U.S. looks at rebuilding Georgia's military
September 9, 2008 at 6:58 PM EDT
— The United States said on Tuesday it would look at rebuilding Georgia's
military after Tbilisi's devastating war with Russia, but some U.S.
lawmakers berated the Bush administration for its pro-Georgia policy and
questioned its costs.
On Capitol Hill, Pentagon officials acknowledged
Kremlin anger over their pre-war military aid to Georgia, but insisted there
was no question Georgia was entitled to have it resume.
"The Department of Defense is sending an assessment team to Tbilisi later
this week to help us begin to consider carefully Georgia's legitimate needs
and our response," Eric Edelman, the Pentagon's undersecretary for policy,
"After assessment of these needs, we will review how the United States
will be able to support the reconstruction of Georgia's economy,
infrastructure and armed forces," he told the U.S. Senate's Armed Services
The conflict began last month when Georgia tried to retake the separatist
pro-Moscow region of South Ossetia. Russia responded with an overwhelming
counterattack and then sent troops deep into Georgia proper. Russia has not yet
withdrawn despite a French-brokered ceasefire.
Until now Washington has focused its post-war aid to Georgia on humanitarian
needs, and denied Russian charges that it might be sneaking in weapons with
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has criticized Washington's role in
helping Georgia's military before the conflict with Russia. Moscow has suggested
the White House could have planned Tbilisi's war with Russia to help Republicans
win the coming U.S. presidential election.
Before the war erupted, the United States provided training and equipment to
Georgia's armed forces, much of it focused on preparing Georgian troops to
deploy to Iraq as part of the U.S.-led coalition there.
The Bush administration has also pledged $1 billion to help rebuild the
ex-Soviet republic's economy and infrastructure.
Sympathy for Russia
In a separate hearing on Tuesday in the U.S. House of Representatives,
several lawmakers from both parties criticized the Bush administration approach
as anti-Russian and to the detriment of U.S. interests.
"Our friends in Russia are as important as our friends in Georgia. We must
find a balance," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat. She said $1
billion dollars in aid for Georgia was "over the top" and hoped Congress would
"The Russians are right! We're wrong! Georgia started it, the Russians ended
it," Rep. Dana Rohrbacher, a California Republican, told Assistant Secretary of
State Dan Fried, who testified on administration policy to both the Senate panel
and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Mr. Rohrbacher said the situation with Georgia's breakaway regions was
clearly analogous to Kosovo, which was part of Serbia until it declared
independence in February with U.S. support. For U.S. officials to keep saying
there was no correlation "undermines our credibility," he said.
The government in Georgia, home to pipelines carrying oil and gas from the
Caspian Sea to world markets, is staunchly pro-American and wants to join NATO.
Russia opposes NATO expansion so close to its borders.
Other lawmakers said events in Georgia had placed a question mark over
Washington's ability to protect its allies. "Administration policy toward Russia
seems to be: 'Speak loudly, carry a small stick,'" said House Foreign Affairs
Committee Chairman Howard Berman, a California Democrat.
Both Mr. Edelman and Mr. Fried said that to their knowledge, U.S. military
intervention in the conflict was never discussed. They also stressed that
high-ranking U.S. officials – Fried said he was one of them – had warned
Georgia's leaders before the conflict broke out that military action would be a
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
Lana Kapiniak, Thanks for the perspective.
Washington's propaganda looks paranoid and hysterical compared to the logical
and factual statements coming out of the Kremlin.
Dana Rohrbacher is a lone voice of sanity in a sea of cold war paranoia that
contradicts all the facts and very obviously, all those very clear warnings that
Bush received from security experts prior to Mad Misha's invasion of Sth
It begs the question, did those security experts predict just how Russia would
end up with a winning checkmate for the foreseeable future?
Another Bay of Pigs? Now "high-ranking U.S. officials" including Fried,
warned Georgia "leaders", (notice how Misha's name and any other name of "high
ranking U.S. officials" is left out?)
Fried claims, that "U.S. military intervention in the conflict was never
How do you interpret this "language", its double talk and plays on the what they
have as written records rather than what was said in most probably unrecorded
phone calls made by lower level officials to translators on behalf of "unnamed
high-ranking U.S. officials", that's double speak for George Bush who we know
received a direct appeal personally from Putin at the opening of the Olympic
Now, if Mad Misha aka "Georgian leaders" did not listen to many months of
appeals to Georgia not to invade South Ossettia, that means, that "high ranking
U.S. officials" aka George Bush knew what was going to happen and did not issue
any ultimatum or repercussions to Misha aka "Georgian leaders" if the invasion
If no repercussions were promised, it appears that mad Misha, aka 'Georgian
leaders' were "led to believe" that the U.S. would become "involved".
Lets look at the massive reactions that stopped short of actually putting
American troops facing Russian troops, or did they? There is one U.S. Passport
found where Georgia special forces occupied a Sth. Ossetian building, no US
denials came forth.
The facts are, over 1000, US troops were withdrawn from Georgia and Rice left
Georgia exactly one month before the invasion.
Several hundred US and Israeli military and intelligence advisers, plus hundreds
of "contractors" were in Georgia "huddled over laptops" close to the Georgian
leader, Mad Misha.
The facts, the events, give every appearance that Georgia, Mad Misha believed
that they could drag NATO and the United States into a conflict with Russia.