”Aegis is just one of many flawed weapons the United States is buying, weapons often unsuited to a real combat environment.”
Denny Smith, US Representative and Vietnam War veteran
News leaked about the Navy’s internal investigation of the destruction of an Iranian passenger jet by the Aegis cruiser Vincennes last month have already created some embarrassment for the administration.
At first glance, it appears that some truth is finally coming out. Yet, it seems quite clear that the report is not telling the whole truth. The report places major responsibility on ”crew error arising from the psychological stress of being in combat for the first time.”
But the report explicitly states the ship radar and electronic system performed entirely correctly. This will be perceived as suspicious to anyone aware of the history of failed tests of these systems.
”Off the coast of Beirut in 1983, an Aegis cruiser could not spot a light plane that was heading menacingly toward one of our destroyers; in a 1983 engagement with Libya in the Gulf of Sidra, an Aegis cruiser reported sinking a Libyan patrol boat that later proved to be a low-flying rain cloud,” Representative Denny Smith said.
And there is more. VP Bush keeps blaming the tragedy on Tehran for allowing an airliner to fly over a combat zone in spite of the fact that, two days after the incident, Pentagon officials told Congressmen that the plane was flying inside the proper corridor.
The War Goes On
There is no progress towards a cease fire between Iraq and Iran as the parties disagree on a key issue. Baghdad demands direct talks before accepting the cease-fire while Tehran requests the cease-fire as condition to direct talks.
Obviously the stakes are high. Should Ayatollah Khomeini die before the war ends, no successor or Iranian officials could ever accept a cease-fire with Iraq for they would be immediately branded as traitors to the Islamic revolution. Only Khomeini has the authority to end this bloody conflict. And his health is fast degrading…
Today, Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar told the Security Council United Nations that a peacekeeping force of 250 members would be sent to monitor any cease-fire agreement between Iran and Iraq.
Looking in the Mirror
Four years later, retired US Admiral Crowe will reveal that the USS Vincennes was in Iranian territorial water at the time of the shooting. When asked why he never said so before, he merely answered that no one had asked him…
Back to the Present (2008)
On Thursday, July 31, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the Libyan Claims Resolution Act (S. 3370). Surprizingly, the bill was introduced and passed on the same day.
Yesterday, President George Bush has signed the Libyan Claims Resolution Act. The new legislation paves the way for the US to settle all remaining lawsuits against Libya by American terrorism victims.
The legislation does not mention Libyan compensation for the UTA Flight 772 bombing, nor U.S. compensation for the 40 Libyans killed, including Gaddafi’s 18 months year old daughter, when U.S. war planes bombed Tripoli, as well as Benghazi, in June 1986.
“We offered the United States a comprehensive deal putting all the cases in one package but we want them to compensate the Libyan victims of the U.S. strike. This is our condition and they must satisfy it,” Saif al Islam Gaddafi said on 24 July 2008.
It is also troubling that the Libyan Claims Resolution Act does not mention of Megrahi’s long-delayed appeal which could exonerate Libya from responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie.
“The Libyan Claims Resolution Act might then need to be amended to allow for the compensation of more than $2 billion already paid to be refunded to Libya,” a former UK diplomat predicts.
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