Who in their right mind would risk provoking a war by staging the shoot down of an airliner?
If you guessed Russia, then guess again.
In 2005, a memo was leaked from a January 2003 meeting between President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair during which Bush, “considered provoking a war with Saddam Hussein’s regime by flying a United States spyplane over Iraq bearing UN colours, enticing the Iraqis to take a shot at it.”
However, this was by no means the first time that the United States considered such methods. Declassified documents from 1962’s infamous Operation Northwoods confirm that the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff planned to, “create an incident which will demonstrate convincingly that a Cuban aircraft has attacked and shot down a chartered civil airliner enroute from the United States to Jamaica, Guatemala, Panama, or Venezuela.”
The Joint Chiefs planned to pack the plane with “a group of college students off on a holiday” in order to fully demonize Cuba and potentially set the stage for a confrontation with the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.
In July 1988, the United States actually did shoot down a commercial airliner over Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 on board including 66 children. Despite Iran Air Flight 655 broadcasting a signal that identified it as a civilian craft, the crew of the USS Vincennes incorrectly identified the Airbus A300 as an attacking F-14 Tomcat fighter and downed it with SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles. The U.S. offered Iran no apology for the incident.
Plotting to provoke the shoot down of an airliner & start a war is insane, except when ‘Murica does it!
Given events over the last 24 hours, it would also be remiss to forget the fact that Ukraine itself admitted to shooting down a Russian airliner in 2001, killing all 78 on board as the aircraft plunged into the Black Sea.
In light of the innumerable questions surrounding the flight path of Malaysian Airlines flight 17, which was ordered to fly lower by Ukrainian authorities and bizarrely chose to venture straight through the conflict zone that the previous ten airlines before it had avoided, history tells us that the stampede to blame Russian-backed rebels for yesterday’s tragedy may be somewhat hasty.