It is always easy to say “I told you so” in hind sight but Putin should have known. When you hire someone to do your dirty work the results more often than not end badly. It seems to be a recurring theme with murder for hire plots of asking the wrong guy or one of the participants turning state evidence. In westerns it is a standard plot with ranch hands getting out of line to cause the hero to extract revenge on the boss. It appears to have happened here with the Ukrainian pro-soviet forces accidently shooting down Malaysian flight MH-17.
Russia has been using rebels inside of Ukraine to distract the rest of the world from their takeover of the leased warm water port of Crimea. It worked so well that no one is talking about the naval base but why and how did Putin’s hired guns shoot down a civilian airliner? Putin wanted a distraction but not one the size of the Lusitania.
Reviewing the time line and the circumstances of the accident it is only surprising it did not happen sooner. On June 29 of this year the pro-Russian Donetsk militia took control of an anti-air instillation containing several batteries of BUK-M1s (BUK-M1). By July 14th they figured out how to use it to shoot down an AN-36 military transport plane. The two days later they scored a SU-25 fighter jet. The next day MH-17 one of many commercial flights still using flight paths over the region was diverted north to avoid a storm about an hour into its Copenhagen to Singapore flight. That minor course correction placed it in the same air space as the AN-36 and the SU-25. Even at 33,000 feet it was not safe from the Russian made BUK-M1. Commander Igor Girkin painted the aircraft with his BUK-M1 radar and ordered the release. When he saw the strike he immediately took to VK. Com (Russian facebook) to make sure he received credit. (Igor’s claims)
As bodies and airframe began to litter the country side he received word a civilian aircraft had been shot down. It didn’t take a Harvard education to put the two together and he tried to delete his posts. All hell broke loose with no one wanting to be left standing up for responsibility. As speculation turned to facts Russia moved the BUK’s out of the rebels care. Flight MH-17’s black boxes were also removed from the scene and shipped to Moscow. After we are told the boxes are inconclusive they will surely be sent to the Lois Lerner memorial hard drive recycling center.
Unfortunately for the 298 victims of flight 17 this is not a movie with special effects. The world will not see our hero take revenge and defeat the leading villain. We will see more of the tepid response from the UN “there is a clear need for a full and transparent international investigation”. Or Obama’s call between jokes to find the filmmaker responsible, oops sorry that was Benghazi.
President Putin now has the unenviable job of explaining why his hired guns had access to surface to air missiles capable of taking down civilian airliners. Instead of a diversion he has a crisis. He is probably also realizing relinquishing control of his fate to hired guns was not such a great idea after all. He is probably also wishing he watched more American westerns.