Blaming Men, Not Machines

"Human error" will take the rap for the Iran Air shootdown

Navy brass had feared for weeks that the tragedy of Iran Air 655 would claim another victim: the controversial Aegis system aboard the U.S.S. Vincennes. How could that complex network of radar and computers have mistaken a civilian airliner for an attacking fighter plane? But when the fragmentary results of Rear Admiral William Fogarty's investigation leaked last week, blame fell not on the machines but on the men who were operating them. Under the pressure of combat, Pentagon sources say, the overwrought sailors on the Vincennes misread the radar data about the oncoming Airbus and passed faulty information to Captain Will...

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