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TOWHEY: Maybe it's too easy to shoot down an airliner

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How do you shoot down a civilian passenger jet on a scheduled flight with a military surface-to-air missile – by accident?

Far too easily, it would appear.

If you’re my age, you may remember watching the night skies over Baghdad on TV as the first cruise missiles rained down on the city in the first U.S. Desert War.

In that attack, and others to follow in Iraq, Kosovo, Libya and elsewhere over the years, TV viewers learned a few things about massive, overwhelming air power.

We learned the attacking air force targets the enemy’s air defence and command and control systems first. Destroying anti-aircraft weapons makes it safer for follow-on aircraft and missiles.

Destroying the enemy’s ability to issue orders to surviving air defence systems, scramble jet fighters or mobilize troops further cripples their ability to defend against the attack.

The Iranian Army watched those channels, too.

The government of Iran – after publicly boasting it would........

© Edmonton Sun