Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Russian Rampage

“The president has ordered the special forces to take all necessary measures to find and destroy the criminals who killed Russian diplomats in Iraq,” news agencies said, citing the Kremlin press service.

That's right. President Putin is squashing the terrorists who killed 4 embassy workers who were kidnapped last week and murdered. He's authorizing "all necessary measures" to find and destroy the enemy. Good on ya, Putin! Go get some insurgent asses and fry the suckers in bacon grease. But, it does make me wonder about his motive.

This is the same President Putin who, in 2004, was quoted in the Washington Post as saying "It is one thing to have information that Hussein's regime was preparing acts of terrorism -- we did have this information, and we handed it over. . . . But we did not have information that they were involved in any terrorist acts whatsoever and, after all, these are two different things." Ok... so you knew Saddam was plotting against the US, but because they didn't have the chance to carry out those attacks before we took him out of power, you won't throw your support our way? That's what we call "defense", Mr. Putin. In driver's ed class they call it "defensive driving"- look out for obstacles and take measures to avoid accidents. We preemtively protected our country against a possible attack. I have NO problem with that.

The same President Putin who, in 2003, said that "war against Iraq would be a mistake fraught with the gravest consequences for Iraq and the international community as a whole." Yeah. Helping Iraqi's establish a non-terroristic democratic government is a "grave consequence". NOT.

This is also the same President Putin who has been leading his own war in Chechnya where 4 or 5 people a day simply "disappear" as a result of what is essentially military kidnappings. Chechnya continues to be the single largest human rights crisis in Europe and the only place on the continent where civilians are killed and “disappeared” on a daily basis as a result of an armed conflict. Credible human rights organizations continue to report "atrocities, disappearances, torture, and extrajudicial killings committed by Russian federal forces. Chechnya is trying to cecede from the Russian Federation and become an independent country. Although major conflict stopped several years ago, the Russians still have plenty of military confrontations in Chechnya today. Sounds a lot worse than Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, and other atrocities our guys are accused of committing. Yeah, but the Chechnya situation is different, right Mr. Putin? You're committing genocide... we're just getting rid of terrorists. (OK... sarcastic font off now)

The UN repeatedly tried to get Putin to back down over Chechyna, but he refused. Reading about the Chechnian war makes me think about Saddam. Saddam and Putin have both waged war on their own citizens. They both have militaries who make people "disappear" on a large scale. And, of course, they both oppose the US being in Iraq helping to secure a democratic government for Iraq's future.

It's no wonder Putin doesn't support the US in Iraq. But now that Russians have been kidnapped and murdered in Iraq, I wonder what their spin on it will be. Will they admit that there's a problem in Iraq and join the US in fighting the insurgents? Or will they blame the US for angering the insurgents, leading to the murders of 4 Russian citizens?

I hope I'm wrong, but I'm guessing they go with #2 and blame the US.


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