It’s Sunday morning, and I’m reading the reports on the Malaysia Airline mass murder, and it’s beyond depressing. Imagine if it were a son or a daughter, a sister or a brother, a mom or a dad—rotting in that field. And surrounding that field are a band of mystery men, preventing recovery. And think to yourself, that these fellows are picking through your loved ones’ things—not only destroying a crime scene but possibly helping themselves to whatever’s around them.
How does this world let this happen?
Because we let it happen.
Amidst the clamoring for action and demands for investigations, a sense of helplessness permeates such rage. Without America leading the charge, the world body is headless; it’s simply a chicken squawking around the ghastly field of dismal realities. Downed planes, kidnapped girls, women stoned for adultery, 100 dead in Nigeria. Shit happens, to be sure. But we used to be the shit-kickers.
I know, I know we can’t be the world’s policeman.
But if not us, then who? The world needs a policeman, because the world is a rotten place. And if you believe in nonintervention, you better be okay with relentless suffering—because, thanks to technology, you will experience every horrifying detail. And no matter how loud you hum your favorite song, the cries of pain and sorrow will surpass it.
After seeing that one dead passenger contorted near a bed, in a room of a primitive house where the body had crashed through… you just can’t be on your merry way.
Do you think Russia takes anyone seriously these days, when the only force that galvanizes “good” seems absent in the war against “evil”? Where are we, that “shining city on a hill”? That shiny city has dimmed the lights, pretending we aren’t home.
We are now the country that votes “present,” because those hard choices might upset or incite people to do something worse. It’s not our fight, we say, about every fight. And you wonder why there are more fights.
We used to understand such risks—that small matters when confronted, as a group, can prevent bigger matters. Now we see everything as “not our business,” without taking the next step and asking, “Then whose business is it?”
So what should be done here about that field of horror in Ukraine? What should the leader of the free world do?
That field is no longer a war zone. It is an international crime scene, and we must lead the way, immediately, to secure it. And save the evidence, and seek justice. If Putin sees this as troubling, then it is up to him to make the “hard choices,” lend a hand—or back off and vote “present.”
Here’s a plan: 12 nations had victims on that plane. Those nations must be assembled together into a force of investigators, by the United States, who are pretty good at this kind of thing. That crew must go to the site, asap.
Of course, we must demand a cease fire, and all “bystanders” currently in control (or rather, standing in the way), must go. It’s not up to Russia; it’s up to the Dutch, the Malaysians, the US, Australia, etc. The sooner we stop the movement of wreckage, evidence and bodies, the better. We must comb the area and track down all witnesses, if they haven’t already been terrified into silence.
We need those black boxes and must fly their manufacturers in to determine whether they’ve been tampered with (once we retrieve them). If the boxes are gone, then an investigation must determine where they went. And if they’re in Moscow, those boxes must come back—or become the costliest of Putin’s possessions. According to the latest reports, the rebels claim they’ll be handing these boxes over, but it would be foolish at this point to believe it.
(By the way, I’m eagerly anticipating heroic whistleblower Edward Snowden’s take on last week’s events regarding his new home.)
Of course, I understand we are not up against a normal nation. The crime took place in a troubled region and, likely, is an unintentional consequence of that mess. But saying “oops” or pointing fingers ain’t gunna cut it.
But the world won’t act, and Russia won’t listen—unless America acts. The world doesn’t move, unless we rouse it. They’re all looking at us, that clumsy goliath that always gets in people’s business.
That’s why we are necessary; we are the only force that can get into people’s business.
If the world were a classroom, America is the star quarterback who’s also the 4.0 class president. He’s not the back-row stoner riding an endless case of senioritis. He’s the kid who gets others involved, by going first. Always going first.
If you want to prevent a fight, you show up with your mates. Strength in numbers, as the saying goes. We’re the only country who can get everyone together, and put on the same jackets, and show up in that alley, ready to do what’s necessary. Which is whatever it takes to guarantee respect for the dead and justice for their families.
But if we don’t get up early, make the calls, and show up, no one else will. And what you’re left with is a field of death, whose stench might never reach your nostrils. Until it does.