Tuesday, December 16, 2008


clipped from: www.alternet.org - Mark Ames

a Russian army colonel named Igor Konashenko is standing triumphantly at a street corner at the northern edge of Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, his forearm bandaged from a minor battle injury.

The spot marks the furthest point of the Georgian army's advance before it was summarily crushed by the Russians

"Everything that the Georgians left behind, I mean everything, was American. All the guns, grenades, uniforms, boots, food rations -- they just left it all. Our boys stuffed themselves on the food," he adds slyly. "It was tasty." The booty, according to Konashenko, also included 65 intact tanks outfitted with the latest NATO and American (as well as Israeli) technology.

situation blew up late in the evening of August 7, when on the order of president Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia's army swept into South Ossetia, leveling much of Tskhinvali

This spot is ground zero for an epic historical shift. The dead tanks are American-upgraded, as are the spent 40mm grenade shells that one spetznaz soldier shows me. The bloated bodies on the ground are American-trained Georgian soldiers who have been stripped of their American-issue uniforms. And yet, there is no American cavalry on the way.

bleeding money from endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we're a sick giant hooked on ever-pricier doses of oil paid for with a currency few people want anymore. In the history books of the future, I would wager that this very spot in Tskhinvali will be remembered as both the geographic highwater mark of the American empire, and the place where it all started to fall apart.

in 2002
the American empire was riding high
we invaded Afghanistan without breaking a sweat.

The military advisers were dispatched to Georgia ostensibly to train that country's forces to fight local Al Qaeda cells, which everyone knew didn't exist. In reality, we were training them for key imperial outsourcing duties. Georgia would do for the American Empire what Mumbai call centers did for Delta Airlines:

America deftly organized and orchestrated the so-called Rose Revolution
in Tblisi in 2003

Saakkashvili's predecessor, Eduard Shevardnadze, was judged unreliable, so in a multilayered soft putsch that used every lever of influence at our disposal, the U.S. replaced him with Saakashvili, a Columbia-educated hothead who speaks perfect neocon. In the Western media, the Rose Revolution was portrayed as 1776 redux (starring Saakashvili as George Washington

He stacked his cabinet with young right-wing fanatics,

This crew included John McCain's chief foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann, whom Misha paid more than $1 million in lobbying fees.

Why Misha decided to attack is still a mystery
  • to preempt a Russian invasion
  • he thought this would be his last chance to regain control of South Ossetia
  • suckered into his doomed invasion by a clever Russian ruse, part of Putin's plan
  • to boost John McCain's prospects in the U.S. election

Privately, however, American advisers and defeated Georgian commanders admit to "total defeat."

full-spectrum smackdown

Russia seized control of the city at the end of hostilities, essentially cutting its foe in two and leaving it exposed to Vladimir Putin's whims.

I understood that I was looking at the first ruins of America's imperial decline. It's not an easy thing to spot.

We have entered a dangerous moment in history -- America in decline is reacting hysterically

But when that awful moment arrives where the cognitive dissonance snaps hard, it will be an epic struggle to come to our senses in time to prevent the William Kristols, Max Boots and Robert Kagans from leading us into a nuclear holocaust

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