It’s difficult to imagine the death of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and the subsequent shoot-down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 ever being blamed on the president of the United States if the president of the United States wasn’t Donald Trump.
Picture the situation in isolation, without any particulars: The United States makes a decision to take out an Iranian general who’s also a commander in the part of Iran’s military structure designated as a terrorist organization.
Said general is responsible for arming and funding plenty of Iranian proxies, including militias in Iraq that are responsible for over 600 American deaths.
Iran threatens retaliation.
The president of the United States threatens counter-retaliation.
Iran eventually retaliates by sending a volley of 22 missiles at military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq.
At the same time, they don’t shut down their airspace to commercial aviation and mistake a 737 taking off for an American plane.
They shoot it down, killing 176 people — including 57 Canadians. Canada’s prime minister blames American “escalation” for the shoot-down.
Again, this adumbration of events sounds ludicrous until you pencil in the American president as being Donald Trump and the Canadian prime minister as being (sigh) Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau, ever eager to convince us all he really is the caricature of left-wing Canadians that American conservatives believe him to be, gave an interview to Canada’s Global News in which he placed the balance of the blame on the United States.
“I think if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families,” Trudeau said during the Monday sit-down.
“This is something that happens when you have conflict and war. Innocents bear the brunt of it and it is a reminder why all of us need to work so hard on de-escalation, moving forward to reduce tensions and find a pathway that doesn’t involve further conflict and killing,” he continued.
These are wonderful thoughts if you’re a 20-something “Democracy Now” viewer and considerably less charming if you’re the world leader in a major drama involving the death of a terrorist that a nation-state just happened to squeeze into a uniform.
Trudeau, mind you, isn’t some bit player here.
In part due to the number of Canadian casualties on board Flight 752 — going through Kiev was often the cheapest option to return for members of the Iranian diaspora there — Canada will be chairing a meeting of the International Coordination and Response Group in London beginning Thursday.
That meeting, according to Global News, is “set to lay out [members’] next steps for pushing for credible answers and access to black box data.”
I totally understand Canada’s prerogative behind hosting the meeting. Does Trudeau?
“I think full admission, acknowledgment of responsibility and some form of compensation is going to have to come,” Trudeau said of the meeting.
All right. But from whom? If you follow Trudeau’s argument to its logical conclusion, then the U.S. should compensate the families, since he seems to believe America is responsible for the “escalation” that led to the tragedy.
In other parts of the interview, Trudeau seemed to tacitly acknowledge the plane crash was Iran’s fault. He talked about how it would be “weeks, perhaps even months” before the bodies of victims were repatriated.
“The grief they’re going through is not to be consoled right now. They want answers, they’ve expressed anger and outrage and also immeasurable pain,” Trudeau said of the victims’ families.
“I am hurt like all Canadians. I am angry like all Canadians. But unlike many people I have a job to do that will be able to help these families directly. Getting answers for them is my entire focus right now.”
The answers Global News was most interested in, however, seemed to involve the Trump administration.
For instance, had he spoken to Trump?
“I have spoken to him and I have talked about the need to de-escalate tensions,” Trudeau said.
“I’ve talked about the tremendous grief and loss that Canadians are feeling, and the need for clear answers on how this happened and how we’re going to make sure it never happens again.”
I have an ayatollah you can talk to if you want to complain about this.
It’s not as if there are any shortage of people willing to blame President Trump for taking out a terrorist.
However, Trudeau is also the leader of a putative ally of the United States.
It’s difficult to see anything but a man willing to shift the blame onto the United States because of political expediency.
There isn’t any blame for the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 disaster that doesn’t begin or end with Iran. If one of our allies cannot agree with this, that’s a cause for grave concern.
If it’s just because of who the president is, that’s a graver concern.
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