Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border. MH 17 had 295 people on board -- 280 passengers and 15 crew members. Western media has gone into overdrive mode in reporting that the plane was deliberately shot down. Salivating over the story, self-acclaimed pundits are putting the blame on anti-coup Ukrainians and even pointing the finger at Russia even as the crash has not been investigated yet.
So-called experts, among them Richard Quest dubbed as an aviation expert, are hard at work convincing CNN viewers that it would be "extremely unusual" for an airliner at 32,000 feet to be shot down. From the ground, one could simply look up and tell whether a plane was a commercial aircraft. "It looks like a commercial aircraft, it squawks a commercial aircraft. So something is absolutely appalling that's gone on here," he said.
A Ukrainian official, Anton Gerashchenko, even knew what kind of missile had brought down the plane. He "wrote on his Facebook page that a Buk missile system was used to shoot down the plane, not an on-the-shoulder missile launcher, and it's unlikely pro-Russian rebels have access to that type of sophisticated weaponry. " He accused Putin of sponsoring terrorism.
Well, that depends.
On July 3, 1988, in an unprovoked move, US carrier USS Vincennes fired two missiles at an Iranian passenger plane, Iran Air flight 655, that was on route to Dubai. All 290 innocent civilians perished. The passenger airliner, so recognizable even from the ground, was "mistaken" for a jet fighter (jet fighter is two-thirds smaller than the passenger). The United States called its own act of terrorism "a regrettable accident".