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The Gori Details

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The Times has a fairly grim account of the Georgian retreat from Gori:

The Georgian Army was in complete disarray last night after troops and tanks fled the town of Gori in panic and abandoned it to the Russians without firing a shot…

The retreat from Gori, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin, was as humiliating as it was sudden and dramatic. The Times witnessed scores of tanks and armoured personnel carriers, laden with soldiers, speeding through the town away from what Georgian officials claimed was an imminent Russian invasion.

Residents watched in horror as their army abandoned its positions after a day of increasingly aggressive exchanges of fire along the border with South Ossetia, the breakaway region now fully under Russian control.

Jeeps and pick-up trucks filled with Georgian soldiers raced through the streets, their occupants frantically signalling to civilians that they too should flee. The road out of Gori towards Tbilisi was a scene of chaos and fear as cars jockeyed with tanks for a speedy escape.

Soldiers left by any means available. Dozens of troops clung to cars on the back of a transporter lorry, while five other soldiers fled on one quad bike.

Obviously, this does not bode well for the Georgians. It is extremely difficult to put an army that has routed back together. Incidentally, I guess that Ralph Peters is a moron:

That said, the Russians may be surprised at how fiercely the Georgians defend their homeland. At least two, and possibly four, Russian jets have been shot down while attacking Georgian bases close to the capital city, Tbilisi.

As of last night, the Georgians had retaken Tskhinvali, South Ossetia’s capital. I’d bet American veterans helped Georgia with contingency planning for just such a situation (it worked in Bosnia)… This fighting is serious. And, unless Moscow pulls out all the stops, its forces just might take a surprise beating.

Who knew?

…Small Wars Journal has a predictably excellent roundup.

…Nexon makes a good point regarding the Russian bombing campaign:

But if this were a United States operation you can bet that the US navy would be blockading the country and the USAF would be taking out every piece of military hardware or key transportation hub they could find. Indeed, the US would be actively aiming at regime change. The United States did all of these things in the Kosovo campaign.

Right; also Israeli practice in the 2006 Hezbollah war. This hardly justifies Russian behavior, but it does mean that some avenues of critique against Russian escalation are plainly hypocritical.

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