Monday, July 21, 2014

MH17 and the Dutch

On the 18th, President Obama made a well needed statement to the people of The Netherlands;
By far, the country that lost the most people on board the plane was the Netherlands. From the days of our founding, the Dutch have been close friends and stalwart allies of the United States of America. And today, I want the Dutch people to know that we stand with you, shoulder to shoulder, in our grief and in our absolute determination to get to the bottom of what happened.
I would have perhaps recommended a bit more earlier - but I have my pro-Dutch bias. They have been a very good ally, and next to the British, our fledging nation owns the most for its character to this kingdom.

Let's do a little math here. The Dutch have a population of ~17.66 million souls. The USA has a population of ~313.9 million.

The Dutch population is only 5.6% of ours, or the USA is 17.8-times the size of The Netherlands. 193 of the 298 people on MH17 were Dutch. As a percentage of the population, that would have the national impact as if 3,435 Americans were killed.

In the 911 attacks, 2,977 were killed. Of those, depending on how you account for dual citizenship and if you use as the base number the terrorists killed, ~2,585 were American citizens.

The per-person impact of the attack on MH17 on the Dutch is over a third larger than the impact of 911 on Americans.

The only mitigating factor is that the Russians did not shoot down MH17 as a direct attack on the Dutch. No, odds are, this is a cockup by poorly trained air-defense operators. We (Americans) have made the mistake before - it is part of the nature of the business.

This was, really, a case of mistaken identity. What is making it worse than it needs to be is the fact the Russians are not being clear, transparent, and up-front about their mistake. That is very un-Dutchlike and helps explain why the Dutch official reaction is starting to ratchet up;
"I was shocked at the pictures of utterly disrespectful behavior at this tragic spot. It's revolting," Mark Rutte said on Saturday, referring to allegations that the bodies of the passengers, including 193 of his countrymen, were being dragged about and allowed to rot at the scene.

"He has one last chance to show he means to help," Rutte said of Putin minutes after what he described as a "very intense" conversation with the Russian leader. He added that the leaders of Germany, Britain and Australia shared his view.

Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, who is in the Ukrainian capital Kiev with a team of Dutch forensics experts trying to secure safe access to the crash site, said access so far had been too limited to allow them to carry out their work of identifying the victims and repatriating them.
The Dutch equivalent of the NYT;
... the biggest Dutch newspaper, Telegraaf, openly asked for military intervention by NATO to protect MH 17 and calls Putin a "KGB liar."
Interesting ... interesting.

I wonder if the G5 shop at the 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade did any unofficial planning for a recovery operation in coordination with Ukrainian special forces or one of their airmobile brigades ... naw ... well - I bet someone did, even if only at home over a few beers.

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