The Economist chose this sentence as a subtitle: “A war between Russia and Georgia appears to be under way“.

As in any war, the first victim was the truth. Contradictory accounts come from both sides, and reality is probably somewhere in between, lost in the fog of war. But military activities are in full course:

Georgian soldiers, tanks and fighter-planes struck Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, on Friday. Parts of the city were reported to be burning as Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili, declared that his forces had “freed” much of the area from separatist control.
[…] 150 Russian tanks were reported to be entering South Ossetia on Friday. Georgia’s government says that Russian planes have dropped bombs outside of South Ossetia including on the edge of Tblisi, the Georgian capital.

So why did they choose to say “appears to be”? Maybe because official war declarations are old-fashioned and disused. Recent conflicts seem to start by sheer use of force, there was no time to have an official war declared against Afghanistan, or Iraq. War isn’t declared anymore, it just happens.