Russia: September 6, 2004


The death toll in North Ossetia looks like it will reach 500, with 340 known dead and 180 missing. The Chechen rebels must be aware by now that their habit of taking large numbers of hostages. The Chechens, especially the faction led by Shamil Basaev, have been doing this since 1995 (and 1996 and 2002). It never works. The most the Chechens have ever gotten out of it is free passage for the hostage takers. The huge loss of life in North Ossetia brought condemnation even from the normally supportive Arab press. What the world found particularly horrendous was the killing of so many children. For two centuries, the Chechens have tried to defeat the Russians by being more savage. It never worked then, and it's not going to work this time either.


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