In a long essay entitled “HOW THE REAGAN ADMINISTRATION TAUGHT IRAN THE WRONG LESSONS”, Nathan Thrall lets us know that Iran may have had a hand in the crash of a US troop transport plane returning from police duty in Sinai:

Four days later, on the second anniversary of the six Da’wa bombings in Kuwait, there was quite literally “fire” on America’s interests. As Reagan wrote in his memoir:

On December 12, our nation got another reminder of the high price we were having to pay for the continuing strife in the Middle East and our efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict: Nearly 250 American soldiers returning home after six months of duty as members of the international police force posted in the Sinai under the Camp David accords were killed when their plane crashed after a refueling stop in Newfoundland.

It was the largest single-day loss of life for the U.S. Armed Forces since the invasion of Normandy. As with the bombings of the U.S. embassy in Beirut, the kidnappings in Lebanon, the truck bombings of the French Paratrooper and U.S. Marine barracks, and the Da’wa bombings in Kuwait, Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

Yet Reagan’s admission in his 1990 memoir that the crash was a “reminder of the high price we were having to pay for the continuing strife in the Middle East” is the closest that any high ranking U.S. official has come to acknowledging terrorist involvement. In fact, all responsibility for the official investigation and report on the crash was deferred to the Canadian Government. Though the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Transportation Safety Board, FBI, and CIA all investigated the crash, their findings were not released to the Canadians. “The Canadian Aviation Safety Board was unable to determine the exact sequence of events which led to this accident,” the Board’s official report states.

However, a dissenting opinion was issued by four of the Board’s nine members:

In our judgment, the wings of the Arrow Air DC-8 were not contaminated by ice–certainly not enough for ice contamination to be a factor in this accident…. Accordingly, we cannot agree–indeed, we categorically disagree–with the majority findings…. The evidence shows that the Arrow Air DC-8 suffered an on-board fire and a massive loss of power before it crashed. … [The fire] may have been associated with an in-flight detonation from an explosive or incendiary device.

Until the U.S. declassifies its findings, the public cannot know if the results of U.S. investigations were withheld by the Reagan Administration because they would have pointed to its secret negotiations with Iran. The historic catastrophe is not so much as mentioned in most memoirs of Reagan Administration officials. What is a matter of public record, however, is how rapidly in the wake of the crash the administration, in its all too familiar and masochistic pattern, advanced toward more intimate contact with Iran. These negotiations slipped, at first unknowingly, from contact with shady arms brokers to witting, formal meetings with the hostage-takers themselves.

The essay demonstrates yet again that those who fail to understand history are doomed to repeat it. So it is with Iran. They kill some of us. We talk to them. Then we give them something they want. They kill some more of us. It’s time to break the cycle but it is doubtful that can happen on Bush’s watch.

(Linked from Strange Women Lying in Ponds)

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