Shooting Down an Iranian Airliner

These days many conservative Americans are up in arms about the Administration’s openings toward Iran. The saber rattlers in Congress are chastising the president. Netanyahu calls our pending talks a mistake. Congressman Duncan Hunter suggests we should use nuclear weapons on Iran. They all would rather have us keep Iran as an enemy.

In the meantime, Iran really hasn’t done anything of substance to the United States since about 1979, when they took the embassy hostages during the Carter years.

In contrast, we seem to have forgotten that we shot down a civilian airliner on July 3, 1988. Iran Air Flight 655, an Airbus A300, was en route from Tehran to Dubai. The United States cruiser USS Vincennes incorrectly identified the Iranian Airbus A300 as an attacking F-14, so it fired a guided missile at the plane. The airliner was flying in Iranian airspace in Iranian territorial waters. All 290 on board, including 66 children and 16 crew, perished in this attack.

How did Iran get a hold of F-14s? We have all but forgotten that Iran used to be our ally, and we supplied them with weapons like the F-14. We also trained their fighter pilots. I still remember when I was in the Air Force in the 1970s running into Iranian student pilots on base.

We have a long history with Iran and its people. We were friends for many years, trained their soldiers and armed their military, while their monarch was willing to be our puppet. When the people of Iran rebelled against the suppression and subjugation of the Shah, the revolution put the militant clerics into power, and they have held onto it ever since. We turned away from Iran, and started courting, arming and supplying their foe to the west, a dictator named Saddam Hussein.

What would happen if an Iranian ship shot down an American airliner with 290 people on board?




Leave a Reply