(For background on this subject, please see my three previous articles, “The Shame of the USS Liberty,” http://www.genelalor.com/blog1/?p=718, “The USS Liberty and Jewish Consternation,” http://www.genelalor.com/blog1/?p=719, and “The USS Liberty: Information and Disinformation,” http://www.genelalor.com/blog1/?p=720. Publication of the present article was delayed in deference to the celebration of the Jewish festival of Channukah and due to the recent war in Gaza.)
No other single issue about the attack of June 8, 1967 on the USS Liberty by Israeli air and naval forces provokes more interest, incites more controversy, and arouses more ire than the most fundamental question: Why did it happen?
Interrelated are many other questions–too many other questions. Those would include but are far from limited to these:
Why was the Congressional Medal of Honor, well earned by the courageous captain of the ship, William McGonagle, not bestowed on him by the President of the United States in the White House, as per long established tradition? (http://www.ussliberty.org/latimes.htm) Instead, it was awarded to this American hero in a Washington Navy Yard by the Secretary of the Navy.
Why did Dean Rusk, Richard Helms, Oliver Kirby, Clark Clifford, Adlai Stevenson, William Odom, and countless others disbelieve the Israelis and denounce the ensuing whitewash of the murder of 34 American seamen? http://www.ussliberty.org/index2.html.
The facts are incontrovertible: The attack occurred in broad daylight in international waters and without provocation, Israel ultimately admitted responsibility and paid reparations, and the assault left 34 dead and 174 injured and maimed Liberty crewmen and officers.
The mainstream media would prefer that the whole subject of the USS Liberty be buried along with the Liberty dead. I will leave the reasons for that to the reader’s determination. After all, this happened over forty one years ago so let’s just let it rest. Right? It’s ancient history, they say.
As per usual, that same liberal media has its own, unarticulated agenda and that agenda coincides with that of the Israeli Lobby in America, which is another term that stokes anger among certain elements in our society, chiefly among the Israeli Lobby in America.
They might as well say, Get over 9/11.
America could forget 9/11, to the detriment of both our souls and our national security. To the shame of the American people, many have already forgetten that day. Illustrative is this item about a University of Arizona Halloween party concerning students disgracefully scoffing at what happened on September 11th, 2001: http://maroonedinmarin.blogspot.com/2008/11/forgetting-911-disrespecting-victims.html.
If the 9/11 attacks could so soon become the source of humor, what should we expect for a expect of a forty-five year old tragedy?
Certain issues, especially when they involve deadly sneak attacks which effect massive damage and claim many innocent lives should never be ridiculed–or buried, dismissed, forgotten unless and until they are fully resolved, the responsible parties are found, prosecuted and convicted, and the survivors are at peace. Even then, to forget is to demean the victims.
So, too, with the USS Liberty “incident” which has never been resolved. The guilty have never served a day in prison and the survivors and their families will never be at rest until that resolution.
The only differences between September 11th, 2001 and June 8th, 1967 are differences of scale and consequences; the scale is obvious, the consequences less so. 9/11 was avenged, to a degree, the latter has not been.
Perhaps the worst insult of all to the memories of those who died and those who survived on the Liberty is that their country, our country, may never seek redress because of the influence of that same Israel Lobby.
As can be seen in my previous articles, there is a concerted and blatant effort in some quarters not only to inter the story of the USS Liberty but to ignore or change the factual evidence as to how and why the attack took place. The most common retort to raising the issue is a lame and misleading resort to inflammatory charges of anti-Semitism in lieu of any attempt at refutation.
Worse, that intrigue extends not only to individuals and groups which refuse to accept the truth, but also to our government officials who, for various reasons prefer a revisionist approach to historical truth.
At Gettysburg in 1863, Lincoln resolved “that these dead shall not have died in vain,” a hope that should in all conscience also be accorded the victims on the USS Liberty. Is that overly dramatic? I think not.
The Admiral Moorer Commission Report, which unassailably placed both blame and intent on Israel, http://www.gtr5.com/evidence/moorer.htm, was previously cited in this series.
That extensive report and investigation documents the deliberate nature of the attack and the coordinated, unprecedented cover-up by the American government “due to the influence of Israel’s powerful supporters in the United States. . . . [and] due to continuing pressure by the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, this attack remains the only serious naval incident that has never been thoroughly investigated by Congress. . . . to this day no surviving crewmember has been permitted to officially and publicly testify about the attack.”
That alone is a terrible charge, a chilling indictment of America’s military and civilian leadership. The terrible truth inherent in that allegation is even more damning.
In the midst of the assault on the Liberty, to its credit, rescue efforts were launched by the Sixth Fleet. To America’s discredit, those fighter jets were recalled and that is the greatest shame on our nation and on the United States Navy. Our navy, under orders from the highest echelons, including the White House, was forced to abandon a beseiged American navy vessel.
As the Moorer Commission ruefully concluded, ”Never before in American naval history has a rescue mission been cancelled when an American ship was under attack.”
If the Moorer Commission were the sole dissenting body, a lone voice in the wilderness appealing for justice for the Liberty and not just for monetary recompense, it could and should be dismissed an instance of a renegade group of malcontents. However, the Moorer Commission is more akin to that relatively small hunk of ice that sank the Titanic. Beneath the icy waters of the Atlantic lay the hidden and treacherous glacier which would doom that unsinkable ship.
Likewise, there are hidden and treacherous facts and proofs which sink the proposition that Israel’s murderous attack on the USS Liberty was an accident and was merely ”a mistake.”
It was fully intentional and its purpose was to sink our ship and kill everyone on it.
Substantiating the findings of the Moorer Commission and the most incriminating evidence of Israel’s true intent, despite its protestations to the contrary, are the words of onboard survivors and the recollections of officers and men associated with the Sixth Fleet.
LCDR James M. Ennis, Jr. (USN Ret) provided an extended taped interview in which he spoke of the deliberateness of the attack as well as of the Israeli penchant for describing its many atrocities as “accidents.” Ennis elaborated on his firm belief that the deadly assault on the Liberty was designed by Israel to cover all its bases as it prepared a sneak attack on the Golan Heights. Israel resorted to a heinous effort to destroy the communications capabilities of the USS Liberty rather than risk an “ally’s” betrayal of its battle plans.
That “ally” to this day continues to blindly support Israel.
It was only after the Israelis failed to sink the Liberty, which effort was immediately followed by that the obfuscation began. However, a wealth of subsequent testimony by survivors as well as by men of the Sixth Fleet clearly established the truth. As seen in those sworn statements, those survivors not only suffered the harrowing experience of being strafed, bombed, and torpedoed by Israel but they were then muzzled and threatened by their own leaders.
CTSNR James Kavangah testified that he was ordered never “to speak of the attack to anyone,” Crewman Richard Weaver was warned that if he ever told by a senior naval official that if he ever discussed what he witnessed he “would be put in prison and we will lose the key,” Crewman Richard Sturman was advised they were “not to embarrass the State of Israel for attacking the USS Liberty.”
There are some 20 additional oral and written statements attesting to similar post-attack experiences listed here: http://www.gtr5.com/witnesses.htm.
In the heat of battle, and a battle did occur on June 8th, 1967, mistakes can be made. However, this extremely one-sided battle pitting Israeli helicopter gunships and subs against an unarmed, flagged, and marked American vessel, was truly depraved. The Liberty’s crew could only fight back with small arms and the oft-cited fog of war excuse for victims of the military’s euphemistic “friendly fire” is inapplicable.
There have been many other reliable and authenticated reports on what really occurred in the waters 50 miles off Sinai but none more authoritative than this: http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0693/9306019.htm
The Liberty attack was ordered by Moshe Dayan even after he was advised, “This is murder,” http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair06082007.html, to conceal plans to break the cease fire and seize the Golan Heights from Egypt or to make it appear that Egypt was responsible.
Fifteen years after what then-Secretary of State Dean Rusk called a “wanton attack,” an Israeli pilot approached Liberty survivors and held extensive interviews with former Congressman Paul N. (Pete) McCloskey about his role. According to this senior Israeli lead pilot, he recognized the Liberty as American immediately, so informed his headquarters, and was told to ignore the American flag and continue his attack. He refused to do so and returned to base, where he was arrested: http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0693/9306019.htm.
The circumstances surrounding that June day in 1967 are clear and unmitigable but nothing is more insulting to those who died and to those who lived through the assault on the USS Liberty as the facts that, to this day, the truth of an undeniable war crime has been covered up. I suspect that, as long as the Israel Lobby has any say in the matter, that truth will never be officially admitted.
For a more thorough examination of that infamous day in 1967, the reader is referred to the USS Liberty Memorial, http://www.gtr5.com/.For further information on a war crimes suit filed against Israel, see: http://www.nogw.com/download/2005_ussliberty_warcrimes.pdf. For an article which demonstrates that articles on the Liberty are among the most censored stories ever published, see: http://www.ussliberty.org/censored.htm. To view a 30 minute video of a first-hand account of the attack, see: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5667467454090399102. For an examination of how and why the Liberty’s logs were altered to support America’s official account of what really happened, see: http://www.ussliberty.org/lib-logs.htm.