All three networks relied on British newsgathering partners for eyewitness coverage of the Georgia fighting. Gabriel Gatehouse of the BBC was in Gori for ABC. He showed us the city's central square: "All the buildings around the square, all the glass has been knocked out of them." A rocket attack there had killed a Dutch journalist and four others. Stuart Ramsay of SKY News told CBS anchor Katie Couric that Gori was "without doubt a very, very dangerous place to be." If there is a ceasefire, he commented, it was "pretty much called by the Russians on their own. They did not need to do it. They have won this." Robert Moore of ITN traveled to South Ossetia, the secession-minded province where the fighting started. He found the Russian army in full control there: "This is not some kind of short term military adventure. This is an occupation and not for a generation will Georgia gain this territory."
NBC's Jim Maceda reported from Tbilisi. He traveled along the highway towards Gori and found evidence of rout. He saw "dozens of military vehicles and weapons abandoned by retreating Georgian soldiers. They left behind personal gear as well. You can see a backpack and a water canteen; here is a shovel; one soldier even left his helmet behind." ABC's Clarissa Ward (embargoed link) attended an enormous rally in the capital: "The atmosphere here on the streets of Tbilisi is one of intense patriotism with speakers telling the crowd Georgia Will Never Give Up! Georgia Will Never Accept Russian Rule!" London-based Richard Roth of CBS covered the refusal of Dmitri Medvedev, the Russian president, to negotiate with his counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili, "accusing the Georgian leader of starting the war, even calling him a lunatic." France's President Nicolas Sarkozy is acting as mediator.
"This is not 1968," declared Secretary Rice to ABC anchor Charles Gibson, seeming to reject equations between the attitude of contemporary Russia towards Georgia and that of the USSR towards Czechoslovakia. In fact, the opposite was her point. Rice was drawing such an equation, calling the Soviet Union "the predecessor state" of Russia. Her distinction was that Russia nowadays wants to be "a part of the prosperous and forward looking Europe." Back in 1968, the USSR had no such ambitions and therefore had no stake in preserving its international good standing.
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