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Malaysia Airlines 777 Crashes In Eastern Ukraine, May Have Been Shot Down

Malyasia Airlines 777

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 filing from Amsterdam to Kuala Lampur has crashed somewhere in eastern Ukraine, and some allegations are being raised that the plane may have been shot down:

MOSCOW — A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with nearly 300 people aboard crashed in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border on Thursday, the Ukraine government and a regional European aviation official reported, and the Interfax news agency said it had been shot down.

Ukraine’s president, Petro O. Poroshenko, said in a statement that he was calling for an immediate investigation of the crash. He did not rule out that it might have been shot down.

A regional airline official said the plane had been flying at about 33,000 feet when radar trackers lost it over eastern Ukraine near the Russian border.

Eastern Ukraine has been roiled for months by a violent pro-Russian separatist uprising in which a number of military aircraft have been downed. But this would be the first commercial airline disaster resulting from the hostilities in Ukraine.

Malaysia Airlines, still reeling from the mysterious loss of another Boeing 777 flight in March, said it had lost contact with the flight, MH17, from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukraine but offered no further details immediately. Malaysia’s president, Mohd Najib Tun Razak, said in a Twitter post that he was “shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed. We are launching an immediate investigation.”

Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia’s defense minister, responded to reports that the aircraft had disappeared and might have been shot down by posting a series of terse messages on Twitter: “Monitoring this closely,” said one. In another, he referred to the Ministry of Defense in saying that, “I have directed MINDEF to get confirmation.”

Andrei Purgin, deputy prime minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the insurgent group in eastern Ukraine, denied in a telephone interview that the rebels had anything to do with the downing of the passenger jet. He said the rebels had shot down Ukrainian planes before but that their anti-aircraft weapons could only reach to around 4,000 meters, far below the level of passenger jets.

“We don’t have the technical ability to hit a plane at that height,” he said. He said the plane apparently came down in an area of Ukrainian military operations and that it was not out of the question that Ukrainians themselves shot it down.

Further details from NBC News:

Malaysia Airlines jet with 295 people on board crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border on Thursday, according to the Interfax news agency, and an adviser to the Ukrainian government said that it had been shot down.

The reports could not immediately be confirmed by NBC News, but Malaysia Airlines said on its Twitter account that it had lost contact with an aircraft, Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. A Reuters correspondent in eastern Ukraine reported seeing the burning wreckage of a plane and bodies on the ground.

More than four months ago, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board, disappeared in the greatest mystery in modern aviation. Multi-nation searches of swaths of land and ocean have turned up no sign of that aircraft.

A adviser to the Ukrainian interior ministry said that Flight 17, a Boeing 777, had been shot down over a town in the east of the country, The Associated Press reported. Pro-Russian separatists have been fighting Ukrainian security forces in that region for months.

The adviser, Anton Gerashenko, said on his Facebook page that the plane was flying at 33,000 feet when it was hit by a missile fired from a launcher known as a Buk. A similar launcher was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Twitter: “I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed. We are launching an immediate investigation.”

The Malaysian defense minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, said that there was no confirmation that the plane had been shot down. He said on Twitter that the Malaysian military had been instructed to “get on it.”

President Barack Obama was briefed and directed his team to be in close touch with senior Ukrainian officials, press secretary Josh Earnest said. Officials at the Pentagon scrambled to learn more and assess who might have had the capability to shoot down an airliner.

And The Washington Post:

 Malaysia Airlines said Thursday that it lost contact with an airliner that was flying in Ukrainian airspace, raising fears that the plane may have been shot down over eastern Ukraine.

“We lost contact with Flight MH17 in Ukraine,” said Najmuddin Abdullah, who works in Malaysia Airlines’ press office.

An adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister wrote on Facebook that a Buk antiaircraft missile system shot down the plane over the village of Torez, about 25 miles east of the city of Donetsk and within territory held by pro-Russian separatist rebels.

The plane was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew members, Anton Herashenko, the Interior Ministry adviser, wrote on his Facebook page, without revealing how he knew the information. He blamed the rebels for the attack.

(…)

Herashenko said on Facebook that “local patriots” reported the movement of the Buk missile system Thursday morning from Torez in the direction of Sneznoye. He said the Malaysian plane en route to Kuala Lumpur was flying at 10,000 meters.

The missile system was “generously provided” to the rebels by Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, Herashenko charged. “There is no limit to the cynicism of Putin and his terrorists!” he said.

“Europe, Canada, the USA, the civilized world — open your eyes! Help us with everything you can!” he pleaded.

Herashenko said video from the site shows that “some jerks were shouting: Look, how wonderful it is burning! Beautiful!”

For their part, leaders of the separatists’ self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic denied any involvement in bringing down the airliner.

“The plane was shot down by the Ukrainian side,” said Serhiy Kavtaradze, a member of the rebels’ security council, according to the Russia’s Interfax news agency. “We simply do not have such air defense systems.” He said rebels’ shoulder-launched antimissile weapons “have a firing range of only 3,000 to 4,000 meters” and that passenger jets fly at a much higher altitude.

As is always the case with breaking news stories like this, it’s worth keeping in mind that initial reports are often incomplete and untrue. Additionally, the claims from Ukrainians should at least initially be taken with a grain of salt given the conflict going on in the region and the fact that it would be in their interests to pin responsibility for what happened here on either the Russians or on pro-Russian separatists. We may learn that the plane experienced engine trouble of some kind or some other kind of mechanical trouble that caused it to drop from the sky in this manner, although its worth noting that at the moment at least there are no reports that crew was making any indication of such trouble. Other possible causes of what could have happened, of course, would include a bomb on the plane or terrorist hijacking, but that takes us into realms of speculation that its not really a good idea to get into without further evidence.

All that being said, there certainly does seem to be some evidence for the Ukrainian claim that the plane was shot down. Radar date tracked by Flight Aware shows the plane disappearing from radar with no indication of a rapid loss in altitude, for example. Additionally, there has been a decided up-tick in tensions in eastern Ukraine and along the Ukrainian-Russian border over the past week or so including, just on Monday, a Ukrainian transport plane that was allegedly shot down by some means from the Russian side of the border. CNN, meanwhile, is reporting that one representative of the separatists was making claims that his group had shot down a Ukrainian plane about an hour prior to the news of the crash becoming public. The veracity of that claim, though, seems difficult to accept given the fact that, by all accounts, the separatists do not have the type of weaponry that would be needed to shoot down a plane flying at 33,000 feet.

If the plane was indeed shot down, then it obviously raises memories of Korean Airlines Flight 007, which was shot down by Soviet fighters after it had strayed from its intended flight plan from New York City to Soeul, accidentally straying close to the Soviet base at Sakalin Island. In that case, the Soviets claimed that the plane had been shot down in error due to perceived threats, although few people outside the USSR believed that the pilots could have not known that the plane they were tracking was a passenger airliner. In this case, it also should have been very easy for military radar to figure out that Flight 17 was not a military plane due both to its radar signature (assuming that its transponder was working properly) and the fact that it was flying at an altitude typically used by commercial airliners. At the same time, though, it seems inconceivable that this would have been a deliberate action, either by the Russians or by the separatists.

Mistake or not, though, it doesn’t take much to realize that this could end up being a very serious incident if it does indeed turn out that the plane was shot down.  For that reason alone, it’s essential that we let the facts play out at their own pace and avoid the kind of speculation that could lead to unnecessarily increased tensions.

This post will be updated as necessary, or we’ll cover other aspects of this news in new posts as warranted.

Update: Reuters is reporting that there were American citizens on the plane:

The United States was likely to be involved in any investigation of this crash in any case, but this guarantees that we will be doing so I would think.

Update: U.S Intelligence sources are reporting that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was brought down by a surface to air missile.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Rob in CT says:

    As the headline on the post over at LGM put it:

    Shit, meet fan.

    I’ve seen comments claiming that the separatists recently captured something (a “BUK” ?) that can, in fact, hit something at that kind of altitude.

    But of course we don’t know anything yet. The Ukrainians have every incentive to blame this on the separatists or Russia, and vice versa.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  2. The a Russian GRU officer had already taken credit for shooting down the plane on Twitter before it was realized the AN-26 he just shot down was a 777:

    http://thehill.com/policy/international/212558-reports-malaysian-airlines-jet-shot-down-in-eastern-ukraine

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. Matt Bernius says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Here’a a better summary of that angle:
    http://www.rferl.mobi/a/ukraine-separatist-leader-boasts-downing-plane/25460930.html

    In a post on his VKontakte page, Russia’s largest social media site, separatist leader Igor Girkin, aka Strelkov, wrote: “In the vicinity of Torez, we just downed a plane, an AN-26. It is lying somewhere in the Progress Mine. We have issued warnings not to fly in our airspace. We have video confirming. The bird fell on a waste heap. Residential areas were not hit. Civilians were not injured.”

    [...]

    The claim was posted at 5:50 pm Moscow time, shortly before reports surfaced that the Malaysian civilian aircraft, on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, had crashed in eastern Ukraine in the same area near the Russian border.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. @Matt Bernius:

    Crap, when I first posted that link, the article had a picture of said tweet in it. Now it’s been removed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. I’ve noted this in an update, but Reuters is reporting that there were 23 Americans on the plane

    https://twitter.com/Reuters/statuses/489824863725813760

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. EddieInCA says:

    Doug, Matt -

    Correct me if I’m wrong. Given current satellite technology, won’t it be petty easy to see exactly from where the alleged missile was fired?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Tillman says:

    It has not been a good year for Malaysian Airlines.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. Mu says:

    Found a description of the AA system supposedly used as having an optical guidance mode. Would explain how you can mistake an AN 26 (max service height 24,000 ft at 275 mph) with a double the size 777 at 35,000 ft and 500 mph).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Matt Bernius says:

    @EddieInCA:
    That is so not my area of expertise. Sorry.

    BTW, Radio Free Europe is curating a great feed of breaking information on this event. I highly recommend it:
    http://www.rferl.org/contentlive/liveblog/25416257.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. michael reynolds says:

    Our satellites look for ballistic missiles apparently, not surface to air, which is very different trajectory.

    It was almost certainly the “separatists,” which is to say Moscow’s creatures in Ukraine.

    I’m guessing Obama didn’t get a lot of back-talk from Putin regarding sanctions today.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  11. grumpy realist says:

    Really, really dumb question to all the military geeks here:

    If the plane was flying at 33,000 ft, what sort of weaponry would be able to shoot that down? Don’t you need something extremely military?

    I guess I find it hard to believe that if whatever-it-was originated in the Russian military, Russia would allow that sort of weaponry out of its hands to a separatist group, no matter how much they felt my-enemy-is-your-enemy. It would be sort of like the US handing a nuke over to an anti-Assad group.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. grumpy realist says:

    @Mu: Yes, but just because you mistake something at 35K feet for something much lower doesn’t mean you’ll be able to reach it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Rob in CT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    From discussions elsewhere, I gather it requires something fairly substantial. If it was the separatists, they were using weaponry either captured from the Ukrainian government or something they got from the Russians. That’s apparently too high to be hit from, say, a shoulder-launched missle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. michael reynolds says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Supposedly a BUK, also known as an SA-11 (Truck-mounted surface to air missile) was captured from Russian stores by the Russians in Ukraine. Yeah. “Captured.”

    That’s the only military toy in the area capable of hitting a jet at 30k feet. Shoulder-launched stuff can’t do it because that is a long ascent for a missile. You would not be able to carry a missile around that had that much fuel on-board.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Matt Bernius says:

    @grumpy realist:

    If the plane was flying at 33,000 ft, what sort of weaponry would be able to shoot that down? Don’t you need something extremely military?

    Again, I’m no expert, but the answer seems to be yes.

    And while there’s no evidence that separatists were given such equipment by Russia, there were reports that as @Rob in CT posts, they had captured similiar equipment from Ukraine:
    http://en.itar-tass.com/world/738262

    Frankly, the idea that Separatists, acting on their own, accidentally shot down the plane seems to me to be by far the most credible theory at the moment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  16. John Peabody says:

    I think I first read this quote on OTB several years ago: “50% of what you read today will turn out to be wrong”. I will chill until the dust settles.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  17. humanoid.panda says:

    @Rob in CT: The separatists apparently bragged in the last few days that they a couple of rocket systems of a caliber sufficient to drop down that plane.

    Additionally, the marginally insane spin coming from Moscow right now (at the moment, they are arguing Ukrainians shot down the plane thinking it was Putin’s airplane coming home from BRICs conference) indicates they know the rebels did it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  18. Rob in CT says:

    @John Peabody:

    At least 50%. And in something like this, I’m not sure how much we’ll ever know for sure.

    Much like the gas attack in Syria, btw. Did we ever get to a point where we KNEW, for sure, who did what? Everybody had incentives to lie their asses off, and investigating in a warzone wasn’t easy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  19. Franklin says:

    @Tillman: That was exactly my first thought.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. Mu says:

    @grumpy realist: Absolutely. I was more pointing out that if you’re under radar control you’ll probably know what you’re shooting at altitude/speed wise. If you’re using an optical “keep it in the reticle” tracking system you only wonder why it took the missile forever to get there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. CSK says:

    Well, so far, everybody who’s spoken about it has denied responsibility. The rebels say they don’t have the technology.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist: There is talk that it was a Buk (Russian for beech tree) system. Wiki has a good article. Radar controlled, mobile SAM (surface to air missile) system. Some versions of the missile can reach 80,000 ft. The Ukrainians had this equipment, so it may have been taken from a Ukrainian base, and trained personnel may have defected. That might leave them able to acquire a target and shoot, but without a command and control structure to properly identify the target. Doesn’t seem like Putin would have given them anything this capable.

    I also looked at AN-26 on Wiki. Two wings and a tail. Otherwise not anything like a 777, visually, or flight characteristics.

    Of course all this early rumoring may be completely off base.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  23. Cletus says:

    This is what happens when you isolate and threaten Russia. “Red lines” and sanctions won’t work. There is nothing the US will do except issue statements and warnings.

    I am though of the belief that this is really more about the currency war that is rapidly speeding up. Russia and China signed a huge oil and gas contract in March that avoids using the Us dollar Russia could also decide to demand payment for its oil and gas in other currencies than the dollar. The BRICS also just set up a new bank and monetary fund to compete with the IMF and World Bank China too is stepping up its efforts too setting up trade agreements with various countries to trade without using US dollars. One of those agreements were with
    S Korea to conduct more business in yuan than the dollar.

    Russia also just recently reactivated its spy base in Cuba and is developing a GPS positioning stations in Argentina and Brazil . Looks like the Cold War redux

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

  24. Mikey says:

    @Mu:

    Found a description of the AA system supposedly used as having an optical guidance mode.

    It has semi-active radar–there’s a radar control ground station that bounces radar off the target, the missile locks on to that to track the target. There are several variants of the Buk system, but they all use radar.

    It takes a non-trivial number of people and a significant amount of training to operate the Buk system. If it was the pro-Russian separatists who did this, did they possess the know-how to do it themselves (possible, since some of them were Ukranian military and Ukraine has Buks) or did the Russians helpfully “lose” some technicians along with the system? Inquiring minds want to know…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  25. LaMont says:

    Well, one thing you can bet on – conservatives are thinking of ways to place the blame on Pres. Obama right now. Sorry to get all political so early in this development but you know it’s coming!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  26. Mikey says:

    @gVOR08:

    I also looked at AN-26 on Wiki. Two wings and a tail. Otherwise not anything like a 777, visually, or flight characteristics.

    That’s pretty much it. The 777 is twice as big, nearly twice as fast, and has jet engines vs. the AN-26′s turboprops.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. Moosebreath says:

    @LaMont:

    “conservatives are thinking of ways to place the blame on Pres. Obama right now”

    @Cletus is clearly ahead of the curve:

    “This is what happens when you isolate and threaten Russia. “Red lines” and sanctions won’t work. There is nothing the US will do except issue statements and warnings.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  28. C. Clavin says:

    We won’t know anything concrete about this for days or weeks or even months.
    One thing is clear already though…it’s Obama’s fault.
    He might just as well shot down the plane himself.
    How dare President Weak and Feckless put sanctions on Putin?
    Cue Dick Cheney and the rest of the fools in…3, 2, 1….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  29. Jr says:

    @Cletus:What the hell do you expect the US to do? They have no say over there and unless you want to go to war against Russia over Ukraine, there isn’t much they can do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  30. Matt Bernius says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Additionally, the marginally insane spin coming from Moscow right now (at the moment, they are arguing Ukrainians shot down the plane thinking it was Putin’s airplane coming home from BRICs conference) indicates they know the rebels did it.

    This! It’s hard to see the strategic value for Moscow of intentionally downing this plane. In fact, it strikes me that there’s far more to lose — especially since Putin didn’t need to demonstrate his ability to project force.

    Not to mention that excuse just reeks of the “we need to get something out ASAP and find a way to blame the Ukrainians.”

    @Mikey:

    If it was the pro-Russian separatists who did this, did they possess the know-how to do it themselves (possible, since some of them were Ukranian military and Ukraine has Buks) or did the Russians helpfully “lose” some technicians along with the system?

    Its pretty clear that the separatists have a *lot* of military training beyond infantry experience. Some analysis have more or less said that the bases in Crimea more or less took over themselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  31. Mikey says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Its pretty clear that the separatists have a *lot* of military training beyond infantry experience. Some analysis have more or less said that the bases in Crimea more or less took over themselves.

    Yes, that seems likely–if pretty much everyone at the base was pro-Russia, they just decide to start being separatists and Russia has a de facto base.

    Also, to be clear, even if Russia did for whatever reason provide the system to the separatists, that doesn’t mean Russia is behind this incident. I think one might infer that from my comment, but that’s not what I was trying to convey.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  32. C. Clavin says:

    Fat Rushbo:

    “I mean, you talk about… I don’t want appear to be callous here, folks, but you talk about an opportunity to abandon the Obama news at the border?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  33. Mikey says:

    @C. Clavin: You have got to be shitting me. Well, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. But that’s just inane.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  34. Cletus says:
  35. Matt Bernius says:

    @Cletus:

    It’s just the latest example of the failure of the US foreign policy.

    Call. Can you break down how *US foreign policy* caused the downing of this plane.

    Here are the for most likely scenarios:
    - separatists accidentally shoot down the plane.
    - separatists shoot down plane on Russian orders
    - Ukranians shoot down plane (accidentally or planned)
    - mechanical failure

    Seriously. How are any of those *our* fault?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  36. Jeremy R says:

    Apparently Ukrainian intelligence released the audio of phone intercepts between separatists and a Russian intelligence officer discussing the attack:

    https://twitter.com/20committee/status/489860781966909440

    https://twitter.com/OTregub/status/489864859862200320

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. Jr says:

    @Cletus: So it is our fault an irresponsible government supplied gung ho rebels with advance weaponry?

    Give me a ****ing break.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  38. Cletus says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    The US is seen by a paper tiger by Russia and the rest of the world. This is a test. Both our allies and enemies don’t know what we are going to do. You don’t find the timing of this a little bit strange after the new sanctions?

    Matt, you are one of the more astute people on this board and hope you read my post discussing Russia’s recent moves in the last week with the BRICs and Cuba. My greater fear is that China is watching our actions closely and may test our alliance with Taiwan and Japan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

  39. CB says:

    We should all be observing the 48 hour rule here. Most of what we see reported today is going to wind up being bunk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  40. C. Clavin says:

    Russia shot down a civilian Malasian Airliner to test Obama…yet blames someone else.
    Okee dokee then.
    Doug, I apologize. You don’t have ODS. That is ODS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  41. Jr says:

    @Cletus: What are you talking about? The US response has been fairly consistent and the allies/enemies know exactly what our response and stance is. We will continue to expand much harder sanctions, which is all the US can do. The ball is in the EU court, they are the ones whom can hit Russia the hardest and so far have been fairly modest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  42. grumpy realist says:

    @Mikey: Russia may discover it’s created a separatist group within itself.

    At the moment I’m leaning towards accident or “gung-ho army officer (whether Russian, Ukrainian, or separatist) shooting down a commercial jet he thought was something else.”

    I think the whole area is too incoherent for this to be a false flag operation. As the saying goes, never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    And as for fat Rushbo? he’s just gassing off, trying to get the marks to shove him a few more shekels. No matter what happens in the world, he’ll re-interpret it as some evil scheme of Obama’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  43. Jr says:

    @C. Clavin: Yeah, that is silly. This is the last thing the Russians want, it would give the US more ammunition to push the EU to pass harder sanctions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  44. BIll says:

    In the very same part of the world, Siberia Airlines was accidentally shot down in 2001 by a missile fired during a Ukrainian Air Defense Forces exercise

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/1359353/Ukraine-admits-it-shot-down-Russian-airliner.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  45. rudderpedals says:

    Ukraine claimed one of its SU-25′s was taken out at 18000 ft by a Russian fighter today, in the same general area. The pilot ejected. Weird day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  46. Rafer Janders says:

    @Cletus:

    The US is seen by a paper tiger by Russia and the rest of the world. This is a test.

    Remember when Reagan invaded Poland in support of the Solidarity labor union movement, or when the Berlin Wall fell after George H.W. Bush ordered US tanks to break it down, or how that same Bush parachuted the 101st Airborne into Tianmen Square to protect the student pro-democracy protestors?

    Yeah, me neither.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  47. Rafer Janders says:

    @Cletus:

    The US is seen by a paper tiger by Russia and the rest of the world. This is a test.

    Like when Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, and George W. Bush stood up to them and got them to back off….

    Sorry, that was meant to say “when George W. Bush did nothing about it and they didn’t back off?” Weird. Don’t know how I mis-typed that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  48. Cletus says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Yeah great point…. Funny how people just respond here with reflexive reactions and never stop to consider an opposing argument.

    Doug, This site has changed a lot in the last year. I guess that’s why the viewership of this site is down about 50% from this time in 2013. You’ve allowed a group of liberals to hijack your site.
    It’s all about liberals affirming that they are right and anyone daring to criticize Obama is a racist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9

  49. Jr says:

    @Cletus: Oh the irony, you whine about reflexive reactions and yet the first thing you do is blame Obama.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  50. Cletus says:

    @Jr:

    I’d never blame Obama here . That’s racism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  51. Rafer Janders says:

    @Cletus:

    Funny how people just respond here with reflexive reactions and never stop to consider an opposing argument.

    Also funny? How people consider the opposing argument, decide, after consideration, that it’s really stupid and a-historical, and then decide that the best way to point that out is through mockery.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  52. Jr says:

    @Cletus: Nice straw-man, People are blasting your argument because it is stupid and reeks of partisan hackery.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  53. mantis says:

    If only we had a strong leader like Putin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  54. michael reynolds says:

    @Cletus:

    You came, you trotted out some sad, pathetic conspiracy crap, and you got your ass handed to you. So naturally that’s the fault of liberals. It couldn’t be that you’re credulous and not very capable of making rational arguments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  55. stonetools says:

    @Cletus:

    You clearly have a need to blame Obama for any and everything, regardless of whether he could possibly be responsible for it. Are you going to blame him for Pearl Harbor, cancer and the future heat death of the universe? Because he is just as responsible for those things as the destruction of this airliner-which is to say, not at all.
    ODS makes you look crazy, bro. Get some help.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  56. Cletus says:

    Keep agreeing with each other. You guys speak the truth about
    Obama. Best president ever on this site!!

    Congrats too on ruining this website. Viewership Down 50% with Doug
    Having to resort to tracking ads to keep this blog alive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  57. Cletus says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Give it a rest old timer. I won’t miss your boring anecdotes

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  58. Cletus says:

    @stonetools:

    Shouldn’t you be parroting grew or bernius. I don’t ever
    Recall ever seeing an original thought or idea from you.
    I may be in the minority here but at least I think for myself.
    I’ll take that anyday over being a mindless sheep

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  59. mantis says:

    @Cletus:

    I may be in the minority here but at least I think for myself.

    Then how come it sounds exactly like wingnut radio nonsense?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  60. Jr says:

    @Cletus: You have to love right-wing projection. The vast majority of the posts in here are discussing who did it and what kind of weaponry did they use. You are the one who brought up and bitched about Obama.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  61. Tillman says:

    @Cletus:

    The US is seen by a paper tiger by Russia and the rest of the world. This is a test. Both our allies and enemies don’t know what we are going to do. You don’t find the timing of this a little bit strange after the new sanctions?

    The sanctions that everyone pretty much agrees won’t do anything? Russia/Russian-proxy separatists would shoot down a jetliner over that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  62. wr says:

    @Cletus: Disgusting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  63. Tillman says:

    @Matt Bernius: Well obviously, Matt, when you project weakness on the world stage, like ignoring your legislature and assisting allies in aiding rebels in Libya, the Russians take it as a sign that you’re no longer willing to engage in strongman diplomacy.

    Or when you draw a red line about chemical weapons in Syria and propose a military solution that’s headed off by Russian diplomacy, obviously this is a projection of weakness.

    And as we all know, the entire world waits with baited breath for the mighty hegemon to decide whether or not to act upon any given crisis or incident, and Obama’s leadership over the past five years has been absent. Anyone watching could tell.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  64. Jr says:

    @Tillman: You also forgot have a D next to your name is also a signing of weakness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  65. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Cletus:

    No one in this thread has brought racism. Except for you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  66. al-Ameda says:

    @Cletus:

    This is what happens when you isolate and threaten Russia. “Red lines” and sanctions won’t work. There is nothing the US will do except issue statements and warnings.

    Are you saing that America could have prevented this?

    Vladimir Putin, a current Republican idol, and of whom Republican wax poetic about his strength and power, was apparently unable to prevent this? Are you implying that Putin had something to do with this?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1