There’s always two sides to every story and unfortunately, for the most part the western new media has only told half story about the Russian invasion of Georgia. If you haven’t read Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s excellent Op Ed in today’s Wall Street Journal you should.
Georgia Acted in Self-Defense
Some people seem to misunderstand which country was invaded.
By Mikheil Saakashvili, Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2008
Since Russia invaded Georgia last August, the international community seems stuck on one question about how the war started: Did the Georgian military act irresponsibly to take control of Tskhinvali in the South Ossetia region of Georgia?
This question has been pushed to the center in large degree by a fierce, multimillion-dollar Russian PR campaign that hinges on leaked, very partial, and misleading reports from a military observer from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that claimed Georgia responded militarily in South Ossetia without sufficient provocation by Russia. Judging from recent media coverage, this campaign has been successful.
Focusing on this question distracts from Russia’s intense, blatant policy of regime change that has long aimed to destabilize Georgia through ethnic manipulation, and thus thwart our democracy while stopping NATO’s expansion. Furthermore, it has never been in dispute whether our forces entered South Ossetia. I have always openly acknowledged that I ordered military action in South Ossetia — as any responsible democratic leader would have done, and as the Georgian Constitution required me to do in defense of the country.
I made this decision after being confronted by two facts. First, Russia had massed hundreds of tanks and thousands of soldiers on the border between Russian and Georgia in the area of South Ossetia. We had firm intelligence that they were crossing into Georgia, a fact later confirmed by telephone intercepts verified by the New York Times and others — and a fact never substantially denied by Russia. (We had alerted the international community both about the military deployment and an inflow of mercenaries early on Aug. 7.)
Second, for a week Russian forces and their proxies engaged in a series of deadly provocations, shelling Georgian villages that were under my government’s control — with much of the artillery located in Tskhinvali, often within sites controlled by Russian peacekeepers. Then, on Aug. 7, Russia and its proxies killed several Georgian peacekeepers. Russian peacekeepers and OSCE observers admitted that they were incapable of preventing the lethal attacks. In fact, the OSCE had proven impotent in preventing the Russians from building two illegal military bases inside South Ossetia during the preceding year. Read the rest…