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Who Started What?

If the picture of who started (not to say targeted what populations) August’s armed conflict between Russia and Georgia was not murky enough already, today’s NY Times has a report that will add even further uncertainty to the question.  It is reported that a group of observers from the OSCE observed severe and what would appear to be indiscriminate shelling of the city of Tskhinvali, the capital of the breakaway region of South Ossetia, by Georgian artillery. Further, the observers note that it was not possible to verify whether attacks were simultaneously taking place against ethnic Georgians as otherwise claimed by Georgia. Obviously, one ought to treat any piece of information coming out of an armed conflict carefully but the reports certainly serve to underline the precarious nature of the flow of accurate information during armed hostilities. Was it Aeschylus who said “In war, truth is the first casualty”?

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