Not technically a declaration of war but still…
The Russians dropped bombs on the city of Gori today, killing civilians, while announcing that they had taken the capital of South Ossetia back from Georgia.
GORI, Georgia (AP) – Russia sent hundreds of tanks and troops into the separatist province of South Ossetia and bombed Georgian towns Saturday in a major escalation of the conflict that has left scores of civilians dead and wounded.
Georgia, a staunch U.S. ally, launched a major offensive Friday to retake control of breakaway South Ossetia. Russia, which has close ties to the province and posts peacekeepers there, responded by sending in armed convoys and military combat aircraft.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters in Moscow that some 1,500 people have been killed, with the death toll rising Saturday.
Georgia’s parliament has since approved the President’s request to impose war on Russia.
Saakashvili accused Russia of launching an unprovoked full-scale military attack against his country, including targeting civilian homes, while Russian officials insist their troops were protecting people from Georgia’s attacks on South Ossetia, a breakaway Georgian region that borders Russia….
The Georgian “state of war” order is not a formal declaration of war, and stops short of declaring martial law, according to Georgian officials who described it to CNN.
… President George Bush, speaking from Beijing, called for an immediate halt to the violence, a stand-down by all troops, and an end to the Russian bombings.
Ed Morrissey makes a good point:
The US received howls of criticism for its targeted strikes on insurgents who deliberately hid among civilians in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Even Barack Obama criticized American tactics in the latter, saying that all we were doing was “air raiding villages and killing civilians”. Israel got the same criticism during its war with Hezbollah, which also hid among civilians.
So when will we hear criticism from Obama, MoveOn, and the rest of the critics over these tactics by Russia? Georgia is fielding a uniformed army, clearly identifiable and operating under command of the state. Why does Russia need to bomb civilian centers under these conditions?