July 3, 1988
We deeply regret any loss of life. The course of the Iranian civilian airliner was such that it was headed directly for the U.S.S. Vincennes, which was at the time engaged with five Iranian Boghammar boats that had attacked our forces. When the aircraft failed to heed repeated warnings, the Vincennes followed standing orders and widely publicized procedures, firing to protect itself against possible attack.
The only U.S. interest in the Persian Gulf is peace, and this tragedy reinforces the need to achieve that goal with all possible speed.