This morning I awoke to a quiet house. Angela and Aubrey are in San Antonio visiting Angela’s parents. Austen is at Southeastern University in Lakeland Florida for Christ in Youth (CIY) camp. I did my normal morning PT routine: 4 mile run, pushups, crunches, and hit the pool. It seemed to be just another day and I worked on my presentation for the Western Conservative Summit this weekend in Denver. Then all of a sudden at approximately 11am, the day took a turn — for the worse.
I heard the news about the Malaysian Airlines flight 17 crash and immediately the ol’ commander instincts kicked in. I began to piece together all the recent occurrences I’ve been following through foreign policy, national security, and open intelligence sites, plus current reports and updates on news.
Here is my assessment.
Any thoughts about the Ukrainian government being culpable in the shoot down of MH 17 make no sense. The flight had pretty much transited across Ukraine. That means it had checked into Ukrainian airspace, had been cleared, and was being tracked along the route.
Furthermore, what would Ukraine have to gain if they launched a missile against a civilian aircraft? With all the satellite traffic looking in that area it could be easily determined the launch point and trajectory of a surface to air missile. The last thing Ukraine would want is to lose the moral high ground against Russia and its invasion of their sovereign state. Furthermore, there has been no missile launch activity by the Ukraine government. This is a non-starter.
The other possibility would be an onboard terrorist attack, bomb within the cargo hold or some type of personal explosive device. From the photos flooding the news and reports that doesn’t seem feasible either, because there was no high level explosion and fireball. It appears the aircraft was disabled and the resulting fate was a hard crash landing and a fire ensuring from that.
Further, there are accounts of bodies somewhat intact and even still belted in to their seats. Finally, with such a tragic globally witnessed event, there has been no terrorist organization claiming responsibility – I can tell you from experience after our family traveled to Amsterdam last summer that security there has certainly tightened since the incident of the “underwear bomber.” Terror attack is a non-starter.
The Russian separatists have been firing on Ukrainian military aircraft for quite sometime. Their most successful shoot down of a Ukrainian military transport aircraft resulted in 49 deaths.
Just this past week they shot down another transport aircraft as well as “painted” (meaning radar engaged) two Ukrainian Su-25 jet fighters. A report by Jennifer Griffith of Fox News confirmed that as of 29 June the separatists did capture a Ukraine military installation where the SAM (Surface to Air Missile) system, SA-11 or SA-17 was stationed.
And U.S. military intelligence has confirmed it was a surface to air missile system that struck the MH 17, with the location of the firing reduced to just east, or just west of the Ukraine-Russian border. We also know that two Russian separatist leaders today claimed they shot down an Antonov-26 transport plane — those Facebook posts have been deleted.
We all know Russia has massed forces along the border and is supplying the separatists with weapons support, and potentially training on key weapons systems. These separatists have brought down three Ukrainian planes in the past four days.
Whether it was separatists or Russia’s military itself who committed this heinous act is of no consequence. Reports are that the manifest has 23 American passport owners.
The separatists have cordoned off the crash site and are not allowing the government of Ukraine access to the site. One can only surmise that the site is being contaminated and evidence is being disturbed. The flight data and voice recorders, black boxes, will not be turned over to Kiev but rather to Moscow — so we shall never be able to properly investigate and know the truth. What we can do is piece together the intelligence.
So, what happens now? We should demand access to the crash site immediately. As a matter of fact we should have had a team in the air within an hour after the incident. We should demand the black boxes be turned over to either Ukraine, The Netherlands, United States, or Malaysia, now.
Vladimir Putin is a former KGB colonel and all he understands is committed resolve and strength — not “red lines.” Standing up to a dictator and a tyrant is not being hawkish, it is about being a leader and conveying a message that “no one kills Americans without consequences.”
This isn’t business as usual and time to run off to fundraisers. The optics do not look good. Putin has already put out his propaganda message that Ukraine was trying to shoot down his aircraft — a lie — but for low to no information Russians, it serves as a nationalistic rallying cry.
I am now watching a full-out ground assault by the Israeli Defense force into Gaza. Prime Minister Netanyahu is showing there is only one way to contend with those who want you dead. I fully support Israel’s actions.
The day started one way, and there is certainly no tranquility in the global community — let alone the mounting crisis we have here in America with our border, illegal immigration infiltration, a failing economy, and various governmental scandals. We must not fall prey to Obama-Attention Deficit Disorder (O-ADD).
The question we must ponder is simply, “how does it all end?” Do we have the resolve?