The Time of Another Mid-flight Tragedy, but One the US Never Apologized For

By Elson Concepción Pérez on January 15, 2020

On July 3, 1988, a U.S. missile shot down an Iranian civilian aircraft that was in flight from Iran to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, killing 290 people, including 66 children and 16 crew members.

At that time the great Western press said little or nothing and the U.S. government never apologized for the fact, although the world could not ignore that the rockets that hit the aircraft were fired from the US warship Vincennes, which was patrolling the Strait of Ormuz. That tragedy occurred when Iran and Iraq were involved in a war and then Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was counting on U.S. support against Iran.

The Iranian plane was flying through the Persian nation’s own airspace and following the planned route. However, then U.S. President Ronald Reagan justified the action with the implausible explanation that “the plane was headed for the US ship Vincennes” and that “its crew acted to protect themselves from a possible attack.”

It would have been the first time in history that a warship with missiles was attacked with weapons from a civilian passenger plane.

Later, at the United Nations, Vice President George W. Bush defended the military action, arguing that “the incident is part of a wartime” and that the crew of the Vincennes had reacted appropriately.

To know even better the way the mentality and behavior of US governments it is important to remember that the commanders of the warship, involved in the shooting down of the passenger plane, were later awarded Medals of Honor, in 1990.

I bring that fact up to compare it with what is happening today in the Middle East and the response of the United States, so that we can see the totally different ways in which Washington’s reaction has been taken with regard to the regrettable shooting down by Iranian military units of a Ukrainian passenger plane and that airship that was shot down by missiles from a Pentagon warship in 1988.

The difference today is that the Iranian Government is investigating this latest incident and has detained people connected to the event. Iran has apologized to the Ukrainian Government and has assured that it will cover compensation for all those who died.

Meanwhile President Donald Trump has thrown his support to those in Tehran who are protesting against the occurrence of the sad event.

Specialized in exacerbating events and destabilizing governments, the United States is acting in a totally irresponsible manner, since it is known to the world to be guilty of creating this very tense war like climate in the Persian nation, provoked by its assassination of the Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, by a missile launched from a drone, at Baghdad airport in Iraq.

This week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo intentionally threw fuel on the fire to escalate the climate created by his country, by warning that Soleimani’s murder is part of a larger strategy “to deter the Persian country and other rivals of the United States, including Russia and China.”

With total audacity, Pompeo said that “the U.S. withdrawals from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and U.S. naval exercises in the seas south of China are examples of Washington’s so-called policy of deterrence toward these two countries.”

Source: Granma, translation, Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau