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Russia & The Fate Of KAL 007 Malaysian Airlines 17

As of this writing, we don’t yet know who shot down the passenger airliner, but look at this from The New York Times:

Defense Department officials said late Thursday that they were examining the possibility that Ukrainian separatists with Russian advisers had fired a captured Ukrainian Army Buk missile system. The separatists do not otherwise have the technology to shoot down an airliner at such a high altitude, the officials said.

Another possibility, a senior Pentagon official said, was that Russian troops just across the border from eastern Ukraine may have fired the missile. In both scenarios, the senior official said, the missile operator most likely mistook the Malaysian airliner for a Ukrainian military transport plane. A third possibility, the official said, was that the Russians supplied the rebels with the missile.

Two senior Pentagon officials said military analysts suspected that the missile was either an SA-11 or an SA-20.

If there is any Russian involvement in this crime — even if the Russians merely provided the separatists with the missiles — then Moscow must be made to pay a heavy price by the international community. If — if — the Russians gave the separatists missiles with this capability, then the blood of those innocents is on Putin’s hands. I have been more willing to consider Russia’s position in this conflict than many conservatives, but I don’t see any other way around it.

Again, we don’t know who brought down the plane yet, but if the Russians shot down the airliner themselves, we’re dealing with KAL 007 all over again. If either scenario proves out, then Putin’s recklessness is reprehensible.

UPDATE: A couple of readers have chimed in with this fair point, stated by one:

Rod, let us not forget Iran Air 655 while we’re exercising our moral outrage.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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