By Stan Goff
August 14, 2008
The most maddening aspect of this whole episode -- aside from the terrible bloodshed of it -- is the utter dishonesty of the US press, from the tv "news," to the mainstream papers, to so-called public radio. The employment of the term "hostilities breaking out" (like a flue epidemic or something) between Russia and Georgia, the totally one-sided reporting for Georgia's official point-of-view, and the constant mantra of "pro-Western, democratic Georgia" reminds me of a saying my mother -- a very old woman from Arkansas -- used to use: "This makes my ass want to take a dip of snuff." Somewhere way back in Arkansas, that came to mean having a reaction of total disgust and contempt.
In the press version of the story, we are being trained to forget that this was initiated at just before noon, Moscow time, one week ago, when Georgian military forces initiated the massive bombardment by land and air of Tskhinvali, the capital of Ossetia, where 30,000 civilians reside, along with the bombardment of surrounding villages.
What does Saakashvili's electoral status -- "democratically elected" -- have to do with anything? George H. W. Bush started slaughtering Panamanians without the least provocation, after winning his election. Does that somehow make it okay? And pro-Western is code for pro-neoliberal: pro-opening capital markets to the US, pro-privatization, anti-labor, pro-transnational, pro-dollar hegemony. It is not synonymous with moral or legal, though that's what it means in media-code. The Good Guys. Folks just don't know.
It is apparent that the Russians had standing plans on the table to react to this contingency by the rapidity and brutal efficacy of their response; but only telling about Russian brutality, now that Georgian brutality has been stemmed, is plain dishonest and drips with agenda-setting. Once again the US press has demonstrated its craven status as Petnagon/State Department propagandist, and that includes so-called liberals like NPR.
The other thing that has not been taken into account by the so-called "reputable, objective" press is that the Government of the United States of America has no standing -- political or moral -- to issue judgments against Russia while they are occupying two nations with sanguinary military operations, maintaining an imperial military presence in almost 800 locations around the globe, and maintaining very cozy relations with the likes of the House of Saud and the violent expansionist state of Israel. Their nattering about the "territorial integrity of Georgia" is a joke, right? After the US participated in the provocation, exacerbation, then consolidation of the break-up of the former Yugoslavia? After the US provoked two coups in Haiti against democratically elected governments, and attempted to create a coup in Venezuela against a democratically-elected government? After the bloody invasions of Panama and Grenada? After Afghanistan and Iraq?
The sheer chutzpah of it will win the day, I'm sure, because the press' echo-chamber is in lockstep; and with very little time, criticism of this deep dishonesty will be -- like criticism of the Serbophobic campaign of historical effacement in Yugoslavia -- considered beyond the pale... tantamount to holocaust denial.
The difference this time is that even as the US population will be vaguely convinced that the Russians are the sole heavies in this episode, the material conditions favor the Russians, not the perception managers of the US. This is a demonstration of waning US power, and there will be more.