The Atlantic's David Frum blames Trump for downing of plane in Iran, deaths of 176

The Atlantic senior editor David Frum is holding President Trump directly responsible for the deaths of the 176 passengers on the Ukrainian airplane that was struck by one of Iran's missiles, declaring the victims "paid a price" for his decision to order for the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

"No American paid a price for President Donald Trump’s decision to kill Iran’s Qassem Soleimani. But it looks like 176 other people did, including 63 Canadian citizens and many more Iranian nationals en route to Canada," Frum began his column on Thursday.

In his piece titled "We're Just Discovering the Price of Killing Soleimani," Frum wrote that the "accusatory finger" is first pointed at the Iranian government and acknowledged how Iranian authorities "set in motion the cycle of attack and response" in recent weeks.


"Yet the United States cannot shove all blame on Iran for the human disaster of Flight 752," Frum said. "Nobody intended for civilians to die. That’s the way it is with unintended consequences—and why governments are supposed to weigh carefully the decision to employ deadly force."

Frum, the former speechwriter for President George W. Bush credited with inventing the "Axis of Evil" line describing Iraq, Iran, and North Korea in the 2002 State of the Union address, blasted the Trump administration for telling an "obviously false story" that led to Soleimani's killing, expressing doubt that an attack planned by the Iranian general was actually "imminent."

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 21: David Frum speaks onstage during Politicon 2018 at Los Angeles Convention Center on October 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Politicon )

"Trump, of course, disclaims all responsibility, as he habitually does. He’s always been a credit-grabber and a responsibility-dodger," Frum continued. "The victims of the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 were not U.S. citizens, and certainly not residents of any state that Trump might win in 2020, so who cares, really? The loss of life had 'nothing to do with us.' It was a 'mistake on the other side.' The gun just went off; let’s not ask too many questions about who put the bullets in the chamber."


He did acknowledge that Soleimani "deserved to die a violent death" and that both the Bush and Obama administrations "flinched from doing justice to Soleimani" because they asked what would happen next.

"Trump did not ask that question. Families across half the world are now grieving a consequence that Trump’s ego forbade him to imagine or ponder," Frum concluded.

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