The first casualty of any war, they say, is the truth. In
the case of the Russia's Chechen conflict, the second seems to have been their
reports that a Russian officer has been acquitted of murdering a young Chechen woman
in March 2000. The officer was acquitted on the grounds of suffering 'temporary
The officer was apparently so insane that he abducted the 18 year old woman
and strangled her during interrogation. We was also insane enough to rape and sodomize her. And the
insanity must have been contagious because other reports reveal that his
colleagues had tried to incinerate the woman's body to hide the evidence.
Sadly, rape, torture
and murder occur in nearly every war, and by soldiers (and civilians) on nearly
every side. Sadly too, military officials try to
cover them up. The more undisciplined and corrupt the soldiers (yes, they were
Russian) the more it happens. But the real test of a nation's character is what
happens when the cases go to trial.
It is a little hard to sympathize with a people who elect a government which appoints a
judiciary which acquits murdering rapists.
Russia has just lost any credibility it had as the legitimate
government of Chechnya - it will simply be regarded as an invading and
pillaging force. After the theatrical, and tragic, hostage drama late last
year, Chechen rebels are unlikely to make the mistake of taking hostages again,
but the Russian people can expect the less-than-temporary-insanity of more
suicide bombings in Moscow.