My sources in Russia explain to me the Russian side of the story of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine is trying to drive ethnic Russians out of Ukraine–ethnic cleansing, if you will. Whether her assertions are the whole story is another matter. I have heard from other sources that the Russian rebels may be trying equally as hard to drive out Ukrainians and annex the territory to Russian, much as the Crimea. Since Sevastopol, the major Crimean port, was always, as a Russian military port, decidedly pro-Russia, and as the city population skewed the vote in Russia’s favor, it is hard to know what the Tatar and Ukrainian minorities really felt about the annexation. In the same way, there may be two sides in the wrong in the civil war that rages on. Yet, we are quick to label the one group “rebels”. Perhaps they just fight to survive.
The mistake that is the Malaysian plane downing belongs among all other mistakes with tragic, life-ending consequences. We should take steps to insure it doesn’t happen again. But, just as mistakes take 1000 lives per day in American hospitals and 100 lives per day on American roads, we should not be too quick to cry murder and exact revenge. It was also a mistake for the plane to be where it was after it was warned to avoid the airspace. There are innocent victims, to be sure. But death comes in many forms and no one is ever sure to survive the day. It is to their credit that the fighters in the region are respecting the bodies and doing what can be done to help us bury our dead and move on with our lives.