Neither Negligent Nor Culpable

The Pentagon rules out punishment for the Iran Airbus shootdown

The legendary 19th century Military Theorist Karl von Clausewitz called it simply the "fog of war," that unfathomable combination of human personality, weapons performance and just plain luck that makes battle so unpredictable. This "fog," the Pentagon declared last week, was largely to blame for the tragic decision by the U.S.S. Vincennes on July 3 to shoot down Iran Air Flight 655, killing 290 civilians.

Captain Will C. Rogers III ordered two missiles launched at the Airbus, a Navy board of inquiry concluded, for two reasons only: the plane was heading directly toward his ship in a combat situation, and it...

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