Â Â Forty six years ago this week, the USS Liberty, an AmericanÂ Navy research ship located in international waters off the Sinai Peninsula at the height of the Six Day War between Israel andÂ Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria,Â was attacked by Israeli Air Force jet fightersÂ and Israeli torpedo boats in broad daylight.
The unprovoked assault by an ostensible American ally on June 8,Â 1967, which could have been mitigated had not rescue planes been recalled, resulted in the deaths of 34 crew membersÂ serving on the Liberty, theÂ wounding ofÂ 171, and significant damage toÂ the ship.
After the smoke cleared,Â that ostensible allyÂ proffered a lame apology, absurdly alleging the Liberty was misidentified as an Egyptian ship, despite the fact theÂ Liberty wasÂ clearly marked and had displayed a 13 foot long American flag after initially flying a standard flag whichÂ had beenÂ shot down by Israeli Mirages.
Israel contended it was all just an unfortunate error.
Both the Israeli and US governments conducted investigations and concluded the attack was indeed a mistakeÂ caused byÂ Israeli “confusion” about the ship, which doesn’t make any sense.Â Â Â Survivors–those who Â had witnessed the attack firsthand–sworeÂ there was no confusion at all and that the attack was deliberate and that the Israelis had even strafed their ship and life rafts to help insure there were no survivors.
The inquiriesÂ essentially whitewashed the “incident” andÂ totally absolved Israel of any intentionality in the obviously-intentional attack which wasÂ may have beenÂ conducted in an effort to blame the Egyptians and perhaps induce the neutral United States to join Israel in the conflict.Â The Israelis had attempted but failed to sink the Liberty and murder all aboard but the powers-that-be evidently valued a dubious alliance far more than American lives.
Captain William L. McGonagle essentially concurred in his crewmens’ account and was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor–in a curiously secret ceremony.
(See the USS Liberty website here http://www.ussliberty.org/index2.html.)
In May 1968, Israel paid the families of the dead approximately $100,000 each; a year later, they paid the wounded about $20,000 each; thirteen years after the “incident,” Israel rejected American demands for over $17 million in compensation for the damage they inflicted on the Liberty and coughed up a meager $6 million–plus interest.
TheÂ gross irony of those blood-money payments is that they came out of the tens of millions America had given to the Israelis, from our taxes,Â over those years.
This blog has featured a number of articles relating to the mass murder on June 8th, 1967, articles inspired by a chance meeting almost nine years ago with Liberty survivor, Petty Officer 3rd Class Americo â€œRickâ€ Aimetti (Ret),Â who had been assigned to Damage Control on the Liberty when the attack occurred.
Aimetti confirmedÂ what reallyÂ happened that June day, including the repeated sorties, theÂ merciless strafing intended to kill all witnesses on the defenseless research vessel, and the politically-inspired disinterest by the US military.
On a personalÂ note, AmericanThinker.com, a conservative website on which I had regularly published commentary, angrily refused to publish any of myÂ reflections on the Liberty,Â a move they followed by permanently banning my posts.Â The basisÂ for American Thinker’s objections?Â I was accused ofÂ ”anti-Semitism” for disparagingly writing aboutÂ Israel’s lying and treachery.
As another AT commenter subsequently posted, “Gene Lalor put up a USS Liberty thread and it was quickly taken down.â€
No surprise there.
I wonderÂ whether, if the Canadian navy had deliberately, sneakily attacked and tried to sink a defenselessÂ American vessel and I had commented on that hypothetical outrage, would AmericanThinker.com have labeled me “anti-Canadian” and therefore commenter-non-grata?
Treachery that goes around eventually comes around.Â According to McClatchy.com,Â the Israeli military is currently furious over revelationsÂ the U.S. government publicized details of a top-secret Israeli military including specificationsÂ on the thickness of the walls at the facility making it more vulnerable to a sneak attack, much like Isreal’s sneak attack in 1967.
As the late-Secretary of State Dean Rusk wrote about the Liberty and Israel: “I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation. Their sustained attack to disable and sink Liberty precluded an assault by accident or some trigger-happy local commander. Through diplomatic channels we refused to accept their explanations. I didn’t believe them then, and I don’t believe them to this day. The attack was outrageous.”
I’m guessing that in the jaded eyes of American Thinker, Rusk must be regarded by AT as anti-SemiticÂ as I am.Â I’m also guessing, given the power of the Israeli Lobby in America and the sad reality that Israel is the closest thing to a trusted ally in the Mideast, that the truth of what happened to the USS Liberty forty-six years ago will never become public.Â Indeed, how many Americans still remember?Â Â Â Â