Hey – haven’t thought of you in many many years – but today, thru the power of the intertubes, and the amazing repository of stuff known as ‘Wikipedia’, I have realized that I owe you an apology.
From today’s “On This Day…” section over at Wikipedia I learned that today (July 3) is the anniversary of the shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655. It was just a month or so later in August of 1988 that I was in Austin for some tech training and my sister was also in town visiting with friends (I believe Jules was in town). Thru Blood I met Farrah.
It was Farrah who helped me understand that distinction that folks of Iranian heritage in the US call themselves Persians due to the conflicts our two countries have had over the previous years – hostage crisis of the late 1970s.
As a 20 year old in the US Air Force, perhaps I was incarnate what could rightly be described as a monster to the people of Iran. Of course being young and naive during that period of the Cold War era allowed me to staunchly defend the actions of the US Navy; “Identify – Friend or Foe” (IFF) wasn’t just for the military, airlines around the globe used it. Thus if an Iran Airbus had been shot down, obviously the problem was on the Iranian side of the issue.
Except it wasn’t. A plane load of people was shot down due to the actions of Americans, the poor training of the leaders of the USS Vincennes, and apparently the ego fueled bullyism of the ship’s captain.
So, in hindsight, my arguments in defense of the US Navy were bullshit Farrah. I’m sorry that I wasn’t more able to admit that we could have be completely culpable in the tragedy. I’m sure my attitude wasn’t at all appropriate, and that I should have been more humane in dealing with you in a time of sadness and rage.
I didn’t know then what I know now. Now that I do know, I’m ashamed, and I’m sorry.
I hope your life has been fabulous no matter how shitty the actions of my country have been, and thank you for the fashion help I got from you at the Banana Republic – everyone knows I needed it.