Thursday, August 28, 2008

Who Started the War?

[Update: What the--I thought this posted days ago. Yet it's been sitting in draft form behind the scenes. Let me give it another try.]

[Updated at the bottom to add more quotes.] It's unclear. Or, maybe not:

“Can I stop you for a second?” I said. I was still under the impression that the war began on August 7 and that Georgian President Saakashvili started it when he sent troops into South Ossetia's capital Tskhinvali. What was all this about the Ossetian violence on August 6 and before?

He raised his hand as if to say stop.

“That was the formal start of the war,” he said. “Because of the peace agreement they had, nobody was allowed to have guns bigger than 80mm. Okay, so that's the formal start of the war. It wasn't the attack on Tskhinvali. Now stop me.”

“Okay,” I said. “All the reports I've read say Saakashvili started the war.”

“I'm not yet on the 7th,” he said. “I'm on the 6th.”

“Okay,” I said. He had given this explanation to reporters before, and he knew exactly what I was thinking.

“Saakashvili is accused of starting this war on the 7th,” he said.

“Right,” I said. “But that sounds like complete bs to me if what you say is true.”

Thomas Goltz nodded.

Added: Why did Totten bury the lede?

Added: It's a very long post.

The [Georgian] peacekeepers had a military objective, and the first rule of warfare when you're talking to the media is not to reveal to your enemy what you're going to do. So they weren't going to blather into a microphone and say well, actually, I'm trying to go through Tskhinvali in order to stop the Russians. So what did he say instead? I'm here to restore constitutional order in South Ossetia. And that's it. With that, Georgia lost the propaganda war and the world believes Saakashvili started it. And the rest of the story...you know.”

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5 Comments:

Blogger gcotharn said...

Since you are a journalist, and I am far from being so: please tell me if - in your opinion - there are incorrect conclusions this blogpost of mine
Russia deploys Western media as weapon... um, if you have a couple of minutes to peruse it!

6:56 PM  
Blogger Mike LaRoche said...

It's regrettable that so many on the left are parroting Putin's propaganda. It reminds me of when they would suck up to the Soviets back in the Cold War.

8:31 PM  
Blogger Mike LaRoche said...

By the way, how about that Sarah Palin!

8:32 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Speaking of... new post!

9:03 PM  
Blogger gcotharn said...

Nancy,
Thanks so much for the professional opinion. In future, I'll more carefully justify those tricky underlying assumptions. I feel like such hot stuff that a professional perused my post!

7:07 PM  

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