Along with everyone else, I have responded with shock and horror to the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines 17. From the first announcement, I have watched and waited for the United States government to make a firm stand and commitment to the victims of this brutal act of terrorism. Unfortunately, so far, I have been sorely disappointed with the unforgivable passivity of our elected leaders.
“Terrorism has no nationality or religion.” –Vladimir Putin
It is in times of crisis, such as when South Korea’s KAL007 was shot down by the Soviets in 1983, that President Reagan went on television and made it clear that what the Soviets had done was a crime and act of terrorism and, more importantly, that we would not stand for it. When Pan Am Flight 103 was destroyed by a terrorist bomb in 1988, the territorial police force in Scotland was joined by the American FBI to investigate and prosecute the persons responsible.
Now, in the Ukraine, bodies continue to lie where they fell from the sky. The airplane’s remains have been looted by separatists, and those same rebels are keeping international investigative services from the site with the threat of violence. Although the international community has made calls to allow investigators to the site, and for the casualties to be identified and returned to their homes, nothing has been accomplished.
The missile launcher that shot down MAL17 has been driven back across the border into Russia and obscurity. Like playing a game with an infant, Putin now claims there were no Russian missile launchers in the Ukraine, and that it was a Ukrainian jet that shot the airliner down. The social media pages have been expunged, the commander crowing about shooting down an airplane has been removed. Of course, no one outside of Russia believes Putin, but what can be done about it?
The problem, in my opinion, is that no one in the international community has the strength to go toe-to-toe with Russia and say ‘you will do this, or you will suffer the consequences.’ Great Britain, the Netherlands and Australia are all saying it, but they can’t force the Russian-supported and funded separatists to do anything. Russian newspapers are full of stories, eerily similar to the news reports in 1983, that the airliner was an American spy plane. That it was full of corpses. That the real victims here are the Ukrainian separatists that want to rejoin Mother Russia.
“Terrorism has once again shown it is prepared deliberately to stop at nothing in creating human victims. An end must be put to this. As never before, it is vital to unite forces of the entire world community against terror.” –Vladimir Putin
It is a load of hogwash, of course. Whether directly or indirectly, Russia is responsible for the missile that shot down MAL17. International opinion, facts and common sense point to this as the only possible explanation. I am positive it was a horrendous accident and completely unintentional. But, that doesn’t matter, it happened. Every day that Putin claims the Russians had nothing to do with this is another day that even more of the world opinion comes down against him.
Unfortunately, Putin doesn’t care about world opinion. World opinion doesn’t have enough tanks to make him worry.
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