Ghost Recon and the South Ossetian War

My friend Guilherme R. and I were chatting about the terrible new war in Georgia’s South Ossetia (soon to be Russia’s South Ossetia?), and he blew my mind recalling the premise of a particularly prescient video game released back in 2001, “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon.” From wikipedia:

Ghost Recon begins in 2008, with civil unrest in Russia. Ultra-nationalists have seized power in Moscow, with plans to rebuild the Iron Curtain. Their first step is clandestine support of rebel factions in Georgia and the Baltic States.

During the first few missions of the game, the Ghosts battle South Ossetian rebel forces from the north of Georgia, who are harassing the legitimate government and its allies. The Ghosts fight in the forests, on farms, and in villages while assisting their NATO allies in fighting the enemy. Unfortunately, the Russian government complains to the United Nations that the Americans have interfered in their affairs, and eventually they send in their army to aid the South Ossetian rebels. The U.S. cannot hope to stop the Russian Army from invading Georgia, so the Ghosts slow down the invading forces so that their allies can evacuate. Eventually, the Ghosts are all that’s left of the U.S. forces in Georgia, and they evacuate by SH-60 Seahawk helicopter on the rooftop of the American Embassy in T’bilisi, just barely avoiding the Russian forces. The Georgian government flees to Geneva and sets up a government-in-exile. Sadly, with the fall of T’bilisi, Georgia surrenders and is forcefully incorporated into the RDU.

We can only hope that this war doesn’t continue to play out as the game writers imagined it might. I’m no expert on these matters but I suspect that regardless of Georgia’s invitation to NATO membership earlier this year, the U.S. won’t be fielding special forces in Georgia that are already deployed in the Middle East and the Hindu Kush. Read more of Ghost Recon’s plot summary at the wikipedia.

UPDATE: From Russia’s perspective, Georgia is a proxy power of the U.S. on its southern border, so it might be something of a propoganda coup to capture U.S. Special forces or NATO troops fighting in the interests of Georgia. Thinking of this, I’m unsure what to make of the following story which has so far not been picked up by Western news media outlets (as of Sunday night 10PM EST):

Russian news media site Rosbalt (Google translation) is reporting that Russia has captured a U.S. citizen among a group of Georgian sabatouers that had “committed a group suicide.” Another news site Izvestia (Google Translation) identifies the American as a NATO instructor and reports that “among the corpses in Tskhinvali was found several bodies of black people who fought on the side of Georgia.” According to Rosbalt, the citizen is currently being held for interrogation in Vladikavkaz (capitol of Northern Ossetia). (There is a photo of a soldier in this article, but it looks like a stock photo lifted from somewhere else.)

Do sabatouers commit group suicide upon fearing capture? Should the bodies of “black people” be assumed to be the bodies of U.S. mercenaries? This all seems very suspicious to me.

About Aharon N. Varady

Aharon's Omphalos is the hobbit hole of Aharon Varady, founding director of the Open Siddur Project. He is a community planner and environmental educator working to improve stewardship of the Public Domain, be it the physical and natural commons of urban park systems or the creative and cultural commons of libraries and museums. His advocacy for open-source strategies in the Jewish community has been written about in the Atlantic Magazine, the Yiddish Forverts, Tablet, and Haaretz. He is particularly interested in pedagogies for advancing ecological wisdom, developing creative and emotional intelligence, and realizing effective theurgical praxes. He welcomes your comments, personal messages, and kind words. If you find his work helpful to your own or you'd simply like to support him, please consider donating via his Patreon account.

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