WASHINGTON — Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul suggests in a column that the United States, through its support of the Ukrainian government, shares the blame in last week’s downing of a Malaysian Airlines jet over the eastern Ukraine.
The column, carried Sunday on the website of the Ron Paul Institute, was provocative from the outset. Its title was “What the Media Won’t Report About Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.”
The column accused the media and the Western politicians of seeking “maximum propaganda value” from the disaster, in blaming Russia and its strong-armed leader Vladimir Putin. The media is not reporting, he insisted, that the crisis in the Ukraine began when the United States supported protestors in the overthrow of an elected president, calling it “regime change.”
Normally the Texas Straight Talk column deals with libertarian issues such as Paul’s longstanding criticism of the Federal Reserve. But Sunday’s piece on the Ukraine, ostensibly about why the United States should stay out of the affairs of others, may prove problematic for his son, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul.
Rand Paul shares some of the libertarian views of his father, and has been weighing a presidential run in 2016. A column by his father seeming to sympathize with Putin raises eyebrows and could be used against him at a later date. Sen. Paul’s office had no immediate response to the column.
The elder Paul wrote Sunday that the media failed to report that the post-coup Ukrainian government has killed at least 250 people in the breakaway Lugansk region since June, including 20 of them one day after the plane crash.
“Most of these are civilians and together they roughly equal the number killed in the plane crash,” Paul wrote in a column that seemed to reduce lives lost to a score sheet. “By contrast, Russia has killed no one in Ukraine, and the separatists have struck largely military, not civilian, targets.”
Paul said absent hard proof and investigation, there should be no accusations that pro-Russia separatists are to blame. And he seemed to aim criticism at media coverage of Secretary of State John Kerry, who has clearly blamed the separatists.
“They will not report that the missile that apparently shot down the plane was from a sophisticated surface-to-air missile system that requires a good deal of training that the separatists do not have,” he wrote. “They will not report that the separatists in eastern Ukraine have inflicted considerable losses on the Ukrainian government in the week before the plane was downed.”