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August 11, 2008


We certainly do live in interesting times.

It ironic that we're airlifting in Georgian troops on U.S. planes, but we had to use logistically inferior convoys to get the families of American diplomats out of Georgia today. I sincerely hope our countrymen in Georgia suffer no violence. I might be wrong about this, but wasn't the last time they evacuated an embassy in Liberia in 1996? Not good...

Question for international lawyers out there - would it be against international law for the Russian Air Force to shoot one of these C-17s down over Georgia, given that they are explicitly bringing reinforcements to a war?
And another for any military types - given the risk to the aircraft, would/could the US Air Force send escorts with it?

Hopefully this mission has already been successfully completed because it certainly sounds like the US is getting a mite to close to the action...

Maybe we can drop them in Azerbaijan, and they can take a cab from there?

I think you mean '2,000 fewer Coalition troops', right?

Just because the Georgian troops rode on military flights doesn't mean they necessarily rode on military transport aircraft like the C-17. Nor more importantly, that they were able to take their equipment with them. The US military contracts out most of the flying of military personnel using civilian aircraft and the statement doesn't say what aircraft the Georgians flew out on, nor does it mention their equipment.

go ahead, imagine it's 2003 and Russia is airlifting Iraqi troops, on whatever type of plane Spartacvs wants to imagine, into Iraq.

    “Of course, Saddam Hussein ought to have been hanged for destroying several Shiite villages,” Putin said in Moscow. “And the incumbent Georgian leaders who razed ten Ossetian villages at once, who ran elderly people and children with tanks, who burned civilian alive in their sheds – these leaders must be taken under protection.”

material support.

Excuse my Godwin but the first thing that came to my mind when I read about this was the initial German assistance in the Spanish civil war by airlifting troops for Franco from North Africa to mainland Spain. I just hope the similarities end there.

"In the meantime, that's 1,000 fewer coalition troops in Iraq with which to spread around."





Cleek: on whatever type of plane Spartacvs wants to imagine

The import of my comment was to suggest that civilian transports would not be capable of carrying the troop's equipment, heavy weapons, vehicles, armor etc. that certain military aircraft like the C-17 could. Troops by themselves are a lot less effective when separated from their heavy equipment. Just trying to qualify the assumptions Eric makes about the level of logistical support with respect to the actual Pentagon statement.

That's true Spartacvs, but there is reason to think the C-17s were involved.

The Georgians can move their troops on their own. They don't need the US for that.

What they can't do is move their equipment (as I mentioned in this post). So why would the US get involved unless they were pressed by the Georgians by the need to extract the equipment as well?

Seems like an unnecessarily provocative act on our part if there was a reasonably easy alternative that could have been taken by Georgia that didn't implicate us at all. Hell, we could have offered to bankroll their departure. Off the record of course.


Your assumption may well be correct but we shouldn't assume that solely on the basis of the Pentagon's statement is the point I really wanted to make.

And it's a good point. Well made, and duly noted.

This AP story says a C-17 was used, but on the word of an unnamed source:

The U.S. military was flying Georgian troops back from Iraq on C-17 aircraft and had informed the Russians about the flights before they began in order to avoid mishaps, said one military official said Monday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the subject on the record.

Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said Monday morning that U.S. officials expect to have all Georgian troops out of Iraq by the end of the day. [Aug. 11, afternoon]

That's the same article cleek quoted from above, in a different location.

There's international law and there's international common sense. The 2000 additional troops won't do anything except slow the Russians up for another couple of hours. Shooting down one of our C-17s could bring us further into the war in one way or another and the Russians don't want that.

They'll be content to make a lot of noise about it (ferrying the Georgians) and keep their ground game going.

Doesn't this mean that the only reason the US isn't at war with Russia right now is because Putin doesn't want to be? I really don't know what to do with that.

Well, Ravi, that would be an indication that at least Putin isn't as crazy as McCain.

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