Recalling downed airliners – and a brave American diplomat.
A new investigation led by the Dutch has concluded that on July 17, 2014, Russian separatists downed Malaysia Air Flight 17 with a Russian SA-11 surface-to-air missile trucked in from Russia and returned the same night. The missile attack killed all 298 on board the Boeing 777, and most of the casualties were Dutch.
This tragic news recalls a Soviet attack that killed 269 people, including American congressman Lawrence McDonald. The attack proved educational about the hostile nature of the Soviet Union, the servile nature of the American left, and the courageous American woman who stood up to both.
On September 1, 1983, Korean Air Lines Flight 007 departed New York for Seoul. After a stop in Anchorage, Alaska, the Boeing 747 strayed into Soviet airspace over Sakhalin Island. The Soviets shot it down and Communist Party boss Yuri Andropov, a KGB man, accused the United States of a “sophisticated provocation masterminded by the U.S. special services with the use of a South Korean plane.”
True to form, The Nation published an early version of David Pearson’s KAL 007: the Cover-up charging a carefully planned intrusion into Soviet territory with full knowledge of the US military and intelligence agencies. The 1989 movie Tailspin: Behind the Korean Airliner Tragedy, was less concerned with the Soviet atrocity than what the president of the United States said about it.
President Ronald Reagan called the attack a “massacre” and “crime against humanity” with “absolutely no justification, legal or moral.” That infuriated the American left, still smoldering from Reagan’s March 8, 1983 speech that proclaimed the USSR an “evil empire.” For the American left, millenials may be interested to learn, the United states was the evil empire and the USSR a worker’s paradise and bastion of social justice.
Ronald Reagan’s choice for Ambassador to the United Nations was a lifelong Democrat named Jeane Kirkpatrick. She was first American woman independently to achieve real power in the area of international affairs and, according to The New York Times, “No woman had ever been so close to the center of presidential power without actually residing in the White House.” In an election year, with a former First Lady and Secretary of State running for president, it is worth recalling how Jeane Kirkpatrick handled the situation.
At the UN, she played a 10-minute recording of four Soviet pilots, including Gennadi Osipovich, who downed KAL 007, proclaiming “the target is destroyed.” The transcript played on a screen in Russian and English. “Quite simply,” Kirkpatrick told the Security Council, “it establishes that the Soviets decided to shoot down this civilian airliner, shot it down, murdering the 269 persons aboard, and lied about it.”
As she noted, KAL-007 had been in sight for more than 20 minutes, and the interceptor pilot saw the navigation lights. Osipovitch made no attempt to communicate with the airliner or signal it to land, and referred to only as the “target.” The shootdown showed a “shocking disregard for human life and international norms.”
As later revealed in Izvestia, the Soviets released a bogus audio tape, using an electric shaver to fake radio static. The cockpit voice recorder, released in 1992, shot down the theory that KAL 007 was a deliberate spy mission.
As Peter Collier noted in Political Woman: The Big Little Life of Jeane Kirkpatrick, America’s UN ambassador had “studied totalitarianism all her life and was aware of its tensile strengths and subtle ruses for maintaining power.” Kirkpatrick met Hanna Arendt (Origins of Totalitarianism) and “cut her intellectual eye teeth on documentary evidence revealing the psychological and political consequences of the gulag state.” Like Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire, she was on to the Soviets from the start, and not once did they pull the wool over her eyes. Neither did the American left, as she confirmed at the Republican national convention in August of 1984.
“They said that saving Grenada from terror and totalitarianism was the wrong thing to do,” she famously said. “They didn’t blame Cuba or the communists for threatening American students and murdering Grenadians – they blamed the United States instead. But then, somehow, they always blame America first.
“When our Marines, sent to Lebanon on a multinational peacekeeping mission with the consent of the United States Congress, were murdered in their sleep, the ‘blame America first crowd’ didn’t blame the terrorists who murdered the Marines, they blamed the United States. But then, they always blame America first.
“When the Soviet Union walked out of arms control negotiations, and refused even to discuss the issues, the San Francisco Democrats didn’t blame Soviet intransigence. They blamed the United States. But then, they always blame America first.”
Jeane Kirkpatrick spoke much better French than current Secretary of State John Kerry, but she would never refer to Islamic terrorism, as Kerry did after the Charlie Hebdo murders, as “obscurantisme.” She would not respond to Islamist beheadings, enslavement, and mass murder by chiding the West for the Crusades, in the style of the current President of the United States.
Jeane Kirkpatrick would not put classified information in harm’s way or destroy material sought by government investigators, in the style of the former First Lady and Secretary of State now running for president. As recent revelations suggest, if the Democratic candidate had possessed the tape of the Soviets’ attack on KAL Flight 007, she might have erased or destroyed it.
The Democratic Party Jeane Kirkpatrick knew has become the party of the left. And they still blame America first.