Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Much Ado about South Ossetia

I have been rather amused in recent days by the amount of anger by American pundits and government officials over the war in South Ossetia. Conservative commentators such as George Will and Jack Kelly are lambasting the Russian invasion and waxing poetic about Sen. McCain's opportunity to show strength in the face of Vladmir Putin. They all seem to forget the fact, as Maureen Dowd notes, that the current administration launched its own aggressive war five years ago.

Moreover, they see the conflict as a totally one-sided war. Although it is unquestionable that the Russians have used excessive force against Georgian forces and civilians, as a recent Human Rights Watch report notes, the same report notes that in their initial invasion of South Ossetia, the Georgians fired at apartment buildings and other civilian targets in fighting with Ossetian militias. Indeed, a Fox News interviewer was rather nonplussed to find a South Ossetian girl who thanked the Russians for saving her and South Ossetia from Georgia. This is not to justify the Russians, but to point out that the Georgian government is not the heroic entity certain government officials and members of the media are making it out to be.

Our pundits need to step back a bit and remember that the Cold War is over.

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