Your View: Being American Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry


By Peter Chow

During an open session of Iran’s parliament in Tehran today, Hossein Salami, the chief commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), apologized for the mistake committed by the country’s defense system for shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane.

“We did made a mistake. Some of our compatriots were martyred because of our mistake but it was unintentional,” Salami said about Iran admitting it unintentionally shot down the Ukrainian plane.
The IRGC commander added: “In my all lifetime I haven’t been as sorry as much as now. Never.”

“I wish I had been on board and burned with them,” Salami said. “May God forgive us and then after than Iranian people and the family of the victims forgive us. And we for this incident, we were determined all the more to make it up.”

Rewind back 30 years.
In 1988, a US Navy warship shot down an Iranian passenger plane, killing 290 people, in the heat of battle.

Vice President George H.W. Bush—who was running for president that year—shocked the world with his response to his country’s mass killing of 290 innocent civilians. “I’ll never apologize for the United States of America, ever,” he said on August 5. “I don’t care what the facts are.”


  1. Not only did Bush refuse to apologise, but he decorated the sailors responsible. For the sailors of the USS Vincennes, praise, not punishment, was the order of the day. All received combat action ribbons.

    The ship’s air warfare coordinator was awarded a commendation medal for the “heroic achievement” of “quickly and precisely completing the firing procedure” that shot down Flight 655.

    In 1990, Captain Rogers, commander of the USS Vincennes that shot down the passenger airliner, was awarded the Legion of Merit decoration “for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service”.

  2. “The quote, although unrelated to the downing of the Iranian air liner and not in any official capacity, has been attributed as such. Bush used the phrase frequently during the 1988 campaign and promised to “never apologize for the United States” months prior to the July 1988 shoot-down and as early as January 1988.
    Iran Air Flight 655 – Wikipedia”. (I don’t like using Wikipedia, but it provides better references than given by P. Chow) › wiki › Iran_Air_Flight_655″.

    This was a signature saying of George H.W. Bush. Ronald Reagan, the president in office at the time, did indeed confirm his statements to be an apology to Iran for the incident and loss of life

    As for the current catastrophe:

    There is more than one Canadian who views the dramatic apology from an Iranian military official as nothing more than crocodile tears to appease the global community. Ask the populace of Iran who they blame for this:

    Their protests are being met with tear gas and possibly rubber bullets
    I’ve seen the images showing blood on Twitter yesterday, sent by Iranian students (The Guardian article refers to them). How long these Iranian students manage to hang on to their internet privileges is anyone’s guess. They lost them in November due to protests.

    May God bless the victims and their families.

    • Iran Air Flight 655 was a scheduled passenger flight from Tehran to Dubai via Bandar Abbas that was shot down on 3 July 1988 by an SM-2MR surface-to-air missile fired from USS Vincennes, a guided-missile cruiser of the United States Navy. The aircraft, an Airbus A300, was destroyed and all 290 people on board were killed. The jet was hit while flying over Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, along the flight’s usual route. The Vincennes’ Aegis Combat System, a state-of-the-art computer and radar tracking and guidance system, indicated the plane was climbing and not descending as an attacking F-14 would. Second, Flight 655 was transmitting the correct transponder “squawk” code for a commercial airliner, while maintaining radio communication in English with nearby air traffic controllers. Third, Iran argued that even if the plane had been a fighter jet, the US had no right to shoot it down, as it was in Iranian airspace and its flight path couldn’t possibly indicate an attack profile as it was climbing when attacked.

      The Reagan administration told lie after lie about the incident. It claimed the Vincennes was in international waters at the time of the attack It was not. It said the ship acted in self defense against the “descending” plane; Flight 655 was climbing when it was shot down. It also claimed the flight had strayed from its usual route. It did not. It told the United Nations that the Vincennes was rushing to defend merchant shipping from Iranian attack, a complete fabrication.
      George H. W. Bush, the vice president of the United States at the time commented on August 7, speaking to a group of Republican leaders: “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.” This was 4 weeks after – wonder what he had in mind.
      from Wikipedia

  3. In over 40 years time they had moved beyond that headspace until the madman and pathological liar Trump was elected. Hopefully the US citizens won’t repeat that grave error this fall and no more innocent people will get caught in the crossfire of another one of Trump’s bad decisions.

  4. And I might add that the incident that just happened the Iranian government was trying to cover up the whole incident when at the time they had bulldozers out there trying to remove stuff from the crash scene and their own people were saying opposite that they did shoot the plane down because they saw it happen. And that’s the only reason they admitted it because they couldn’t hide what they had done…then the Iranian government said they did it. Also Vice President George W Bush was one man’s opinion it was the opinion of everyone in the United States!!!

  5. I realize what the Vice President said….BUT President Ronald Regan was the president at the time and his response was quite different. He apologized to Iran almost immediately after it happened and said he has deep regret and they made restitution with millions of dollars to those families which at that time was alot of money. Don’t just post one comment without posting all of it.

    • Ronald Reagan in 1988 was suffering from advanced dementia. He wasn’t capable of responding appropriately to the tragedy of Flight 655. The White House was being run by Nancy Reagan under the guidance of her personal astrologer. George Bush was the de facto president. – from “Killing Reagan” by Bill O’Reilly

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