August 27, 2008

Saakashvili: The gun went off by itself while I was just holding it

The WSJ Op-Ed page explains things:

How the Georgian Conflict Really Started
By MELIK KAYLAN
August 28, 2008; Page A15
Tbilisi--'Anybody who thinks that Moscow didn't plan this invasion, that we in Georgia caused it gratuitously, is severely mistaken," President Mikheil Saakashvili told me during a late night chat in Georgia's presidential palace this weekend.

"Our decision to engage was made in the last second as the Russian tanks were rolling -- we had no choice," Mr. Saakashvili explained. "We took the initiative just to buy some time. We knew we were not going to win against the Russian army, but we had to do something to defend ourselves."

Everybody knows the best defensive tactic in tank warfare is a failed offensive, especially against Russia. For example, consider how well taking the initiative worked out for Hitler when he started the biggest tank battle ever, the Battle of Kursk, in the summer of 1943.

... "I got a call from the minister of defense [who, by the way, in case I haven't mentioned it before, is 29-years-old] that Russian tanks, some 200, were massing to enter Tskhinvali [capital of the Russian protectorate of South Ossetia] from North Ossetia," Mr. Saakashvili told me. "I ignored it at first, but reports kept coming in that they had begun to move forward. In fact, they had mobilized reserves several days ahead of time."

This was precisely the kind of information that the Russians have suppressed and the world press continues to ignore, despite decades of familiarity with Kremlin disinformation methods. "We subsequently found out from pilots we shot down," said Mr. Saakashvili, "that they'd been called up three days before from places like Moscow. We had intelligence coming in ahead of time but we just couldn't believe it. Also, in recent weeks, the separatists had intensified artillery barrages and were shooting our soldiers. I'd kept telling our guys to stay calm. Actually we had most of our troops down near Abkhazia where we expected the real trouble to start. I can tell you that if we'd intended to attack, we'd have withdrawn our best-trained forces from Iraq up front."

But, as you admitted above, you did attack. You say you "took the initiative" with your "decision to engage." Your tanks crossed the de facto boundary between Georgia and South Ossetia first.

Aren't you saying you hadn't "intended to attack" when you did, in fact, attack? I guess it was like what cops are always hearing, "I didn't mean to shoot him! The gun just went off by itself." Or are you just saying that you wish now you hadn't attacked, at least not in such a stupid manner?

In Saakashvili's defense, he had a legitimate interest in Russian tanks staying out of South Ossetia, since, by crossing the natural boundary of the Caucasus Mountains, they are then positioned to threaten his actual country.

They were especially threatening because he apparently hadn't devoted much of his considerable recent arms purchases to defense, as shown by the complete collapse of his army after its offensive, opening the way for Russia to roll as far into Georgia as it pleased. There are plenty of countries in the world that could advise Georgia on how to resist a tank invasion, but Georgia seemed to get most of its military training from the U.S. and Israel, two countries who have a "shoot first and ask questions later" tradition when it comes to initiating armored warfare.

His less legitimate motivation was apparently fear that if Russia sent 200 tanks into South Ossetia, then he wouldn't have a hope of invading that territory in the future because the Russians would be set up strongly for defense of it, so he had to attack now or forever hold his peace.

But, considering how badly beaten he was, it was, in any case, absurd.

So, this is the NATO partner to whom we are going to hand over decisions about war and peace?


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't see how the president of any country can be married to a foreigner. This is a huge red flag which raises questions about the loyalty of the leader to a country. How did the Georgians vote for Saakashvili when he has a Dutch wife? Are Georgian girls not good enough?

Anonymous said...

I think the neocons were over extended all their Hitler uniforms were either being used or at the cleaners, so they didn't have one for Putin; quite a strategic blunder on their part.


king S.

Anonymous said...

This guy is sounding more and more like a psychopath. His story here is a bold faced lie. Also remember the manipulative way he kept pleading for other countries start WWIII.

simon newman said...

Georgia taking their military strategy from Israel is ironically akin to the Arabs taking their military strategy from Russia - a recipe for disaster. Different cultures, different environments, need different approaches. The Egyptians tried _really really_ hard to make Russian strategy work for them, and had a small degree of success in the Yom Kippur war, but at huge cost. For every other Arab nation it's been completely disastrous. Conversely, when Arabs fight in the traditional Arab manner, as in Iraq since 2003, they are really very good at it, and they can tie a superpower up in knots. Or Hezbollah's Persian derived defensive strategy in the Lebanon war, probably more relevant to Georgia's situation.

Historian John Keegan has written several interesting discussions on the 'Western way of War', which includes Russian and Israeli battle tactics. It has historically been very effective, but it's not invincible. Other cultures playing to their cultural and environmental strengths, can certainly beat us if they do it right. In the old days we could fall back on ruthlessness and a superior population base as well as superior technology. Of those 3 now we only have the tech, which isn't always enough.

Anonymous said...

The Prime Minister of Georgia, Lado Gurgenidze, is married to an American, Larissa Gurgenidze, who gave $1,250 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Guess it wasn't enough.

headache said...

As far as I am concerned the key phrase in thei WSJ propaganda pieve is

"..President Mikheil Saakashvili told me during a late night chat in Georgia's presidential palace this weekend."

This just confirms the globalist elite web Steve had mentioned in an earlier post. So these post-racial elites help each other out through the media, military, finance, whatever.

I'm pretty sure the Russians had prepared for a response. The quick response confirms they were prepared. But what's wrong with that? Why should they be caught by surprise? For sure they had spies in Georgia, so they would have known about Schakasdingding’s plans in advance and called up reserves.

The more baffling thing is that Schakasdingding didn't know that Russia had prepared, i.e. checkmated his "surprise" attack. It shows that either his intelligence services were lousy or he was not able to come to the right conclusions. The latter would not be surprising since deriving the correct decisions from intelligence analysis is not as trivial as it sounds.

Often good generals had proper data and came to the wrong conclusions. And it was not only those nasty Nazi generals or the Soviets. My impression with the much vaunted US and Israeli intelligence is that due to their impressive satellite and UAV technology they can correct faulty strategic decisions at the tactical level, i.e. JIT whilst the battle unfolds.

Libra said...

Have you read Michael Totten's on the ground reporting in Georgia. He makes a pretty compelling case that Russia/South Ossetia was a lot more at fault than you think. See http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/2008/08/the-truth-about-1.php. Is he right, or is he getting played?

Anonymous said...

'Russian tanks massing'

"I ignored it at first"

ROTFL

simon newman said...

Re 'Russian and Israeli battle tactics' - both are offensively based. Israeli tactics are essentially Blitzkrieg based, in Israel their exponents were traditionally called 'the Prussians'. Bill Lind calls it 'Third Generation War'. They focus on maneuver and getting round behind the enemy to collapse him psychologically as well as physically.

Russian tactics are based on the 'Zhukov doctrine' of massive force & hammer blows (tank & artillery) directed against weak points in the front of the enemy line. They're functionally identical to the US 'Grant Doctrine' which emerged out of the US Civil War.

Both approaches work well for skilled practitioners with the appropriate military ethos & environment. Without the right ethos & environment you get disaster.

RKU said...

I wonder if that Georgian Saakashvili guy is actually Phil Spector's nephew or something...

Anonymous said...

If the WSJ was trying to fluff up Saakashvili, they failed.

He comes across as an incompetent (I ignored it at first) and whiney (what was I supposed to do) little braggard (did I mention he was 29yrs old and if I had known, I would've brought our finest troops home from Iraq).

neil craig said...

How many aircraft did Georgia shoot down, capture the pilots of, interrogate & get to spill their guts as he claims within the few days before the prisoner exchange. Statistically the total should be somewhat less than an average of 1.

While the speed of reaction suggests the Russians were indeed prepared for something like this I don't think there is a single word in what he says we should rely on. I hate to play to national stereotypes but Georgians are not known for their reliability.

Anonymous said...

"So, this is the NATO partner to whom we are going to hand over decisions about war and peace?"

If Georgia had been a NATO member their invason wouldn't have been allowed - unless the US and the other NATO countries wanted them to do it.

Anonymous said...

"Both approaches work well for skilled practitioners with the appropriate military ethos & environment. Without the right ethos & environment you get disaster."

Insurgency is only a defensive tactic. You cannot actually invade a distant nation using insurgency. To invade, you need airpower, tanks, howitzers, Infantry Fighting Vehicles, etc.

Insurgency only defeats armored warfare if the armored warfare army is too PC to use mass killings to terrorize a hostile civilian population into submission.

The US has great armored forces, but we get beaten down by insurgency tactics because we are too wimpy to go out and kill hostile civilians like the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were willing to do*.

*I'm not saying we SHOULD be invading and crushing other nations, just pointing out the folly of trying to build a Roman style military Empire using PC military tactics.

Anonymous said...

The Wall Street Journal Story's purpose is (OBVIOUSLY!) to keep lending crecedence to the false notion that Russia attacked first.


Russia didn't attack. Georgia attacked the province of South Osseitia. Russia, South Osseitia's ally, responded to help its neighbor----a breakaway province.


Russia was prepared to attack, because its intelligence services had told the Kremlin Georgia's plans.


If Saakashvili had not prepared an attack on South Osseitia, and allowed that province to break away and form its own nation (LIKE THE USA DID FROM ENGLAND OVER 200 YEARS AGO), none of this would have happened.




Saakashvili is like the medium-sized kid who took a swing at the second biggest bully in the classroom, fully expecting the biggest bully to back him up. The problem is, the biggest bully has been such a jerk-off as of late at the behest of one pretty little gal in the class named "Israelbella", that he has pissed off most of the other thirty students and is fighting a couple of small-fry's as we speak. The big bully was tied up.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Rubbish. You are shading and exaggerating, but complaining that Saakashvilli is doing the same to mislead. The commenters, by and large, diagnose before checking symptoms.

Whatever data comes forward, Steve, you seem determined to find a spot where the Georgians escalated and call that the "real" beginning. Nothing that has come out about the Russian actions has caused you to assign them even partial aggressor status. I think you believe the Russians have a great deal of culpability, but are so concerned with making the point that the Georgians listened to the Israelis and neocons too much that your conclusions are one-sided. The title of the post is particularly egregious, suggesting that Russia was not pointing guns itself, and those crazy Georgians just went into the bar and started shooting for no reason. As I said, rubbish.

In general - not people here in specific - people too readily confuse justification and success as measured in retrospect. If something goes wrong - even partly wrong - it is easy to say "they never should have done that, because look at what they lost." But some losses are worse than others in cost or permanence. In the instance, the Georgians might have calculated that a possible loss here would be easier to manage than a conflict later. They did not have any good choices that I can see, only tradeoffs among the bad ones.

Perhaps they overestimated their abilities. Perhaps they overestimated what help would come from the West. But I would not leap to that conclusion without a lot more information. Deciding that those damn Hatfields were to blame for attacking the McCoys seems a bit over the top.

August said...

Good, I notice Libra has the link to Michael Totten. I think Totten has it right. Russian aggression and American stupidity. Why do we still have NATO at all?

Anonymous said...

libra - I read the Totten piece previously. He's done great work in the past and I have much respect for him.

Steve - have a look. I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Steve: In Saakashvili's defense, he had a legitimate interest in Russian tanks staying out of South Ossetia, since, by crossing the natural boundary of the Caucasus Mountains, they are then positioned to threaten his actual country.

Um, he had a legitimate interest in Russian tanks staying out of South Ossetia since it is internationally recognized as sovereign Georgian territory.

It is ultimately hypocritical to castigate US politicians for refusing to treat US borders as anything more than a legal fiction, while simultaneously condemning Saakashvili for living up to his constitutional oaths.

Ash said...

libra: It is very unlikely, although not impossible, that Steve Sailer has not already seen Michael Totten's article which strongly rebuts Steve's POV on this issue. I, like you, await Steve's response to it.

testing99 said...

Steve -- I think you're being unfair. As I understand it, the S. Ossetians, egged on by the Russians, ambushed Georgian forces, the Georgians responded, and the Russians then sent in a massive tank force.

After a very decisive defeat in S. Ossetia, the Georgians fell back. Expecting the Russians to halt at the S. Ossetian border. They did not, rather went into Georgia proper.

[It's clear WHY, already Medvedev has warned Moldova not to repeat "Georgia's Mistake" on the subject of Transdniester, and the Baltics. The "Frozen in place" conflicts of ethnic Russians claiming they are part of Russia proper and breaking away from all these countries in the "Near Abroad" is coming unfrozen as Russia uses military might bought by oil price rises to well, unfreeze them. Ukraine is probably next, because Russia would have to cross it to get to Moldova.]

At this point, Saakashvili faced a choice: retreat to the mountains, as he put it grow a beard and fight like the Chechens, and probably "win" but have the country destroyed. He chose he said to remain a "modern European country" and be defeated instead. As France did in 1940.

Guerilla warfare really only applies to people to whom setting up in the Mountains and fighting is akin to their "normal" way of life. Which pretty much discounts Industrialized Nations. It's not a magic bullet either -- the Chechen struggle may take generations and could still lead to defeat. If an enemy is very smart (US in Iraq) it can out-compete the guerillas for local support, by targeted killing and lots of unsavory deals. If the enemy is brutal, it can simply crush the guerillas like the Romans/Russians.

I doubt the Poles, Baltic nations, Ukrainians, Czechs, Hungarians, Romanians (Moldova, btw, is ethnically Romanian), Bulgarians etc. want to either fight in the mountains or surrender.

The third way which is "general proof" is having nukes. Georgia's defeat is likely to provoke almost everyone threatened in Europe to nuke up ASAP so Russia can't invade them using the "Frozen in Place" conflicts as an excuse.

You are right about the Davos team not being a good War Leader, but NATO is irrelevant (and a dead institution, a mere figleaf for US forces and European border guards). The real story is likely the frantic nuclear buildups now started.

Anonymous said...

So Saakashvili is trying to claim that the Russians had 200 tanks barreling down the road and already in South Ossettia yet he managed to call up his Army from its barracks in Georgia and attack and capture most of the South Ossettia capitol before the Russians got there?

He can’t have it both ways, if the Russian tanks were already that close there is no way that he could have captured most the South Ossettia capitol before they got there. Georgia must have moved first, the Russians second.

GR

Anonymous said...

I don't see how the president of any country can be married to a foreigner. This is a huge red flag which raises questions about the loyalty of the leader to a country. How did the Georgians vote for Saakashvili when he has a Dutch wife?"

You mean the 2004 "election" that, according to the Wikipedia, he won with 96% of the vote? Mind you, that "election" was called more than a month AFTER the Soros-financed coup that really brought Saakashvili to power. Remember, almost every dictator in the world holds elections. Robert Mugabe recently went through an election in Zimbabwe. This often means very little in practice.

And as for the Dutch wife, Georgians who could afford it, being of the macho Mediterranean type themselves, have always been drawn to blond women. Usually blond there meant Russian, but he's so anti-Russian, that he had to find his trophy northern wife elsewhere. It's really quite simple.

TGGP said...

Totten was one of the cheerleaders for the Iraq invasion and Israel's bungled strikes on Lebanon.

I'm personally fond of Archer Jones' Art of War in the Western World, which includes a discussion of the Israeli-Arab wars.

matra said...

Have you read Michael Totten's on the ground reporting in Georgia. He makes a pretty compelling case that Russia/South Ossetia was a lot more at fault than you think.

Sometimes Michael Totten tries to influence the neocons; like when he wrote an article for Commentary claiming the Kosovo Albanian were the 'Israelis of the Balkans' (I guess that makes the serbs Palestinians). Most of the time MT just gives the neocons the goodies and baddies they were hoping for.

MQ said...

Michael Totten is just a propagandist. He can be depended on to reinforce the neocon line at every turn. His big scoop was the result of a briefing and an escorted tour arranged by a paid Georgian government PR agent!

http://www.registan.net/index.php/2008/08/26/why-bother-researching-pt-ii/

RKU said...

Well, I've never heard of this Michael Totten guy, but taking a quick look at his website, it seems like almost all his published writings have been about the Mid East and have appeared in fanatic neocon rags.

Now most of the other people who write about the Mid East in those places are totally pathological liars...

And I DO very much believe in "guilt by association"...

Anonymous said...

What is the over/under for Saakashvili's life expectancy?

I'll buy anything under four months and sell anything over a year if the odds are even.

Remember, Badri Patarkatsishvili died on mysterious circumstances....

Anonymous said...

How did the Georgians vote for Saakashvili when he has a Dutch wife? Are Georgian girls not good enough?

Well, the Ukrainian president has a wife who is AMERICAN and A CIA agent. I guess it's just a big coincidence that the leaders of these color "revolutions" have strong ties to the US.

I have close friends how are ukrainian, and they all beleive that the protest on the streets of Kiev were paid for and coordinated by the CIA. Of course, they have a history of doing this (ie. IRAN in 1953)

simon newman said...

anon:
"Insurgency is only a defensive tactic. You cannot actually invade a distant nation using insurgency."

Not exactly true - your people can arrive peacefully, the insurgency starts later. Eg: Kosovo. The trick is to get an adequate population base established in the target before it kicks off.

simon newman said...

anon:
"Insurgency only defeats armored warfare if the armored warfare army is too PC to use mass killings to terrorize a hostile civilian population into submission."

Depends on (a) environment - many are not suitable for armoured warfare, eg Vietnam; and (b) the psychologiocal readiness of your troops and civilian population to engage in terror tactics. Plus, these may have negative PR effects so great they make it not worthwhile.

steve wood said...

I doubt the Poles, Baltic nations, Ukrainians, Czechs, Hungarians, Romanians (Moldova, btw, is ethnically Romanian), Bulgarians etc. want to either fight in the mountains or surrender.

The third way which is "general proof" is having nukes. Georgia's defeat is likely to provoke almost everyone threatened in Europe to nuke up ASAP so Russia can't invade them using the "Frozen in Place" conflicts as an excuse.


I don't think there are significant Russian communities in the former satellite states (Poland, Hungary, Czech Rep, etc.), so that excuse won't work. Also, there's a fairly decent chance - let's say less than 50% but greater than 10% - that NATO (that is, the USA) would go to war if Russia invaded Poland. On the other hand, there are lots of Russians in the former USSR "republics," and no one seriously imagines that the USA would fight if Russia invaded, say, Latvia.

In other words, the Polish et al. are probably OK for now (5-10 years from now could be a different story), although it's understandable that they would be nervous. However, I wouldn't advise buying any beach houses on the Baltic or Crimean shoreline unless you have friends in the Kremlin.

Anonymous said...

"They did not have any good choices that I can see, only tradeoffs among the bad ones."

A better option would have been to negotiate some sort of solution ahead of time with the powers that be, perhaps ceding the breakaway provinces to Russia in return for a security guarantee by NATO that it would defend Georgia against an invasion or interference of the rest of its country by Russia.

"Depends on (a) environment - many are not suitable for armoured warfare, eg Vietnam"

Right, that's why North Vietnam didn't use any tanks when they overran the south in 1974-75. People keep drawing the wrong lessons from that war.

TCO said...

I was underwhelmed by the Totten piece as well. No discussion of the many reasonable questions people had for an on the ground reporter (Georgian attitude towards president, state of Georgian military, etc.) Just acceptance of a breifing.

P.s. I'm not pro-Russian or pro-Georgian. Impression I have is that they are both ready to lie like rugs to help themselves with the US.

simon newman said...

anon:
"Right, that's why North Vietnam didn't use any tanks when they overran the south in 1974-75. People keep drawing the wrong lessons from that war."

Well, the US had overwhelming superiority in armoured forces and didn't win. I knew there were tanks in-theatre, I've seen the pics of the NVA tanks rolling into Saigon.

But my point was just that tanks and other armour can't be used in all environments - steep mountains, swamps, etc.

Anonymous said...

Looks like we've been invaded by neocons.

For what it's worth, I personally don't care enough to find out if Georgia or Russia started it. What concerns me is that the US government is the most hubiristic government in the history of the world. Leftists claim Bush is Hitler but I don't think Hitler ever claimed the right to interfere in any conflict in any part of the world at any time.

KlaosOldanburg said...

Isn't it awesome how biden said he would "hold russia accountable" last night? So we're gonna invade The Sudan, Pakistan (but only if we think bin laden's there), and at the same time start a war with Russia. We're gonna have to do a better job recruiting mexican soldiers!

And to answer the first poster: compared to dutch girls, georgian girls aren't good enough. (I'll change my mind once I start seeing georgian girls who look like doutzen kroes or rebecca romijn).

anony-mouse said...

'... the de facto boundary between Georgian and South Ossetia".

Well it may be de facto but its not de jure.

There is a de jure boundary between the US and Mexico which (currently) is also the de facto boundary.

But supposing in the not too distant future a majority Mexican (alta) California (or Arizona, or Nevada, or Colorada or New Mexico) decides it wants to join the Madreland. Would you not prefer respecting the de jure boundary then?

kurt said...

The fact that Saakashvili and his crew are ivy league prima donas who have associated themselves with George Soros tells me everything I need to know about these turkeys.

Not that I side with Putin on anything. I think both sets of twits deserve each other. I just think the U.S. should stay out of this mess. Of course, I am dreaming if I expect that to happen.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Fascinating reasoning here. A lot of you seem to think that merely invoking the word "neocon" destroys your opponents argument.

You're welcome to think that on your own, of course - people can have whatever reasons they want for their opinions. You might consider that it's a teensy bit unpersuasive to others, though.

Sheer Bulverism (yeah, you may have to google that).

Anonymous said...

Simon Newman,

The U.S. didn't lose militarily in Vietnam. We abandoned the South Vietnamese who then lost when they were invaded a second time, two years later, by North Vietnamese tanks. During the first such invasion, the combination of U.S. air power and South Vietnamese ground forces stopped the North Vietnamese advance; the second time, we left the South Vietnamese to fend for themselves, and they were defeated.

North Vietnam had plenty of Russian-supplied tanks. It was those tanks that ultimately defeated South Vietnam, not insurgents in pointy hats. The insurgency had been effectively defeated by 1972.

simon newman said...

anon:
"North Vietnam had plenty of Russian-supplied tanks. It was those tanks that ultimately defeated South Vietnam, not insurgents in pointy hats..."

That's in accordance with Mao's three-stage insurgency war doctrine though; you finish the enemy with a conventional military attack.

Tanks were obviously useful to the NVA. Tanks equally obviously did not bring victory to the USA.

BTW I don't think "The U.S. didn't lose militarily in Vietnam" is a meaningful statement. The US failed to achieve its objectives and withdrew. The communists achieved their objectives. Obviously the US military was not destroyed, in the manner of the WW2 German military, but they still failed.

Anonymous said...

How about Georgian girls who look like Katie Melua?
http://en.wikipedia.org/Katie_Melua

neil craig said...

If Shaakashvili had believed he was being targeted by Russia provacations to get him to go to war he obviously wouldn't have done so.

QED he attacked because he thought the Russians wouldn't intervene Whether because he thought they were soft, or didn't have the military capability or were afraid of America or just because they would be slow to react with Putin in Beijing doesn't really matter.

Did Bush receive enough intelligence from the hundreds of US troops & advisors in the country to know this war was coming? If he did he must have come to the same conclusion about the Russians. Lets hope he & his successor don't get it wrong again.

Anonymous said...

The President of Georgia claims he invaded South Ossetia in order to confront the advancing Russian army. In reality, as soon as the Russians showed up, he had the Georgian army immediately retreat, abandoning South Ossetia along with half his own country. Does this make sense?

Or does it make sense that he invaded thinking that the Russians weren't going to challenge him?

Anonymous said...

de-facto vs de-jure board: South Ossetia as a part of Gerogia is an artefact of the administrative division of the USSR. Initially, during the civil war of 1917-1921, Red Army didn't advance beyond the Caucasus range. That is how Ossetia was divided into North and South. But in 1921-22 communists prevailed in the entire region (pushed by Soviet Russia of course) and so-called "Trans-caucasian repulic" entered the newly formed USSR. this republic was divided by Stalin in 1936. Stalin (being a Georian) wanted a bigger Georgia Soviet Socialist Republic, so he attached Abkhazia and South Ossetia to Georgia. In fact, Abkhazia asked the Soviet government three times to let them secess from Geprgia and form a separate republic or enter Russian Socialist Federation, but the Soviet government refused.

What we see is just a process of further dissection of the USSR. Georgia has no more right to S. Ossetia that Russia has a right onto Georgia. In fact, Abkhazia and Ossetia won their struggle for independence in 1991-92 (which Kosovo never did) and should be respected.

Saakashvilly probably lied about the invasion of Russians into Ossetia. What i know for certain is that 76th Pskov airborn division deployed to S Ossetia after the fighting began. Initially, Russia only had 500 peacekeepers there who had no tanks or heavy weapons.

Georgia has a debt of 50% of their GIP. They cant afford their army. The answer is that US taxpayers payed for it. Now McCain wants to rearm the Georgian army. Saakashvilly should better care for the economy. Black Sea resorts are now flourishing everywhere (including Abfhasia) except Georgia.

Anonymous said...

but, in the aftermath the Neocons "won". They started a permanent conflict that has a potential to grow into a big war. Everyone else are the losers. Russia is again involved into costly and deadly policing the Caucasus, ca 1500 Ossetians were murdered by Georgian "liberators", hundreds of soldiers were killed in war and US taxpayers payed for the show. And I'm afraid it's just the beginning

Anonymous said...

"BTW I don't think "The U.S. didn't lose militarily in Vietnam" is a meaningful statement. The US failed to achieve its objectives and withdrew. The communists achieved their objectives. Obviously the US military was not destroyed, in the manner of the WW2 German military, but they still failed."

It's a meaningful statement because it is true. The U.S. military's objective in Vietnam was to defend South Vietnam from being conquered by North Vietnam, and in this it succeeded, for as long as it was allowed to defend South Vietnam. The U.S. military successfully defeated the Viet Cong insurgency, and then the NVA insurgency. It was the failures of these insurgencies that led North Vietnam to invade with tanks. The U.S. military, in conjunction with South Vietnamese ground forces, defeated this invasion as well, in 1972. The second time North Vietnam invaded, in 1974-1975, the U.S. military was not allowed to assist South Vietnam. The U.S. military can hardly be blamed for the defeat of an ally when it wasn't allowed to do anything to help.

Back to your original (and erroneous) point that tanks lacked utility in Vietnam, North Vietnam could not have won the war without them.

Andy said...

This recent conflict provides further proof that the first to shoot loses.

Anonymous said...

Libra, either that article is satire, Totten is a liar or he was "played". Saakashvili hasn't even tried to pass off nonsense like that.

No one should be defending Russia as a "good guy" but it is irrefutable that Georgia was the aggressor in this conflict. Saakashvili even admits it in the WSJ interview (although he attempts to justify it with an excuse so lame it would make the Bush administration blush).

His article reminds me of the stooges who still claim Iraq was involved in 9/11 even though Bush and Cheney have long since abandoned such absurdity.

Anonymous said...

Sure Saakashvili engaged.
The engagement with the Russians was AFTER the Russians had sent the tanks into Georgia. South Ossetia is a part of Georgia. Russian tanks massing in Russia were not fired upon.

How much of the region would you suggest that the russians should reoccupy? Suggest exactly which countries with democratically elected govts. You would toss over to keep the Russians feeling good?

Anonymous said...

"South Ossetia is a part of Georgia."

The citizens of South Ossetia (and Abkhazia) don't agree. They've had their de facto independence since 1991. If South Ossetia was still part of Georgia, Saakashvili didn't need to drop bombs on them (when the Russians were still in Russia).

"Suggest exactly which countries with democratically elected govts. You would toss over to keep the Russians feeling good?"

None but I would allow countries that wanted their independence to keep it (South Ossetia and Abkhazia meet this criteria). And, since a democratic vote in South Ossetia (and Abkhazia) would reveal that the citizens of those independent countries want to remain independent countries and, since Saakashvili is known to shut down media that broadcasts statements from opposition parties and has protestors beaten in the streets, I don't know what your point is. Are you playing devil's advocate or do you not even realize you're contradicting yourself? Your argument can also be used to defend Hitler. He was democratically elected. He suspended institutions necessary in a democratic society and then invaded another country that he had claimed should still be part of Germany.

Oh yeah, and now they get a BILLION US dollars.