At the Danger Room blog, Nick Thompson claims Russia may be right in calling Georgian behavior “genocide.”

Over at Complex Terrain Lab, Mike Innes pokes some useful holes in Thompson’s argument.

I would add to Mike’s points that the most important error made by Thompson is mistakenly conflating the intentional killing of civilians with genocide. The intentional killing of civilians in war is a war crime; if carried out en mass (even in peacetime) it’s a crime against humanity. Genocide is not a crime against civilians (as individuals) at all; it’s a crime against groups. To count, an atrocity has to be carried out with the intent of destroying a group. Russia has provided no evidence whatsoever to make this case: their rhetoric is also based on a misunderstanding of the term.

Naturally. Since it’s simply propaganda. As are Georgia’s counter-claims.