Статья Чайверса «Грузия представила новые свидетельства о начале войны». (New-York Times, 15 сентября) и комментарии читателей газеты.
Продолжается активное противостояние в информационном поле, созданном августовской пятидневной войной и являющемся продолжением этой войны. Грузинское руководство всячески стремится уйти от какой-либо политической, правовой и моральной ответственности за агрессию 8 августа и не оставляет попыток обелить себя в глазах евроатлантического сообщества. Главный способ «нейтрализации вины» за свою военную авантюру – переложить ответственность на российскую и осетинскую сторону. В середине сентября в оборот введены новые грузинские «якобы свидетельства» о начале военных действий 7-8 августа. Западная пресса предоставляет обширные площади и время для тиражирования этих «свидетельств». Но это и к лучшему – яснее становится «качество» этих свидетельств, яснее – в том числе и для самого западного общественного мнения.
Существо «новых грузинских свидетельств» - доказать, что российские войска вошли в Южную Осетию через Рокский тоннель в ночь с 6 на 7-е августа 2008 года, то есть за сутки до начала грузинской агрессии. Здесь мы аплодируем американской разведке, всем прочим возможностям современной космической съемки, которым не удалось зафиксировать наличия российской бронетехники к югу от тоннеля в течение всего дня 7 августа. Или нет, - мы аплодируем способности русских так успешно маскироваться на многокилометровом протяжении ТрансКама, что их присутствия там никто не увидел.
Очень показательное отсутствие данных космической съемки о каких-либо войсках на ТрансКаме к югу от Рокского тоннеля 7-го августа – самое железное свидетельство того, что таковых войск не было. (Эксперты UNOSAT! Где же ваши снимки, датированные 7 и 8 августа? Чего же так скромно молчим?) К сожалению, такая однозначность не дает покоя грузинской пропаганде и части американских медиа-институтов.
Ниже мы воспроизводим статью Чайверса (C.J.Chivers), озаглавленную «Грузия представила новые свидетельства о начале войны» (New-York Times, 15 сентября) и основной массив комментариев читателей, которые сопровождают статью.
Адрес статьи: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/16/world/europe/16georgia.html?_r=1&oref=slogin, .
В комментариях содержится много критических оценок, как американской позиции по конфликту, так и сомнительной надежности «грузинских свидетельств». Мы приводим НАШУ селекцию комментариев, оставаясь привержены здесь правилам информационной войны. Полагаем, что данная селекция полностью отражает преобладающие оценки. С полной версией комментариев к статье Чиверса и «грузинским свидетельствам» можно ознакомиться начиная со страницы:
Исследовательский центр Charta Caucasica
Georgia Offers Fresh Evidence on War’s Start This article was reported by Dan Bilefsky, C. J. Chivers, Thom Shanker and Michael Schwirtz and written by Mr. Chivers.
(September 15, 2008) The New York Times
Georgia is trying to persuade the West that it acted defensively.
TBILISI, Georgia — A new front has opened between Georgia and Russia, now over which side was the aggressor whose military activities early last month ignited the lopsided five-day war. At issue is new intelligence, inconclusive on its own, that nonetheless paints a more complicated picture of the critical last hours before war broke out.
Georgia has released intercepted telephone calls purporting to show that part of a Russian armored regiment crossed into the separatist enclave of South Ossetia nearly a full day before Georgia’s attack on the capital, Tskhinvali, late on Aug. 7.
Georgia is trying to counter accusations that the long-simmering standoff over South Ossetia, which borders Russia, tilted to war only after it attacked Tskhinvali. Georgia regards the enclave as its sovereign territory.
The intercepts circulated last week among intelligence agencies in the United States and Europe, part of a Georgian government effort to persuade the West and opposition voices at home that Georgia was under invasion and attacked defensively. Georgia argues that as a tiny and vulnerable nation allied with the West, it deserves extensive military and political support.
Georgia also provided audio files of the intercepts along with English translations to The New York Times, which made its own independent translation from the original Ossetian into Russian and then into English.
Russia, already facing deep criticism and the coolest audience in European capitals since the cold war, is arguing vigorously against Georgia’s claims. Last week, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin expressed bafflement at what he saw as the West’s propensity to believe Georgia’s version of events.
In an interview arranged by the Kremlin, the Russian military played down the significance of the intercepted conversations, saying troop movements to the enclave before the war erupted were part of the normal rotation and replenishment of longstanding peacekeeping forces there.
But at a minimum, the intercepted calls, which senior American officials have reviewed and described as credible if not conclusive, suggest there were Russian military movements earlier than had previously been acknowledged, whether routine or hostile, into Georgian territory as tensions accelerated toward war.
They also suggest the enduring limits — even with high-tech surveillance of critical battlefield locations — of penetrating the war’s thick fogs.
The back and forth over who started the war is already an issue in the American presidential race, with Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, the Republican vice presidential candidate, contending that Russia’s incursion into Georgia was “unprovoked,” while others argue that Georgia’s shelling of Tskhinvali was provocation. Georgia claims that its main evidence — two of several calls secretly recorded by its intelligence service on Aug. 7 and 8 — shows that Russian tanks and fighting vehicles were already passing through the Roki Tunnel linking Russia to South Ossetia before dawn on Aug. 7.
By Russian accounts, the war began at 11:30 that night, when President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia ordered an attack on Russian positions in Tskhinvali. Russian combat units crossed the border into South Ossetia only later, Russia has said.
Russia has not disputed the veracity of the phone calls, which were apparently made by Ossetian border guards on a private Georgian cellphone network. “Listen, has the armor arrived or what?” a supervisor at the South Ossetian border guard headquarters asked a guard at the tunnel with the surname Gassiev, according to a call that Georgia and the cellphone provider said was intercepted at 3:52 a.m. on Aug. 7.
“The armor and people,” the guard replied. Asked if they had gone through, he said, “Yes, 20 minutes ago; when I called you, they had already arrived.”
Shota Utiashvili, the director of the intelligence analysis team at Georgia’s Interior Ministry, said the calls pointed to a Russian incursion. “This whole conflict has been overshadowed by the debate over who started this war,” he said. “These intercepted recordings show that Russia moved first and that we were defending ourselves.”
The recordings, however, do not explicitly describe the quantity of armor or indicate that Russian forces were engaged in fighting at that time.
Gen. Lt. Nikolai Uvarov of Russia, a former United Nations military attaché, who served as a Defense Ministry spokesman during the war, insisted that Georgia’s attack surprised Russia and that its leaders scrambled to respond while Russian peacekeeping forces were under fire. He said President Dmitri A. Medvedev had been on a cruise on the Volga River. Mr. Putin was at the Olympics in Beijing.
“The minister of defense, by the way, was on vacation in the Black Sea somewhere,” he said. “We never expected them to launch an attack.”
As for the claim that Russian forces entered the enclave early on Aug. 7, General Uvarov said military hardware regularly moved in and out of South Ossetia, supplying the Russian peacekeeping contingent there.
Since we had here a battalion, they need fuel, they need products; naturally you have movement of troops,” he said. “But not combat troops specifically sent there to fight.” He added, “If it were a big reinforcement, then we wouldn’t have lost about 15 peacekeepers inside.”
Georgia disputed the Russian explanation, saying that under peacekeeping documents signed by both sides in 2004, rotations of the Russian peacekeeping battalion could be conducted only in daylight and after not less than a month of advance notification. There was no notification, Mr. Utiashvili said.
Why, he asked, was the duty officer at the Roki Tunnel apparently caught off guard, if this was, as the Russians said, a routine deployment of peacekeepers?
Georgian officials said they provided the materials last week to the United States and France, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, in addition to two reporters for The Times. The Times hired an independent Ossetian linguist in Russia to translate the recordings.
Vano Merabishvili, Georgia’s minister of interior, said he was told of the intercepts by Georgian intelligence within hours of their being recorded. The information, he said, was relayed to Mr. Saakashvili, who saw them as a sign of a Russian invasion.
Pressed as to why more than a month passed before the conversations came to light, Mr. Merabishvili said the file with the recordings was lost during the war when the surveillance team moved operations from Tbilisi, the capital, to the central city of Gori. Georgian intelligence officers later sifted through 6,000 files to retrieve copies, he said.
The Times provided a range of American government and military officials with copies of the independent translations for comment. They cautioned that while the conversations appeared to be from genuine cellphone intercepts, no complete or official assessment could be made without access to the entire file of cellphone audio gathered by the Georgians. They said the question of provocation and response in the conflict remained under scrutiny in Washington.
“We continue to look at that, both in terms of our intelligence assessment and then from what we get from on the ground,” said one senior American military officer who follows the situation in Georgia and agreed to discuss the matter on the condition of anonymity because it involved intelligence matters. “We have not been able to establish the ‘Who shot John?’ — the first shot.”
Talk of Armor in Tunnel
Georgia said its main evidence consisted of two conversations on Aug. 7 between Mr. Gassiev at the tunnel and his supervisor at the headquarters.
In the first conversation, logged at 3.41 a.m., Mr. Gassiev told the supervisor that a Russian colonel had asked Ossetian guards to inspect military vehicles that “crowded” the tunnel. Mr. Gassiev said: “The commander, a colonel, approached and said, ‘The guys with you should check the vehicles.’ Is that O.K.?”
Asked who the colonel was, Mr. Gassiev answered: “I don’t know. Their superior, the one in charge there. The B.M.P.’s and other vehicles were sent here and they’ve crowded there. The guys are also standing around. And he said that we should inspect the vehicles. I don’t know. And he went out.” A B.M.P. is a tracked armored vehicle that vaguely resembles a tank. It was one of the principal Russian military vehicles seen in the war, and in the peacekeeping contingent.
At 3:52 a.m., Mr. Gassiev informed the supervisor that armored vehicles had left the tunnel, commanded by a colonel he called Kazachenko. The colonel’s first name was not mentioned. According to unrelated Russian press reports after the war, Col. Andrei Kazachenko served in the 135th Motorized Rifle Regiment. The regiment provided peacekeepers in South Ossetia and fought in Tskhinvali during the war, General Uvarov said. The general said he had no information about Colonel Kazachenko.
Georgia’s claims about Russian movements appear to be at least partly supported by other information that emerged recently. Western intelligence determined independently that two battalions of the 135th Regiment moved through the tunnel to South Ossetia either on the night of Aug. 7 or the early morning of Aug. 8, according to a senior American official.
New Western intelligence also emerged last week showing that a motorized rifle element was assigned to a garrison just outside South Ossetia, on Russian territory, with the aim of securing the north end of the tunnel, and that it may have moved to secure the entire tunnel either on the night of Aug. 7 or early in the morning of Aug. 8, according to several American officials who were briefed on the findings.
On Sept. 3, Krasnaya Zvezda, the official newspaper of the Russian Defense Ministry, published an article in which a captain in the 135th Regiment, Denis Sidristy, said his unit had been ordered to cease a training exercise and move to Tskhinvali on Aug. 7.
After a query by The Times about the article, the Russian newspaper published an article last Friday in which the captain said the correct date for the advance to Tskhinvali was Aug. 8. Efforts to reach Captain Sidristy were unsuccessful.
A U.S. Official’s Account
Matthew J. Bryza, the deputy assistant secretary of state who coordinates diplomacy in the Caucasus, said the contents of the recorded conversations were consistent with what Georgians appeared to believe on Aug. 7, in the final hours before the war, when a brief cease-fire collapsed.
“During the height of all of these developments, when I was on the phone with senior Georgian officials, they sure sounded completely convinced that Russian armored vehicles had entered the Roki Tunnel, and exited the Roki Tunnel, before and during the cease-fire,” he said. “I said, under instructions, that we urge you not to engage these Russians directly.”
By the night of Aug. 7, he said, he spoke with Eka Tkeshelashvili, Georgia’s foreign minister, shortly before President Saakashvili issued his order to attack. “She sounded completely convinced, on a human level, of the Russian presence,” Mr. Bryza said. “ ‘Under these circumstances,’ she said, ‘We have to defend our villages.’ ”
General Uvarov, the senior Russian official, contended that the Georgians had acted rashly and without a clear understanding of their own intelligence.
According to the cease-fire agreement signed in the 1990s after the first war between Georgia and South Ossetia, Russia was allowed to maintain a 500-member peacekeeping force in the region, he said. And 300 reserve peacekeepers can be deployed in emergency situations, he said.
As the Georgians began their attack, about 100 reserve peacekeepers from the 135th Regiment were put on alert and moved close to the tunnel, he said. They were ordered through the tunnel to reinforce forces in Tskhinvali around dawn on Aug. 8, he said.
The first Russian combat unit — the First Battalion of the 135th Regiment — did not pass through the Roki Tunnel until 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 8, more than 14 hours after the Georgians began shelling Tskhinvali, he said.
The battalion, he said, did not reach Tskhinvali until the next evening, having met heavy Georgian resistance. Georgia disputes that account, saying it was in heavy combat with Russian forces near the tunnel long before dawn. One thing was clear by then. The war had begun.
1. September 16, 2008 8:38 am
This evidence is unsubstantial. The fact is Georgia starts hostility actions – killing people with Katyha rockets.
— Leonid, toronto
3. September 16, 2008 8:38 am
Ninety percent of Georgians believe that the war was started by President Saakashvili. Saakashvili had to start the war in order to restore his image in the eyes of Georgian people. Due to his irresponsibility we got thousands of killes and economy in ruins which will take who knows how many year to bring back to where it was before the war.
Now Saakashvili is trying to save his face in West and publishes trasncripts of interceptions that no one can confirm of check.
Why is West still supporting the President of Georgia who has persecuted and arested people for thier different political views, who has created unbearable business climate in the country, who together with his team is involved in mass corrption, who has stolen votes of Georgian people on both presidential and parliamentary elections and who authorized police attack on peacefull demonstration on November 7, 2007?
Do we not have enough evidence that he is far from being a democrat as often referred to by US Government?
— Katie, Tbilisi, Georgia
7. September 16, 2008 9:16 am
What makes the origin of these interceptions very suspicious is the recent history of what Georgian officials told during this ordeal - with claims of 20+ downed Russian planes and hundreds of destroyed Russian tanks - all proven to be false in the end.
The picture of "defensive" attack on alleged advancing Russians just does not have logic.
Even assuming that Russians had already started the advance, what sense could a full-blown attack on Russians have had if just after couple of days the Georgian military was nowhere to be seen ?
Would not it be more logical to continue to appeal to international community, considering that Georgia did not have control over the disputed territory for the last 17 years ?
Instead Georgian Army hits Russians hard - and then all of the sudden completely leaves the battleground !
Even assuming that Georgians believed that Russia started an invasion, why a response should have started with a destruction of a heavy-populated city of Tskhinvali using devastating Multiple Rocket Launcher Systems ?
This reasoning just does not make sense.
Let's not forget - President Saakashvili has repeatedly pledged to regain control over breakaway territories since he came to power.
Let's not forget - Georgia has never signed a non-use of force agreement.
Let’s not forget – in the very beginning Georgia called the Aug 7 attack an “operation to restore a constitutional order”
— travis, N.Y.
September 16, 2008 9:16 am
What surprises me until this day is how one-sided the coverage is in American media. From the start of the crisis all you could see on TV and read in newspapers is how Russian tanks were ravaging Georgia. How about some coverage over Georgian troops using rocket launchers to shell a civilian city?
With regards to this new "evidence", the first conversation is clocked at 3:41 with military vehicles "crowding" the tunnel. At 3:52 the "crowd" has already left. How many Russian tanks were in that "crowd" if they passed the tunnel in under 11 minutes?
— MSP, Boston, MA
September 16, 2008 9:16 am
If you read the transcript itself and not the political insinuations, the evidence is inconclusive at best.
Even if you really, really, REALLY want to push the Georgian side of the argument, then all you are going to see is that some vehicles went through the tunnel from the Russian side, Georgian military overreacted and started raining on the poor Ossetians.
But on the realistic side of it, I find the Russian arguments convincing. Even if the Georgian leadership believed they were being invaded based on just this evidence, it is not only criminal, but also infinitely stupid and trigger-happy. Shelling Ossetian civilian quarters because some confused Ossetian border guard said something inconclusive on the phone is the apex of incompetence.
By the way, stop calling BMPs tanks. They aren't tanks, they are Infantry Fighting Vehicles (like M1126 Stryker or M2 Bradley), moderately armed troop support and taxi units. BRDM too is an obsolete recon vehicle from the 60's. They are not tanks.
— James, Westbury, Nassau county, NY
11.September 16, 2008 9:16 am
I'm glad to see that the people blogging on this site continue to not allow little things like evidence get in the way of their opinions. My only disappointment thus far is that there have yet to be any blogs tying these phone calls to the Bush administration, which, as we all know, is responsible for all human evil.
My question to some of the bloggers with a staunchly pro-Kremlin bent: If you're writing on the NYT site, you obviously have access to Western media. So you can't use the excuse that you don't have access to alternative sources of news, and thus aren't being totally duped by the monolithic Russian media. And yet you still are extremely invested in the notion that Russians were somehow the victims of Georgian aggression. Do you really believe this? Or is something else going on? Maybe the Russian government is infiltrating these sites with pro-Russian propaganda. Maybe some of these posts are even being written by KGB. Who's to know? If KGB are writing here, my only advice would be to tone down the rhetoric. It's too over-the-top for most Americans. Hope this helps.
— Jason, Syracuse
12.September 16, 2008 9:16 am
War in either side was decided in one minute. Georgia's attack on Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia is not a response to Russia’s invasion. Apparently, the Russian had evidence that Georgia’s attack is imminent and inevitable, and reacted to the situation. Who is the aggressor? Clearly, is Georgia, which uses South Ossetia issue to distract attentions to its domestic problems. Georgia deserve to be punished.
— blinded1, USA
September 16, 2008 9:16 am
And the Georgians want us to believe that the Ossetians (Russians) didn't know they were using a "private" Georgian cell network "provider"? Come on! How stupid do Georgians think NATO, UE, USA combined could be? The basic equation is that Georgians are pawns and are attempting to play queen.
— Ivan van Crane, Fort Lee, NJ
September 16, 2008 9:21 am
It seems evident that the U.S. allowed/ordered the provocation against Russia to destablize the situation and strengthen the U.S. position in the region. Let us remember that the missile defense system directed at Russia was stalled until the Georgia/Russia hostilities. Moreover, Georgia/Ukraine admission into NATO has also given new momentum. The fact that the Bush Administration can point to State Department advice to Georgia not to engage Russian forces is absolutely meaningless. How much influence did the State Department have over events leading up to Iraq? Zero!
— Ana, Orlando
16. September 16, 2008 9:43 am
Senator McCain is proud that his state of Arizona was once Mexico.
I can understand that. But unlike Senator McCain, I am definitely not a Georgian.
Georgia is where Stalin was born.
— Klem, Westhampton :-)
18. September 16, 2008 9:43 am
The transcript suggests that the Russian peacekeepers were under a surprise attack from Georgian forces and were calling for reinforcements. Once of the peacekeepers says something like "Are you gonna get here when the whole city is destroyed?"
There is no support for Russian's attacking first. Georgian's seem to be schizophrenic liars.
The best part is that "Georgians intercepted the calls". Yeah, right, they dont have the capabilities to do such things. NSA does though. So the US just keeps feeding the fire. This is not a Cold War, this is hypocrisy.
— Alex P, New York
20. September 16, 2008 9:55 am
No semi-intelligent person can look at these trannscripts and make a claim that Russia started the war. The earliest transcript is recorded hours after Georgian attack on South Ossetia, and the transcript from a day later (auguist 8th) clearly demosntrate that the Russian peacekeepers are under Georgian air and ground attack and are not receiving any meaningful help from Russian army or air force.
The tie-eating deranged president of Georgia and his puppet-master Dick Cheney are singularly responsible for the war which was started to steal presidential elections in November.
These two should be tried for war crimes, and investigated for usurping the will of Amrican people.
— Huseyin, Boston
22. September 16, 2008 10:11 am
So this is the South Ossetians asking for help as their city is being bombed by the Georgians...there are a few mentions of the city being bombed, [expletive deleted] up, etc. So it rather seems to confirm the Georgian attack on the 8th.
That the Georgians would offer this as evidence of the Russian starting the war is beyond me.
— Bendan, Shanghai
30. September 16, 2008 10:42 am
What kind of evidence is this ?
Just look at the timestamps:
03:41.09 - first conversation
03:52.13 - followup conversation
How big an "invading force" must be to pass the tunnel in just 11 minutes ?
Is this all the excuse for launching a late night attack on a sleeping city and then bringing the world to the brink of WW3 ?
Looks like a time to call a doctor.
It is so pathetic how desperately Georgian officials now trying to save face.
— travis, N.Y.
36. September 16, 2008 11:06 am
The Times has never acknowledged its own role in hyping the Bush administrations lies in the run up to the war in Iraq. Yet heres the Times again hyping another pack of unsubstantiated propaganda.
We should always remember that Fox News owns Saakashvilli (as well as Georgias main media outlet and probably the cell phone company that allegedly intercepted the disputed calls) and uses him like a puppet to support its pro bush/cheney view
— matthew, usa
37. September 16, 2008 11:23 am *
I am disappointed that even at this late date, NYT continues to lead credence to Georgia's president artless prevarication. Mr Saakashvili appeared on Rustavi 2 TV station on the night of his attack on Tskhinvali and addressed the Georgian nation on the situation in South http://gl.mimino.org/2008/08/saakashvilis-address-to-nation-on.html A couple of lies in that address: the Russians denied that Georgian authorities were in contact with the peacekeepers that night before killing 16 of them in the bombardment, much less admitting that the city was out of control. Two, no tanks or artillery or grenade launchers were deployed by the S.Ossetians and no sustained attack on Georgian villages took place that night. Despite the supposedly brutal attack the Georgian president offered a ceasefire, and declared amnesty for the separatists. Later that night Georgian artillery and rocket launchers opened up on Tskhinvali. Ground troops co-ordinated by the Interior Ministry (!) began to move into the city.
A day later, Mr Saakashvili appeared on CNN and explained that the Russians were massed in North Ossetia ready to attack when a "suitable pretext" presented itself (http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2008/08/08/intv.saakashvili.cnn?iref=videosearch).
Now, what would the "suitable pretext" have been on Aug.7, 2008 ? A Georgian president ordering his troops "not to fire back " ? Who would lap up such nonsense ? The New York Times ?
38. September 16, 2008 11:24 am
Why don't you investigate the connection between McCain's advisor and his lobbying on behalf of Georgia? Scripted: "We are all Georgians now" (alas, poor actor McCain couldn't say this line with any authenticity). Who does he think he is? Jacques Chirac? That line was lifted from Le Monde after 9/11 when most French people sincerely felt kinship with Americans, until of course, they were villified by Fox and the American right-wing because of Iraq. And on and on it goes.
— Joe, Costa Mesa
43.September 16, 2008 11:29 am
European intelligence services (including NATO) established that Georgia started with an artillery barrage.
Read yesterday's Spiegel Online for the details
— Luke, Vancouver
42. September 16, 2008 11:29 am
Two big countries, both eager to impose their will on smaller groups of people. They fight and each claims to represent the little people.
It's been the same across the world and across time. No one respects self-determination, at least not for long--and even then only when it's in the larger group's self-interest.
— Darster, Birmingham
49. September 16, 2008 11:42 am
When easily available satellite photos confirm that the Russians did not move before the Georgians' attack, this reference to audio records fabricated one month later is pathetic.
— LMM, Boston
September 16, 2008 12:11 pm
Let the Georgians hang themselves. They're still trying to draw the US into a war with Russia based on a new extension to their lies. It would not surprise me if this new evidence turned out to be a complete fabrication.
— Butch Dillon, Los Angeles, CA
55. September 16, 2008 12:13 pm
Let's see if this reader understands the story you are "reporting". Recorded phone calls about Russian troop movements are being used by Georgian officials to claim this, rather than the Georgian massive military assault including a heavy bombardment of civilian targets, was responsible for the outbreak of fighting. Of course, you are pretending to be just dutifully reporting this nonsense, as a front page story, when you never really fully reported the Georgian attack when it occurred, and since have carefully avoided reminding your readers of this.
The real story, unreported by you, is how the Bush administration supplied material, training and planning for this long prepared Georgian attack, using U.S. and Israeli advisers, as payback for Georgia's troop deployment in Iraq. And your irresponsible cover-up of this makes you little more than propaganda outlet as well as a willing party to this administration's war crimes.
Fortunately for the readers of the NYTimes, we have other news sources that make your tawdry performance rather obvious. Hopefully you will come to your journalistic senses and get a new editor.
An increasingly fed-up reader of 50 years.
— William H. White, Cape Cod
64. September 16, 2008 12:48 pm
Rather then bicker about who started this battle we, the USA, need to evaluate our role and responsibility. First, what reasons do we have to take over the protection of Poland(with a missile system)? what are we doing sending military equipment and "advisors" to Georgia? why are we unilaterally promoting Georgia,and others,to join NATO? Is our government(not private companies)building a pipe line and other oil infrastructures?
Why are'nt we allowing the European nations to take the lead on all of this?Where do we get the money to rebuild Georgia when we can't rebuild New orleans?
What would be our reaction to Russian military equipment and advisors to Cuba,or Mexico? Suppose Russia began to build pipe lines and put in a "missile defense" system in Mexico to protect South America from the dangerous and war like USA?
This is a global world, we are no longer the cowboy Sheriff.
— R Head, editorial
September 16, 2008 1:03 pm
The Bush Administration, John McCain and Mikhael Saakashvili all have a vested interest in having the American people believe that Russia started this war. It appears from yesterday's Der Spiegel article that NATO believes that Georgia started the war. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Bush administration, McCain and Georgia would seek to inject this information into the New York Times through a Georgian cutout. After all, this is exactly the sort of thing they did in the runup to the Iraq war - inject disinformation into the New York Times.
The reasons for the timing of this article is obvious. NATO has just come out and said that they think Georgia started this war even though their initial actions all took Georgia's side. The Bush Administration, McCain and Georgia cannot afford to lose face on this.
Whatever the truth, and I tend to disbelieve the Bush Administration, McCain and Saakashvili who are all proven liars, one thing is clear. Putin has succeeded in splitting the NATO alliance. This is a stark illustration of the effect of the Bush administration's hubris on America's position in the world and with respect to our allies. It is a devastating indictment.
— Mary B., Washington, D.C.
70. September 16, 2008 1:48 pm
Ika Avaliani, New York, wrote "Georgian villages were shelled for 3 nights before 8th of August. I watched myself how on the 6th and 7th ossetians were moving civilian population out of the city" and "They kept shelling heavily, killing soldiers and civilians". Can you show us any proof of these? Any satellite pictures, and names and counts of people who were killed by Ossetian "shelling" before Georgians attacked?
The fact is, and human rights organizations that just completed their assessment of the situation on the ground are stating that Georgian villages in S. Ossetia were not damaged before the war, and that the majority of residents left just before the Georgian assault. Only old people stayed and are still there. They tell that others left because they were warned of the upcoming attack to retake S. Ossetia.
So dear Ika, you lie about the shelling that supposedly provoked Georgians. Or was it Russian tanks that supposedly entered the Roki tunnel? It's so pathetic...
— Yelena, Iowa, USA
71. September 16, 2008 1:59 pm
Russia tried to impoverish Georgia? Sure, it was Russia president who declared that Georgia is only for Georgians that sparked the bitter conflict with minorities there in 90s. Sure, it was Russians who started the civilian war in Georgia that toppled elected Georgian President in 90s. It was Russians who ruled who ruled Georgia with iron fist until the Rose Revolution. It was Russia who prevented Georgia to spend its money on Georgian citizens rather than on weapon and military. And of course, it was Russians suppressed the peaceful demonstrations last November, and then organized the elections amid ban on the opposition media. It was Russians who shelled Tskhinvali in the middle of the night and tried to occupy the city.
Sure, some people like to believe what they like, but wasn’t it what get us in trouble in Iraq, when too many people believed that Saddam had WMD? Shouldn’t people learn from past mistake and look at facts rather than rely on their beliefs?
— yulia, MO
72. September 16, 2008 2:01 pm
Ыo why the transcripts are appearing a month after the war? why they were not available earlier? why they did not even mention of their existence earlier? if russians were there before, why georgians had heavy artillery and Grad rocket positioned near tskhinvali? So much bull is coming from georgia and the fact the we take it seriously make me wonder whether we are not playing ourselves georgian cards? we are all georgians at the end of the day:)
— jimi, boston
76. September 16, 2008 2:44 pm
I think it's very telling to compare the response we DO see from the Georgian government with the response we DON'T see.
We DO see them trying to shift 100% of the blame on Russia for this recent flareup of this longstanding conflict between ethnic Georgians and Ossetians.
We DON'T see them reaching out to South Ossetians in a reconciliation effort designed to make the members of this ethnic group feel safe and welcome as citizens of Georgia.
If Georgia is really a democracy and Saakashvili is really a hero of democracy, then this pattern ought to be reversed.
The Georgian government needs to accept their share of the blame, and they need to work on some peaceful democratic way to heal the breach between ethnic Georgians and South Ossetians.
Unfortunately, I don't see this happening, partly because it's not in the character of Saakashvili to accept personal responsibility for his hatred of non-Georgians, and partly because his enablers in the McCain campaign aren't interested in peaceful reconciliation in Georgia. At least not until after the election.
— Patricia, Pasadena, CA
80. September 16, 2008 3:42 pm
Dear NYT, I think you made a little mistake. Instead of "Georgia Offers Fresh Evidence on War’s Start" the title should read "Georgia Concocts Fresh "Evidence" on War’s Start"
— Zack, Ottawa