Monday, November 10, 2008

The man in the mirror

So, word on the street is, even IF Georgia started the whole dustup that became the South Ossetian War of 2008, Russia is to blame for massively overreacting. (And lots of street people seem to think that the "IF" is a mighty big one.)


Man in the mirror time?

There's no real, tangible correlation between Iraq and 9/11, although there was a time when word on the street had it so. (C'mon, you know it's true, you lived through it just like I did. Atta, Prague? C'mon. Short term memory loss isn't that bad.) If we pretend there is, there's still the question of just how many Iraqis we've killed (liberated from life) since Operation Iraqi Liberation . . . oh wait, the acronym for that one didn't work out, whatever, started.

And Afghanistan? (More on point.) How many Afghans have we lit up? How long have we been there? How long do we plan on being there?

Contra SOW-2008! The Georgians went into the autonomos zone, killed Russian peacekeepers, and played games with artillery and Grad rockets. (Grad, or Град, is Russian for "hail." Not as in hail and well met, but as in small hard things falling from the sky.) What did the Russians do?

Only my take, of course, but it's mine.

The Russians responded with a short, sharp, shock of overwhelming force. They tore up the Georgians a hella lot worse than Obama tore up McCain (don't look at electoral votes, don't look at states, look at popular vote totals). The Russians rolled in like it was cool, killed any elements of the Georgian military that didn't run away tuit de suite, then rubbed the Georgians' noses in the mess they made by sinking chunks of their fleet.





Sorry, folks, that's what they did. While Saakashvili was blubbering on tv about the destruction of Georgia, the Russians pushed past their defensive zones into Georgian territory, laagered up their tanks, BMPs (Боевая машина пехоти, or infantry combat cars, or as we call 'em APCs), and sometimes revved the engines, like kids at a stop light looking for a drag race.

There was a lesson, there, and it wasn't just for the Georgians. It was for Europe, too, and, yes, America, although our pride prevents us from admitting it. I mean, what were we gonna do? Drop the 82d in there? Oh, wait, even if we wanted to, aren't they kind of tied up with another mission? What, we were going to go nuclear, over Tbilisi?

Get real.

Maybe the Russians learned something from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan? Something about "not getting bogged down in a land war in Asia"? Something about "easy to seize, but hard to hold"? The kind of lessons that, ahem, we don't seem to have learned from Vietnam?

Maybe I'm a Putinist stooge, but to me it looks like a textbook military intervention. Go in quick, go in hard, kill everything that doesn't run away (or doesn't run away fast enough), and right before you get on the helicopter say "Bye. Don't make us come back, y' hear?"

Ah, I see. We're America, hence the good guys. They're Russia, hence the bad guys. Meanwhile, we seem to just keep on using air strikes against Pashtun wedding parties. Even if it's completely justified, riddle me this, Batman: does that make the Pashtun like us more, or like us less? Does that make it easier, or harder, to sell the Pashtun on the line that we're America, and hence the good guys?

I could be wrong about this, you know, but that's how I see it.

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