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U.S. Downing of Iran Air Flight 655

July 09, 1988

The U.S. Navy finally handed President Reagan the tragic and bitter fruit of his bloody gunboat diplomacy on the pretext of self-defense (Part I, July 4).

Because of Reagan's bellicose approach to the problems in the Middle East, blithely backed by Congress, 290 innocent men, women and children are dead.

This Persian Gulf version of the 1983 downing of KAL 007 was bound to happen. Put an armada of warships, loaded to the gunwales with death-dealing weapons, tended by edgy crews on hair-trigger alert, and it's disaster in the making.

A rationalization for the downing of Iran Air Flight 655 being put out by our military is that the Persian Gulf is a "lake." And the ultra-sophisticated systems aboard our combat vessels there are designed for use in the open seas, not an enclosed waterway.

The obvious question then is just what are such high-tech, seagoing men-of-war doing there? More importantly, why are they there, and how much longer does our government intend to keep them there?

Maybe a new Administration in Washington next year will have some enlightened answers on this. And bring to this matter a more rational, just and humane solution than Reagan's "standing tall" policies that have brought our country nothing but shame.

ED JAMES

Los Angeles

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