Monday, September 06, 2004

Vlad the impaler's pointless war.

I am horrified and repulsed by the brutal, pointless massacre perpetrated on the innocent civilians at the Beslan elementary school in North Ossetia. There is absolutely no justification whatsoever in taking children hostage to further a military objective or to make a political statement. Even in war there are rules. This was not a strike for Chechen independence; it was simply mass murder.

Unfortunately, the Russian government’s response is likely to be more atrocities and violence aimed at innocent Chechens and a return to Soviet era paranoia and repression. Just as western submarines were said to have caused the tragic sinking of the Kursk, so now western influences are implicated in an effort, in president Vladimir Putin’s words to "tear off a big chunk of our country," for apparently the United States, the real viilan in this case, sees Russia as a “threat (which) has to be eliminated.” A very convenient external bogyman for consolidating power with "necessary" draconian security measures.

Putin’s ten year quest to crush Chechnya’s independence has proven to be a futile effort that has bled the Russian military white and sown the seeds of generational hatred against the Russian people among the Chechen population.

At the same time Putin’s nasty little war is morally debasing Russian society. The lessons of corruption, criminality and viciousness learned in the killing fields of the North Caucuses are coming back to haunt the villages and cities of the Mother Land.

The adamant, unreasoning, refusal on Putin’s part to ever negotiate with any Chechen leader has served only to push the moderates aside, leading to the radicalization of the independence movement and opening the door for global terrorists to use the conflict as a tool for recruiting around the world while at the same time presenting the terrible specter of Russia’s notoriously loose nukes getting into the hands of Al-Qaeda and like minded organizations bent on ever more deadlier attacks.

The leaders of Russia must begin to face the hard realities of this aweful conflict and drastically change course or the Chechen war will only continue to grind on, its downward trajectory causing more suffering and death for the innocents who get in the way for decades to come.


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