Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Interesting pattern of how the military handles unpleasant facts

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From an article by Dan Lamothe in the Washington Post on how facts are skewed when airliners are shot down:

On July 3, 1988, a helicopter from the USS Vincennes, a guided missile cruiser, came under fire from Iranian gunboats while over the Persian Gulf. Seeing an aircraft speeding their way, the ship’s crew opened fire with two surface-to-air missiles — and brought down a commercial jet, Iran Air Flight 655, carrying 290 people. Navy officials said the Vincennes crew thought it was an Iranian fighter jet, and a threat to their safety.

As outlined in The Washington Post the next day, the Pentagon at first denied Iranian accusations that the Navy had shot down an airliner. Within hours, however, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the time, Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., said the United States had confirmed the incident.

Even then, Crowe moved quickly to to back the skipper of the ship, Capt. William C. Rogers III. He said the Airbus had flown four miles west of the usual commercial airline route, that the pilot ignored repeated radio warnings from the Vincennes to change course, and that its altitude was decreasing as it got closer. U.S. officials also said repeatedly the ship was in international waters, which would put the Iranians in the wrong for opening fire on the ship in the first place.

Few of those details turned out to be true. The Vincennes and helicopter were actually in Iranian waters and airspace, subsequent investigations found. ABC News, among others, later reported that the plane actually was flying where it should have been and had already turned away from the Vincennes when it was shot down. U.S. officials also said the helicopter that came under fire was checking on a vessel that had issued a distress call, but later investigations show the ship did not exist.

And of course the US Navy still has not acknowledged that a missile brought down TWA 800 over Long Island Sound in 1996, apparently fired during a training exercise. (US Navy ships fled the scene immediately after the airliner was shot down rather remaining to offer help and assistance.)

Written by LeisureGuy

18 July 2014 at 8:34 am

Posted in Military

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