The extent of my contribution to the discussion on the conflict between Georgia and Russia is limited since it’s so far away. I’ll start with an excerpt from an email from our friend David (whom we visited in April) who is from Tbilisi and was there recently. I appreciate the balance.
So much for trying to come to Russia this august 🙂 who would have imagined we would be fighting by now?… Even though I do blame our Government for getting us into this mess, Russia has still overstepped big time and their soldiers is behaving as barbarians – who they are by nature anyway…. Have leveled many towns and villages to ground, blew up all airports, roads, bridges, factories, set national parks on fire, sunk ships, destroyed ports….100,000 people displaced from homes…put us back in the 90s for sure…4000 people have died on our part in just one week… And due to the weapons used, families cannot make out their own perished relatives…. It is a very sad situation.
US and European support has been surprisingly strong for us and hopefully will force Russians to start withdrawing soon. But the scars are there for good this time and will take a long time too heel…. Also the propaganda on Russian TV has infected the russian population as well this time which has for the first time created tention not only on the political but also on the civilian level…
My addendum to the propaganda question: Although you hear the opinion here that this war has been no good for either side, the main thrust in the media is supporting the poor refugees from South Ossetia. The secondary theme seems to be how the American press is so down on Russia now.
For example, I have an article entitled “Ossetian girl outflanks the Sharks of the Airwaves: American Propaganda brings more confusion” from a paper about a Fox News piece (“one of the most aggressively inclined news channels in the US towards Russia”) about an interview with Amanda Kokoeva and her aunt. You can judge for yourself the slant from the video. The video has become a lightning rod for discussions about truth in media. YouTube apparently reset its counters after viewing got close to 300,000 times.
The Russian article ends with a blatant lie, stating that Shepard Smith ends the program stating, “That’s the kind of thing Russians do,” when his actual comment was, “There are gray areas in war.” I can’t see how that could be an interpretation error.
The image on the right is from the major paper Arguments and Facts and reads, “Why America raised Saakashvili.” It is now common opinion, started by Putin himself, that this all originated in the U.S. to get McCain elected.