|The Georgian Army, no match for Russia’s motorised rifle troops and the tanks and self-propelled artillery guns that have accompanied them (and the fighter-bombers that have been strafing them), is retreating.
In retreat, the Georgian soldiers were so tired they could not keep from stumbling. Their arms were loaded with rucksacks and ammunition boxes; they had dark circles under their eyes. Officers ran up and down the line, barking for them to go faster.Weary residents heading south said they were beginning to feel betrayed by the United States, an ally of Georgia, as diplomacy had fallen short of expectations.
All along the road was grief. Old men pushed wheelbarrows loaded with bags or led cows by tethers. They drove tractors and rickety Ladas packed with suitcases and televisions.
As a column of soldiers passed through Gori, a black-robed priest came out of his church and made the sign of the cross again and again.
One soldier, his face a mask of exhaustion, cradled a Kalashnikov.
“We killed as many of them as we could,” he said. “But where are our friends?”
….The grimmest among the Georgians were the soldiers, haggard, unshaven and swinging their Kalashnikovs. A group of them had piled onto a flatbed truck, crowding on in such numbers that some were sitting on the roof, their feet dangling over the windshield.
One, who gave his name as Major Georgi, spoke with anger.
“Write exactly what I say,” he said. “Over the past few years, I lived in a democratic society. I was happy. And now America and the European Union are spitting on us.”
Some legacy. George Bush was greeted as a hero in 2005, dancing to Georgian music in front of a massive crowd. Within days, there may not even be a Georgia. Look for a puppet on a string, held by Putin, to appear as the new leader of Georgia, and soon.
The US State Department website has virtually nothing on Georgia–merely the remarks of the President and the statement that Mr. Negroponte summoned the charge d’affaires on the 8th of August.
Since then, nothing. The State Department works bankers hours? Rice is on vacation.
The French take the lead:
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, heading a delegation to the Georgian capital, told the BBC that President Mikhail Saakashvili signed a document outlining EU proposals for a ceasefire, controlled withdrawals of troops on both sides and eventual political talks.The delegation would now go to Moscow, Mr Kouchner said, to convince President Dmitry Medvedev to back the plan.
But reports from Moscow suggested the Kremlin had quickly rejected the draft plan, saying Georgia was continuing to use military force.
The Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, also spoke out, criticising the US for transporting Georgian troops from Iraq to redeploy to the conflict at home.
Earlier, Mr Medvedev accused Georgia of “genocide” in South Ossetia but said Russian troops were now in control of Tskhinvali and Moscow’s military push was “largely complete”.
Using air, land and sea, the Russians have largely defeated Georgia’s small army and sent it into retreat. Short of exchanging the BDUs provided by the United States for civilian clothes and starting a guerrilla war against the Russians in South Ossetia, there is nothing left to do. Georgia’s oil and natural gas production facilities have been targeted. Further resistance will lead to slaughter.
Georgia’s dalliance with joining NATO is effectively over. Ukraine, you’re probably next.
UPDATE I / WS 0911 AM E
Georgia claims to have downed Russian aircraft. Which ones? Where is the evidence of this?
Georgia’s president says he has signed an international-brokered proposal for a cease-fire with Russia in their conflict over the breakaway province of South Ossetia.Russian tanks rolls near the town of Dzhava in the separatist Georgian province of South Ossetia.
President Mikheil Saakashvili said Monday that the proposal would be taken to Moscow by the French and Finnish foreign ministers.
“We are trying to stop this as soon as possible,” Saakashvili said during a conference call with Western journalists.
Saakashvili said that Georgian troops had downed “18 or 19” Russian warplanes, killed hundreds of Russian troops and repelled a Russian assault on the Georgian city of Gori.
He claimed Russia had 500 tanks and 25,000 troops inside Georgia.
Five hundred tanks or five hundred armored vehicles? The Russian Army tank battalion should have no more than 33 tanks. That’s 15 tank battalions, if accurate, and spread through the Russian Army order of battle, that would indicate more than four motorised rifle divisions and/or a tank division that Russia’s 58th Army did not previously have.
UPDATE II / WS 1108AM E
The panic and terror in this video is incredible.