America’s neoconservatives are always critical of Russia and its allegedly nascent authoritarianism. Yet the United States gave birth to an egregious propaganda film re: the Ossetian War, Five Days of War, which included a blatant lie that Russian forces began the war by shelling peaceful Georgians, when, in reality, and as was acknowledged in the EU’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia, Georgian forces shelled Ossetia’s capital on the first day of the Olympics in an attempt to reconquer the separatist province, injured a number of Russian peacekeepers and Ossetian civilians in the process, and briefly occupied parts of Ossetia, including its capital Tschkinvalli, prior to be expelled by superior Russian forces that came racing through the Roki Tunnel.
Now a new movie is out with a more balanced perspective, a pro-Russian and pro-Ossetian perspective to be truthful, and it’s banned in the Ukraine and Georgia as well! These are the “free” countries whom we uphold as counterparts to Russian authoritarianism? This is what freedom of speech now means? Even at the height of the Iraq War, the US did nothing to stop the nonstop anti-American perspectives of al Jazeera, European news agencies, and the like, and it is to our credit our actions were subject to such criticism, fair and otherwise.
There are many ways the modern west has de facto censorship, whether it is in hate campaigns such as that launched on George Zimmerman, ignoring stories that deserve a fair hearing, or refusing to give alternative views a publisher or translator as the case may be. It is to our shame these practices continue, but it is worse that we are blind to them and ignore them and are not even aware of them in many cases.
August 8, like Olimpius Inferno, sounds like an interesting movie that deserves a wide audience. Even Germans got to portray the heroism of their fighting men in Das Boot and Stalingrad. But instead, we still have a great number of people worldwide and in the US who labor under the misimpression that Saakashvili and the Georgians were anything other than the aggressors on 8/8/08. This would all only be of academic interest, however, but for the fact certain US politicians persist in seeking unnecessary confrontation with a nation that is not a natural enemy of the United States and that, indeed, shares many similar interests and a common enemy in the form of militant Islam.