Just another example of a long line of failures. They were not aware of the situation, and their training, tactics and procedures were ineffective. The last unforgivable error was failure to identify the target!
The U.S. government issued notes of regret for the loss of human life. It never admitted wrongdoing, accepted responsibility, nor apologized for the incident. In August 1988 Newsweek quoted then vice president George Bush (senior not junior) as saying; "I'll never apologize for the United States of America. Ever, I don't care what the facts are." in regard to the shoot down. Bush used the phrase frequently during the 1988 campaign and promised to "never apologize for the United States" months prior to the July 1988 shootdown and as early as January 1988. An independent investigation by ICAO concluded that US was at fault by cultivating an unstable battle scenario with no regard for civilian air traffic.