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Bush and Shamanov Sitting in a Tree?

Filed under: Eastern Europe

Bush.goofy.jpg The Commander in Chief is making it increasingly difficult for those of us who would love to support him to do so, at least where Russia is concerned.

In 1999, Human Rights Watch documented the involvement of troops under the command of Russian Major-General Vladimir Shamanov in "at least 14 killings which amounted to extrajudicial executions in Alkhan-Yurt in Chechnya."

In, 2005, ruling in the case of Isayeva v Russia, the European Court of Human Rights found Shamanov responsible for a military operation which involved the "massive use of indiscriminate weapons" and which led to the loss of civilian lives in the village of Katyr-Yurt in February 2000.

On March 27, 2007, as HRW reported: "Shamanov, an assistant to the Russian Minister of Defense and who together with General Robert Fogelsong co-chairs the US-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs was in Washington for a meeting of the Joint Commission. President Bush received him in the Oval Office and posed with him for a photograph." Here's the smiling trio (with Shumanov on Bush's left):


The Washington Post reported: "It was not clear whether Bush knew about Shamanov's background, but at least some Russia experts in the government who were not consulted on the visit did." The Associated Press reported that "a White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, said it was 'unlikely' that Bush would have met the general and posed for pictures with him if he had known about the charges. 'The president was not aware of the allegations made against him, and was seeking to sharpen the focus on the commission's good work, and due to the information about the current Russian commission leadership, we are going to review how best to move forward with that important work, without future photo ops,' she said." A second Post report revealed that the Bush White House is now facing massive staff turnover, including the fact that "Bush's chief Russia adviser, Thomas E. Graham, who helped shape U.S. policy toward Vladimir Putin as the Kremlin cracked down on dissent, left in February." Not that this is necessarily a bad thing on its own, since Bush's policy towards Putin has been an outrage, but apparently it may have left the White House utterly blind as to Shamanov's identity.

Which would be more disturbing: that Bush didn't know who Shamanov was, or that he did know and met with him anyway? These kind of events play right into the hands of those who would portray our president as a clueless bozo at best, at worst a dangerous loose cannon. As the ultra-left-wing The Nation chided: "You don't need to be a veteran Moscow watcher to know that that Vladimir Shamanov is a suspected war criminal. Type his name into Google and the first reference is his Wikipedia entry, which starts: 'Vladimir Shamanov is a governor of the Ulyanovsk region of Russian Federation. Shamanov is a Major General in the Soviet and Russian Army, awarded with title of Hero of Russia. He has been criticized by human-rights groups for failing to control his troops in military actions during the Second Chechen War.'"

How can those who struggle for human rights and democracy in Russia be anything other than bitterly crestfallen when they see events like these take place? Put aside the question of meeting with Bush: How is it possible that this man is serving on an official U.S. commission? If our government doesn't know this, what else doesn't it know? Is it relying solely on the fact that Bush "looked into Putin's eyes" and found him trustworthy?


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USpace says:

This is very disheartening, you would think Bush's staff would get any background available for someone like this. If Bush could use the internet, he could have found this out himself. The real scary thing is that a Dhimmicrat White House would be even stupider.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
hire too many idiots

Igor says:

The case discussed in the publication is just normal diplomacy. Shamanov is an assistant to the Russian Minister of Defense and together with General Robert Fogelsong co-chairs the US-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs. He was in Washington for a meeting of the Joint Commission. The USA and Russia work together to find out about the fates of the American Prisoners of War and Misseds In Actions who could be held on the territiry of the USSR in past. This is a noble and humanitarian cause. Why G. W. Bush may not meet with the guy who is officially in charge? If the USA are not happy with Shamanov as a co-chairman of the commision there is the other way to solve the problem: to ask the Russian government to replace him.
If our state leaders become too picky about whom (of the other states' officials) they can meet and whom not, diplomacy as such and any international cooperation will not be possible. Indeed, any state leader who odered a war or a general who participated in a war can be blamed for killings of innocent people. Because such killings is a part of any war.
You do not agree?
George W. Bush is the President and the Chief Commander. So, he is formally responsible for the results of the US Policies and the US Armed Forces' actions.
See how I apply the author's rethoric to him:
...(is) documented the involvement of the USA troops under the command of G.W. Bush in "at least 24 of killings which amounted to extrajudicial executions in Haditha, Iraq." [Photographs taken by a Marine intelligence team have convinced investigators that a Marine unit killed as many as 24 unarmed Iraqis, some of them "execution-style," in the insurgent stronghold of Haditha]
Or look at this: [... four-person panel of the International Criminal Tribunal for Iraq (ICTI) has judged that two leaders
US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair deserve life sentences, with the possibility of parole after 25 years, for the war crimes and genocide in Iraq, according to a lawyers' panel
Not enough? Type Iraq war crimes into Google and you will get a lot of references like these:
"US forces 'used chemical weapons' during assault on city of Fallujah", "Bush Policies Led to Abuse in Iraq", "Iraqi children killed by rocket", "U.S. cluster bombs still hurt Iraqi town", "U.S. Charged With War Crimes - The Evidence File - Court case against General Franks in Brussels".
So, it comes out that George Bush and Vladimir Shamanov can talk to each other like two old good buddies. And all the passion of the author of the article is just a graphomaniac's show off.

La Russophobe says:


You are utterly deranged. This article is a criticism of George Bush, and I've never said one positive thing about him on this blog or any other. If you feel that Bush is guilty of war crimes, that's your business. This blog isn't about America.

Only a truly deranged person would suggest that we can't arrest a one murderer until we can arrest all of them at once.

Only a classic Russophile fool would fail to understand how obvious it is that you try to change the subject from Russia to America because you can't defend Russia on the merits.

Igor says:

I do not care is George Bush a war criminal or if general Shamanov is. I got the impression that your article was a criticism of the meeting. (G. Bush being a saint met such a devil). And I have proved that they both are blamed for the similar supposed crimes. After your comment on my comment I truly do not understand what your publication is about other than to be a try to show "how smart you are".
First you say "the article is a criticism of George Bush". Than you say: "This blog isn't about America". What is this? Is not George Bush or the US government a part of America?
If you wanted just to talk about what a bad guy General Shamanov was, why to mention George Bush whatsoever? During the meeting General Shamanov behaved himself, did not kill anybody, and was a nice person. You still think the President should not meet him? You ask: How is it possible that this man is serving on an official U.S. commission? If our government doesn't know this, what else doesn't it know?
First, this is not an official U.S. commission. This is US-Russia Joint Commission. And it was Russia’s right to delegate the co-chairman from her side.
Second, you do not understand: all this is a realm of diplomacy. Diplomacy is “the art of achieving what is achievable”. In diplomacy even bitter enemies negotiate.
All this POW/MIA business is something not Russia but the USA are interested in. If Russian authorities appointed general Shamanov as the Commission co-chairmen-just get what you got. As you say “love or leave”.
P.S. There is a teaching precedent: When G. Bush took the office, the South Koreans had talks with North Koreans. Pretty well going talks with the positive outcome already seen. Newly sworn President George Bush said at his meeting with the S. Korea President something like: “How can you talk with those jerks? You better do not.” He broke the negotiations. Than his rhetoric about N. Korea to be an “axis of evil” followed, refusal to negotiate. Now George Bush and the USA are humiliated by N. Korea and will be paying N. Korea contribution.
So do not try to give your government your stupid advise.

La Russophobe says:

You nitwit. I'm criticizing Bush ABOUT RUSSIA not ABOUT AMERICA. If you want to criticize Bush about Russia, feel free to do so. I'll probably agree. If you want to criticize America for things that have nothign to do with Russia (like Iraq), go elsewhere. Such comments are SPAM here.

I believe the president of the U.S. should not meet with Russian war criminals as adjudicated by the ECHR. Many many others agree, as indicated in the source material set forth in the post. If you disagree, that's your privilege. In my view, only another war criminal would do so.

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