Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Russia orders halt to war in Georgia:
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered a halt to military operations in Georgia on Tuesday but Tbilisi cast doubt on the announcement, saying Moscow was still bombing towns and villages.
There have been a number of news stories in the past few days quoting Georgia's president and generals about how much Georgian terrority the Russians are occupying, which are then contradicted by reporters who aren't seeing massive advances by Russian tanks or military.
Though the tone of the coverage is "poor, poor Georgia vs mean old Russia", I think in the end the world will conclude that the thousands of civilian deaths, the millions in property damage and the tens of thousands of refugees are mostly Georgia's own fault, for deciding to mercilessly attack and bomb their own people, without giving them any warning or any chance to negotiate, surrender, or evacuate.
Georgia says dozens of civilians were killed when Russian bombs hit two blocks of flats in Gori. Reporters saw casualties at the scene, but the death toll has not been independently confirmed.
...Reports from the UNHCR and Russian media speak of total devastation in the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali, with few buildings left intact after intense bombardments and street fighting.
Russian television showed pictures of a heavily damaged hospital in Tskhinvali, with wounded civilians lying in makeshift wards in the basement. ...
Russian officials say more than 1,500 civilians were killed in Tskhinvali after Georgia launched an all-out assault last Friday, using heavy artillery and tanks. The casualty toll cannot be independently verified . . .
More than 30,000 civilians fled the fighting in Tskhinvali, Russian officials say. Most of them went to North Ossetia, which is part of the Russian Federation.
Several thousand fled south into Georgia and up to 12,000 people are estimated to be displaced within South Ossetia, officials say.
I think we will also find out that Georgia has been exaggerating the extent of the Russian advance, to justify its own military retreat, and to try to frighten the US into sending the 82nd Airborne for military support. And I think we can depend on the Georgian president, Mikhail Saakashvili, to continue to be an inflammatory blowhard.

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