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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

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July 17, 2014 - 12:25 pm

President Obama briefly addressed the downed Malaysia Airlines flight before comments this afternoon about infrastructure executive actions in Delaware, saying that the loss of the plane carrying 295 passengers and crew “looks like it may be a terrible tragedy.”

“Right now we’re working to determine whether there were American citizens on board. That is our first priority and I’ve directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian government,” Obama said. “The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why and as a country our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers wherever they call home.”

His remarks on the flight barely exceeded 30 seconds before he launched into his previously scheduled speech on transportation projects at the Port of Wilmington.

The White House said Vice President Biden called Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Poroshenko spoke on TV after Obama’s remarks, stressing, “We don’t call this an ‘incident’ or ‘catastrophe,’ but a terrorist action.”

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev posted a message on his Facebook page expressing “deepest condolences following the crash of the Malaysian Airlines plane over Ukraine.”

“This tragedy has claimed the lives of hundreds of people from different countries and has caused profound grief for those who lost loved ones,” Medvedev said. “I mourn for the victims.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters today that she didn’t have “any confirmed information about casualties, the cause or additional details.”

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those on board, their families and loved ones. We’re closely monitoring the situation. The secretary is, of course, aware of these reports. And we’re seeking additional information,” Psaki said. “Our embassy in Kiev is also in close contact with the Ukrainian authorities on this incident. But at this point, those are all the details that we have.”

Reports have indicated 23 Americans were on the manifest, but Psaki said they were “looking to, of course, obtain that information.”

Psaki said Secretary of State John Kerry hadn’t called any Russian officials, and she didn’t know of any plans to do so.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told CNN that he didn’t want to leap to conclusions about the cause of the crash, but “if it was a missile that took this plane down, then it has to be a very sophisticated weapons system.”

“And the Ukrainians do not have that capability. So if it is the case, we’re going to have to act, and act in the most stringent fashions, including real sanctions, including giving the Ukrainians the ability to defend themselves, which we have not done so far,” McCain said.

“I think Putin was disappointed that he didn’t get more support both in Eastern Ukraine, Odessa, other parts of Southern Ukraine. But most of us who get to know Vladimir figured that he was not was going to give up easily and that he would continue to try to foment disorder in Eastern Ukraine, which, as we all know, is the most important part of the Ukrainian economy,” he said. “So I never believed he was going to go quietly, I’d – it’s impossible to assume that he’d believe that something like this would do anything but have the most negative effects.”

McCain told MSNBC, “If it is the result of either separatist or Russian actions mistakenly believing that this was a Ukrainian war plane, I think there’s going to be hell to pay, and there should be.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Almost certainly the SAM battery was operated by Russian military, and whether they attempted to disguise themselves as separatist militia or not is immaterial. No serious person believes a ragtag militia would have the ability or the resources to operate a weapons system like that.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
“looks like it may be a terrible tragedy".

YA THINK!!!!!
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do you know what the terrible tragedy really is, that this ass is still president. The shooting down of that airliner was out and out murder and this idiot cannot or will not see it.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
This "president" is a complete embarrassment to this country. To those brain dead individuals that voted him in, not once, but twice.... what I have to say to you isn't appropriate for "polite" company.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Under what circumstances would it not be a terrible tragedy? Seriously. I'd like to know.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Remember Lockerbie ? Among the memorials were flowers and a note
to 'The little girl in the red coat'. it read: 'You did not deserve this.'

It was sent by a passenger who had changed planes before the bombing.
During an interview, the passenger corrected the interviewer:
'No! When a little girl dies of cancer, that is a tragedy;
When she is blown out of the air by a bomb, that is an atrocity.'
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Watch Putin get away with this too.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Poor Obama, tongue tied, for a change. The degenerate can't bring himself to mouth the word "terrorist". He is loyal though, doing the best he can, trying to minimize direct language like "terrorist". Old friendships die hard.
Now back to the Port of Wilmington.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
“looks like it may be a terrible tragedy".

YA THINK!!!!!
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
No ... actually, I'd call it a crime.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
For a time, such things were looked upon as acts of war.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do you know what the terrible tragedy really is, that this ass is still president. The shooting down of that airliner was out and out murder and this idiot cannot or will not see it.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the Russian revanchists downed this aircraft, that's a war crime even if you allow the separatist movement any legitimacy, which I don't. If the Russians supplied the weaponry, that's a war crime too. Our great hope is that this act will produce enough revulsion to end support for the separatists.
Russia planted these seeds long ago and the Soviets nourished them. The dreadful fruit is ripe now.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Almost certainly the SAM battery was operated by Russian military, and whether they attempted to disguise themselves as separatist militia or not is immaterial. No serious person believes a ragtag militia would have the ability or the resources to operate a weapons system like that.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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