Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A stupid argument against Russian culpability for MH-17

Russia may or may not be responsible, in whole or in part, for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17. I think the hypotheses implicating Russia as at least partly responsible make sense, but my information comes from U.S. media outlets so I might be getting a distorted picture.

However, let's dispense with one nonsensical counterargument being peddled by Ron Paul, among others. I've sometimes found Paul to be a useful contrarian. However, there's a good reason he has never been more than a fringe politician: he can be a shortsighted crank. This is a prime example.

Of Western media outlets, Paul writes:

They will not report that neither Russia nor the separatists in eastern Ukraine have anything to gain but everything to lose by shooting down a passenger liner full of civilians.

They will not report that the Ukrainian government has much to gain by pinning the attack on Russia, and that the Ukrainian prime minister has already expressed his pleasure that Russia is being blamed for the attack.

Really? You thought these were persuasive arguments?

Of course "neither Russia nor the separatists ... have anything to gain" by shooting down a passenger jet. No one has suggested they did except for Russian apologists, and they've only suggested this in order to mock it as an obviously stupid argument. Nobody stood to gain by this tragedy. In fact, the consensus is that the shootdown must have been a terrible mistake by a badly trained operator.

Paul seems to think it's news "that the Ukrainian government has much to gain by pinning the attack on Russia". No, Ron, that's not news, that's obvious. Just as obvious as the Russian government having much to gain by pinning the attack on Ukraine.

Either Paul is off his meds or he thinks his readers are dumb as rocks.

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