Omigod. Imagine If the Downed Plane Had Been American…

I absolutely don’t mean to imply that American lives are more valuable than Dutch or Malaysian, but as it becomes increasingly clear that a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet was shot down by Russian-armed separatists—essentially, shot down by Russia—I can’t help but imagine the potential absolute catastrophe set in motion had it been an American airliner, and 298 American passengers and crew whose burned and bloody pieces lay scattered across eastern Ukraine.

The US is a democracy and this is an election year, and for a nation that has invaded countries for far less—a nation that has cited the Maine, and the Lusitania, and the Gulf of Tonkin as grounds for war—it is hard to imagine that President Obama could have resisted calls for retaliation. Indeed, to do nothing would virtually assure a Republican landslide in November. I suppose it is possible that Vladimir Putin might act un-Putin-like and accede to a US ultimatum: acknowledge responsibility, pay reparations, turn over those directly responsible, disarm the separatists, and swear to honor existing borders. But barring such a total capitulation, how could we not strike back at Russian-backed separatists just miles from the Russian border? And how could that not risk escalating into a direct conflict between the world’s two nuclear superpowers?

As Josh Marshall astutely explains over at TPM, “This is a f’-up on Putin’s part of almost mind-boggling proportions.” A game changer, yes.

But it could’ve been much, much, worse.


  1. 1

    Teabagger spews:

    We’ve been down that scenario before (9/11) and let’s discuss where that got us. We killed Bin Laden, the guy responsible, and noone even cares about it. So why do anything? What good would come from it? Other than showing off your pecs and biceps and triceps, which sounds kind of gay to do, and you know there is no gay shit going on, on the right, or with so called straight people.

  2. 4

    Porter Browning spews:

    There is really only one way this could have been fired by the separatists – who BTW are as “deserving” of their own country as anyone (see Israel) and that would be if someone put a homing beacon in the plane. The separatists simply don’t have the radars required to do this.

  3. 5

    Teabagger spews:

    @4 why do you believe that a SAM was used? Maybe the plane had a technical problem.

  4. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The last time we shot down an airliner full of innocent civilians, we apologized, paid reparations, and sacked the captain of the ship that fired the missile, that’s all. Why should we expect anyone else to do more?

  5. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’m wrong about the captain being sacked. He remained in command of the ship for the rest of its deployment, then was given a medal, and served in other Navy assignments until he retired.

    I’m also wrong about the U.S. apologizing to Iran for shooting down the civilian airliner. We didn’t, our government only “expressed regret.” Nor did our government admit to any legal liability when it paid a settlement amounting to about $320,000 per passenger in 2014 dollars.

  6. 8


    @3 @4 Wow. It’s really flattering to know that the Russians are now trolling my blog. Wonder if HA is blocked in Russia now the way it is blocked China?

  7. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @5 “why do you believe that a SAM was used?”

    Because our satellites saw it, that’s why.

  8. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @3 You are, and always have been, one of the dumbest trolls ever to populate this blog’s comment threads. Case in point: What would be Ukraine’s motive to shoot down a civilian airliner? And why wouldn’t Russian separatists shoot at a plane overflying over an area where Ukraine military jets had bombed their positions? If they didn’t, as you argue, have radar that could distinguish between military and civilian planes, but did have SAMs supplied to them by Russia, it’s not hard to figure out how an “accident” could occur, is it?

  9. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @8 Don’t you realize you’re part of the Comintern, and Putin sent you money in his KGB agent days?

  10. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @11 If you’re referring to the “Conservatives Believe What They Want To Be True” Syndrome, you’ve got a point.

  11. 14

    Teabagger spews:

    @8 Republicans have become Putin Loving Commies ever since Vladimir became the anti-gay crusader.

  12. 15

    headless lucy spews:

    Some might suspect (in a somewhat paranoid way) that the Ukrainians shot down the jet in an attempt to frame the Russians and the Russian separatists, thereby bringing world opinion to their side of the conflict.

    I guess we’ll never get to the bottom of this until Lindsay Graham and John McCain weigh in. They’d better wait for Darrell Issa to do a little fact-checking first, though.

    “Live long and Benghazi!” The new Spock

  13. 16

    Jack spews:

    It could have been the CIA that was involved with the shoot-down. That organization profited handsomely from the Cold War, and they could be behind the scenes, manipulating those that actually fired the SAM-11 at the Boeing 777. Heck, the CIA has a lot to gain by a return to th Cold War days.

  14. 17

    headless lucy spews:

    President Kennedy is back from outer space with a great new diet and a plan to fix the missile gap.

  15. 19

    Jack spews:

    In any event, I don’t think the US can do much about the Russians who want to seize the Ukraine and make it part of Russia.

  16. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The latest news from the crash site is that pro-Russian militants are denying investigators access to the crash site and tampering with the evidence by picking through the wreckage and removing personal possessions — while leaving the bodies strewn across on the ground. Suggestion to Ukraine authorities: Nobody else will mind if you shove a few cluster-bombs up their butts.

  17. 21

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    While you’re at it, drop some on Cliven Bundy’s militia, too. We won’t shoot at your planes for violating our airspace. I promise.

  18. 22

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Imagine being a 45 year old Russian living under Putin’s corrupt kleptocracy and watching your power drunk leaders ruin your national reputation and your future opportunities.

  19. 24

    K2 spews:

    Was a time when politics ended at our borders. Now McCain and company use this incident to attack the President. Treasonous bastards.

  20. 26

    Puddybud - The One The Only spews:

    OWS SCUMBAG Racist Fraggy forgot to check the people who actually approve these entries on that web page.

    Funny how OWS SCUMBAG Racist Fraggy KNEW about that web page. Puddy didn’t until just now! So, OWS SCUMBAG Racist Fraggy, which “sky” or “ev” or “ov” are you?

    Fess up dude!

  21. 27

    Puddybud - The One The Only spews:


    Even DUMMOCRETINS are getting weary of Obummer and his feckless foreign policy!

    Sux to be you!

  22. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @27 At least Obama HAS a foreign policy. Bush was nothing but a drug-and-alcohol-addled warmonger.

  23. 29

    Oldmtnbkr spews:

    Last week I started Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers, his view of how Europe stumbled into WWI. This incident is very different in important ways of course, but unpleasantly reminds us of the way big power actors do stupid things that could have cataclysmic results. Doubt that President McCain, or God forbid President Palin, would have handled this well.

  24. 33

    Puddybud - The One The Only spews:

    Once again rujaxoffallthetime has nuthin to say!

    Standard MO from that jackASS!

  25. 35

    Puddybud - The One The Only spews:

    Hey IDIOT Wabbit,

    Bush was feared by our enemies. When the DUMMOCRETINS took over Congress, then Putin made his moves! Just visit Europe and ask the common man on the street. They didn’t like how Bush did it!

  26. 37

    Worf spews:

    @22- I don’t have to imagine. That’s an accurate description of how I felt during the Bush years.