Many Questions About That 777 Crash - The Missourian: Columns

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Many Questions About That 777 Crash

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Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 8:23 am

The tragic crash of that Boeing 777 over a war zone has dominated the news. Unanswered questions fill the air like swarms of birds looking for food. Accusations of who was to blame pumps speculations about the firing of that evil missile like water gushing from a broken fire hydrant. Was it a Russian who pulled the trigger on the sophisticated equipment that fired the missile 33,000 feet into the fuselage of the airline with 283 passengers aboard with 15 crew members?

Television coverage just hours after the crash was excellent with views of the wreckage scattered over a 20-mile, or more, area. Numerous sources were sent to us live by the networks covering the story. Speculation of how it happened and who was to blame came immediately.

We talked to a retired airline pilot who compiled 15,000 hours of flying time in 30 years in Marine jets and as a commercial pilot for a major airline. He now is an airline safety instructor in St. Louis, working for a private company. He has flown all over the world. His question: Why was the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 flying over a war zone?

We never flew over war zones in the Middle East. We flew safe corridors. I don’t understand why that Malaysian airliner was on the route it was,” the veteran pilot asserted. He added that the 777 was the best aircraft he ever piloted.

Regardless of the route the airliner was on, the shooting down of the plane and the lost lives — there is no justification for this act of warlike aggression. One thing is clear: the missile was fired from rebel-controlled land in eastern Ukraine.

A couple of days after the crash, the Rebels in eastern Ukraine sealed off the crash area to investigators, took control of the bodies, in an effort to keep the world from learning the truth. That’s a clear signal that the Russian-backed rebels have something to hide. Ukrainian officials said armed rebels took the bodies away from their workers by force. However, the truth will come out, perhaps sooner than later.

The rebels now have opened up the crash site somewhat.

Secretary of State John Kerry was blunt in saying that Ukraine’s separatists were to blame for the downing of the aircraft. He emphasized that there is “extraordinary circumstantial evidence that showed Russia most certainly was complicit in arming the rebels.”

There has been international outrage over how the bodies of the victims were being handled. There is wide speculation that the rebels are tampering with evidence.

Russia could care less about the outrage. The Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin, is accomplishing what he needed to do to entrench his standing with his people. By taking over the Crimea, and aiding the pro-Russian people in eastern Ukraine, he has fired up a nationalistic spirit that distracts from the problems on the homefront. That’s course 101 in dictatorship. Putin also knows the West, including the United States, isn’t going to do much to punish Russia. President Barack Obama said the downing of the aircraft is a “wake-up call” for Europe and the world that there are consequences to the increasing warfare in eastern Ukraine.

The limited sanctions placed on Russia don’t seem to have bothered Putin and his countrymen. Putin is a world-class liar who is a ruthless dictator.

The engaging question is when, how and where will the world stand up to Putin?

/opinion/columns

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