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For Balanced Debate on the Georgia-Ossetian War
Petition Background (Preamble):
As many of you know, the media coverage of the South Ossetian War was very biased and unbalanced. Due to this many people in the West believe things like “Russian aggression”, “Russian looting”, “Russian forces approaching Tbilisi” and many more things that are simply untrue.
Unfortunately, many people who advice US politicians get their news from the same sources as “average people”. This leads to a cycle in which the elites tell the news what to report, then their advisors watch these reports, and reaffirm the information that was no where near accurate in the first place. With our limited resources, there are very few ways to combat this. However, one way to attempt to right this injustice is to organize a letter writing campaign to both US Congress and Senator Obama’s campaign.
In the past I interned in the US Congress and know how the system works. Letters are read by advisors (Legislative Assistants), who then assign a generic pre-written letter if the member of Congress has a position on the topic, or an “I will keep my eye on the situation that matters to you” if the member does not have a position.
However, if a large number of letters concerning the same topic are received, the letters are treated differently; the member is made aware of the letter campaign, and takes it into account while determining his stand on the issue at hand.
So I believe that one of the best ways to help members of Congress and the Obama campaign better understand the issue, and help bring both sides of the story to the public debate is to organize a letter writing campaign to Democratic members of Congress and Obama (you don’t have to be a Democrat or support Obama – the point is not to help him win, but to help bring the Ossetian side of the story to the public debate in the United States)
So if you agree with the text of the letter, please copy-paste it, sign it, and send it to your member of Congress. Also sign the petition page; if we get enough signatures, we can try to print it as an open letter online or in newspapers.
You can find out who is your Member by entering your zip code on this site:
Your can find out who your Senator is on this site:
and to the Obama campaign:
Thank you for your help in getting the truth out into the public debate, and may the souls of ALL the people lost in this conflict rest in peace!
Please let me first of all state that the inner workings of both Congress and political campaigns are very familiar to me, and in writing this letter I do not want a generic response.
What I would like to ask is that someone who advises Mr. Obama on foreign policy closely examines the information in this letter and the two attached articles.
SO FROM HERE ON IS THE LETTER:
Dear Senators Obama and Biden (cc: Democratic members of Congress)
This letter is being written a month after Georgian aggression against the peaceful city of Tskhinvali. In the month that has passed since the surprise night attack against the sleeping residents many new revelations have come to light about who is responsible for this tragedy. Yet most main stream media has failed to provide a balanced picture on the issue. This letter is not meant to uncover the reasons for this bias, yet we believe that there are many obvious things that the Obama-Biden campaign, the Democratic majority, and the US public should be made aware of.
The first thing to point out is that Senator Obama should be aware that Senator McCain has pushed Senator Obama into a political trap on the Georgia-Russia situation. This letter is meant to clear up some aspects of the situation that are hard to learn about in the sensationalist 24-hour news cycle.
The first thing that needs to be clear is that the war was started when Georgian forces bombarded the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali on the night of August 8th. Tshinvali has one or two military targets, yet 70% of the city was destroyed, with schools, hospitals, and apartment complexes attacked by direct fire from Georgian artillery and tanks.
(You can watch the videos filmed by Georgian troops as the cheer while indiscriminately shooting at civilian houses:
According to South Ossetian Ministry of Health, Georgian artillery bombardment of a peaceful city killed around 1000 innocent men, women, and children. If one is to consider that the entire South Ossetian ethnos numbers roughly around 100,000 people, the actions of the Georgian army could hardly be viewed as anything but crimes against humanity and genocide.
There are plenty of video and photo evidence of these atrocities, however the David Vs. Goliath, black-white storyline of “a small democratic country facing a giant oppressor from the north” is too difficult for 24-hour news to pass up. Instead CNN shows videos of the destroyed city of Tskhinvali and says that it is the Georgian city of Gori (the cameraman who made the video recently spoke out about this, but his voice was of course never heard in the US).
The assertion that "Russia started this aggression" seems even more laughable when you realize that the Russian President, Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, and the head of the 58th Army (based in Vladikavkaz that went in to protect the citizens of South Ossetia) were all on vacation the night of August 8th.
Mr. Saakashvili has long been an ally of the US, but became an adversary to the Georgian people. If you need more proof of who he really represents just take a look at his announcement of the state of war; he spoke English. This is the first time a leader of the country spoke a language known only by about 10% of his people to make an announcement as significant as a declaration of war (imagine FDR speaking Russian in his "Day of Infamy" speech!)
Obviously, Mr. Saakashvili would not initiate an attack on Russian citizens and peacekeepers without either concrete or misinterpreted signs from Washington. The logical question is who in DC benefits from this situation?
Would that be the “newbie, inexperienced” Senator from Illinois who “calls for negotiations with terrorists”, or an “experienced” Cold Warrior who has long warned about how “evil” the Russians are, and now happens to be “Georgian”?
Senator McCain whether willingly or not, has found himself in the perfect situation to once again play his favorite “you can’t handle the tough world we live in” card. Unless Senator Obama gets more accurate information regarding the conflict into the public debate he will be outplayed by Senator McCain, and even if he wins, his administration will be hostage to his campaign rhetoric.
This will damage, if not destroy any hopes of working with the Russian Federation in such important areas as Iran, North Korea, nuclear nonproliferation, and many others.
If these arguments are not enough, please take a look at the two articles below. They are from respected publications on both sides of the Atlantic. The articles give analysis, as well as history and potential consequences of the conflict. Neither publication has any history of pro-Russian bias, but in this case the facts are too overwhelming to ignore.
The For Balanced Debate on the Georgia-Ossetian War petition to Obama campaign, Congressional Democratic majoraty, US public, world public was written by Alexander Chopov and is in the category International Affairs at GoPetition. Contact author here. Petition tags: obama, georgia, south ossetia, ossetia, abkhazia, russia, mccain, media, bias