Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How to strike a sour note, or Boris Johnson bangs an odious gong ...

(Above: gong banger Boris)

So someone had to go there and it had to be Boris Johnson.

There's Boris in Passengers die as Putin fans flames of conflict  indulging in some cheap point scoring and odious comparisons, by celebrating the behaviour of the glorious American democracy in the matter of Iran Air Flight 655, and contrasting it with Russia's current behaviour.

So what could the Ruskis take from the glorious democratic lessons?

Well you can fire surface to air missiles and kill 290 innocent civilians on board, including 66 children. You can do it by entering Iranian territorial waters.

You can make assorted errors, such as the minor one of mistaking the Iranian Airbus A300 for an attacking F-14A Tomcat fighter, though the Iranian F-14s had been supplied by Grumman in an air-to-air configuration only, with no known anti-ship capabilities.

You could dissemble regarding your responsibility even through your own Aegis Combat System recorded the flight plan as climbing rather than descending in an attack run, and a nearby fellow captain could wonder what you're on when you imagine a climbing plane as somehow in descending attack mode.

You could claim you tried to contact the plane on emergency frequencies, but fail to have your ship equipped with equipment used in civil aviation, and anyhoo it must be the fault of the civilian pilots for not paying attention when it mattered.

You could cite the wrong air speed to the pilots of the civilian plane.

And then having shot the civilian airliner out of the sky you could refuse to apologise, though in due course you might get around to expressing deep regret.

In the meantime, you could say it was a wartime situation and the crew of the Vincennes had acted appropriately, and you could trot out a psychological condition explanation called "scenario fulfilment".

Make sure you have someone like the vice president, a kind of George H. W. Bush figure, ready to say "I will never apologize for the United States (insert Russia/Ukraine rebels here) - I don't care what the facts are … I'm not an apologize-for-America (insert Russia/Ukraine rebels here) kind of guy".

 Repeat the message while mounting a presidential campaign. Make sure any successor - like a Clinton - also refuses to apologise.

Eventually get around to having a few people acknowledge that the Captain of the ship was unduly aggressive and inclined to go hunting for action and picking a fight. Some fight. A climbing civilian aircraft.

Then eight years later get around to settling a court case - that's right - eight years, full of the usual legal delays and obfuscations and a clear intent to reduce the size of the settlement - and then when it's all done and dusted, hand out medals to the entire ship's crew, with a Navy Commendation medal for the air-warfare coordinator.

Make sure you hand out a Legion of Merit to the commanding officer for "exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service". Like teaching those bloody civilians a lesson for looking so threatening … but sssh don't mention the downed plane in the citation (and then appoint William C Rogers III to a teaching job at Point Loma to teach others how to do it in combat situations).

 Oh yes, there's plenty of take home lessons for anyone wanting to check on the glorious behaviour of the glorious democracy, as you can confirm by Greg Hunting the wiki on the matter here.

The reality is that the United States behaved in an appalling manner, as did the Russians in the matter of Korean Air Lines Flight 902, though the Soviets only managed to kill two passengers, here.

The Russians weren't so lucky when they shot down another Korea Air Flight 007, killing all 269 passengers and crew - Greg Hunt that here.

The only upside to that disaster was that the classified GNSS turned into the freely available GPS. But the behaviour of the Russians was appalling.

Oh go on you know you want to do a Greg Hunt on all these matters by heading off to the wikipedia list of airliner shootdown incidents here.

There's a particularly gripping Air Crash Investigations episode about the attempted DHL shootdown which saw the pilots use differential engine thrust to fly a plane with a missile-damaged wing back to Baghdad and land it safely (SO3E02 Attack over Baghdad).

Meanwhile, Boris should just shut up the blather.

He even shoots himself in the foot:

I will not pretend that the Americans were perfect in their handling of the Airbus tragedy. They never made a formal apology to Iran, and for some (incredible) reason the captain of the USS Vincennes was later awarded the Legion of Merit.

Not pretend?


It fitted with the modus operandi. The Americans were seriously irritated that the Iranians got in their way and made them look bad, and no matter that a bunch of innocents were involved and killed,.

And having done the dirty deed, through a multitude of errors, thereafter the United States' response was recalcitrant and offensive.

About as offensive as Boris's cheap point-scoring…

Not now, not at this time.

Not when it looks like the Russians are currently following their own and the American playbook.

Of all the things to be written about the current matter, this was the least needed, the least necessary, and the least useful. Inevitably the comments section attached to Boris's effort showed that he produced a reaction precisely contrary to the black and white, goodies and baddies point he was ham-fistedly trying to make.

Every so often Boris attempts to avoid sounding like a fop. But this was a mega foppish effort, and a reminder of behaviour best left to history ...

1 comment:

  1. But ... but ... but ....Abbott has shown "true leadership"! So say Fairfax, anyway. Yep, he flat-out monstered Russia, in a most Grouperish manner, before the evidence had been produced in court. His first instinct to go for the jugular against the sworn enemy, instead of asking himself an obvious question about getting access.
    I'd like to know how Bishop's dialogue with Putin went. I'd like to think Putin suggested his cooperation at UNSC was worth a guarantee of a seat at G20 in Brisbane. Then, later, while Abbott & Bishop are congratulating themselves and basking in the glory on the tarmac, they receive a call from Moscow.


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