S. and Britain
do score much higher than Georgia and Russia. But my only reason for bringing
up the degree of democracy or freedom in a country was to say that it doesn't
matter with regard to foreign policy or the crisis in Georgia. So what does
this have to do with my larger theme? You are nitpicking.
Little Georgia' – Not!
I am one of the
readers of your articles and often admire them. But as a Georgian scholar, who
lives there, knows the history of the old country, I should say that you are
wrong! I am not going to speak about George Hewitt, his anti-Georgian views
are well known, but as for Zurab Avalishvili, have you read his book to the
end? Do you consider it an anti-Georgian book? And do you really think that
only social democrats lived in Georgia at that time? Or now only neocons and
their followers are Georgian citizens?
I myself do not
like neocons, and I am against forceful, global, revolutionary "democratization"
of the world. I was not happy with the U.S.-backed Rose Revolution in my country,
but while criticizing U.S. policy are you favoring Russian imperialism? Do you
really think that South Ossetia and Abkhazia are independent countries? Do you
really think we are fighting with them? (I do not mean the recent war.) We are
a small nation, and we have been fighting against Russia for our independence
for two centuries. I would be glad to talk with Abkhazians and Ossetians about
the problems if they were independent and were not Russian puppets. You will
say now that our president is a puppet of the U.S. government, but he is at
least a president of the sovereign nation and he is not the whole Georgia. Tell
Russia to give them independence, and we will negotiate with our neighbors,
I know you will
not respond, and I know you have no time to look deeply into the Georgian and
Caucasian history and find out what Tskhinvali means in Georgian, or
Sokhumi, Abkhazia; you do not love neocons and I do not love them, you are criticizing
Bill Kristol and I am criticizing my president, but when you are denouncing
U.S. policy and favoring Russian imperialism, you are wrong!
~ Dr. Paata Chkheidze,
Tbilisi, Georgia, Fulbright visiting scholar, 2005-2006, The Catholic University
his article, "Krajina, not Kosovo," Nebojsa Malic compares the Georgia conflict
with the Krajina. Although I mostly agree with the article, I would like to
make two notes:
- Georgia is
seen by Russia as the main supply route for the Chechen uprisings.
- The U.S. does
have something to win. First of all we get a Cold War climate that usually
helps the Republican presidential candidate. Besides that, we already see
the conflict being used to advocate Georgian NATO membership and other support
for Georgia in the conflict.
~ Wim Roffel
US Government Is the Real Bioterror Threat
now it is almost clear that the anthrax hysteria was the make of a mad American
scientist, so why did our government capitalize on it? Why did our government
paint it as a terrorist threat coming from Iraq? Oh well, I guess it would take
a genius to figure out the puzzle if you do not know anything about our long-practiced
tactics in fabricating, exploiting, and twisting information. We need our mission
accomplished, and it was.
We ought to be proud of our intelligence community,
which betrays us every time to the benefit of our elites who have been the sole
beneficiaries of the war on terror. Heck, they have sold enough oil at premium
prices, sold enough war machinery, sold security devices and services at the
taxpayers' expense. They need not go to work for another 50 years. Now they
can go on long vacations while we bury our dead, treat our wounds, pay more
taxes to rebuild our budget, and spend more time learning our history lesson
on how to be better prepared for the next episode to come. I am sorry, I forgot
this episode is far from being over yet. I guess we are still being screwed!
~ Abraham Dalis
and it continues to happen in war after war. Intelligence usually likes to please
the policymakers – it keeps money flowing into the intel agencies.