The view from Tblisi
posted by The Vidiot @ 12:52 PM Permalink
I have a freind who works for a media company in Tblisi, Georgia. She sent the following update, though, to be honest, she works for 'the man' and she's firmly enveloped by the system. I happen to not believe the Georgian government would be stupid enough to bomb the Russian barracks and that both sides are behaving badly. But that's just me. (Pardon the bad formatting. I copied it from an email)
Will try to send a better update later, but, essentially, what's belowis truly the situation on the ground about 90 minutes from here. Weresome shots on television today that had one very energetic Georgian TVreporter quizzing Russian soldiers about why they had forks and other knickknacks sticking out of their pockets. Plus, a really lovely interview with a senior officer who said they were blowing up Georgian ammunition dumps b/c they're "trophies." The Georgian reporter, cleverly playing dumb, came back with "Oh, you mean a war trophy?" Yes, the guy said. "So you're saying this is a war, not a peace keeping operation?"which is what Moscow has claimed. He just came back with a laugh, and asked if he's aware of the rules of war.
There were also some compelling shots that showed that the Russian army REALLY aspires to the highest levels of intelligence in their infantry.The standard line about why they were doing what they were doing was "An order is an order," or one Dumbo-looking character coming out with"Everything's decided there [Moscow] -- big blank look -- you know how many generals they have there?" Wowwwwwwww, generals! Impressive! And here I am some robotic schmuck with no brain of my own.
Several reporters have been shot or shot at; and these soldiers, when the patience started to run out, threatened to shoot this intrepid Georgian reporter as well. Granted, they're not smart enough to put two and two together, so sometimes their stupidity works against them. Like when they told this reporter to step back from a car that was carrying some Georgian official (it seemed) from Gori in it, and then, not understanding Georgian, proceeded to allow a conversation to ensue about how bad the situation was there. Or there was the little dialogue with one Russian soldier about why he had a gold fork sticking out of his uniform pocket. Another video posted on YouTube shows them looting a Georgian barracks and one guy going wild about the fact that the living conditions are better than what they have. As WWII, Chechnya, etc. have shown, that's standard behavior for these people -- don't try to
get something better for yourself; just destroy what the other person has. Really, a high quality of serviceman they've got there.
They're the same brute, stupid faces we used to see on TV in Moscow from Chechnya.
So, please, please don't give any credence to anything that comes out of Moscow. The Georgian govt can get caught up in propaganda as well, but this stuff is real, on-the-ground. And given the reports of raping, killings, lootings (despite the fact that, as everyone knows who's been there, South Ossetia is dirt poor), and even a beheading (alleged by the North Caucasian irregulars that are with the Russians; sometimes by the Ossetian separatists; sometimes by the Russians themselves) that are coming in from displaced persons, it's most likely far, far worse. If Human Rights Watch, usually a strong critic of this govt, is giving them credit, then, yes, more likely than not, that's what's going on.
All right, not sure why felt the need to ramble on this, but it really makes me insanely angry. There's a US military evaluation team coming to town "soon," and I sure as hell hope that they pick up the pace with their assistance to help the armed forces get their act back together again.