Here's some chatter from the TCP posters backchannel. These are my own e-mails replying to other posts, parts of which are quoted.
(From AEB)"Tom Paine" over at Silent Running requested permission to quote what was a private e-mail, which I readily gave.
> If someone can keep up with this story for this
> afternoon, that would be great.
It's 0143 local time, so I'm off to bed.
Not sure it will be off to sleep though.
Has anyone seen my objectivity? I seem to have lost mine.
I don't trust myself to post right now.
> Objectivity in the presidential race is one thing. I don't think
> the Command Post was ever intended to be objective as between
> civilization and its enemies.
It was rather worse than that for me : I had visions, which I took
an unholy glee in, of a Carthage Solution for Chechnya, involving
mass deportations, sowing the ground with salt, leaving a desert
and calling it 'peace' etc. A Jacksonian solution.
None of which is terribly constructive, useful or just. Telling
myself I was thinking just like Stalin didn't help. Imagining the
Chechen kids maimed and injured like the Russian ones did work
though, and my shreds of sanity are starting to re-knit.
The idea of these people is to make us angry, and react irrationally.
Now the anger they can always succeed in. But it need not be the
counter-productive blind rage they're aiming for, it can be a cool,
righteous anger that leaves us resolved, not raging. It just takes a while
for me to simmer down and dispassionately figure out how best to dismember
them. Hate is not the answer. A remorseless, implacable campaign over decades
is, one where books as well as (not instead of) bombs have a role.
I'm still not ready to post though. Just saw BBC world.
"This is just the latest embarressment for Putin..."
"Since Putin took a tough stand, terrorist incidents have increased..."
"Bush's so-called War on Terror is causing more problems, the latest in Russia..."
I turned it off at that point. I'm unable to understand the depths of
moral bankrupcy of the people saying this kind of thing, and don't even
trust myself to quote them accurately without a transcript or recording.
But I'm sure the first line is verbatim : describing a 'massacre of the
innocents' as an 'embarressment'.
And just to prove that I wasn't totally off-the-planet regarding moral bankrupcy, here's some quotes from what the papers are saying, courtesy of The Australian :
Putin came to power as a strongman who would sort out Chechnya, The Daily Telegraph noted.It looks as if there are limits though. No-one in print (unlike in the BBC's spoken commentary) has blamed Bush. Yet. Just Putin. Anything to score a political point.
"One war and many terrorist atrocities later, he seems further from his goal than ever," it charged in an editorial...
"Dazed, shaken and bloodied," headlined the International Herald Tribune, which warned in an editorial that Putin had no choice but to negotiate with Chechen separatist leaders.
"Unless he now opens a serious negotiating channel with legitimate Chechen leaders, the situation can only get worse," the paper said.
"Carnage," headlined France's Liberation daily, which argued that "the master of the Kremlin has fallen into a trap" and that Putin's hard line on Chechnya had "opened the way for Islamic terrorism".
Italy's Il Sole 24 Ore charged that Putin had unleashed "the evil genie of the Chechen war", and was now unable to control it.
But from all accounts, the massacre started when a Chechen Terrorist Suicide-Bomber blew herself up, probably accidentally. The rest of the Terrorists, thinking they were under attack, then set off the explosives they'd planted around the place, killing many through blast, burns and shrapnel, and bringing the roof down, crushing others. Some of the dazed survivors, seeing a hole had been blasted in the wall, ran for it - and were mown down by the recovering terrorists.
It was only then that the Russian Special Forces opened up a suppressive fire. They'd been caught completely by this 'Bolt Out Of the Blue', or BOOB situation. Yes, that's the correct technical military term for when something happens with no warning. But it was a BOOB for both sides.
Neither side was prepared for the battle. Neither side expected it.
The panicking Terrorists opened fire at random, at pretty much anything that moved, while the Russki assault teams quickly worked out which contingency plan to adopt for a totally chaotic situation, and went in.
10 of them died as the result of this hasty, improvised attack. But they saved hundreds by it.
Menawhile, the Terrorists were also reacting to events, and not very effectively. It seems that perhaps 400 people, half of them kids, may have been killed, with some 700 wounded. But that means that 400 weren't scratched. When you're armed with grenades, automatic weapons, and have had several days to prepare a position, and when your victims are stacked 3-deep in a single large room, how difficult is it to kill 5-year olds?
OK, I'd find it completely impossible, on moral grounds. But they didn't. These Brave Jihadis were purely and simply incompetent at it. But Evil so often is.
UPDATE : the inimitable Gnu Hunter has independantly come up with many of the same conclusions.