How The Georgian Conflict Impacts Us
For one thing, we prevailed upon Georgia to send troops to Iraq to back the coalition and they did.
In a statement, President Mikhail Saakashvili said that Georgia wanted to do everything possible to help the Iraqi people and US-led forces to bring peace and freedom to the country.
Now, Georgia is bringing its troops home and, as USA Today put it:
Q: Could hostilities here affect U.S. military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan?
A: Georgia’s president said Friday he is bringing home the 2,000 troops it had stationed in Iraq. That is a significant blow to coalition forces because Georgia was the third-largest contributor of troops behind Britain and the U.S.
So now, should the conflict escalate, do we have a moral obligation to side with Georgia over Russia, given their aid to us in Iraq? As far back as 2002, then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld talked about a military-to-military relationship with Georgia, backed up by The Georgia Train and Equip Program. Journalist Nathan Hodge, at Wired, points out why we should care.
Oh, just the prospect of a larger regional war that could drag in Russia – and involve the United States as well. Since early 2002, the U.S. government has given a healthy amount of military aid to Georgia. When I last visited South Ossetia, Georgian troops manned a checkpoint outside Tskhinvali — decked out in surplus U.S. Army uniforms and new body armor.
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