Wednesday, September 10, 2008

School of Lies Handy in Understanding Georgia

As someone who grew up in Eastern Europe in a period of History’s relentless push to communism, I learned early to detect when the official sources lied to me and how to deal with it. The ability to understand the meaning, and to plumb the depth, of a lie was every intelligent man’s or woman’s basic survival skill. If you as a pioneer (communist boy scout) could not find a way to a red-star badge of a Young Builder, that was awarded for 100 hours of community work by putting in 10 hours, then you were a born sucker. No twelve-year-old could possibly spare two and a half weeks of precious life cliping shrubs, painting school-yard fences, and picking up back-alley garbage for a stupid badge. But everyone had to have one. Not having one meant you did not know how to work the system, or, God forbid, you engaged in sabotaging the inevitable victory of communism in the world.

As I grew up, I learned to distinguish among different types of official lies. The Young-Builder-red-star-badge lie would be an example of Harmless Bullshit, of the Bonding Lie class. It prepared you for the rock bottom rule of the socialist economy: you pretend to work; the state pretends to pay you. Then there was the necessary Noble Lie. An example of a Noble Lie would be: “the Red Army liberated Prague on 9th May 1945”. Everyone knew that the Vlasov Army chased the Nazis out of the city the day before. But you could not say that because Vlasov’s men were double traitors: first they betrayed the Great Stalin, then the Nazis, to save their own skin in both cases. So, it was only fair to lie and give the credit to the Great Stalin.

Which brings us to the Dialectical Synthesis. The Dialectical Synthesis was technically not a lie. It was a process whereby something that used to be true, no longer was true based on the historical practice of socialism. So e.g. the Party determined at the XX. Congress, that Stalin was not Great at all and removed his corpse from the Red Square mausoleum. What the Party discovered was that Stalin had a cult of personality, which meant that Stalin made many serious mistakes because he did not believe in the collective leadership of the Party, like Nikita Sergeevich. Which of course was a couple of Noble Lies: one, Stalin did not make any mistakes - he murdered millions, which you could not say because that could sabotage the inevitable victory of communism in the world, and two, Khruschev himself liked to throw his weight around, which would be unfair to say considering he was not engaging in gross violations of socialist legality (which meant he did not kill Bulganin after he removed him from the Poliburo).

Another important type was a Lie for the Protection of the Socialist Establishment in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. A classical example of that would be in president Novotny's favourite saying: “we have not promised you a rose garden”. That actually was a Silly Lie because he was promising that all the time, and usually in the very sentence that followed. No, the “Protection Lie” was that president Novotny had brains. Now, if you ask why is that not a Noble Lie, you don’t understand. The guy was an execrable idiot and everybody knew that ! It was necessary to protect him because most people bought into socialism knowing full-well it was a shameless racket. And from there it follows that we had all sorts of Cheap Automatic Lies like the one that said ‘99.9% voters endorsed the candidates of the National Front’ in an election. It’s not that there never were any Florida-style recounts. It went well beyond hanging chads. Everyone clued in on what the bosses wanted, so no counting was necessary in the first place . The containers were sealed and delivered with the prescribed quota of approved candidates. No sweat, no Michael Moore bitching !

So, what do I think of the Saakashvili account of the night of 8. August ? I knew you were going to ask (harmless bullshit) and I was going to get to that (fake).

Well, to someone like the current president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, it would not be a mystery. He had the same schooling in Lies as I did. Vaclav Klaus was in Tokyo on urgent business (diplomatic lie) when Saakashvili’s Flying Circus arrived in Prague. From Japan, Klaus took a solemn moment to embarrass the Czech government, its NATO allies and EU partners by telling it like it is. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances calling for a “Protection Lie” (described above) applied in the western media, the wire was picked up only by ITAR-TASS .

So what do we know about the night of 8/8/8 ? Saakashvili now says he dispatched one third of his army to the ‘Tskhinvali (in case you ever wondered, it is pronounced: '[hiccup]' + ‘invali’) region’ to intercept the invading neo-bolshevik hordes that just emerged out of the Roki tunnel. Under normal circumstances this would be a Big Fat Bold-Face Lie. If he was so concerned about the Russians coming through the tunnel, why would he be wasting time for hours reducing the only city in the province to a Vukovar ? A city that had only a few hundred Russian peacekeepers ? But things are never that simple in politics. We are not dealing here with a person who cares for convention , even in the basics of presidential protocol. So it is not clear whether he actually remembers what his top peacekeeper said on TV just before the battery of GRAD rockets opened up on the sleepers in Hiccup- (don’t say ‘hiccup’, do a hiccup!)in-valley. He said that he was going in to restore ‘constitutional order’ in the region. It was a police action ! (Actually that was a Half-Truth; the shelling and assault of the army were coordinated by the Interior Ministry). You would have never guessed from the way Mikheil spoke about Hiccup-in-valley (I knew you could do it !) that the bombarded sleepers were ethnics who mostly do not speak Georgian, or speak it as third language (after Ossetian and Russian) . But the wording had a special significance in the Caucasus. Putin used the same words ('restore constitutional order') as Russia’s prime minister in 1999 to send armour to Chechnya. There was of course a slight difference, lost on a man who does not know that wearing a tie does not imply chewing it. Putin walked in on a Chechen warlord by the name of Basayev and his ally, the Wahhabi warlord al-Khattab (an old pal of the Devil himself), who invaded the neighbouring Dagestan to recreate imam Shamil's islamic confederacy in North Caucasus, defeated by imperial Russia in 1859. Putin wiped out the Chechnya-based marauders in short order, and the FSB eventually hunted down and killed both mujehadin (,actually all the big Chechen islamic warlords). Obviously, there would be a lesson there somewhere to a reasonable leader of a nation of 4 million trying to negotiate a new territorial arrangement with Russia (140 million people) led by a smart judo black belt. Well, evidently not Mikheil.

So I would say, yes it looks closest to a Protection Lie for the Eventual Establishment of NATO in the Caucasus. My guess is that most of those who have no interest in that racket would not see Saakashvili any different than the Czechs and Slovaks saw their president Novotny in the 1960’s.

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