Obama’s downed-air­liner re­sponse in­suf­fi­cient

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters -

When the Malaysian air­liner was shot down, mil­lions of Amer­i­cans dropped what they were do­ing to fol­low the news minute by minute. Well, with one no­table ex­cep­tion. Pres­i­dent Obama con­tin­ued with his po­lit­i­cal fundrais­ing tour.

Aides sug­gest the pres­i­dent got be­lated re­ports in be­tween hand­shakes and cock­tails, but that’s not good enough. He should have taken com­mand of the sit­u­a­tion. There were op­tions and plans to con­sider. He should have con­tacted the State De­part­ment and the CIA.

Since it was ini­tially ob­vi­ous who was re­spon­si­ble for shoot­ing down Malaysia Air­lines Flight 17, Mr. Obama should have used his phone to im­ple­ment a timely re­sponse. Since in­ter­na­tional law con­ferred pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity for the crash site on the Ukrainian govern­ment and Malaysian Air­lines, Mr. Obama should have pro­posed that they in­vite the United States and other af­fected na­tions to im­me­di­ately se­cure the crash site and com­mence the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Mr. Obama might have called the heads of state of ev­ery na­tion with vic­tims aboard to en­list sup­port for a com­bined mil­i­tary team to travel to Ukraine to pre­serve the crime zone. He could have an­nounced to the world and made clear to Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin that this force would not be en­ter­ing Ukraine to par­tic­i­pate in the con­flict, but solely to act as a hu­man­i­tar­ian mis­sion to se­cure the site and be­gin the in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­der le­gal au­thor­ity. Rather than wait for Mr. Putin’s pre­dictable ob­jec­tion, Mr. Obama should have had the troops air­borne as he and the Rus­sian leader spoke.

Mr. Obama should then have de­manded that Mr. Putin order the sep­a­ratists to step down and de­clare that any at­tack on the in­ter­na­tional team would be con­sid­ered a hos­tile ac­tion. He should have an­nounced that we would de­ploy what­ever means were nec­es­sary to pro­tect the in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

I think that nei­ther Mr. Putin nor the sep­a­ratists would have dared at­tack the in­ter­na­tional in­ves­ti­ga­tors, and we would have se­cured the crash site for a truly hon­est in­ves­ti­ga­tion. We very likely would have ef­fected a cease-fire dur­ing the time of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which could have taken months.

In­stead, all we get from Mr. Obama is the now-fa­mil­iar empty rhetoric, prom­ises no longer be­liev­able and in­ef­fec­tive ac­tions.

LARRY HORIST Boca Ra­ton, Fla.

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