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Obama: "No Possible Justification" for Russian Offensive

By Shailagh Murray
Sen. Barack Obama delivered a statement from Hawaii about the worsening crisis in Georgia, declaring of Russia's aggression in the former Soviet republic, "There is no possible justification for these attacks."

The Illinois senator interrupted a family vacation to address the conflict and said he had spoken to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to convey "my deep regret over the loss of life, and the suffering of the people of Georgia."

Like Sen. John McCain, Obama called for "active international engagement" to address the dispute, "including a high-level and neutral international mediator, and a genuine international peacekeeping force -- not simply Russian troops."

Russia, Obama continued, must stop its bombing campaign and flights in Georgian airspace, and withdraw ground forces from Georgia. "The Georgian government has proposed a cease-fire and the Russian government should accept it. There is also an urgent need for humanitarian assistance to reach the people of Georgia, and casualties on both sides." He urged the United Nations to send a mediator to join a French and Finnish delegation in Georgia.

"We should also convene other international forums to condemn this aggression, to call for an immediate halt to the violence, and to review multilateral and bilateral arrangements with Russia -- including Russia's interest in joining the World Trade Organization," Obama said.

The Democratic candidate's brief public appearance punctured an otherwise quiet week on the island where Obama spent much of his childhood. The Honolulu Star Bulletin ran photos of the senator walking in the surf with Chicago friend Marty Nesbitt and waving to onlookers after a golf outing. It reported that he had jogged barefoot on Kailua Beach and delivered a gift basket to his grandmother with his wife and daughters. According to the paper, Obama is staying in a private beachfront home.

He sketched out his plans at a 4,000-person rally on the first day:
"I'm going to get a plate lunch. I might go to Zippy's. I might go to Rainbow Drive-In. I haven't decided yet. Get some Zip Min. I'm going to go get some shave ice. I'm going to go body surfing at an undisclosed location. I'm going to see my tutu -- my grandma -- and I'm going to watch my girls play on the beach, and once in a while I might go into the water. But mostly I'm going to watch them."

"Obama's presence caused a stir everywhere he showed up," the paper reported, but one prominent resident wasn't impressed -- Hawaii's GOP Gov. Linda Lingle. "This is not 'American Idol,'" the McCain supporter said of the choice facing voters this year, according to the article. "This is making an important decision on who should lead our nation."

By Web Politics Editor  |  August 11, 2008; 6:45 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , National Security  
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Obama: "We should continue to push for a United Nations Security Council Resolution calling for an immediate end to the violence."

Doesn't Obama even know how the Security Council works?

Obama: "This action is wholly inconsistent with the Olympic ideal."

For sure, this was an important consideration of the Russians.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Michael14: I sympathize with the Sudatenland, but they shouldn't want to be independent. I hardly think this is worth starting WWII.

Posted by: Skeeter | August 13, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Some of you people just don't get it. Your president has killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and and-Americans, illegally. Don't you see how silly it is for any Potential President to judge Russia. And more of your Heroic men and women will still die from the pollution of the ultimate illegal strike against Iraq. Your President says Russia is not a super power, Test them. There is enough ammo to destroy this Planet 20 times over. Our friends, our neighbors, wake up. Forget about stupid media and look at the facts. Just an older Canadian who wants to make up for my stupid mistakes and greed. We all did it to our younger generation, big time. All for oil, to hell with international laws, it is done, your President fixed that big time, and our Prime Minister did not help much. Someone, prove me wrong, I can take it. May we all be blessed by some god? It is getting so close to election Day for you all, and the the world is watching us and laughing, but what is there to laugh about. All of us, or should I say the irrelevant issues of today. And yes, it was all for oil. Their might be a chance for change, and enough of the dam stupid media in Canada and the U.S of A. It still is we the People, Yes, No?? We still need each other more than anything , yes, no?

Posted by: justadad55+ | August 13, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Michelle, Chavez's belle.
Sont les mots qui vont tres bien ensemble,
tres bien ensemble.

Scariest Speech Ever...........

Well Michell, Venezuela is already set up for you, so is North Korea, & Cuba....Chavez's Belle enjoy the Pipe Dreams :O)

Posted by: Volubrjotr | August 12, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

This was Obama's third statement about the conflict and each one was different.

Posted by: Randy | August 12, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

The Russians were provoked to respond to the killing of Russians by the Georgian military. The Georgains attacked by military force on civilians. Was there justification for Russia to respond? Definitely, just as the US would respond if Americans in another country were being slauthered.

Posted by: Johny | August 12, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Wait for my turn .

Posted by: WORLD | August 12, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Noticing -it is very high level description of both candidates of presidency.
McCain was a good soldier, but its
not enough.We use a term " green brain" for persons, that are to much involved in military.USA need
another attitude to problems that need tobe solved. Obama looks like a person that understands world problems be solved also by another way - not necessarily by wars.

Posted by: Miloš Novotný | August 12, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Obama has 145 more days than I do on the Senate his thoughts and opinions of ANYTHING that has to do with ANY government, or issue is of no import. I'd say just another reason the "Clown Prince" of the South-side of Chicago....has no business pretending to the "Throne" of the Socialist Liberal Democratic Party,but then he does seem to fit the bill considering the mental abilities of the group he aspires to. I'll vote American-American Thankyou...I have no reason to vote African-American,or Mohamaad-American anyway...The guy's a liar in the 1st place, and read what he wrote in his books about the Christian -Americans..who's the Racist??..This election is not to be a Racist issue or contest, but it's turned out to be just that...I respect people of all colors, if they live and work and treat people as though if they were color-blind....he ain't color-blind....and most, not all, of the People of color that make the most noise in this country, are not either...You want respect...earn want an education...earn it, want to be somebody...earn most of us do...or rather sure know how to breed, let's see you learn how to raise your children...then maybe the race issue would just die and blow away.....till then...git' your lazy A&&e# on a boat and sail away back to your place of' dark continent, from which you were sold by your own people to us whitties...
"And The Beat Goes On"

Posted by: One of the Sheep | August 12, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

The more I see Obama supporters on all these forum using major world events involving millions of lives as mere excuses to score points for him and against McCain, the more convinced I am that they and their candidate cannot be entrusted with the welfare of this country. They do not know history. I would like to separate Obama from his supporters, but he would have to think as they do to get reelected. Too bad.

In the Democratic Party I belong to, people are not ridiculed for their age, gender, or class. I recall too the sexist remarks about Clinton, and the classist remarks about working class Democrats. Obama seems to be a cult of personality. I do not recognize the Democratic Party in his supporters. Well, they will learn history when they become part of it: the history that lost us the White House for 28 of the last 40 years.

Posted by: Chicago1 | August 12, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Yet another vacuous OBAMA moment..."no justification"

Launching a sneak attack on S. Ossetia that resulted in numerous civilian deathes isn't cause for intervention?

A 1,000 U.S. 'technical' advisers helping the Georgian government plan and perhaps carry out this attack? ...I realize OBAMA was a kid when the Bay of Pigs occured, but surely he must have read how the CIA screwed up this proxy invasion?

The U.S. flying back the GEORGIAN military delegation and their weapons to 'assist' in this sneak attack?

It's almost as if the Russians were waiting for this GEORGIAN/US invasion to pounce and smack them good--it was a rout!

OBAMA...not only unfit to lead; but clueless when it comes to sorting out who the 'bad' guys really are!

Posted by: COMMONCENTS | August 12, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I like Obama's statements a whole lot more than McCain's statements, including McCain saying that Putin want to re-create the old Russian empire. Say what?! So by insulting the Prime Minister of Russia how does McCain expect to have any creditibility with Russia?

Oh I know...McCain wants to BOMB, BOMB, BOMB...BOMB, BOMB, RUSSIA (like Iran)!

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | August 12, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Obama may not be a rock star, said Linda who?

Posted by: Dan O | August 12, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

So "the one" has found time to comment on the Georgia conflict! And he sparkles! He terms Russia's actions unjustified! Why does he not fly immediately to meet Putin - as he kept bragging during the primaries that he will not hesitate to meet America's adversaries anytime, anywhere?

Obama does not understand the wounded Russian psyche after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the turmoil of the Yeltsin years when chaos reigned and Russia was reduced to the state of a beggar. Putin restored Russia's self respect, ruthlessly cut down the oligarchs who looted Russia's natural resources, crushed the Chechen rebellion and raised the standard of living of ordinary Russians. He is determined not to allow the US to encroach into its sphere of influence which covers the former Soviet bloc.

When the US and West could get Kosovo to break free of Serbia, why should Putin not annex Abkhazia and South Ossetia which never accepted Georgian authority and wanted to merge with Russia? And the US encouraged the foolish Shakasvili to cock a snook at Russia giving him the impression that the US was backing him all the way!! Now the stupid Shakasvili has no one to turn to. He has been thoroughly humiliated and may be ousted.

Ukraine with a restive 45% ethnic Russian population is next to face Putin's wrath. Any goading of Ukraine by the West will result in bifurcation of the country, the Eastern (Russian)part choosing to merge with Russia. Moldova will follow. And the US can forget getting the Muslim Central Asian former Soviet member States from actively joining in an anti Russian alliance.

The US needs to understand it cannot keep Russia from reoccupying its position at the high table just as it cannot prevent China, India and Brazil from this group.

What has Obama to say about these developments besides making "crowd (or rather big media)pleasing" statements which will be contemptuously ignored by Putin? He just flunked his first "test" in foreign affairs!

Posted by: Espi | August 12, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Great analysis of the conflict.

Posted by: tai hunter | August 12, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

People are so caught in this party affiliation crap. Whether you are a Mccain or an Obama supporter, republican or democrat, you are always an American first. I don't get it. So many people judge these candidates even before they hear them out, no wonder Bush was elected 2 terms.!! How can you truly elect best candidate who can advance the country if all you keep hearing is the petty nonsense that's designed to distract and not inform (educate). Obama made some very sound assessment of the situation if you fully evaluate his remarks, but by judging some of the comments people would rather focus on pettiness, same applies for Mccain as well.
This election should be about issues and substance, not smears and character assassination type of campaining.
Pay attention....!!!

Posted by: MARTIN | August 12, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Mark on this one. Georgia started the fight with its invasion of South Ossetia. Their leadership takes its cues from our benighted neocons, so I hope the country is never admitted to NATO or it will pull us into an unnecessary war. Perhaps we could lend then Dick Cheney, indefinitely so the country can pursue its "mouse that roared" with Russia.

Posted by: texun | August 12, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Uh, excuse me... has anybody seen our current commander in chief?

Posted by: TC | August 12, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Wash. Post v. NY Times Redux:
Here is Obama's Full Statement:

I want to just speak briefly about the situation in Georgia. It’s a situation that continues to deteriorate because of Russia’s escalation of the use of military force. At this point I have spoken to President Saakashvili, and conveyed my deep regret over the loss of life, and the suffering of the people of Georgia.

For many months, I have warned that there needs to be active international engagement to peacefully address the disputes over South Ossetia and Abkhazia, including a high-level and neutral international mediator, and a genuine international peacekeeping force – not simply Russian troops.

No matter how this conflict started, Russia has escalated it well beyond the dispute over South Ossetia and has now violated the space of another country. Russia has escalated its military campaign through strategic bombing and the movement of its ground forces into the heart of Georgia. There is no possible justification for these attacks.

I reiterate my call for Russia to stop its bombing campaign, to stop flights of Russian aircraft in Georgian airspace, and to withdraw its ground forces from Georgia. The Georgian government has proposed a cease-fire and the Russian government should accept it. There is also an urgent need for humanitarian assistance to reach the people of Georgia, and casualties on both sides.

The United States, Europe and all other concerned countries must stand united in condemning this aggression, and seeking a peaceful resolution to this crisis. We should continue to push for a United Nations Security Council Resolution calling for an immediate end to the violence. This is a clear violation of the sovereignty and internationally recognized borders of Georgia – the UN must stand up for the sovereignty of its members, and peace in the world.

I welcome the visit of the French and Finnish foreign ministers to Georgia as a first step toward mediation. There should also be a United Nations mediator to address this crisis, and the United States should fully support this effort. We should also convene other international forums to condemn this aggression, to call for an immediate halt to the violence, and to review multilateral and bilateral arrangements with Russia, including Russia’s interest in joining the World Trade Organization.

The violence taking place along the Black Sea is just miles from Sochi, the site for the Winter Olympics in 2014. It only adds to the tragedy and outrage of the current situation that Russia has acted while the world has come together in peace and athletic competition in Beijing. This action is wholly inconsistent with the Olympic ideal.

While returning to a pre-August 8th military posture is a necessary first step towards resolving this crisis, we cannot tolerate the unacceptable status quo that led to this escalation. That means Russian peacekeeping troops should be replaced by a genuine international peacekeeping force, Georgia should refrain from using force in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and a political settlement must be reached that addresses the status of these disputed regions.

Going forward, the United States and Europe must support the people of Georgia. Beyond immediate humanitarian assistance, we must provide economic assistance, and help rebuild what has been destroyed. I have consistently called for deepening relations between Georgia and transatlantic institutions, including a membership action plan for NATO, and we must continue to press for that deeper relationship.

The relationship between Russia and the West is long and complicated. There have been many turning points, for good and ill. This is another turning point.

Let me be clear: we seek a future of cooperative engagement with the Russian government, and friendship with the Russian people. We want Russia to play its rightful role as a great nation, but with that role comes the responsibility to act as a force for progress in this new century, not regression to the conflicts of the past. That is why the United States and the international community must speak out strongly against this aggression, and for peace and security.

Mr. Obama declined to take questions afterward. Earlier today, the Illinois senator’s Republican opponent, Senator John McCain, also talked about the situation while campaigning in Erie, Pa.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

No more hypocracy:

You probably think Bush planted demolitions at the World Trade Center too. Seriously, you need to stop your hate. He will be out of there on January 20, 2009 (or, will he?) LOL

Posted by: JakeD | August 12, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

..So McCaint is now taking the stance of the crony McBush 2....

Rattling "sabers which have no blades in them" sad....pathetic...

Randy Scheunemann....a lobbyist for Tbilisi, Georgia...has to provide McCaint some information for his speech and plagiarizes "WIKIPEDIA" for the information....terrible.....

"The candidate does not speak for the campaign..."

...the candidate does not know where Georgia the "Nation" is let alone the state

The candidate does not know that he had voted against the men & women about to lose their jobs at DHL in OHIO...but "pledges to help them"

The candidate does not know that his "phone" privileges are being removed because he is calling upon his pathetic staff to create "stupiderr" and "stoopidur" attack ads......

Posted by: AlexP1 | August 12, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

We heard so often that, there is a limit of every thing but this Neocons US administration has gone far beyond anything and their hypocrisy doesnt stop to amaze me.

Georgia President Mikhail Saakashvili would never dream of launching a massive military attack unless he got explicit orders from Bush and the US administration. After all, Saakashvili owes his entire political career to American power-brokers and US intelligence agencies.

An operation like this takes months of planning and logistical support especially if it's perfectly timed to coincide with the beginning of the Olympic games.

That means the 100 US military advisors (see W.P. article)and planners must have been working hand in hand with Georgian generals for months in advance not for a picnic session but taking over South Ossesia with all necessary might.

The Russian were right to defend their own people and action was well balanced.

If the Neocons under Bush Leadership, can attack on Afghanistan in retaliation of twin tower. So why not Russians can attack on Georgia in order to defend their own citizens.

Bush and Cheney claim that Russians actions are out of proportionate when they hypocritically were involved behind the scene in what they knew was going to happen in South Ossesia by the Georgian MIlitary.

I asked those hypocrites that when Israel Lebanon war broke out. They didn’t condemn Israel on its in proportionate reaction with the argument that they have right to defend its own citizen. And didn’t allow the cease fire till Israel wants it.

On top of this Bush, Cheney and his Warmongers Cabals Personnel supplied arms and ammunition to the conflict region and United Kingdom facilitate the shipment, which itself is the slap on the face of united nation charter.

Posted by: No more Hypocrisy | August 12, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Could Senator Clinton win the Democratic presidential nomination at the
last minute by taking advantage of buyer's remorse among Democratic
super-delegates who are dismayed by the performance of Senator Obama's
campaign so far?

Here's the scenario: Senator Obama has raised tens of millions more
dollars than Senator McCain, which Democrats think should translate into
an advantage in the polls. The economy is doing poorly, which Democrats
think should translate into an advantage in the polls given that the
Republicans control the White House and the incumbent party is often
blamed for a bad economy.

The Republican nominee-in-waiting, Senator McCain, is old and is
unpopular with his party's base because he has broken with conservatives
on taxes, global warming, torture, and campaign speech limitations. The
Democrats think that should translate into an advantage for them at the
polls, too, even though their presumptive nominee is several kiloparsecs
to the left of Mr. McCain.

The Republican incumbent in the White House, President Bush, is
personally unpopular, blamed for the Iraq War (as Robert L. Bartley
liked to say: "They'll forgive you for being wrong. What they won't
forgive you for is being right"). Three of the top 15 books on the New
York Times bestseller list are Bush-bashing tomes; one advocates that he
be prosecuted for murder. The Democrats think that this, too, should
translate into an advantage for them at the polls.

Despite all these factors, Mr. McCain is running roughly even in the
polls with the presumptive Democratic nominee, Mr. Obama, a time when he
is supposed to be way ahead. In early August of 1988, Governor Dukakis
was ahead of Vice President Bush by a wide margin. In early August of
2004, Senator Kerry was ahead of President Bush. If Mr. Obama doesn't
have a big lead now, it could get pretty ugly for the Democrats as
November approaches, the theory goes.

It will only get worse when Messrs. McCain and Obama face off in
presidential debates. The public will discover that Mr. Obama,
notwithstanding his reputation as a silver-tongued orator, is not that
good a debater - which explains why he did his best to dodge debate
invitations from Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McCain. Feature Mr. Obama's
flubbering on the outbreak of war between Russia and Georgia.

Is all this enough to prompt Democratic super-delegates to re-think
their allegiance to Mr. Obama and hand the nomination to Senator
Clinton? If you count Michigan, Mrs. Clinton won the reported popular
vote in the Democratic primaries and caucuses, 17.8 million to 17.5
million, and won many of the hotly contested big battleground states
that the Democrats need to win in November - Pennsylvania, Ohio,
California, New York, New Jersey, Florida. She won Massachusetts even
after Senators Kennedy and Kerry endorsed Mr. Obama.

Take away the delegates Mr. Obama has by virtue of the endorsement of
Senator Edwards, who has newly admitted deceiving the electorate about
the adultery he committed while his wife lay stricken with cancer, and
the delegate gap is even narrower. Even Mr. Obama doesn't have enough
delegates to win the nomination without the super-delegates, so there
wouldn't be anything terribly exceptional about the super-delegates
putting her rather than him over the top.

Probably all this isn't enough - at least not yet. But what if, by the
time the convention rolls around, Mr. Obama isn't just running neck and
neck with Mr. McCain but is lagging by, say, five percentage points, or
if Mr. Obama makes a big blunder with his choice of a running mate, or
some other campaign stumble? Then expect the whispers already swirling
among Clinton supporters to turn into a full-fledged roar.

Mrs. Clinton's Tuesday keynote address, scheduled for the Tuesday of the
Convention, could then start to sound less like an endorsement speech
and more like a final campaign plea. If it's a real hit, anything can
happen. Expect, too, the well-timed release of some public poll showing
Mrs. Clinton doing better than Mr. Obama in matchups against Mr. McCain
in battleground states. Already the Clinton campaign is surfacing,
through the forthcoming issue of the Atlantic Monthly, a memo portraying
Mr. Obama as "not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking
and in his values."


This newspaper doesn't presume to tell the Democrats whom to nominate,
but we did start out this campaign hoping for three New York
presidential candidates. Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg are out of the
race for the top spot on any ticket, though Mr. Bloomberg may still
prove attractive as a vice presidential candidate. We have no illusions
about the ultra-long-shot of Mrs. Clinton's chances of actually emerging
as the Democratic nominee, but they are not technically impossible, as
Mr. Obama is no doubt aware. Mr. Obama skipped a visit to a military
hospital in Germany. He spent this weekend on vacation in Hawaii. Mrs.
Clinton spent last week visiting wounded service members at Fort Drum.
Mr. Obama may think the primary campaign is over, but Mrs. Clinton's
die-hard supporters still itch for a last-minute surprise.

Posted by: PUMAS UNITE | August 12, 2008 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Look and Listen Closely....and pass it on to all on your e-mail list..

I don't know how everyone is voting but this is worth
the time to listen to what this man says..
This is serious, serious, business.......
Better listen...

Posted by: ABSOLUTE MUST SEE | August 12, 2008 7:36 AM | Report abuse

John McCain wants to play politics over the human sufferings in Georgia. It is this kind of tough talk that got the US into the quagmire it has found itself in Iraq.

Obama is right in making the sensible appeal for ceasation of violence and calling for international mediation. It is the right response, given the fact that Georgia was the aggressor in the first instance. Just because Georgia is pro-Western doesn't make its aggression right.

Posted by: JISantiago | August 12, 2008 4:16 AM | Report abuse

My feeling is that the Ossetians and Abkhazians have a right to self-determination. However, Putin's military operations have now advanced beyond these small regions and he now appears to be going for the rest of Georgia. The fact that the Russians were able to mount such an effective response only hours after the Georgian incursion into South Ossetia, shows that this is a planned military operation, which was only waiting for the first move from Georgia. How long is it until Putin decides that he wants the Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic States back? Being President Minister of Siberia and Moscow clearly isn't enough fun for him.

Posted by: Flacid Casual | August 12, 2008 4:13 AM | Report abuse



Neither action will prduce a safer future!

Posted by: VB | August 12, 2008 3:17 AM | Report abuse

I care about my country.

The bitterness and vitriol of most commenters here is amazing.

Did your parents beat you ever day?

You supported McCain when he was going for the nomination, not a word about his age. Now you are becoming rabid.

What fills you with such hatred, and poison?

Posted by: moralliberal | August 11, 2008 11:26 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 1:32 AM | Report abuse

I am not the one saying "there is no possible justification for this attack." That's YOUR guy.

Posted by: JakeD | August 12, 2008 12:32 AM | Report abuse

No wonder Obama gave Putin a "show-some-restraint" card yesterday. He knee jerked far left yesterday and today he's backtrakin and talkin tough.

Check out who his childhood mentor was...

Posted by: Dr. Dave | August 12, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Missed the credit -

Background on the conflict from EB contributor is from Dmitry Orlov

Posted by: Taihunter | August 11, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

I certainly find it more than curious that while you discuss Obama's repsonse, CERTAINLY that he's ON VACATION - that you don't print his remarks in their entirety here? His remarks were the only remarks that showed any understanding of what has been, and is going on, in Georgia! Bush gave his usual, McCain used it
as a political move in front of 89 flags. Obama remarks had incredible substance.
I'm beginning to think that the media will not allow such remarks to be shown - ya know, the kind of remarks that show so all-emcompassing understand by a candidate (or a President in this case).

Posted by: barbara miller | August 11, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

It turns out that I am somewhat qualified to write on the subject: when I was in grad school (linguistics) I studied Abkhaz, the curious language spoken by the indigenous population of the separatist republic of Abkhazia. (Abkhazia is involved in the current conflict, working to flush Georgian forces out of the Kodor gorge, which is the one piece of their territory that remains under nominal Georgian control, as well as providing volunteers to help the South Ossetian side.) Later, finding that the Abkhaz side was woefully underrepresented, I started a web site, ("Apsny" being the Abkhaz word for Abkhazia), where, with help from Prof. Hewitt of the School of Oriental and African Languages in London, Prof. Chirikba, an Abkhaz linguist, and many others, I tried to present facts uncurried by extreme nationalist sentiments. At that time, the internet was dominated by the Georgian side, which was eager to accuse the Abkhaz of atrocities while discounting their own role in the bloody and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to regain control of the breakaway republic, in which some ten thousand people had died and many more had been displaced. For my diligent service, which spanned more than a decade, I received voluminous hate mail and many death threats from the Georgian side, as well as official expressions of gratitude from the Abkhaz side. Be that as it may, I find both the Georgians and the Abkhaz quite amazing, I am sure that the world would be much poorer without them, and I wish they would leave each other in peace, so that I can go and visit either place as I wish.

For obvious reasons, my view of the Caucasus region has always been colored by my interest in linguistics. While the Caucasus mountains are certainly some of the highest and most impressive in the world, it is also a mountain of exotic and often unrelated languages. While Abkhaz, Chechen, and some others form a single North Caucasian family of languages, Georgian (Kartvelian) is only vaguely related to Basque, spoken in France and in Spain, while Ossetian is distantly related to Persian. For thousands of years, the region has been a mosaic made up of fiercely independent tribes, of which Georgians (Kartvelians) were only one of the largest. This made them more capable of forming a viable political entity (a kingdom, initially), but never could they aspire to dominating their neighbors, to whom they were not even vaguely related, either ethnically or linguistically. And language did play a big role: although bilingualism and even multilingualism were by no means rare, none of the tribes were too eager to learn the language of any other tribe en masse. For instance, prior to their being conquered and absorbed into the Russian Empire, the Chechens were a trilingual society, using Arabic in the mosque, Turkish in the market, and one of the "home languages" in the home village. After the Russian conquest, which was very bloody and resulted in the annihilation of several smaller tribes, among them the Ubykh, who simply would not surrender, the Russian language became the lingua franca of the entire region.

To the conquering Russians, Georgia represented the rich, creamy heart of the incredibly tough nut of the Caucasus region. In contrast to the many small and taciturn mountain tribes, many of them either Moslem or animist, here was an Orthodox Christian nation with great traditions of art, music, architecture, poetry, an unparalleled joie de vivre, and a delicious national cuisine. Georgians easily secured for themselves a pleasant role within the empire. Leaving administrative chores to the Russians and commerce and the trades to the Armenians, they were free to indulge in more pleasant pursuits, such as feasting, falconry, and entertaining foreign visitors. This trend had carried over into Soviet times, making Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic a favored tourist destination, a prosperous place complete with amusing wines, delicious food, an exuberantly friendly population that spoke your language, and majestic mountains for a backdrop. In the interest of maintaining public order, the Russians tried to be even-handed in their treatment of the non-Georgian tribes. Knowing full well just how much trouble they can be, they administered their territories as autonomous units within Georgia. One of the more glaring exceptions to this was the arbitrary administrative inclusion of Abkhazia within Georgia, which was done by Joseph Stalin (Dzhugashvili), who was a Georgian, and which in many ways laid the ground for the current conflict.

Their being so well coddled within the fold of the great empire cultivated in the Georgians a sense of exceptionalism and entitlement vis à vis their smaller and poorer neighbors, which, once the Soviet Union collapsed and the Russians departed, gave rise to a particularly rabid, venomous, and ultimately self-destructive brand of nationalism. The first post-independence Georgian leader, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, was killed rather quickly. Part of his nationalist rhetoric involved labeling other tribes, such as the Abkhaz and the Ossetians, as newcomers and gypsies, who are only welcome as "guests" on Georgian soil. Next up was Eduard Shevardnadze, who was Foreign Minister of the USSR under Gorbachev, and who was more or less handed Georgia as his personal fiefdom by the West, as his reward for idly standing by and smiling pleasantly while the Berlin wall was being torn down. He was given UN recognition and foreign aid, and told to go ahead and try to preserve "Georgia's territorial integrity." At this he failed miserably, causing a senseless bloodbath and a flood of refugees. Shevardnadze slowly sank into a morass of corruption and national decay, until finally even the West decided that he smelled bad and unceremoniously replaced him with a shiny new face: the American-educated Mikhail Saakashvili. And this brings us to the current conflict, which he started. It is unclear why he decided to start it, but then his American education might offer a clue: the US doesn't seem to need good reasons to start wars either.

It may be difficult for some people to grasp why it is that the Abkhaz or the Ossetians do not much fancy suddenly becoming Georgian, so let me offer you a precise analogy. Suppose Los Angeles, California, were to collapse as the USSR once did, and East L.A. quickly moved to declare its independence. Suppose, further, that the 88% of its population that is Hispanic/Latino voted that the other 12% were free to stay on as "guests," provided they only spoke Spanish. The teaching of English were to be forbidden. After some bloody skirmishes, East L.A. split up into ethnic enclaves. Then some foreign government (say, Russian, or Chinese) stepped in and started shipping in weapons and providing training to the Latino faction, in support of their efforts to restore East L.A.'s "territorial integrity." As a non-Hispanic resident of East L.A., would you then (1) run and hide, (2) stay and fight, or (3) pick up a copy of "Spanish for Dummies" and start cramming?

The Abkhaz and the South Ossetians have made their preference very clear by applying for and being issued with a Russian passport. That's right, the majority of the present native population of these two "separatist enclaves" are bona fide citizens of the Russian Federation with all the privileges appertaining thereto. Lacking any other options, they are happy to accept protection from Russia, use Russian as their lingua franca, and fight for their right to be rid of Georgians once and for all. One of the privileges of being a Russian citizen at this stage, when Russia has recovered from its political and economic woes following the Soviet collapse, is that if some foreign entity comes and shells a settlement full of Russian citizens, you can be sure that Russia will open one amazingly huge can of whoop-ass on whoever it feels is responsible. Add to that the atrocities allegedly perpetrated by the Georgian forces, such as finishing off wounded Russian peacekeepers, and you can see why the normally shy and reticent Russian army might get behind the idea of making sure Georgia no longer poses a military threat to anyone. The Georgians have really done it to themselves this time, and we should all feel very sorry for them. They are not evil people, just incredibly misguided by their horrible national politicians. The West, and the US in particular, bear responsibility for enabling this bloodbath by providing them with arms, training, and encouraging them to fight for their "territorial integrity."

This, it will no doubt turn out, was the wrong thing to do. The term "Georgia's territorial integrity" has been bantered about and proffered lamely as an excuse for an untenable status quo for almost two decades now, with poor results. In the meantime, the territorial integrity of another semi-defunct state, Serbia has been sacrificed on the altar of geopolitics. Kosovo, which is Serbia's historical homeland, has been cleansed of Serbians, and alienated from Serbia proper. For those who are vague on the details of that conflict, here is a summary. Kosovo became majority-Albanian due to Albanians' higher birth rate. The Albanians then formed Kosovo Liberation Army, which fought Serbians for independence and lost. Albanians then fled en masse to Albania. The US and NATO then intervened, bombed Kosovo and Serbia, repatriated the refugees, and turned Kosovo into a UN protectorate. The next step from the West's point of view is to recognize Kosovo's independence, taking it away from Serbia forever.

If Kosovo is to Serbia as Abkhazia and South Ossetia are to Georgia, what, you might ask, is the key difference that mandates a different outcome for the latter? Well, there are quite a few (neither is Georgia's historical homeland, both fought for independence and won, both are populated by indigenous tribes rather than newcomers from across the border), but the most salient seems to be this one: Serbia, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia are all BAD (aligned with Moscow) while Georgia is GOOD (aligned with the West and US, and wants to join NATO). Morality, which, I am sure, underpins Western and US foreign policy, dictates that the bad be punished, and the good rewarded. I submit to you that such self-serving logic is a political dead end, and that if senseless bloodshed is to be stopped and peace is to be restored to the Caucasus, Western and US leaders will have to activate several additional brain cells, and stop mindlessly repeating the meaningless phrase "Georgia's territorial integrity."

Posted by: Taihunter | August 11, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

MSM...leave Obama alone. He is on vacation with his family. GW Bush is president. This is not some type of hypothetical situation for both McCain and Obama to comment on. Ultimately, the official (and hopefully smart) US response will come from GW Bush. Just 4 more months of Bush, thank the Almighty.

If the MSM wants to get some juicy commentary to work off of, then they should ask McCain should the US send military aid to Georgia?

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | August 11, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

The bitterness and vitriol of most commenters here is amazing.

Did your parents beat you ever day?

You supported McCain when he was going for the nomination, not a word about his age. Now you are becoming rabid.

What fills you with such hatred, and poison?

Posted by: moralliberal | August 11, 2008 11:26 PM | Report abuse

What a flip=flopper. Yesterday he was handing the former Soviets a "restraint" card and today he's a-talkin-tough. This guy changes his mind faster than a NY minute. Friend of foe can't trust a word he says and neither can we.

Posted by: Dr. Dave | August 11, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Depending how far a news person wants to go on this. I think there is a good case to be made he is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. All it would take would be a panel of experts to examine him over the last year in just what is on tape. There must be hundreds of hours of tape of him. I am far from an expert but I certainly see the decline over the last year and it is huge if you go back to 2000. He is undoubtedly a sick man and getting worse quickly. You would think the possibility of a man being elected president who may be losing his mind would be an issue. WTF is going on here?

TPM has put together a powerful video on John McCain's consistent mental fumbling. God help us all if that angry old man is elected president because he's either a mental midget or he is senile:

Posted by: PsiFighter5 | August 11, 2008 10:59 PM

Posted by: mason | August 11, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

TPM has put together a powerful video on John McCain's consistent mental fumbling. God help us all if that angry old man is elected president because he's either a mental midget or he is senile:

Posted by: PsiFighter5 | August 11, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: JakeD | August 11, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Tough talk by Mccain and nothing to back it up. The US is nothing but a paper tiger any more and Russia knows it. They have no reason to listen to our bullsh&t. In 8 years Bush and the Republicans have taken the US from a world power to a world joke who can't even pay our bills. Mccain will finish the job if he is elected. We can't be talking bluster, we don't even have any military left at the moment. Threatening the world with our nuclear weapons doesn't work anymore, they don't care. They know they can beat us economically. Our money is almost worthless, they will just buy our country and let us live here. The republicans may have begun the undoing of what was over 200 years in the making in a very short time. Nothing is forever and the same with this country. Our best years are behind us.

Posted by: wander | August 11, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Some Leader you dimwit Democrats got there in Obama! NOBAMA 2008!

Posted by: Sherry Kay 2004 | August 11, 2008 9:49 PM

Hey Sherry,
Instead of crying on here, shouldn't you be busy writing and sending out those fake anti-Obama rightwing lunitc fringe E-mails tonight?

Posted by: Jacquie | August 11, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Sherry Kay 2004 - and what does your fella say? Too afraid to say? Dimwit.

Posted by: michael4 | August 11, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Does stolen Kodak words like "this is your moment" make Obama an expert on foreign affairs? And Russia? GET REAL!

Posted by: DEM now IND | August 11, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

JULIAN JEN - hey, what planet are you on? This site is for political whining and complaining...go find your own site.

Posted by: michael4 | August 11, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

McCain and his warmongering Neocon friends (BushCo) policy towards Russia is insane.
First off is the fact that Russia, unlike Iraq, is a large country with a formidable military and a nuclear arsenal that is equal to ours. Secondly, Russia happens to be partly located in central Asia (yes, this is a no-brainer to us, but a lot of McCain's supporters, Republicans, know zip about geography). Thirdly, Russia is a major producer of oil and natural gas, and is one of those countries that could set the global economy into a tailspin should they be so inclined.

Posted by: Drain You | August 11, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

McCain wants to restart the Cold War to justify more military defense spending. His campaign staff is filled with lobbyists and some of them lobby for the miltary industrial complex.

Posted by: Phil Slowsky | August 11, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, McCain's attack ad really fit in well with the positive atmosphere at the Olympics. Not.

Posted by: Patrick | August 11, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Once a cheater, always a Cheater

Adultery cast a shadow on a person's ethics. However, it does not necessarily mean that the offending person would be a bad president unless; the said affair affects tax payers, credibility of the person, the office he/she occupies or the one being aspired for.

John McCain had a well-documented affair on his first wife, with his current wife. He has admitted this in books he has written about his life that he ran around with several different women while still married to his first wife. And don't forget that he left her for a younger, richer woman who is now Cindy McCain. He then later went on to cheat on Cindy with lobbyist Vicki Iseman.

Vicki Iseman represented telecommunication companies on the Senate Commerce Committee that John chaired. They contributed tens of thousands of dollars to McCain's campaigns. In return, McCain championed de-regulation for them. He pressured the FCC to uphold marketing agreements allowing a television company to control two stations in the same city. He introduced a bill to create tax incentives program for them. Two times, he tried to advance legislation that would permit a company to control television stations in overlapping markets (an important issue for Vicki's largest client). If John Edwards' political career is over, why isn't John McCain's? Is John credible enough to be trusted to serve as our next President?

Posted by: jesse | August 11, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

WOW! So cowardly peacenik flower child little wimpy wuss Marxist Socialist Democrat Liberal Loser Der Leader Empty
Suit Barack Hussein Obama has emerged from
hiding in Hawaii just long enough to wag
his pointy finger at Russia and Russian
Leaders Dimtry Medvevdev and Vladimir Putin
and say "Naughty! Naughty now you nasty old
bully boys stop this war with Georgia right
now or I will hit you with my wilted little
peace flower." Some Leader you dimwit Democrats got there in Obama! NOBAMA 2008!

Posted by: Sherry Kay 2004 | August 11, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse


The Russians seem intent on weakening the United States supplied and trained Georgian miiitary forces. Putin also seems to be trying to discourage further Georgian attacks on the autonomous region.

This is similar to the first Bush who sought, with urging from some guy named Cheney, to destroy as much of the Iraqi army as possible after it retreated from Kuwait. Colin Powell persuaded Bush to cease United States attacks after much of the retreating Iraqi military had been destroyed.

From what should be acceptable standards of the 21st century, Russia has overreacted. But the Bush-Cheney regime overreacted even more so in invading and occupying Iraq, a country that posed no threat to the United States. Also, Israel's invasion of Lebanon a few years ago was an overreaction, but Bush did not seem to mind then.

Posted by: Independent | August 11, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

While serving time in multiple Wisconsin State prisons for the Robbery and Kidnapping of a City of Milwaukee detectives daughter, Newt Turner, CEO of G Livin Entertainment, designed the blueprint for an entertainment company called, “G-Livin” – which is known for its’ empowering and inspirational ideology. But now his movement is has been widely criticized by music executives, critics, religious organizations and parents for its’ graphic and violent subject matter.

He says, " I feel like if majority of Americans can accept these pedophile Catholic priests molesting and raping their children, then I should be able to heal those emotional scars through my music and literature, without censorship issues.”
A mother of four from Raleigh, North Carolina – who asked to remain anonymous said, “The song, “TeenAnger” should be banned from radio and stores. If the government allows him to release that music, then he should be liable for any violence children may commit after listening to it.”

“These whacked out parents don’t understand the mentalities and the emotional needs of their own children, said Newt. They don’t take the necessary time to learn about what they created. There are reasons why kids go to school and shoot everybody up. There was a reason my homegirl blew her head off her shoulders. There is a reason why a three year old girl starts crying when you leave her alone with her grandfather. I am just giving you the reasons why.”

“I don't care what people may say or think about who I am, what I am or what I am about. I refuse to let the opinions and comments of others deter me from my mission and vision. I’m always gonna stand up for what I believe in, even if I’m the only one standing”

Time Waits For No One: The First Gospel is a graphic and terrifying entry gate into a world we have never seen in music or literature. It’s a world of child abuse, sex, betrayal, ambitious lust, violence, revenge and the imprisonment of mind body and soul.

It is scheduled to be released the fall of 2008.

Julian Jen
Freelance Writer

To view the controversial song, “TeenAnger” click below. View at your own discretion.

For news and opinions on Newt Turner follow this link -

For more information on Newt Turner, visit (music) or keyword Newt Turner using your favorite search engine.

Posted by: JULIAN JEN | August 11, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Daniel Jones:

Did Georgia troops inflict any casualties on Thursday? Why didn't Russian troops STOP after repeling Georgian troops from South Osettia? Why is the Georgian capital being threatened? I thought your crowd was against wars of pre-emption?

Posted by: JakeD | August 11, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, I'm in Oregon. Don't send Jeff here.

Posted by: Daniel Jones | August 11, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Georgia became the aggressor on Thursday last when they attacked the region of South Osettia. Now they're whining about getting their fannies kicked. Russia has been aligned with South Osettia for a decade or more. What did the Georgians have in mind by using lethal force against these people? Obama, McCain and Bush should keep their pie holes shut. They're all wrong on this one.

Posted by: Daniel Jones | August 11, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Why go on and on about Obama's grandma and his family? They're not in Russia or Georgia. Interesting how you try to make trouble--how do you know that granny isn't at fault in your web of fiction? Maybe grandma wished her grandson had married a white woman like her an her daughter. Do you think stuff like that doesn't happen? When I was 42 years old, I found out that my mom had a sister in Wisconsin whom I'd never ever heard of from anyone in the family. The reason she finally came in touch with my mom (and their four other sisters) was because her racist husband passed away. She was finally free of his kkk self and wasted no time getting back in touch with her mixed-race family. Unfortunately, avoiding her siblings and mom for about 47 years to placate hubby made for some serious fireworks and a contentious reunion. The wounds have been very very slow to heal. It's the younger generation--all of the cousins--who've been much more forgiving and open. SO, stop the one-sided speculation about Obama's hawaii vacation and his white grandmother and his wife and children.

Posted by: v r c | August 11, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

I sympathize with Georgia, but they shouldn't have invaded Ossetia. I hardly think it worth starting WW III.

Posted by: michael4 | August 11, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Obama is sounding increasingly as McCain-Bush lite in his foreign policy pronouncements. He seems to perceive he needs to come across as a "tough" leader to compete with McCain's widespread image as a warmonger, which adds to his appeal with many of the least informed voters. With his belligerent rhetoric, he would not be likely to significantly change our nation's foreign policies.

The neo-cons seem to have taken over "The Washington Post." First they were avid cheerleaders for the invasion of Iraq. The "coverage" of the Olympics is blatantly chauvinistic and their "coverage" of the Russia-Georgia conflict seems something out of the 1950's.

"The New York Times" and PBS coverage has been infinitely more balanced.

Posted by: Independent | August 11, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

to: samuel | August 11, 2008 7:27 PM

"robotic fans"? Ha! It's hilarious. You probably don't see it because you are part of the crowd - but Obama is the one with the "fans" - remember the fawning Germans?... and look around at all the fawning Americans. People care more about celebrities than reality, so that may unfortunately be the reason he wins.

to: Joe | August 11, 2008 8:05 PM
"McCain is not American, but Panamanian."

Are you serious? There is this thing called "google" that can be a miracle for the uninformed. Just search for "Who is born a United States citizen" or similar.

Posted by: Jack | August 11, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

im not really a democrat or republican but i care more about issues than labels. i think obama has the potential to be a great president, mccain does as well, i think we should give democrats a turn who are willing to reach across the isle like mccain. I think obama is dedicated enough to be president because he actually stopped his family time to address this issue

Posted by: tyler | August 11, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

What a load of garbage. Georgia is the aggressor here. South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia years ago. 99% of the people there voted for independence, under a vote-watching board made up of various European countries.

It was Georgia who launched a military invasion of Ossetia and Abkhazia. It was Georgia who killed Russian peacekeepers in the region. And now it's Georgia who is whining because they aren't willing to pay the price for their aggression.

Perhaps they shouldn't have listened to all the empty promises of the Bush Administration, who have been stirring up the Georgians and Ukrainians for years now. I guess the CIA is unhappy to see their plans for building up Georgia as a bullwark against Russia unraveling before their eyes.

Posted by: Spirit of '76 | August 11, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Barack HUSSEIN Obama will not be sworn in as President on January 20, 2009.

Posted by: JakeD | August 11, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey jeff, how painful will it be for you personally to see Obama as President? Based on your post, pretty painful I bet. If it gets too bad, you can always move to Oregon...

Posted by: steve boyington | August 11, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse


That's my biggest concern, so I can appreciate your apprehensiveness -- I still think his campaign finance reform is un-Constitutional -- but, do you think the chances are better that Obama nominates Supreme Court Jutices like Roberts and Alito?

Posted by: JakeD | August 11, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse


Hopefully you consider the chicago tribune a more credible source than youtube. Obama took his family and his wife, grandmother, and children are spending valuable family time togather like you said they should.

Please do research before posting stuff like that. People like you are the only reason people are having trouble with obama, they hear the hundreds of rumors republican radio hosts have started and people just follow because they think it is news. I am sorry but it is mostly a gossip. I emplore you to do some lengthy research.

FYI, I am a republican and would gladly vote for mccain if I thought he would actually do what he says and had some brains.

Posted by: Ryan | August 11, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

comment for Joe...Sorry noticing:)

Posted by: Sigmond | August 11, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

noticing...Post your CV and we'll evaluate your ability to make objective evaluations.

Posted by: Sigmond | August 11, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

The article is about a very serious situation. People, including innocent civilians, are getting killed.

No one has the right to judge when Obama should take a vacation. It is very apparent that he is not taking a "real" vacation where someone shuts out the rest of the world.

It would be nice is people stopped and said a prayer for the people in Russia and Georgia.

Posted by: Jim | August 11, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Putin will make mincemeat out of Obama if he is elected.

Posted by: Sigmond | August 11, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Just spiffy that he takes three days to come up with his statement about the conflict. As a Presidential candidate, and as President, you need to put some things aside to lead.

If he had it in him, this would have been the perfect opportunity to put down the doubters and take charge of the situation on Friday (or Saturday....or Sunday....).

Posted by: Noticing | August 11, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

With all the "elitist" talk from McCain, I wonder if the Republicans think we should choose the best man for the job?

Maybe it would help to add a little biography here?

Because Obama was a self-made man. He went from being raised by a poor, single mother to putting himself through the Ivy League. He didn't even list himself as black on his application so that he wouldn't get chosen because of Affirmative Action. He made it on his own merits, wrote his own books to make his fortune and worked his way up through the Senate. Now, he's close to becoming President.

McCain is not American, but Panamanian. He was born to high-ranking military parents in Panama, though on a part of it considered to be US soil, from which he gets his citizenship (and eligibility to run for President). McCain was 4th from the bottom of his class in the Air Force and got into college as a legacy because he wasn't smart enough on his own. Indeed, he still can't keep Sunni and Shiite, let alone Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan straight in his speeches.

McCain has crashed 4 planes. Daddy may have been an Admiral, but war doesn't tolerate incompetence. That's how he became a POW. He resisted torture admirably for quite a while, but North Korea broke him and he was released sometime after he appeared in a propaganda video for them to show how wonderful North Korea was and how 'evil' America was. The effects of this are not known, because hand-picked press got to see all 4,000 pages of his medial records for only a few hours. All they had time to read was about his melanoma (skin cancer).

After McCain got back from the war, he found that his first wife had been in an accident. So he started cheating on her. He managed to get a marriage license before divorcing his first wife. He became a Senator with daddy's connections and his POW status.

He got embroiled in the Keating 5 scandal early in his political career and barely escaped. He ran a respectable campaign against Bush in 2000, but lost in an ugly way. He took this to heart. In the past 3 years, he's flip-flopped on almost every issue you can name, from immigration to taxes. He was against the Bush tax cuts before he supported them. He's now preaching against his OWN immigration bill. He wrote the thing, and now he's disowning it, lest Republicans find out that he's softer on immigration than they'd like him to be. He's hired one of Carl Rove's students, so that he can play as dirty as the other Republicans.

He may not be Bush, but he's adopted Bush's policies, Bush's old political advisers, and Bush's strategy for winning the election. He avoids real issues like the plague and pumps out negative ads, even during the Olympics. We're going the wrong way, but he has no plan for America. He'd rather play politics than help fix America.

I should know. He's my Senator. I've voted for him for years. But now, looking at an unnecessary, trillion dollar war and the Republican "fiscal responsibility" that turned a huge budget surplus into massive debt, I feel betrayed by the Republican party in general and him specifically.

Don't vote for this man. He's not the person he used to be.

Posted by: Joe | August 11, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Senator Obama's assessment and condemnation of the Naked Russian Aggression into Georgia for no possible justification and the call for diplomacy and "active international reasons engagement" is the right response for this crisis. Russia is after Georgia's oil and they should pay for it not try and steal it and the World will not let that happen without a fight on all levels.

Posted by: Fareed H. Ansari | August 11, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

I have no dog in this fight, but puh-lease! Georgia attacked first and hit many civilian areas, even whole towns away from military installations, including apartment blocks, universities and hospitals. There's a video circulating on youtube of an American staying in Ossetia who confirms all this, and he lambasts Georgia's aggression. American "advisors" (ie, mercenaries, most likely supplied by CIA) are over there helping our lapdog Georgia (and some American mercs are reported captured or killed). Will these soldiers for hire be treated as 'enemy combatants', tortured and placed in Russian gulags. Do we have any moral high ground that says they should not be? DIdn't we invade Iraq without any attack against us by Iraq? So why can't Russia attack if their land and people were attacked first? And now we are flying Georgian soldiers out of Iraq back to Georgia, essentially assisting in the fight against Russia. Insanity. Nothing Obama is saying about this event is his own thought. It all comes from his foreign policy advisor and one-world government agent Zbigniew Brzezinski. The guy is just frothing at the mouth for a war with Russia. Like Ron Paul and the Founding Fathers said - we have to stay out of entangling alliances - it always comes back to screw us while government and the military industrial complex gets larger and more pervasive. People, we cant afford to spend billions a day on these foreign escapades while our country's economy and manufacturing base is tanking by the day! War is NOT good for any economy, despite myths to the contrary.

Posted by: mark | August 11, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

I have no dog in this fight, but puh-lease! Georgia attacked first and hit many civilian areas, even whole towns away from military installations, including apartment blocks, universities and hospitals. There's a video circulating on youtube of an American staying in Ossetia who confirms all this, and he lambasts Georgia's aggression. American "advisors" (ie, mercenaries, most likely supplied by CIA) are over there helping our lapdog Georgia (and some American mercs are reported captured or killed). Will these soldiers for hire be treated as 'enemy combatants', tortured and placed in Russian gulags. Do we have any moral high ground that says they should not be? DIdn't we invade Iraq without any attack against us by Iraq? So why can't Russia attack if their land and people were attacked first? And now we are flying Georgian soldiers out of Iraq back to Georgia, essentially assisting in the fight against Russia. Insanity. Nothing Obama is saying about this event is his own thought. It all comes from his foreign policy advisor and one-world government agent Zbigniew Brzezinski. The guy is just frothing at the mouth for a war with Russia. Like Ron Paul and the Founding Fathers said - we have to stay out of entangling alliances - it always comes back to screw us while government and the military industrial complex gets larger and more pervasive. People, we cant afford to spend billions a day on these foreign escapades while our country's economy and manufacturing base is tanking by the day! War is NOT good for any economy, despite myths to the contrary.

Posted by: mark | August 11, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse


Please explain this in more detail to all those anti-war Obama supporters.

Posted by: JakeD | August 11, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

white male voter:

I have never shoved a female in my life. As for women's rights to their bodies, statistically speaking (although it's probably higher in reality) more than half of the abortions kill females, so I am standing up their rights -- African-Americans are disproportionately aborted as well -- I wonder if you think Andrea Yates had the right to kill her children?

Posted by: JakeD | August 11, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

You're a male shovernist, stop speaking for women's rights to their bodies. Speak for freedom, not removal of them as your restrictive leader McBush is pushing.

Posted by: white male voter | August 11, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

It is past time that Russian membership in the WTO was placed on the table. I hope the Russians are listening, because the next president of the United States is talking. The Russians are miscalculating if they think Obama a dove. That goes for the Iranians as well, who would have been wise to take Bush up on his desperate offer, rather than roll the dice with Obama.

Posted by: Whys | August 11, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse


As long as they nominate Supreme Court Justices like Roberts and Alito, yes.

Posted by: JakeD | August 11, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Enough is enough. How dare anyone attack a candidate for a family decision on who sees grandma. This is truly amazing. Maybe some McCain drone pushing a party line about attacking Obama personally. McCain's political positions have moved rapidly to the right over the past two years so he has nothing to run on but to attack Obama personally and his robotic fans are just following along. And, let's remeber that McCain had an affair with Cindy while his first wife was ill. Is that the kind of character you want from your next president?

Posted by: samuel | August 11, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

"This is not 'American Idol'"


Posted by: JakeD | August 11, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

The Dysfunctional Obama

Posted: 11 Aug 2008 10:53 AM CDT

What’s the deal with Barack Obama slipping to see his grandmother without his wife and children? The woman who really raised him gets to see him for an hour. She doesn’t see his children, her great-grandchildren, possibly the last time she might be able to see them. And the wife, Michelle, is AWOL.

What is going on here? If this were any other candidate serious questions would be asked about how he treats his family, especially for a candidate whose campaign is based on the storyline of his extraordinary personal history.

Is it Obama himself who doesn’t want his wife and children to see his grandmother, whom he dismissively called a “typical white person”? Or is it Michelle? Does she want nothing to do with the woman who raised her husband? Why does she keep her children away from their great-grandmother? Or does she cooperate with her husband in keeping them away? (more…)

Obama Forgets the Forgotten Middle Class

Posted: 11 Aug 2008 09:00 AM CDT

During the opening night of the Olympics, John McCain broadcast the following ad, titled “Painful”:

Posted by: jeff | August 11, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

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