This dramatic retelling of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty is my last post for the next 12 to 18 hours since I’m still in the process of getting things moved, as per the pinned site announcement at the top of the homepage. I’ll also be able to read and respond to comments when the task at hand is finished.
For my sign off post before getting back to work, I decided to leave everyone with some material about Israel that draws into question why so many conservatives claim Israel is America’s friend.
‘But Sir, It’s an American Ship.’ ‘Never Mind, Hit Her!’ When Israel Attacked USS Liberty
‘The Americans have findings that show our pilots were aware the ship was American,’ a newly published document by the State Archives says
Amid the jubilee celebrations for the Six-Day War, the tragic story of the American spy ship USS Liberty – which was bombed by an Israeli fighter jet and torpedo boats on June 8, 1967 in the eastern Mediterranean – was somewhat overlooked. Thirty-four American sailors were killed in the Israeli attack and many others were wounded.
Israel apologized and paid compensation to the victims’ families. Israeli and American commissions of inquiry found that the attack was a mistake. But naturally, as often happens in such events, to this day there are some who believe Israel attacked the ship with malicious intent.
A conspiracy? Healthy suspicion? Call it what you will. A new book published in May in the United States (its authors include several survivors of the attack) promises that “the truth is being told as never before and the real story revealed.” The 302 pages of “Remember the Liberty!: Almost Sunk by Treason on the High Seas” include quite a number of documents, testimonies, arguments and information that were gathered in the subsequent 50 years.
The authors’ bottom line is that then-U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson was behind the attack, in an attempt to blame then-Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser – an excuse that would then enable the United States to join the Six-Day War.
The book includes, among other things, a CIA document from November 1967 that is still partially censored. In the document, which is also on the official CIA website, an anonymous source is quoted as saying: “They said that [then-Israeli Defense Minister Moshe] Dayan personally ordered the attack on the ship, and that one of his generals adamantly opposed the action and said, ‘This is pure murder.’” There is no dispute about the authenticity of the document, but clearly not every sentence written in an intelligence document is the unvarnished truth.
On the other hand, the new book quotes a story reported by former U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dwight Porter, who recounted a conversation between an Israeli pilot and the Israel Air Force war room, which was allegedly picked up by an NSA aircraft and inadvertently cabled to CIA offices around the world:
Israeli pilot to IDF war room: This is an American ship. Do you still want us to attack?
IDF war room to Israeli pilot: Yes, follow orders.
Israeli pilot to IDF war room: But sir, it’s an American ship – I can see the flag!
IDF war room to Israeli pilot: Never mind; hit it.