Just for perspective……
An American naval warship patrolling in the Persian Gulf has shot down an Iranian passenger jet after apparently mistaking it for an F-14 fighter.
All those on board the airliner - almost 300 people - are believed dead.
The plane, an Airbus A300, was making a routine flight from Bandar Abbas, in Iran, to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
The USS Vincennes had tracked the plane electronically and warned it to keep away. When it did not the ship fired two surface-to-air missiles, at least one of which hit the airliner.
Navy officials said the Vincennes' crew believed they were firing at an Iranian F14 jet fighter, although they had not confirmed this visually.
The plane blew up six miles from the Vincennes, the wreckage falling in Iranian territorial waters.
Iranian ships and helicopters have been searching for survivors but none have so far been found. Iranian television broadcast scenes of bodies floating amid scattered debris.
Iran has reacted with outrage, accusing the United States of a "barbaric massacre" and vowed to "avenge the blood of our martyrs".
President Reagan said the Vincennes had taken "a proper defensive action" and called the incident an "understandable accident", although he said he regretted the loss of life.
I will never apologize for the United States — I don't care what the facts are... I'm not an apologize-for-America kind of guy.
- Statement as Vice-president, during a presidential campaign function (2 Aug 1988), commenting on the Navy warship USS Vincennes having shot down Iran Air Flight 655 in a commercial air corridor on July 3, killing 290 civilians, as quoted in "Perspectives", the quote of the week section of Newsweek (15 August 1988) p. 15; also quoted in "Rally Round the Flag, Boys" by Michael Kingsley in TIME magazine (12 September 1988)
- "I'll never apologize for the United States. Ever. I don't care what the facts are," Bush told about 200 members of his newly formed Coalition of American Nationalities, a group with representatives of ethnic backgrounds from about two dozen countries. Bush attributed his indiscriminate support for the nation to his belief that the United States is "the only hope for freedom and democracy" in the world and that "no other country is strong enough to lead the free world."
Ever wonder why the world is growing weary of the US?