Further to the rhetoric about MH17, it is of interest to note the logic behind many of the comments. For example, take this quote from David Cameron: “For too long there has been a reluctance on the part of too many European countries to face up to the implications of what is happening in eastern Ukraine.” Well, David, what are the implications? The item from where I took the quote did not give any discernible ones, although in fairness that may merely mean bad reporting. We then see only too many leaders telling Putin that ‘he must take responsibility’ for what has happened. You are responsible for what you control, so is this a statement that Eastern Ukraine is really part of Russia? What does, “take responsibility” mean? Go stand in the corner with a dunces hat? Or is everyone just trying to score points to raise their local poll ratings? I rather suspect there is a lot of the latter.
Then there were protests about pillage, and accusations that passengers’ property was stolen by Eastern Ukrainians. Now, pillage is bad, right? Yes, it is, but it happens. Note the pillage of Iraq’s national treasures after US troops entered Baghdad, and the amount that ended in America. Everybody holding those treasures is guilty of pillage, because they know they were stolen. But who objected to that pillage?
Then there is the call for retribution. Impose sanctions! Stick it to those Russians. The fact that the Russians probably had no real input to this event is beside the point. But what about precedent? The nearest precedent I could find was IR655, which was shot down by the USS Vincennes, which had recently (then) been bullying Iranian gunboats. Now, here we had the most sophisticated equipment then available and a highly disciplined crew (or so we were led to believe). These were not a bunch of ill-trained separatists, and they had not been recently subjected to aircraft bombing, yet they pulled the trigger. If they could, why could not someone else? And who suggested sanctions on the US? Nobody, because they would lose money and achieve nothing.
One of the more interesting quotes I have heard was on a TV item where a leading Ukrainian rebel was told that he should show more contrition and respect for the bodies, and he responded something like, “In the same way you showed concern for Eastern Ukrainian bodies?” He was referring, of course, to the outcomes of the Western Ukrainian shelling and bombing. The same could be said for Palestinan civilians, or Iraqi civilians killed due to “shock and awe”. I have heard some say that Putin must be responsible because he supplied the missiles that brought down the aircraft. The same could be said for the US Presidents at the time of the deaths of Palestinian civilians, because Israel has received huge amounts of US funding. And, of course, the US was clearly responsible for deaths due to “shock and awe”, and the subsequent Iraqi collapse
No, I am not on a major witch-hunt. What I am saying is that politicians should at least be consistent, or as they say, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If supplying arms is bad, and perhaps it is, let he who makes arms and has never supplied dissidents cast the first stone. I suspect there would be an absence of stone throwing.
What is the alternative to the rebels not having such missile systems? Either the Russian air force defends Eastern Ukraine, or Western Ukraine has free shots at killing Eastern Ukrainians. Of course some will say, that is OK because it is “them”. The problem with this aircraft is, “It could have been me on it.” It might be natural to feel more for your own citizens, but the Iranians were still human beings, exactly like us, with the same faults, the same virtues, and the same desire to live amongst their friends and families and enjoy their life. As are the bombed eastern Ukrainians. Time to be fair! Of course we want this sort of thing not to happen again, but you do not achieve that by throwing ill-considered insults at someone else?