writes "Fury and frustration still mount over the downing of Malaysia Air Flight 17, and justly so. But before accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of war crimes or dismissing the entire episode as a tragic fluke, it’s worth looking back at another doomed passenger plane—Iran Air Flight 655—shot down on July 3, 1988, not by some scruffy rebel on contested soil but by a U.S. Navy captain in command of an Aegis-class cruiser called the Vincennes. A quarter-century later, the Vincennes is almost completely forgotten, but it still ranks as the world’s seventh deadliest air disaster (Malaysia Air Flight 17 is the sixth) and one of the Pentagon’s most inexcusable disgraces. In several ways, the two calamities are similar. The Malaysian Boeing 777 wandered into a messy civil war in eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border; the Iranian Airbus A300 wandered into a naval skirmish—one of many clashes in the ongoing “Tanker War” (another forgotten conflict)—in the Strait of Hormuz. In 1992, four years after the event (and shortly after I moved on to a different beat), Adm. Crowe admitted on ABC’s Nightline that the Vincennes was in Iranian waters at the time it shot down the plane. Back in 1988, he and others had said that the ship was in international waters. Not long after the shoot-down, Iran asked the United Nations Security Council to censure the United States for its “criminal act” against Iran Air Flight 655. Vice President George H.W. Bush, who was running to succeed Ronald Reagan as president, said on the campaign trail, “I will never apologize for the United States—I don’t care what the facts are.”"