America lost last night one of its greatest public servants, Jeane Kirkpatrick. A one time Democrat, she found a new home in the Republican Party and served as the US Ambassador to the United Nations from 1981-1985 for another former Democrat, Prsident Ronald Reagan.
There were many defining moments in Jeane Kirkpatrick's life as a public servant. Perhaps the greatest to me being the moment she played for the world to hear a damning intercept as mystery and despair swirled around the vanishing of a Boeing 747 on its way to South Korea. As cameras recorded the moment, on tape a Soviet PVO pilot, flying a Su-17, reported in a matter of fact tone that the 'target was destroyed.' Conspiracy theories still float in regards to this incident, even after the Russian government, after years of denials, finally admitted to having KAL 007's black boxes and surrendered them to the ICAO. Most theories center around the whole tragedy being America's fault because an RC-135 Rivet Joint was flying out of the area as KAL 007 wandered in. This of course deftly folds back into a speech Jeane Kirkpatrick gave in 1984 at the Republican Convention in which she described San Fransico Democrats as being the 'Blame America First' crowd even when the US had nothing substansive to do with the event as is the case with KAL 007. Pilots in a rush to be on time did not engage the correct navigation mode so the 747 progressively flew further and further off course and into Soviet air space near a sensitive Soviet naval base. Meanwhile the Soviets were still smarting over a previous black eye KAL had given the Soviets when, for several hours, a lost KAL 707 flew over central Russia before being shot down by PVO fighters. And tragedy ensued as many innocent people lost their lives due to Soviet paranoid jitters about not repeating the msitake of letting a jetliner wander around Soviet territory before being noticed.
On September 5th, 1983 at the United Nations, Jeane Kirkpatrick showed for all the world to see what a murderous entity the Soviet Union was. By ripping the veil of apologies from the USSR's ugly face and striking yet another blow for freedom with a recording from one Soviet fighter pilot who had just murdered a whole airliner full of civilians.
Rest in peace and thank you for all your years of service.