Compare & Contrast; US Government reactions to 1998 Iranian plane shot down vs 2020 Iranian reactions

Watch the video.

Compare & Contrast the two Government officials’ response to each tragedy.

First the US Admiral in 1988, followed by these two gentlemen from the Iranian Aviation Authority.

If a picture can paint a thousand words, what does the face on the big guy say to you?

What is he thinking during this press conference?

‘I’ve seen the video and it looks like a missile strike but my ‘colleagues’ (the military presumably) told me they didn’t do it so I have to stand here and tell everyone it wasn’t hit by a missile, even though I’m pretty damn sure it was myself. Great. What a shit turn.’

3rd of July 1988, USS Vincennes was patrolling the straights of Hormuz, in an effort to dissuade the Iranian gun boats to stop attacking commercial shipping passing through the Persian Gulf. Whilst engaged in a surface battle with some far-off gunboats, the USS Vincennes’ officers became aware of a radar indication – an aircraft in the vicinity – vicinity being 20+ miles away. Despite the distance, should the aircraft be a military jet with ship-attack capability, it could be a threat if it came any closer. A decision was made to launch missiles.

Big mistake.

From the video, recorded onboard at the time and later aired across the world, it is clear the crew/officers on board believed they were under threat from what they believed to be an Iranian F-14 fighter jet. This proved to be a serious error of judgement of course and one not shared by officers on board other vessels nearby, who noted the aircraft was ‘slow, climbing and within our missile net’ i.e. it was unlikely to be a fighter jet at that speed, within range of the USS Vincennes SAM missiles and climbing. Nonetheless, the Vincennes took it’s presence as a direct threat and reacted accordingly.

Before firing its missiles at the plane, Vincennes did give warnings on radio frequencies it thought would be used by the ‘F-14’, which also proved to be an error, as the civilian craft wasn’t using those. The warnings were given on air, no response was received and the missiles were fired. A short time later the crew on the video can be seen jubilant as they believed they had hit the Iranian F-14.

Not longer after that initial jubilation came the radio transmissions from Iran and Oman requesting assistance from medical personnel and vessels in the area, to attend the downed Iranian civilian aircraft. That was an ‘oh shit’ moment if every there was one.

The crew onboard Vincennes look shocked and understandably so. They thought they had ‘downed’ an enemy F-14, not a civilian aeroplane. What could be worse? What a fuck-up!

Now, the point in showing this video footage and what comes after is to contrast the reactions of the US Navy to their own error with those of the Iranian Aviation authorities (and by extension the Iranian military and Government) following their error on the 8th January 2020. As can be seen in the video, the US Admiral appears in front of the gathered World Press that very same day (03/07/1988) and tells the world, 1) they did it ( accidentally shot down the Iranian civilian plane) and 2) deeply regret it. He did make some excuses alongside the admission but they did admit to it and they did apologise/express regret –  the same day that it happened.

Fast-forward to January 2020. The world has changed. Mobile phone footage of what appeared to be a missile strike bringing down the Ukranian civilian flight, taking off from Tehran airport, goes viral. Thanks to the Internet, anyone from anywhere around the World gets to see it. We all see it and we all come to the same conclusion – it was hit by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. Oh shit.

Then these two guys get dragged out to face the cameras, two days later.

Do they, 1) admit it or, 2) say they regret it? Neither.

Despite everyone and his uncle having already concluded ‘they’ (the Iranian military) shot down the civilian plane (not on purpose of course – they obviously mistook it for a US cruise missile), these two officials (who, by the look on their faces those sad, dejected facial expressions) have the audacity to stand in front of the world’s Press and say ‘No, it was not hit by a missile’. Even worse, they start digging deeper into the hole by claiming any such allegations are the result of US Government attempts at psychological warfare, etc.

The silence in the room said it all. The gathered Press didn’t know what to say to that. What could they say?

‘What about the video?’ – yes, the big guy acknowledged the video but again denied it was a missile strike. He even made a bit of a half-hearted attempt to convince those gathered that, ‘if it had been a missile strike, it (the plane) would have fallen to the ground’. Apparently the fact that it didn’t crash for another 70 seconds was evidence it wasn’t hit by a missile?????

He also made reference to the debris being over a relatively small area on the crash site. He made a comparison with the civilian flight shot down by a missile strike over the Ukraine some years ago and the debris was spread out over a much wider area (the short guy nods in agreement, thankful the big guy mentioned that point). However, the Press (and us sitting at home watching) are thinking, ‘Em, excuse me, but that flight was hit at high altitude therefore debris spread out over miles as it disintegrated towards impact with the ground. This recent plane was in the process of taking off/climbing from the runway towards altitude and therefore did not have the opportunity to break apart over miles of countryside before hitting the ground.’

That seemed pretty obvious – except to the big guy and his wee mate. Maybe they hoped we wouldn’t know much about the previous incident? Maybe if he said it with conviction and a stern face, we might believe it and move on?

Anyway, a day later, it all came out in the wash. Yes, the Iranian military shot it down and yes they thought it was a US cruise missile and yes they are very sorry. Three days too late and it seems the Iranian people are a tad upset at the frustrating delay and initial denials from their Government.

Watch the video. Compare and contrast.

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