Sixteen years ago to this day, on July 3, 1988, the U.S.S Vincennes, also known as the RoboCruiser, shot down an Iranian passenger Airliner from within Iranian territorial waters, killing 290 people on board. While calling the incident "tragic" and blaming the airline pilot for this "accident", to add insult to injury, Captain Rogers the commander of the U.S. Navy vessel, was awarded the Legion of Merit award for "exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of an outstanding service" by George H. Bush (Senior) in 1990. I guess it was given for the stress of having to pick up and return charred bodies and torn limbs from children and pregnant women to the Iranian authorities or maybe it was in recognition of the most spectacular fireworks for the 4th of July celebrations. In any case, to this date there has never been an apology on behalf of the United States for this incident only an expression of "regret" over the incident.
In 1998, ten years after the incident, at a time when nobody really cared anymore (the same with the 1953 coup and other issues), Newsweek did an investigative article that is worth reading. It refers to the coverup operation of the U.S. Navy, as well as the refusal of the U.S. Supreme Court to consider lawsuits filed by the families of the victims. The U.S. paid $2.9 million compensation ($100,000 per person) to the families involved, while penalizing the Iranian government for $100 million for an American that was taken hostage for six years but later released by the Lebanese Hizbollah (go figure the value of an Iranian life versus an American life).
More interesting is the reluctance among the free and independent U.S. media at the time in the coverage of an event that would inconvenience the conscience of the American public.
For some reason it seems "hearts and minds" cannot be won, when the life of people who are on the receiving end do not really matter.
I look forward to the day when a President of the United States offers a public apology over these and other acts of violence that have caused innocent people harm. I somehow think there has to be a U.S. President who is as courageous as that Madman, Libya's Ghaddafi, who took responsibility for bombing the Pan-Am 103 flight. Or would that be too much to ask?