Giving Gasoline To Firebugs

We don’t know a lot more today about the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, but an apparent recordings of separatist officers discussing the disaster as they slowly realize it’s a civilian and not a Ukrainian military plane they’re talking about are pretty damning.

Since the missile that shot down the plane had to have been of a very high level of sophistication (it appears to have been a Russian-made Buk SAM missile), bright red arrows of responsibility point towards Moscow. As Josh Marshall notes after listening to the recordings released by the Times:

[It’s] a comical rendering of rustics and morons stumbling into an event of vast carnage and international consequence mainly because they’re hotheads and idiots – the kind of people no one in their right minds would give world class weaponry to. It’s like finding some white supremacist/militia types on their little compound in the inter-Mountain west and giving them world class missile launchers and heavy armaments.

In other words, the perpetrators may be so feckless that it’s impossible to imagine them pulling off this atrocity without substantial Russian assistance. And that’s a problem for Vladimir Putin, because this atrocity is not going to be forgotten any time soon.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.