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Russo-Georgian War Revisited

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On August 17, 2008, I published an article decrying the coverage of the Russo-Georgian War by the American “mainstream” media. In that piece, I accused our media of disinformation, ignorance of the facts, and downright lying. Specifically, my condemnation centered on the impression our media gave that the conflict was entirely the fault of Russia. We were led to believe that Russia had invaded Georgia unprovoked and Georgia’s enlightened democratic president Mikhail Saakashvili was a victim of the big bad bear from the north.

Of course, I took a lot of abuse for siding with the bad guys. It was indicative of the “you're either with us or against us” mentality that our esteemed president has instilled into our cultural norms. Here's a sampling of some of the comments I received on that post: “Are you getting your news from TASS?”; “I suggest that from your perch in Zambia, you need better binoculars to see the action”; and my favorite, “Do cue me as to when I start playing the Russian national anthem on the violin here." I even received hate (e)mail from a woman of Georgian descent.

Now, I'm a big boy and I can take the abuse, even the email that condemned me to eternity in hell. And as a big boy I can also boast and say I told you so. On November 26, former Georgian ambassador to Russia Erosi Kitsmarishvili told a Georgian parliamentary commission that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was “itching” to do battle over South Ossetia. Kitsmarishvili labeled Georgia the aggressor in the conflict and claimed Georgian officials told him President Bush gave his blessing for such a use of force when he met the Georgian president in Washington in March.

Vindication is sweet, but I am sure that the same detractors will respond to this article by saying Kitsmarishvili is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Or perhaps he's really a Russian parading around as a Georgian ambassador. Or maybe he's just lying because he's a communist. In any event, these detractors will probably still not face the reality that their media and president have lied to them again. They will continue to have faith in the man who chewed his tie in front of live TV cameras.

But this isn't just about saying I told you so. It's a reminder that we shouldn’t believe everything the media in America tells us. Their perspective on most things is skewed. They've been socialized by public schools and the underlying persuasion in this country to believe the U.S. government can do little wrong. Most journalists have sold out to corporate employers who are more interested in courting the politicians for interviews or special favor than in doing their job of holding elected officials accountable. With the the Internet we do have more choice when it comes to media, and here’s hoping more Americans will overcome their socialized belief that if ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and Fox said it then it must be true.

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About Kenn Jacobine

  • Of course, I took a lot of abuse for siding with the bad guys. It was indicative of the “you’re either with us or against us” mentality that our esteemed president has instilled into our cultural norms…..“I suggest that from your perch in Zambia, you need better binoculars to see the action”; and my favorite, “Do cue me as to when I start playing the Russian national anthem on the violin here.”

    Just something for you to think about, Kenn.

    The two comments above are mine. I never had any use for George Bush or his damned family, and the more I learned about them, the less I liked them.

    To argue that the Georgian president was “just itching” to go to war over South Ossetia does not preclude the likelihood that the Russians were encouraging just such an itch. It was indeed interesting that the Russians were Ivan-on the spot with the soldiers and tanks to drive back the Gruzian offensive.

    In my articles about the short war, I concentrated on two aspects of the whole thing;

    1. The real danger that Russia presents to the world now and,
    2. How America led an “ally” along by the nose and then abandoned her, a typical behavior pattern for the duplicitous United States state department.

    So, Kenn, I still suggest that from your perch in Zambia you need better glasses, and please do cue in me in on when I start playing the Russian national anthem. My muscles are really starting to ache from standing at the ready for all these months….

  • Sanjay

    What nonsense – Ruvy sounds like WW2 fascist apologists who say that they were lured into waging war. The Georgian president is entirely responsible for his own acts of aggression and belligerence.

    I certainly feel there’s a high possibility that this aid-dependent stooge was a participant in an “October Surprise” maneuver by a Republican Whitehouse anxious to see its party get a boost to win the elections.

  • I think everyone here would benefit by reading McCain’s ties to the Kremlin.

    Kenn – when it comes to paying attention to the mainstream media here in America, frankly speaking, I give more credence to Al Jazeera than to Fox…and perhaps as much credence as the other MSM outlets. My favorite is the BBC – hands down the most trustworthy news source I’ve seen (but even they aren’t perfect – Ruvy – don’t even start, okay?).

    And to Ruvy – if you’ve no proof that Russia was ‘encouraging’ the Georgian president’s ‘itch’, then please don’t try to start such a rumor – because until there’s evidence, you’re only posting a rumor.

  • Ken and Glenn, trying to use the US media as a way of smokescreening events in Georgia is fairly lame. Yes, they may have reported the situation there badly, but reports direct from Russia and Georgia from people who are not part of either government have supported the fact that the Russians provoked and took advantage of the situation in S. Ossetia and turned a blind eye to war crimes and ethnic cleansing. You can hate on Bush all you want and deride the media as his accomoplices, but none of that changes the reality of what happened in Georgia.


  • Dave –

    At first I thought it was the Russians, too. After a career of getting ready to fight the Russians, my knee-jerk reaction naturally led in that direction.

    I don’t know that the Russians are not at fault. However, I cannot say that the Georgians weren’t at fault, either.

  • Look, guys. Israel got sucked into this thing, lured by the possibility of cheap oil and a base to attack Iran. So I know a hell of a lot more about this that I prefer to.

    The Israelis set up a training corporation, much along the lines of the private “security” companies that have gotten involved in Afghanistan (as to the American firms I have my sources too, and in this case cannot reveal them). But The Americans and Gruzians wanted a rush-rush job, and the soldiers who actually did the training of the Gruzian forces were very dissatisfied with the being rushed out long before the soldiers they had trained were ready.

    But rushed out they were, and the Gruzian troops the Israelis had trained were killed by Russians already briefed as to where to go. The Americans provided them all the backing the Cubans got at the Bay of Pigs (what could you expect from the pigs at the state department, anyway?). The Israelis (spineless bastards like Olmert and Livni don’t deserve seats of any kind of authority) were scared off by a few Russian growls.

    And the real point of the exercise for the Russians, who were really spoiling for this, was to give them the excuse and opportunity to move forces en masse into the Mediterranean, and expand their own power base elsewhere – which they promptly did. The problem that most of you have in looking at all this is that you don’t see the larger significance of the actions of Russia. I guess, absorbed as you’ve been with the Sarah Palin wet T-shirt party, and the “historic” event of moving a disreputable liar into the White House on your dime, you can’t see the real dangers surrounding you.

    The idiot that your brand new schmuck-in-chief wants for a national security advisor can’t either.

    As for the BBC, they are lucky I don’t run this place. The stinking bastards would sit at a microphone at Nicosia reporting events here, and all the other Brit bastards who come here to sir up trouble with their cameras on the Sabbath would have the choice of jail or being dropped from an airplane into the Mediterranean – after the settlers beat the shit out of them.

  • And finally, the Ossetians were and remain rebels on sovereign Georgian territory. The Russians are pulling off the same shit in Georgia they pulled off 300 years ago, pressuring the country into the Russian orbit of control.

  • I have to admit, Ruvy. The BBC did some damned fine coverage of events in Hebron this week. Very arresting.