When I published the article, “The Shame of the USS Liberty,” http://www.genelalor.com/blog1/?p=718, I never anticipated such a ruckus over its contents. I felt it was a one-shot deal, just a pertinent reminder of what many still firmly believe was a miscarriage of military and political justice.
The reactions have served as assurances that the subject is well worth a retrospective commemoration, at the minimum or, preferably, an exhaustive re-investigation. A topic which arouses such indignation, such emotional and vituperative indignation devoid of substantive argument or rebuttal, lends strong credibility to the thesis that something is very rancid, as well as shameful, in the whole matter of the Liberty.
Methinks the naysayers doth protest far too much.
To relegate the memory of the USS Liberty to nothing more than a regrettable blip in America’s history would be the equivalent of forgetting Pan Am Flight 103 which was blown out of the night sky over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988. Simply because Libya finally admitted its responsibility in that terrorist atrocity and has now paid reparations doesn’t mitigate the horror of that attack nor does it relieve the burden of Libyan guilt.
So, too, with the Liberty and Israel, which indemnified the victims with some $7 million dollars. Unlike Libya, however, Israel has never admitted any guilt even though its official denials of intent and design have been refuted by multiple survivors and witnesses.
Baseless charges of anti-Semitism have been lodged because I have dared to criticize Israel, (as well as my own government), for Israel’s unprovoked attack. Almost as repulsive have been suggestions that I am a supporter of President-elect Obama since I expressed the sarcastic hope that he would re-open the matter of the Liberty.
Israel is an autonymous, democratic state. It is not a theocracy and to offer valid critiques of that state and its actions represents no more an attack on the Judaic religion than, for example, criticizing the actions of the Canadian government would indicate a disdain for the Canadian people.
Likewise, criticizing the Jewish Lobby in America and finding fault with its inordinate influence and power does not constitute an exercise in hatred of Judaism any more than disdain for lobbyists for Big Oil would imply contempt for gasoline.
As far as I am concerned, allegations of anti-Semitism arising from a discussion of the Liberty, or of the Jewish lobby, is a misleading and dead issue.
Less dead are reasonable questions as to why I choose to revisit rumors, allegations and facts relating to the events of June 8th, 1967 at this time–or at anytime.
The chief reason would be that the vast bulk of available information on the Liberty does not involve mere rumor and the case has never been closed. Indeed, it was never adequately investigated.
Contrary to the sounds and furies which have arisen and critics’ claims that I had ulterior purposes in writing about the Liberty, I simply feel that to forget what happened in 1967 would be to dishonor the thirty four innocent men who died and the 174 who were injured, many seriously injured.
Any more than Israel would want the world to forget the horror of the Holocaust, I refuse to let America forget the horror of the USS Liberty. And, before I am accused of equating the two, I should say that I am not so equating, by any measure, but the Liberty also demands remembrance and for the same reason–that it will never be allowed to happen again.
There have been official inquiries, including a U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry, which failed to address the most significant questions surrounding the Israeli attack on an unarmed reconnaisance vessel of an ally. As a result, that and other inquiries cannot even be termed inconclusive. More precisely, they were more akin to an official fraud perpetrated on the American public.
Also contrary to the opinion of those who have heard of that attack, there has never been a congressional hearing on the “incident.” That canard was invented and has been perpetuated by one Ahron Jay Cristol who has staged a virtual campaign of disinformation and outright lies about the Liberty: Please see http://www.ussliberty.org/thebiglie.htm and http://www.wrmea.com/archives/May-June_2007/0705026.html .
I find it both peculiar and mystifying that the American government did not see fit to investigate the actions of Israel and the inactions of our military and civilian leaders concerning such a massacre. I would hope that some day that neglect would be rectified, before all the principal “actors” in that assault–the victims and their murderers–pass on to their rewards and punishments.
It almost seems that official disinformation has been the order of the day for more than four decades. A definitive examination of what many refer to as the only known cover-up in American military history may be found here: http://www.gtr5.com/about.htm. That heavily annotated summary is based on a formal War Crimes Report filed with the Secretary of Defense as compiled and published by a Liberty survivor, James M. Ennis, Jr.
Other documentation, extensive documentation, exists, including National Security Agency reports on oral history interviews, recordings, United States Air Force, Navy, and USS Liberty messages transmitted before, during, and after the attack: http://www.nsa.gov/liberty/.
Incredibly, despite the details and implications in those interviews, recordings, etc., America still stands mute when it comes to assigning blame and demanding an abject apology and full expiation for a reputed ally’s attack on an American naval vessel.
America and the rest of the world today stands horrified at the mutual destruction occurring in Gaza as the terrorist forces of Hamas continue to hurl rockets into Israel and Israel responds with merciless retaliatory bombings and prepares for a full scale ground invasion.
As the only democracy in the region, Israel deserves our unconditional support. In turn, that backing should be reciprocated by Israel’s detailed admission of responsibility for its actions on June 8th, 1967.
NEXT: Why did Israel attack the USS Liberty?