Cyprus Mail
Letters Opinion

Let’s not forget what happened in July 1988 with USS Vincennes

The USS VINCENNES

No country, race or religion has a monopoly of wisdom and competence. When two different lots blot their respective copy books, there is no moral equivalence between them but individually they show that regimes of all kinds everywhere sometimes do reprehensible things.

In July 1988, the USS Vincennes shot down an unarmed Iran Air civilian airliner on a routine scheduled flight 655 on its normal flight path from Shiraz to Dubai, with the loss of all 290 passengers and crew. According to the US Central Command’s official investigation report and the consensus of subsequent independent analyses, human error, poor training and panic among the Vincennes crew resulted in the airbus being mistaken for a threatening aircraft.

However, despite the overwhelming evidence in the US official report, the US government showed a grudging reluctance to accept any culpability or responsibility. Indeed, President Reagan decided to give the Vincennes captain a distinguished service medal, implying that he and his crew had done something praiseworthy.

For its part, the Iranian government accepted that the shooting down was not deliberate and has not treated it as an act of US state terrorism. Over the past 30 years, the obvious propaganda potential has not been exploited by Iran. However, it was mentioned obliquely by Foreign Minister Zarif following the Soleimani assassination, by reminding Trump that while he was mourning the loss of one American they were still mourning the 290 from flight 655 as well as Soleimani.

AW

Iran says military shot down plane in error, after denial drew scrutiny abroad

 

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