9 Key Points About Iran’s Admission They Shot Down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752

Iran has acknowledged that they shot down Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752, a Boeing 737 flight from Tehran to Kiev. There was immediate speculation of a missile, photos of the aircraft that seemed to suggest that as a cause, and ultimately video evidence.

The speed of the admission, and that they shared this on twitter surely says something about the modern age.

Nine things strike me about this incident, and the admission:

  1. Iran shot down the plane. Iran is unequivocally at fault. Anyone that wants to talk about other, broader causes needs to make this point forcefully first.

  2. The proximate cause of the situation that made this incident happen was killing Iran’s Major General Qasem Soleimani. Escalating tensions in the Middle East has unintended consequences, and those consequences are usually bad. While it’s never possible to know exactly what those are in advance (they’re unintended!) they’re always bad. That counsels in favor of de-escalation.

  3. Iran is the only one that cannot credibly make this point. We can observe that mistakes happen when tensions are heightened, but Iran is the one that made the mistake. It’s awful that Iran points the finger at the U.S. in their apology.

  4. Iran acknowledged fault quickly. That’s a remarkable admission not just in the context of traditional diplomacy, it runs counter to expectations created where Iran was clearing the debris area around the crash and refused to turn over black boxes to U.S. investigators and Boeing.

  5. They couldn’t really have denied it. Even controlling the territory where the crash occurred several governments had credible intelligence of the missile, and that about 12 seconds after impact there was an explosion. Satellites monitor the activity on the ground, including any attempted coverup. There’s a wreckage that tells a clear story. The debris field makes clear how the plane came apart (and in what order, too). Recovered bodies reveal how injuries occurred. Aircraft fragments would have chemical residue.

  6. The U.S. never apologized for shooting down Iran Air 655 in 1989. That wound still lingers in Iran, indeed Iran’s President invoked that tragedy in response to President Trump’s referencing Iran’s taking U.S. hostages in 1979. The world has changed a lot, Iran is acknowledging responsibility on Twitter, I have to think the U.S. response would need to be different today.

  7. If there was a threat of terrorism against U.S. airlines, that risk now falls dramatically. Iran cannot be responsible for taking down another plane. They’ve lost any moral high ground with the world community, and additional action risks Europe siding with the U.S. imposing sanctions.

  8. Iran promises to take steps to prevent this from happening again. The principles of crisis management are universal. Standard corporate and government apologies always include promising to take steps to ensure that mistakes aren’t repeated. More often than not there isn’t any follow through. Was it really just bad technology that led to misidentifying the aircraft, Iran had chosen not to upgrade their tech but now they will? Doubtful. Will Iran put greater checks in place to ensure more people sign off on strikes and those people have to be really sure? They’d likely lose the ability to hit targets. If they believe they’re under attack they will respond, although they’ll be more likely to hesitate in the immediate term.

  9. What matters most here are the 176 people who died. As obvious points are made about foreign policy and conflict, how this relates to escalated tensions between the U.S. and Iran, it’s important to remember the 176 real people who lost their lives and the families who lost their loved ones. This is a terrible tragedy and hopefully remembering each one of these people as individuals can help us maintain the proper perspective on those larger issues, that there’s a real human toll that’s felt by people caught in the middle that have no responsibility or ability to influence the events around them.

It’s this last point, I think, that’s most important.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. This is a really balanced assessment of a truly sad situation.

    Sympathies with those who have lost loved ones

  2. Very sad indeed. Of course the mafia that has taken over Iran for the last 40 years doesn’t really give two sh**ts about dead people – even their own….

    Back to travel 1st world problems : I was planning trying out Qusites for the first time in a few months, but now with all of this going on, and the fact that Qatar airways WILL continue to use Iranian airspace (they have no choice due to the Saudi-Emirati blockade..) I’ll be dropping this idea for now.
    People – check if your airline plans to flyover Iranian airspace and just avoid. Your life or your loved ones isn’t worth it. Life above all.

  3. Point 10.
    Russian made weapon. Amazing what Obama’s gift of $175 billion can buy for the Mullahs.

  4. If we had a functioning Presidency and an adult in the WH, this might be a good re-start for diplomacy…fat chance for another year though.

  5. I largely agree but take issue with point #2. The proximate cause of this incident was Iran’s launching of missiles into Iraq which clearly led to an anticipation of a military response for which the Ukrainian aircraft was mistaken. Obviously Iran was responding to the killing of Gen Soleimani, but that killing was a response to Iranian hostilities and part of a shadow conflict dating to the earliest days of the Iraq war and in some sense back to the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

  6. Solid analysis. I will continue patronage of your site for the remainder of CY20. Will revisit similarly to my annual fee assessments. 😉
    Keep up the good work and have a happy New Year.

  7. Chris@Oak, they bought these at least 15 years ago. Did the Russians give them credit in anticipation of Obama being elected president 4 years later and paying them what was owed several years after that? Wow, those Russians have amazing foresight

  8. 10. Iran comes out of this looking both weak and inept. Their ability to make credible threats in exchange for concessions has been greatly diminished. Face it, Obama giving them billions to be nice was as horrible strategy as Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Nazi Germany. They have just been using that money to kill Americans and our allies. They got the signal now that we won’t allow them to do that any longer, and we’re not afraid of their impotent response. The orange man bad crowd can never give credit where credit due. We are safer now thanks to the change in strategy.

  9. @WR2 – the Iran nuclear deal was a bad deal, but the alternative reasonably seemed worse. Europeans had no more appetite for sanctions so it was a matter of ‘get what we can get’ cash and lifting sanctions that seem like they can’t be maintained anyway for modest promises related to nuclear development. Iran may have been economically strapped but the idea they couldn’t buy weapons without the release of that money is dubious to say the least.

    Not saying it was a great deal or one that accomplished much, but it was perhaps inevitable under the circumstances and probably can’t be blamed for much in the way of bad outcomes either.

  10. Nice summary.

    It was really too bad that they didn’t shut down civil aviation for at least a 24 hour period around their missile counter-attack or whenever they have their AA systems on the, “highest level of alert,” (whatever that means).

  11. Key Iran Air 655 difference

    Iran shot down a scheduled departure departing its own airport over its own land and made no attempt to communicate

    US shot down a plane departing an Iranian airport over intl waters and attempted to communicate with pilots several times (but not on the ATC channel) and issued a NOTAM

    Iran and US at fault in both but we can rule out calculated casualty intentions with the US in 1988 while for Iran we can’t rule out specific targeting of this scheduled flight

  12. @Greg – Iran Air 655 was flying above the altitude specified in the NOTAM. The Vincennes didn’t use ATC channels for its contact attempts, and called out to the aircraft by noting its speed – an incorrect speed, so the plane likely didn’t know they were the ones being hailed.

    There is no reason to believe that Iran specifically targeted a Ukraine International Airlines flight vs this being a mistake. There’s not even a plausible theory for why they might have done so.

  13. I question a lot of your opinions on here Gary but on this matter, you have a much better take than Lucky’s.

  14. #2 – Agree with Doug, above although one could argue that the proximate cause was Iran’s decision to escalate tensions in the last couple of months by having Iraqi proxies fire missiles into American bases ultimately culminating in the death of a Muslim American civilian contractor, as well as the attempted storming of the American embassy in Iraq as the proximate cause — certainly not American retaliation and pre-emptive strike on Soleimani as the proximate cause.

    #4 – Iran did not acknowledge fault quickly; they prevaricated for a number of days with risible explanations and decisions to deny access to the black boxes as well as the crash scene. They only relented with respect to fault given all the reasons you plainly lay out in point #5 — i.e. they had no other choice but to accept responsibility given the mounting proof that it was brought down by an Iranian missile(s).

    #6 – You are never going to get a clear cut outright apology when two actors share some blame — the Iranians were to blame — as they were in the instant situation today — for allowing a civilian jetliner to enter a zone for potential hostilities, as they did when the jetliner was shot down by U.S. forces. See also: Ronald Reagan, President at the time said:

    “I am saddened to report that it appears that in a proper defensive action by the U.S.S. Vincennes this morning in the Persian Gulf an Iranian airliner was shot down over the Strait of Hormuz. This is a terrible human tragedy. Our sympathy and condolences go out to the passengers, crew, and their families. The Defense Department will conduct a full investigation.

    We deeply regret any loss of life. The course of the Iranian civilian airliner was such that it was headed directly for the U.S.S. Vincennes, which was at the time engaged with five Iranian Boghammar boats that had attacked our forces. When the aircraft failed to heed repeated warnings, the Vincennes followed standing orders and widely publicized procedures, firing to protect itself against possible attack.

    The only U.S. interest in the Persian Gulf is peace, and this tragedy reinforces the need to achieve that goal with all possible speed.”

    Ronald Reagan thought this apology was sufficient when asked.

    For his part, Reagan, asked by reporters whether the United States had apologized sufficiently, said, “Yes.” https://politics.stackexchange.com/questions/1192/did-the-usa-ever-officially-apologize-for-shooting-down-iran-air-flight-655-in The U.S. also compensated the families of the victims without expressly accepting liability.

    One would think that since Iran propagandizes this sad event every year, they would have been careful not to repeat the mistakes that were made during this tragic incident when a civilian airliner was mistaken for a hostile enemy attack. Unfortunately, they did not learn the lesson from that event and now are in the same position as the U.S. was then.

    #10 – What you omit, Gary, from Iran’s calculus to accept responsibility for this tragic and foreseeable event since it is apparently seared into the psyche of every Iranian, is that had Iran continued to deny the undeniable, is that every other undertaking that they had agreed to in connection with all the other International agreements they have signed — including the JCPOA — would have been questioned, given their stonewalling and denying responsibility for this tragic incident — i.e., if Iran could lie about their responsibility for this shoot down, then ergo, they could certainly be lying about their intent not to pursue nuclear weapons, as attested to in the above agreement.

    Continued denial could have a negative cascading effect going forward which could cause additional sanctions against the regime, playing into the US playbook.

  15. @Billiken – saying ‘we’re sad and we wish it hadn’t happened’ is not the same as saying ‘we’re at fault and we’re sorry’. Officially the U.S. has maintained that the ship and its captain acted reasonably under the circumstances.

  16. @HADLEY V. BAXENDALE – they admitted fault within 3 days. in the social media era everything happens more quickly, but even now by international diplomacy standards this is lightning fast.

  17. Sorry, Gary, but even the NY Times is reporting that the Fars news agency, linked to the Revolutionary Guards themselves, is not buying your story that the Iranian regime acted quickly:

    Fury in the streets as thousands gather in Tehran.

    Iranians vented fury toward their government after Tehran’s admission, with thousands pouring into main squares around the city on Saturday afternoon. Gatherings organized on social media to mourn the victims of the crash swiftly turned into angry protests against the government’s actions.

    “Death to liars!” and “Death to the dictator!” people chanted, according to videos posted on social media. “You have no shame,” shouted several young men, as the crowd joined in a chorus, another video showed. People carried candles and placed flowers at the gates of the universities and public squares.

    The country’s elite security force and its top leader were not spared. At universities, crowds called the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps “incompetent” and “the people’s shame.” And some even called on the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to resign.

    Farnaz Fassihi

    @farnazfassihi
    #IranPlaneCrash turning into #IranProtests https://twitter.com/HedayatBahare/status/1215995532323315713

    Bahare Hedayat
    @HedayatBahare
    Replying to @HedayatBahare
    Embedded video
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    9:12 AM – Jan 11, 2020
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    57 people are talking about this
    Even conservatives and supporters of the government accused the authorities on social media of initially misleading the public about what had brought down the plane, whose passengers included many young Iranians on their way to Canada for graduate study.

    The semiofficial Fars News Agency, which is affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, posted a harsh commentary condemning Iran’s leaders, saying “their shortcomings have made this tragedy twice as bitter.”

    “It is pivotal that those who were hiding the truth from the public for the past 72 hours be held accountable, we cannot let this go,” it read.

    “Individuals, media, political and military officials who commented in the past 72 hours must be investigated. If they knew of the truth and were deliberately speaking falsehood or for any reason were trying to hide it, they must be prosecuted, no matter what post they hold.”

    Flights In and Out of Tehran Continued After Missile Strikes and Plane Crash

    Planes took off after Iran’s missile strikes on bases in Iraq, and even after a Ukrainian plane crashed shortly after takeoff.

    Siamak Ghaesmi, a Tehran-based economist, addressed the country’s leaders in an Instagram post: “I don’t know what to do with my rage and grief. I’m thinking of all the ‘human errors’ in these years that were never revealed because there was no international pressure. I’m thinking of the little trust left that was shattered. I’m thinking of the innocent lives lost because of confronting and being stubborn with the world. What have you done with us?”

    Mohamad Saeed Ahadian, a conservative analyst in Iran, said on Twitter, “There are two major problems with the Ukrainian Airlines issue. One is firing at an airplane and two is firing at the public’s trust. The first can be justified but the latter is a mistake with absolutely no justification.”

    Some social media posts made use of the term “harsh revenge,” which Iran’s leaders had promised to inflict on the United States for the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a top Revolutionary Guards commander; an Iraqi militia leader, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis; and others as they left the airport in Baghdad. The general’s killing sent shock waves through the Middle East and led to calls for revenge in Iran, as well as a vote by Iraq’s Parliament to oust American troops from that country.

    Mojtaba Fathi, an Iranian journalist, wrote on Twitter, “They were supposed to take their harsh revenge against America, not the people.”

    Ukraine’s president wants ‘a full admission of guilt.’

    President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, in his first reaction to Iran’s announcement, said Kyiv would “insist on a full admission of guilt” by Tehran.

    “We expect Iran to assure its readiness for a full and open investigation, to bring those responsible to justice, to return the bodies of the victims, to pay compensation, and to make official apologies through diplomatic channels,” Mr. Zelensky said in a post on his Facebook page. “We hope that the investigation will continue without artificial delays and obstacles.”

    Mr. Zelensky had come under domestic criticism this week for refusing to publicly blame Iran for the disaster even as the United States, Canada and Britain did.

    Iran’s announcement on Saturday vindicated Mr. Zelensky’s cautious approach, said Ivan Yakovina, a columnist for the Kyiv-based magazine Novoye Vremya. “If there had been threats from Ukraine, then I believe Iran wouldn’t have allowed the specialists to do their jobs and generally would have refused to admit guilt,” he said.

    Later, the office of the Ukrainian president posted on Facebook photos of what it said was shrapnel damage on the plane wreckage and a Canadian man’s passport showing piercings about half an inch in diameter.

    Mr. Zelensky’s office said on Saturday that Iran had cooperated in Ukraine’s investigation of the crash and that Ukraine’s investigators had “received all of the necessary information from the beginning.”

    That contrasted with remarks by the head of the Ukrainian investigation, Oleksiy Danilov, who said on Saturday that Iran had been forced to let in the Ukrainian investigators because the International Civil Aviation Organization would have closed off its airspace.

    “As we saw it, Iran had to face the reality that there’s no way they’ll get out of this,” he said.

    Mr. Danilov said Iranian authorities had also complicated the investigation by scraping the wreckage into piles rather than photographing and mapping the coordinates. In general, he said, they had acted “inappropriately.”

    “When a catastrophe happens, everything is supposed to stay in its place.” Mr. Danilov said. “Every element is described, every element is photographed, every element is fixed in terms of its location and coordinates. To our great regret, this was not done.”

    At some point, he said, Iranian officials realized there was no way to hide the facts from Ukraine, whose investigators found shrapnel marks in wreckage.

    Iranian officials did not immediately respond to the accusations.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/11/world/middleeast/plane-crash.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage#link-23f1af8b

    As I noted above, prior International Agreements that Iran signed would have required negative after effects on the Iranian regime as well as calling into question their undertakings with respect to other international obligations, most notably the JCPOA.

    Iran had no choice but to admit responsibility for the shoot down, albeit after initially lying to the world community and their own public as to their culpability.

    Also, as I noted above, the best one would get with respect to an apology when both parties were at fault was a statement of regret and financial compensation. Some US bashers quibble that it is not an apology, but then their bias is quite apparent, as are those who say Iran acted quickly to stem the negative publicity, etc.

  18. Based on what I’m hearing, I wouldn’t be surprised at all that the only reason they took the blame this soon was to keep foreign officials and investigators away from the crash site – the crash site that has now been bulldozed and cleaned anyway.

  19. We have no evidence Iran deliberately shot down the plane, but it baffles that there could be any mistake so close to a civilian airport at such low altitude in the normal flight path of departures.

    Departures are announced over frequencies, there is a published schedule, there are witnesses in the control tower.

    Was the 1 hour delay the confusion point?

    Does Iran launch missiles to Iraq that far from the border?

  20. I for one am glad General Qasem Soleimani is dead. The following are a few of the reasons:
    –He was in charge of the Iran use of proxies to kill Americans and Israelis.
    –He armed terrorists throughout the Middle East who often lob missiles into Israel trying to kill Jews.
    –He was also involved in the punishment of Iraqis that cooperated with Americans. His people would grab them, and kill them by drilling holes in their heads, while they were still alive.
    –He was one of the main people involved in killing Iranians who protested.
    –He was definitely involved in storming the American Embassy in Iraq.

    There are a lot of people in Iraq and Iran that are celebrating Soleimani death. Quietly of course because they do not want to be tortured or be killed horribly.

  21. “Iran acknowledged fault quickly. ” They acknowledged fault when they realized they couldn’t lie about it. Let’s not try to give them some kind of credit for that. They actually did lie about it at first and tampered with the wreckage as part of a coverup but there was just too much evidence already out there.

    “The proximate cause of the situation that made this incident happen was killing Iran’s Major General Qasem Soleimani” – don’t agree with this at all. There has been a long history of attacks in recent years by Iran on the US and our allies. The attack on the saudi oil facilities and oil tankers? I suggest reading about how severe that was. The attack on the US embassy? The people who push the theory that the US started this chain of events with targeting the general are people who are not familiar with what has been going on in the region for the past few years.

    “The U.S. never apologized for shooting down Iran Air 655 in 1989.” Again leaving out some key details. You can say the US never officially apologized by Reagan did express regret and indicated that he meant that as an apology. Also, that situation was over 30 years ago and was a much different circumstance because there was an ongoing conflict where that ship was located and the plane was not following procedures and therefore did not respond to ten warnings for them to back off. What is Iran’s excuse? It was a scheduled commercial flight in THEIR own country and I would imagine technology has improved significantly in the past 30 years.

    “If there was a threat of terrorism against U.S. airlines, that risk now falls dramatically” Doubtful Iran will suddenly get out of the terrorism business. They weren’t even focusing on airliners anyway, instead terrorists are looking for softer targets.

  22. “Does Iran launch missiles to Iraq that far from the border?” Its an anti-aircraft weapons system not what they use to target ground positions in other countries.

  23. “saying ‘we’re sad and we wish it hadn’t happened’ is not the same as saying ‘we’re at fault and we’re sorry’. Officially the U.S. has maintained that the ship and its captain acted reasonably under the circumstances.” – true but I don’t recall Iran accepting responsibility for their jetliner being shot down, even though Iran was actively attacking US targets in that area and the jetliner wasn’t monitoring the proper frequencies on which they would have hear the calls warning them off. Kinda rich that somehow now they think the US is to blame when this happened inside their borders where we haven’t even attacked.

  24. In respect to the numerous comments here, what is missing is an appreciation for the overall “big picture.” Like Red China, Iran plays the “long game” believing that eventually the U.S. will be worn down and pull out, e.g., Syria. In the meantime, Iran knows it can push to the edge of the envelope making tactical mistakes they will not be punished for, e.g., missile downing of Ukrainian flight while keeping a hawk’s eye on a strategy that cannot fail. Like the former USSR, and today, Russia will continue playing the role of the hotel burglar, attempting to open every door in the hallway until one opens, e.g., Crimea, and step-in to seize.

    Obviously, Iran cares nothing about its population, losing its young men in wars intended to support the mullah’ master plan that was designed and evolved by Iran’s equivalent of Reinhard Heydrich–General Soleimani, until his toochis was kissed by one of our Hellfire missiles last week. Although Iran puts on the proud face of the ability to replace such a leader, our strategy to survive and succeed in the Middle East must be to de-capitate Iran’s military leaders to free the civil population to overthrow the ayatollahs. Islamic fascism is not what the population sought after overthrowing the Shah.

    Iran’s grand strategy is multi-fold:

    1) De-stabilize the governments of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon to enable Iranian militias to seize control of those countries and their populations; to fulfill creation of a new Persian Empire from Iran thru Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.
    2) To surround Israel with Iranian militias in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq; to create militias favoring Iran in Gaza (note how Egypt never wanted return of the Gaza Strip when it made peace with Israel), as well to consume the PLO/Palestinian Authority; to establish naval bases on the Mediterranean in Syria to attack Israel, interdict U.S. naval forces in concert with Turkey to interrupt free movement in the Dardanelles and Bosporous (just as Red China seeks to accomplish in the South China Sea); to persist in weakening and questioning authority of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (remember how Nasser came very close to ousting Jordan’s king in 1958.)
    3) Iran seeks to control the flow of commerce and oil through the two major choke points at the Strait of Hormuz and Strait of Bab e-Mandeb (why is Iran fighting in Yemen beyond seeking to outflank and weaken Saudi Arabia?) This piece of the ayatollah grand strategy is a direct threat to Europe, with principal countries of UK, France, and Germany content to not raise their naval power to contest the inevitable.
    Thanks to Putin’s masterful execution of his own plan to paralyze NATO and keep off balance from helping the Ukraine by encouraging hordes of immigration, which serves to tie-up the limited naval forces of Spain, Greece, and Turkey. Of course, the migration serves Iran, Turkey, and ISIS, by reminding all how those European countries once had been conquered by Muslim forces; projecting now a fear in those European countries of how their “replacements” are en route.

    Every time the U.S. wants to redeploy forces to Asia to confront the rapid growth of the Red Chinese build-up of a “blue water” navy to project its power worldwide, our own vision keeps on being cancelled, principally by Iran. However, quite frankly, we have also been seriously handicapped by the dug-in naïveté of Obama and his kinder corps running the NSC, particularly after Gates left DOD. How does anybody not think that our resolute and formidable posture was not severely damaged by a nuclear agreement that did nothing to stop financing and growth of terrorism and development of missiles; the capture and humiliation of USN crews on the high seas; failure at Benghazi compounded by ignorantly blaming such a fall down on a nothing movie re Islam?

    All the U.S. has witnessed from its “allies” was their rush to trade with Iran, no matter how pathetic the nuclear agreement ended up being. Factually, it has been left to the U.S. to take-off the gloves on Iran and patrol the Persian Gulf to ensure commerce and oil flow to Europe. Red China and Russia are not concerned with their position, particularly as Red China has overtaken Russia by building a massive navy to project worldwide. The Royal Navy doesn’t exist to any extent, even as it rushes to complete two new carriers. The French Navy is nowhere to be found in the Mediterranean of Gulf.

    Interestingly, Israel has quietly acquired modern submarines on station in the Gulf and Arabian Sea to contain Iran with long distance missiles. In its own survival mode, Israel has already been taking preventative action by attacking any sites in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon that evidence activity by Iran or its proxies. Israel understands that to survive it must de-capitate Iran’s military and proxies, as eventually even such a snake cannot maintain replacement of leaders.

    If we want to prevent serious terrorism and military conflict that could impact our own economy and interests throughout the world, we must be willing to assume the posture of including the Persian Gulf, Mediterranean Sea, Arabian Sea, Suez and the Straits mentioned as part of our sphere of interest. We only need to look back to 1956 when the British were thrown out of Suez (with the acquiescence of Eisenhower) to see how that power vacuum was quickly filled by the Soviets to our detriment, securing air, land and sea bases; becoming the principal arms supplier in the region lined up against the West. We cannot afford a repeat of that poor political judgment.

  25. Since 140+ of the people on the flight were Iranian citizens, it is to be seen if Iran will get away with paying way less out per killed person on this flight because Iranian dual-citizens are to be treated as Iranian citizens by the Iranian government.

  26. The Trump administration escalated the situation by authorizing a US assassinatIon of a very senior Iranian general in a third country, and from there the heightened state of tension and paranoia made people ever more likely to be trigger happy down the chain of command at the very least. And that heightened worry of being attacked has an impact even if/when higher ups in government/military may have wanted a ratcheting down in tension or a return to the status quo (from before) in terms of tension levels. But ultimately the blame for missiles being fired at the UIA plane is on Iranian hands, as Iran too acknowledges in ways.

    In all meaningful ways, the move against Iran via US assassination of a senior Iranian general was more risky than the Obama Administration’s authorization of an assassination of a US citizen. And yet I’m still wondering when the Trump Admin will claim it has the same legal basis to assassinate Soleimani as the Obama Admin used to assassinate a US citizen in another Arab-majority country. Remember Obama’s assassination of that US citizen Anwar A from Virginia? That nutcase was espousing and encouraging illegal violence against the US as an Al-Qaeda backer, but he wasn’t much of a warrior beyond being an arm-chair warrior. Soleimani, an enemy of Al-Qaeda to the core, was a different story as he had been a real warrior in battlefield and occupied areas but also espoused and encouraged violence against American presence in SW Asia at least and had lots more American blood on his hands.

    Unfortunately, this incident likely won’t be the last time we see a passenger flight attacked by military forces in the world; and it likely won’t be the last time we see “friendly fire” killing of passengers by the military forces that are ostensibly there to protect their own citizens. More advanced technology can tragically magnify the negative force of human misjudgment and the consequences arising from misjudgment. When people are afraid or insecure, they tend to do things that they wouldn’t do if they weren’t as afraid and insecure, and it’s not necessarily a recipe for good decision-making.

  27. Not really a comment. I wonder if shooting the plane down was really a mistake. Total unsupported (and probably false) speculation, maybe the plane had some Iranian citizens trying to escape that the Iranian Government wanted to stop. Then again, maybe I watch too many spy movies.

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