Georgia on my mind

Byline: | Category: Foreign Policy | Posted at: Sunday, 10 August 2008

BAGHDAD – Last night in the mess hall two Georgian officers sat down at the table opposite me.  The one facing me was a bit disheveled; his uniform top was misbuttoned.  It was the kind of mistake you could make if you were in a hurry.  Both ate quickly and silently. 

I wanted to say something, but what do you say at a time like this?  And I thought, what did I say to my friends in New York on 9-11?  I rose from my chair, walked over, and asked if they had spoken with their families.  They had.  And they were alright.

The tiny Republic of Georgia, which straddles the land bridge between the world’s largest lake and the largest inland sea, is home to five million people.  Both in population and in size, it is smaller than the other Georgia most Americans know.  And yet, that miniscule country has provided 2,000 soldiers to assist our mission in Iraq.  Why?

The answer to that question is obvious when you look at a list of countries who have forces here.  Among the thirty nations are all three Baltic Republics, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhistan, and the Ukraine–each one a former Soviet Republic–along with several former Soviet Bloc countries including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Romania.  These are all countries who knew oppression.  They knew fear.  And they knew death at the hands of dictators. 

They knew one other thing too.  They knew the power of America to transform a hopeless situation.  They knew that America didn’t abandon them.  Sure it took a while, but they knew that America would persevere. And that they would persevere.  And that they would win.  And they did win.

That’s why, when in the sixth year of this war, when much of the rest of the world has abandoned America, when even many Americans have abandoned America, they who know best the horror of oppression, and the strength of the American spirit, have not abandoned us here in Iraq.

Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Slovenia, and all the rest who have been allowed out  out from behind the Iron Curtain are now looking at America to watch what we do for Georgia.

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28 Responses to “Georgia on my mind”

  1. swift boater Says:

    If this were the GWB of 2001-2003, I’d have no worries. Now, after the unending onslaught of the left…….

    On a related note, wonder what type of reception the Messiah would get if he had an outdoor speech in any of the above mentioned nations.

  2. Russia’s Aggression–UPDATED « Blog Entry « Dr. Melissa Clouthier Says:

    [...] Instapundit, Bob Krum who has Georgia on his mind: The tiny Republic of Georgia, which straddles the land bridge between the world’s largest lake [...]

  3. ZEITGEIST Says:

    [...] BOB KRUMM: “Last night in the mess hall two Georgian officers sat down at the table opposite me. The one facing me was a bit disheveled; his uniform top was misbuttoned. It was the kind of mistake you could make if you were in a hurry. Both ate quickly and silently. I wanted to say something, but what do you say at a time like this?” [...]

  4. David Hinz Says:

    Yes indeed, that is the question. What WILL America do? T

    he timing could not have been better planned, as the world turns its attention toward China and the Olympics — as President Bush looks at a domestic economy desperate for for relief at the gas pump to literally pump life into American business — as both political parties look toward a hard-fought November election; clear differences in philosophy to determine the future direction of this country.

    And, of course, as the situation in Iraq appears to be stabilizing — both militarily and politically — amid fears about Iranian nuclear ambitions.

    President Bush looked into the eyes of Vladimir Putin and saw… I feel certain he did not see this.

  5. Dan Collins Says:

    Amen.

  6. What Do We Owe Georgia? Says:

    [...] Bob Krumm: The tiny Republic of Georgia, which straddles the land bridge between the world’s largest lake [...]

  7. Letalis Maximus, Esq. Says:

    We’re not going to do a damned thing. Georgia is not a member of NATO, and Putin knows neither the US, the EU, the NATO, or the UN are going to do anything. The question is what “we” are going to do anything when Putin’s tanks roll into…oh…I don’t know…Poland.

  8. The Roundup-August 10, 2008 « Mountain Shout Says:

    [...] has news of a Georgian ceasefire request, plus this from Bob Krumm, via Instapundit.  “Last night in the mess hall two Georgian officers sat down at the table [...]

  9. ken in sc Says:

    We need to make sure these people have the equipment and training they need–just like we did with Israel in the past. Then its up to them.

  10. TGeorge Says:

    “Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Slovenia, and all the rest who have been allowed out out from behind the Iron Curtain are now looking at America to watch what we do for Georgia.”

    If the idiots in Washington do nothing about this, the Baltic States and Ukraine will follow – then eastern Europe.

    The U.S> MUST take a strong stand with Putin and send him and his bullies back to the woodshed.

  11. John Stephens Says:

    Czechoslovakia, 1938.

  12. TMLutas Says:

    There is one thing that we can do for Georgia, throw a scare into Russia, make them doubt, make them hesitate, strengthen the impulse to take the next ceasefire offer. The cheapest, clearest place to do it is Moldova. Get a journalist to ask what would happen if Moldova asked for union with Romania and make damn sure that the answer is both “of course, after Georgia’s misfortune, this isn’t entirely a hypothetical anymore” and “100% of their territory would come under full NATO protection”. Russia’s not after Georgia per se. It’s after all of its bordering states.

  13. Diggs Says:

    Well, that’s a nice thought and all– but don’t you think Georgia and a slew of other tiny Eastern European countries’ participation in Iraq has more to do with them wanting to secure foreign aid and trade and international leverage than it has to do with some cheesy “America as a beacon of hope from afar” sentiment?

    Know what I think? I think Georgia imagined that if they helped us, we’d return the favor more than just nominally if they were ever in trouble. Well, fooled them! Let’s see how long all those other Eastern European countries stand by us now.

  14. jeff Says:

    Poland? Try the Ukraine.

  15. Izzy Says:

    The suppled troops and cuddle up to us because they NEED us…very simple.

    IF they had not sent volleys of Katusha Rockets into densely populated areas of Russia citizens, I would have more sympathy for them…

    Right now they are eating the Crow they cooked up.

  16. BobKrumm.com » Georgia on my mind - Mythusmage Opines Says:

    [...] BobKrumm.com » Georgia on my mind [...]

  17. Roger Godby Says:

    I’m afraid Letalis Maximus, Esq. is correct. Georgia will end up surrendering South Ossetia, over which it has apparently had only nominal control because of SO’s large Russian population. The Abkhazia region has apparently begun attacking Georgian troops as well for independence. Georgia will be reduced in size, stripped of at least one if not two pieces, but if Georgia remains independent and keeps the pipeline functioning, that would be enough.

    Who will come to Georgia’s aid? The US is too busy and the EU too impotent (recall post-Yugoslavia?). Perhaps the Central Asian oil exporters who prefer pumping their oil directly to the West instead of through Russia might contribute help, but that hangs by a thread the width of a pipeline.

  18. MlR Says:

    Georgia sent troops to Iraq because it wants the U.S. involved in its defense.

    No altruism needed.

  19. ray Says:

    We need to leave a few battalions of our own in Georgia, as we fly their batallion back home. We need to have US boots on the ground to act as a tripwire, and a warning to the Russians. As we don’t want war with them, they really don’t want war with us.

    The Kosovo straw-man argument convinces only cowards. It is Russia using pretexts to conquer Georgia, not Georgia reclaiming its own territory.

  20. Two--Four Says:

    [...] see no reason in the world why the case for Georgia could not be successfully made to, say, a brigade’s worth of American volunteers and those who [...]

  21. bob c Says:

    IF Bush can invasde iraq without world backing
    then Russia can invade S Ossetia

    IF Nixon can invade Cambodia,
    then Russian can invade Georgia.

  22. Why They Help Us : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee Says:

    [...] Krumm offers an explanation as to why he is currently serving beside citizens of war-torn republic of Georgia in Iraq: The tiny [...]

  23. Scott Erb Says:

    I have a blog entry with the exact same title (dated August 9th though, so I was first):
    http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2008/08/09/georgia-on-my-mind/

    I think you’re wrong. Georgia started this, attacking South Ossetia, where Russian peacekeepers were located, and most of the public identifies with Russia, uses Russian currency and has Russian passports. Georgia used the cover of the olympics to launch its aggression, much like Serbia against Kosovo. Russia’s response, while wrong, is probably not much different than what we’d have done if the shoe were on the other foot. Georgia stupidly started a fight it cannot win, and frankly, I have no sympathy for the Georgian government. South Ossetia should simply be allowed to leave — self-determination, like Kosovo — and both sides should stop fighting. We have no business doing anything there — it’s not worth nuclear war (remember Sarajevo and WWI) to get involved in some puny little country that borders Russia. That would be utterly and completely insane!

  24. L.Jay Says:

    Thankfully Georgia is not a member of NATO. If it were and Putin still went ahead with this well calculated annexation, the only support the US could count on from our fellow NATO members would be a massive bombing campaign. Specifically, they would bomb Russian forces into submission…. with massive bundles of welfare checks. “America Alone” does not apply only to the Islamic threat. The thought of Obama and other “citizens of the world” determining geopolitical strategy is indeed depressing.

  25. Yeah Right, Vlad « Tai-Chi Policy Says:

    [...] Latvia and Georgia are making desperate pleas for help. Poland is showing solidarity. The former Soviet nations all understand what it is like to be under tyranny, which is why they all help out in Iraq. [...]

  26. Katherine Coble Says:

    S. Ossetia has been clamouring to return to Russia for years. It’s long been a disputed state, with much of its population considered “secessionist” if you are Georgian or “displaced” if you are Russian.

    I can’t recall off the top of my head if Russia came to Lincoln’s aid when the CSA seceeded. I somehow don’t think they did.

    I can’t imagine that there is any reason for us to become involved in that regional issue.

  27. Tom Perkins Says:

    Scott Erb has demonstrated his ignorance of reality repeatedly to me, and he does not fail now.

    Rockets fired from inside South Ossetia landed in Georgia, the Georgians responded with artillery fire. The Russian “peacekeepers” in South Ossetia were there to prop up the pro-Russian government of Ossetia as it attempted to drive out the remaining ethnic Georgians, oh, and BTW there would be no Russians in Georgia if not for the deliberate attempts by Stalin to create pro-Russian colonies throughout the Caucasus, a policy instituted first by the Czars. Look at the history of migration in the region. The existence of South Ossetia is Russian aggression against Georgia.

    Scott, you don’t make off-the-cuff movements of regiments of tanks supported by combined arms. The Russians were planning this for weeks.

    To make it plain even for your sort, they were planning this weeks before Georgia was struck.

    At the very least America should arm the Georgians for as long as they are willing to fight, and we should integrate as many of the former soviet republics as want to into NATO as quickly as we can.

  28. Cold War II? Russia invades Georgia at HansMast.com Says:

    [...] to Kill Georgians” “The Russian Empire Strikes Back” “McCain condemnation upstages Bush” “Georgia on my mind” “Brzezinski: Russia’s Invasion of Georgia Is Reminiscent of Stalin’s Attack on [...]