Wednesday, August 27, 2008

War is Hell

Then there are the Russians.

I just have to let Michael Totten report from the Russian rape of Georgia to show how brutal the Russian military can be. Read his reports and get the true story. And by the way donate to support his efforts to get the truth out.

On Monday, I visited one of the schools transformed into refugee housing in the center of Tbilisi and spoke to four women—Lia, Nana, Diana, and Maya—who had fled with their children from a cluster of small villages just outside the city of Gori. “We left the cattle,” Lia said. “We left the house. We left everything and came on foot because to stay there was impossible.” Diana’s account: “They are burning the houses. From most of the houses they are taking everything. They are stealing everything, even such things as toothbrushes and toilets. They are taking the toilets. Imagine. They are taking broken refrigerators.” And Nana: “We are so heartbroken. I don’t know what to say or even think. Our whole lives we were working to save something, and one day we lost everything. Now I have to start everything from the very beginning.”

Reading the above passage reminded me of a similar report of Russian brutality in lands they had recently conquered. From Richard Collier's book 'Bridge across the Sky' comes something very similar to what the Georgians suffered.

But a greater menace still was the Russian presence. Three years earlier, Soviet troops had rampaged through the city with unparalleled ferocity. Estimates of the number of women raped in what Germans called "the Russian time" - the 14 April days of 1945 that marked the battle for the city - ranged from 20,000 to 100,000. To exultant cries of "Frau, komm!" women and girls, faces smeared with soot to disguise their looks, had been dragged from cellars and hiding places and assaulted. Three years later, at the Wilmersdorf Children's Hospital, Dr. Annemarie Nitze noted that eight-year-old boys still played "the rape game," boys pouncing on girls and trying to tear off their clothes.

After that came Russian pillage. At the industrial level, almost nothing escaped. From the vast 228,000-kilowatt Kraftwerk West power plant, to machinery from the giant Siemens-Schuckert, Osram, Telefunken, and Daimler-Benz factories, equipment had been stripped for removal to the U.S.S.R. Then from every home still habitable the Red Army had looted an incredible miscellany of goods: bicycles, telephones, wash basins, light switches, door locks.

Both of these cases are war crimes perpetrated by Russian forces employed by a Russian government. Their only difference is time, 2008 versus 1945; and location, Gori versus Berlin. One escaped punishment and justice, the other can still be punished and justice served.

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