WASHINGTON (Rooters agency) – The US Navy today announced its intention to present a medal to whoever among the Ukrainian rebels was responsible for the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.
Admiral Boris K. Orloff, head of the Navy’s Department of Shortening Memories (formerly Public Relations) made the announcement. He said that the exact level of the medal had yet to be decided. “Of course, we’ll give a bigger medal the higher up the rebel hierarchy the recipient culprit is.”
“We have been waiting for something like this for 26 years now,” Admiral Orloff explained. “Ever since that unfortunate incident in the Gulf, we’ve been listed on places like Wikipedia as the worst sort of bad people in aviation history. No more – and we appreciate that.”
Admiral Orloff was referring to the events of July 3, 1988, when the US missile cruiser Vincennes, inside Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf, shot down an Iranian civilian airliner in Iranian airspace, killing all 290 people aboard, including 66 children. Luckily for the US, most of the plane and its contents fell into the gulf, so there were not a lot of emotive photographs of children’s stuffed animals, singed here and there.
The main point, Admiral Orloff explained, was the number of victims. Thanks to the expanding capacity of commercial aircraft, the US Navy’s 290 victims a quarter-century ago had at last been surpassed by a similar military atrocity, the killing of 298 people on MH17. The distinction between slaughtering 290 and 298 civilians might not seem all that great to many people, “But it still makes all the difference in the league tables.”
Meanwhile in New York, a spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General called attention to “a possible silver lining to the tragic cloud of MH17.” Comparing the 1988 and 2014 tragedies might make it possible to establish a new degree of precision in international law.
“The condemnation of the shooting down of MH17 as a ‛terrorist atrocity’ has been nearly universal,” he pointed out. “By contrast, in 1988, most governments concluded that the Vincennes had been involved in an unfortunate accident.
“It thus appears that the international community is approaching a consensus that could become an accepted part of international law: when shooting down civilian airliners, the border line between unfortunate accident and terrorist atrocity lies somewhere between 290 and 298 victims.”