What’s with the Reagan/Obama comparison to air tragedy


It seems that the latest attack, if you want to call it one, on President Obama is about the difference in his response to the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 (MH17) versus President Reagan’s response to the downing of Korean Air flight 007(KAL007).  Why the two are being compared is beyond me.  Other than the fact that the two planes shot down has ties to Russia, the two are not the same.

The two flights have entirely different origins and destinations.  KAL007 was a regularly scheduled flight from New York to Seoul, Korea with a stopover in Anchorage, Alaska.  That flight had many Americans on board as it originated within the US, including a member of the US House of Representatives.  MH17 was a regularly scheduled flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with no nexus to any US territory.  At this point, there have been no confirmation of any Americans being on board.

Next is the location of the presidents.  Reagan was in California when KAL007 was downed.  He had been there on vacation and making different appearances.  Upon receiving notice, he cancelled the rest of his planned events.  He returned to DC on September 2nd, the day after the incident.  President Obama was in Delaware when word came out about MH17.  Obama made scheduled appearances in Delaware and New York, returning to Washington DC last night, the same day of the incident.

The next part is where the whole debate between the two jumps the rails.  Some people have pointed out to Reagan’s address to the nation on September 5th as how the president should respond to a tragedy of this magnitude.  Using that metric, Obama should give his address on July 21st, which will be the same number of days between the actual event and the “official” response.

On the actual date of the incidents, here are the two responses given by each of the presidents.

Reagan’s response on September 1st:

I speak for all Americans and for the people everywhere who cherish civilized values in protesting the Soviet attack on an unarmed civilian passenger plane. Words can scarcely express our revulsion at this horrifying act of violence.

The United States joins with other members of the international community in demanding a full explanation for this appalling and wanton misdeed. The Soviet statements to this moment have totally failed to explain how or why this tragedy has occurred. Indeed, the whole incident appears to be inexplicable to civilized people everywhere.

Mrs. Reagan and I want to express our deepest sympathy to the families of the victims. Our prayers are with them in this time of bereavement, and they have my personal assurance that I will make every effort to get to the bottom of this tragedy.

I have ordered the flags of the United States flown at half staff at all Federal installations and U.S. military bases around the world.

Note: Deputy Press Secretary Larry M. Speakes read the President’s statement during a press briefing for reporters, which began at 2:33 p.m. at the Sheraton Santa Barbara Hotel in Santa Barbara, Calif.

And for comparison…

Obama’s response on July 17th:

Hello, everybody! (Applause.) Everybody, please have a seat. Please have a seat. It is wonderful to be back in Delaware.

Before I begin, obviously the world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border. And it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy. Right now, we’re working to determine whether there were American citizens onboard. That is our first priority. And I’ve directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian government. The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why. And as a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers, wherever they call home.

I don’t see any marked differences between the two of them, other than Obama actually gave his remarks personally instead of through his press secretary.

Given the differences in these two incidents, only partisan jackasses would try to equate the two in playing the game of my president is better than yours.  People died in both of these incidents, through no fault of their own.  Families have holes that will never be filled, but that doesn’t seem to bother dumbasses who have nothing better to do.  Show some damn class for once America.  Just shut up and let people mourn without all of the damn political gobbledygook.

[Update 1:29EST]

One person aboard the plane has been reported to be American.  Quinn Lucas Schansman has been identified by US authorities as a dual citizen of the US and the Netherlands.

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4 thoughts on “What’s with the Reagan/Obama comparison to air tragedy

  1. Curious that no one has mentioned the Iranian passenger plane shot down by the US navy over the Persian Gulf – also on Reagan’s watch.

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