Thursday, 11 October 2007

New York Times: Georgian Warriors In Iraq

Image Copyright © Joao Silva/New York Times-All Rights Reserved

The New York Times featured photographs of Georgian troops being sent to Kut, an area near Iran, in a recent slideshow. Its accompanying article tells us that at a time when other countries (such as Great Britain) are pulling troops out as fast as they can, Georgia has more than doubled its troop levels in Iraq to 2,000 soldiers.

What's in it for Georgia, you ask? Ah, well...Georgia seeks NATO membership as a security guarantee against Russia, and by sending its troops to Iraq, its politicians hope that the United States will reciprocate by supporting Georgia's membership. This is what is defined as realpolitik.

But let's go back to photography....The slideshow has the above picture which shows Georgian soldiers kneeling and being sprinkled with holy water by their Eastern Orthodox priest during a ceremony in Iraq, marking the formal start of their mission a few days ago. I wonder what Iraqis feel when they see such photographs....do they see liberators or crusaders?