Georgian troops fleeing under attack from Russian forces.
The scene on the ground would have been very different today if Georgia had been able to move past Tskhinvali after they shelled the city last week. Of course, it is not known if moving forward was the plan.
The route by which Russian troops, weapons and humanitarian supplies came south while thousands of refugees went north is a single narrow road from the Roki Tunnel
Had Georgian forces got to that location, blown the bridge and set up an ambush position, what would we be looking at today?
Certainly very heavy fighting at that location and consolidation of Georgian control in Tskhinvali.
It is likely there would be a crescendo of calls for a ceasefire in place.
But Moscow might then have hugely upped the military response, rather as NATO did in Kosovo when its original optimism was disappointed. They would might well have committed more forces and bombed sites all over Georgia.
So, the Georgian plan, if there was one, could have been quite feasible: move 25 or 30 kilometres, through Tskhinvali, to seize and destroy the bridge and hold the Russians there for several days.
But they weren't able to get through Tskhinvali -- the South Ossetia militias stopped them until the Russians arrive and we face a situation today that, while tense, could have been much more so.
Patrick Armstrong received a PhD from Kings College, University of London, England in 1976 and retired in 2008 after 30 years as an analyst for the Canadian government. He was Political Counsellor for the Canadian Embassy in Moscow from 1993 to 1996. He has been a frequent speaker at the Wilton Park conferences in the UK.