Forced labor is just a nice word for slavery. In 1930 at a United Nations Geneva conference the International Labour Organization declared it offical that slavery includes forced labor. Today, The Jerusalem Post reported that Russia was using forced labor on ethnic Georgians to clean up the aftermath of the war. (How about - you made the mess you clean it up?)
It's common knowledge that slavery exists in the dark hidden bowels of our "civilized" world. Antislavery.org reports that in 2002
8.4 million children are in slavery, trafficking, debt bondage and other forms of forced labour, forced recruitment for armed conflict, prostitution, pornography and other illicit activities.
And forced labor?
At least 12.3 million people* around the world are
trapped in a form of slavery known as forced labour.
Now the people of Georgia can join those figures thanks to Russia.
When such a massive region of political and economic influence openly uses forced labor it's time for the world to wake up and get a grasp on humanity. Actually, we should have done that centuries ago.
I'm personally recommending Caroline Glick's article on Nature of Man and "What does Moscow Want in Georgia" by Brenda Shaffer for anyone who is interested in learning more about the Georgia Russia conflict.
Statistics prove that we haven't learned much from our uncivilized past. Will power and greed always prevail? Do only the physically strong survive - or can strength be defined by intellectual, emotional, or humanitarian strength? Right now statistics are showing that physical strength wins. I wonder when we will be "civilized" enough (or smart enough) to use brains over braun so innocent civilians, especially children, can remain unscathed from political rivalry and greed.
Post Script August 21, 2008: Just found this link with some great pdf files on international conflict by Gary King Professor of Government at Harvard University: Evidence, Theories and Legal Ramifications of International Conflict
Statistics and Information on Georgia Russia conflict and oil can also be found at my blog post on Statistics on Oil and the Nations at War.