Missile Fired at McCain Helicopter During Georgia Visit?

The Arizona Republic reports that a missile was fired at a helicopter escorting Senator John McCain last week.

A missile was fired at a helicopter escorting Sen. John McCain during a visit to the Republic of Georgia last week. A statement from that nation’s interior ministry says the surface-to-air missile was aimed at a chopper involved in a visit of a U.S. Senate delegation to the former Soviet republic. McCain was mentioned as the leader of the group.

The ministry statement claims American officials were notified of the incident. State Dept. spokeswoman Joanne Moore told the Associated Press she had no information about the reported attack.

The president of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, is a strong ally of the U.S. He is also trying to re-establish control over two regions of the country trying to break away from the central government.

Word of this missile launch was made as part of a statement about a Sunday attack on a helicopter carrying Georgia’s defense minister. His aircraft was damaged by large-caliber machine gun fire and forced to make an emergency landing. No one was injured.

The Concord (NH) Monitor adds,

The Georgian Interior Ministry said a helicopter accompanying a delegation of U.S. senators, including New Hampshire’s John Sununu, was fired on last month with a surface-to-air missile from the separatist territory of South Ossetia. A ministry statement said the shooting took place Aug. 28 and that the helicopter was not damaged.

The helicopter was accompanying Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and a U.S. delegation led by Sen. John McCain, the statement said. In addition to Sununu, the delegation included Sens. Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican, Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, Mel Martinez, a Florida Republican, and Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican.

I suspect local papers in each state headlined the local celebrity. Otherwise, the story is getting very little play.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. lily says:

    Oh, THAT Georgia. The headline is definately an attention-grabber.

  2. LJD says:

    The Georgian Interior Ministry said a helicopter accompanying a delegation of U.S. senators, including New Hampshire’s John Sununu, was fired on last month with a surface-to-air missile from the separatist territory of South Ossetia.

    That’s it, WAR between New Hampshire and Ossetia!

  3. Imagine if he had been killed by the missile. How much would the 2006 and 2008 election landscape been changed? Not to mention being a personal bummer for McCain.

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    First Amendment absolutists, no doubt.

  5. Dave,

    What did Sununu ever do to the First Amendment Absolutists? I’ll give you McCain and probably even Georgia’ defense minister, but Sununu?

  6. McGehee says:

    Oh, THAT Georgia. The headline is definately an attention-grabber.

    Heh. My first thought was, “And he thought he was unpopular in South Carolina!”

  7. Dave Schuler says:

    What did Sununu ever do to the First Amendment Absolutists? I’ll give you McCain and probably even Georgia’ defense minister, but Sununu?

    I was referring to John McCain. With the wailing and gnashing of teeth that’s been going on about him today it doesn’t sound completely out of the question.

  8. madmatt says:

    Shame they missed…it would of been a more peaceful and honest world if that plane load of scum went down in flames….and before you castigate my sentiment keep inmind soem comments from the right when the wellstone plane went down.

  9. McGehee says:

    ….and before you castigate my sentiment keep inmind soem comments from the right when the wellstone plane went down.

    Show us.

  10. teqjack says:

    Just as McCain-Feingold “reform” goes into effect to close down that pesky 1st Amendment thing: coincidence?

  11. Nicole says:

    According to the US embassy in Tbilisi, it was another helicopter, not McCain’s. False alarm.