Who's really responsible for the death of the 176 aboard the Ukrainian aircraft?

Letters to the Editor

Who's really responsible for the death of the 176 aboard the Ukrainian aircraft?

Friday, January 24, 2020

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Dear Editor,

Tragically, the downing of Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752 – the plane which was blown out of the skies on January 8, 2020 with the loss of 176 innocent lives, and, ironically, a collateral damage of US President Donald Trump's military stand-off with Iran – is now a topic clouded in controversies about what happened, how it happened, why it happened, and who is responsiblility for it happening.

But the question of who is responsible for the demise of these passengers who were on board this plane can be answered by two principles:

1) actual cause

2) proximate cause

Firstly, the actual cause for the downing of the Ukrainian passenger jet is more likely the action of Iran operatives, who, being in a state of febrile nervousness, shot down the plane possibly thinking that it was an enemy plane – an American one.

The Iranians in this heightened sense of tension, and fearing a Trump retaliatory strike as he had threatened to hit 52 targets, left nothing to chance and fired on the aircraft.

This was a very serious, but understandable mistake on their part. But, obviously, they are not going to admit to this tragic mistake. For, in war, truth becomes its first casualty — actually, its second casualty. The first casualty of war are the innocent victims.

Secondly, we now come to the proximate cause, that is, who really bears responsible for the downing of the Ukrainian aircraft?

The proximate cause is the legal basis, or the primary reason for the injury. So, based on the proximate cause principle, Trump is legally responsible for the consequences of the crash. For, it is clear that his decision to assassinate General Qasem Suleimani on January 3, 2020 was the reason for the Iranians taking, as they saw it, defensive action.

Here is an analogy: In as much as a bank robber, in attempting to flee from the police, runs over pedestrians and kills them, he is responsible for their deaths. And, even if the police car in hot pursuit of the bank robber runs over and kills the pedestrians, the bank robber would still be liable for their deaths.

So, it is my belief that the doctrine of proximate cause makes Trump not only morally responsible, but legally responsible for the death of those 176 passengers, because his prior action in assassinating Suleimani is what triggered the Iranian action.

George S Garwood


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