Will Putin Spend Retirement Sunbathing In Miami With All The Other Airplane Murderers?
Cheer up, Vlad. Being accused of blowing up an airplane isn't the end of the world. Worst case scenario, you can always move to Florida. Just ask CIA-trained terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, who managed to escape from prison while on trial in Venezuela for dynamiting a Cuban airliner, killing all 78 people on board. After various zany adventures – including a stint in Panamanian prison for different, non-airplane related terrorism – Carriles eventually arrived in sunny Miami in 2005, where he has “slept like a baby” ever since -- when he wasn't marching in Cuban Patriot parades with Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine.
It's time to extend this same famous American hospitality to Vladimir Putin. After all, the United States doesn't want to be accused of favoritism. All airplane-exploders are equal in the eyes of Western outrage.
But before John Kerry e-mails Putin his green card, perhaps it would be prudent to ask: Are we entirely certain that Putin actually shot down MH17? Because it would be careless to let him sunbathe on America's famous oil spill beaches, only later to discover that he didn't blow up an airplane after all. That would be the immigration scandal of the century.
Here's what we know after four months: Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 broke up in mid-air after being hit by "objects" that "pierced the plane at high velocity." In other words: All the hallmarks of a Putin human cannon attack. Won't this spawn of Satan even apologize? This is the question that everyone, and especially Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, desperately wants answered. Tony Abbott, as you will soon see, is a man of action. And boundless wisdom.
At the recent Bow Before Your Asian Masters summit, Abbott told Putin that he “should consider issuing an apology and providing compensation” to relatives of MH17 victims. As The Guardian tells it:
The prime minister’s office said Abbott cited the US navy’s shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane in 1988, saying it “had duly apologised and made appropriate restitution”.
“He commended the precedent to president Putin,” Abbott’s office said.
Abbott is referring to the US navy missile attack on Iran Air Flight 655, which killed 290 people. It's an interesting choice of “precedent” when one considers that the Pentagon expressed its heartfelt apologies to Iran with “a cover-up approved at the top, by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” And after an internal investigation cleared America of all wrongdoing, top Pentagon brass predictably blamed Iran for the accident.
Contrary to the goo that came out of Tony Abbott's mouth hole, the United States never formally apologized to Iran, but it did award the captain who gave the shoot-down order the Legion of Merit for “exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as commanding officer.”
Finally, in 1996, the US was bullied by the International Court of Justice into paying $213,103.45 per person that they killed in 1988.
And of course, America's most trusted newspaper ran a scathing front page scolding of the entire episode, asserting in the strongest possible language: "While horrifying, it was nonetheless an accident... The onus for avoiding such accidents in the future rests on civilian aircraft: avoid combat zones, fly high, acknowledge warnings."
Yes, this is the Tony Abbott-approved roadmap to Forgiveness and Reconciliation. We told you he was wise, but you probably thought we were just being facetious.
And now let us return to our present nightmare.
In the civilized, guilty-until-proven-worse-than-Hitler West, Russia's culpability in MH17's crash is a foregone conclusion. Less than a week after the accident, the BBC rejoiced:
The United States and several of its closest allies have immediately accused Russia of aiding and abetting, if not actually perpetrating, a heinous crime.
Mainstream Western media are already calling for Russia to be treated as a pariah state. As a majority of the victims were from the Netherlands, relations with Europe are particularly likely to suffer.
This came at a time when, according to the BBC, Putin “had joined Germany and France in a diplomatic effort to promote a political settlement within Ukraine that would also take Russia's interests into account” and “the Obama Administration's attempts to rally the Europeans around the sanctions agenda appeared largely ineffectual.”
And then Putin and his band of terrorists shot down MH17 and ruined everything. Poor timing from a KGB judo master, but sometimes we all have “off” days.
Whatever may come next (nuclear proxy war with Russia, which means your frail Russia correspondent will surely perish), we must always remember that when it comes to blowing up airliners, America stands on the firmest moral footing. Just ask Tony Abbott.
Enjoy Florida, Vlad.
Riley Waggaman is “America’s most trusted cub reporter,” according to Vanity Fair. He is not a reporter and he does not live in America. He can be reached at riley.waggaman at gmail dot com. Also, he is now on Twitter, just for a laugh. His previous dispatches from deep within Russia can be read here.