Palin’s remark about Russian actions in Georgia being “unprovoked” has garnered some attention, since it is obviously untrue, but let’s remember that she is the captive of fanatics who believe, or at least claim to believe, that Georgia is an innocent lamb targeted by “Russian aggression” akin to the suppression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956, the crushing of the Prague Spring in 1968 or the invasion of Afghanistan (when it was not being compared, naturally, to 1938). In this view, Saakashvili is a brave, wise leader of a besieged democracy, rather than the bumbling authoritarian who plunged his poor country into an unwinnable conflict for the sake of irredentist obsession. Remember that the standard GOP attack on Obama in the first days of the war was that he said that both sides were at fault (because, well, both sides were at fault), which was an unforgivable deviation from the official line. However, when officials in the Bush administration are furious with Saakashvili for his blundering and you have such reliable establishment columnists as Jackson Diehl voicing dissatisfaction with old Misha, the fanatics have lost this part of the argument. One thing we can be sure of about a McCain administration is that it will be even more stubbornly committed to supporting Saakashvili’s hold on power than Bush was in backing Musharraf, and so it was imperative that Palin conform to this position, which necessarily entails overlooking or flatly denying that Saakashvili has done anything wrong or reckless.