July 1, 2007

Every year on July Fourth, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day, we Americans reflect on our shared history, honor the men and women who have served, and remember those who have died for our country.  This July Fourth, Americans needn't recall distant memories of sacrifices made by our troops; the names and faces of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan appear nightly on the evening news.

It's hard enough to watch as American servicemen fight and die in Iraq, in a war which would not have occurred were it not for the Israel Lobby.  It's harder still to accept the deaths of those killed at Israeli hands, as happened in 1967, when unmarked Israeli jets and torpedo boats struck the USS Liberty, killing 34 American servicemen and wounding 173.  Israel has always claimed the attacks were accidental, but all evidence points to a deliberate assault.

Beyond the immediate loss of American life, this anonymous attack was almost certainly done to trick the U.S. into counter-attacking Israel's nemesis, Egypt.  With Egypt as the presumed attacker, America launched nuclear-armed aircraft to bomb Cairo in response, and recalled them only minutes before striking.

Friendly helicopter landing on deck of battle-scarred USS Liberty
Help arriving after attack on the Liberty

America has never been at war with Israel.  America has overwhelmingly supported  Israel.  Yet, on June 8, 1967, The USS Liberty was attacked first by Israeli war planes, and then twenty minutes later by Israeli torpedo boats.  While the backdrop of this attack was the confusion of the Six Day War and Israel claims the Liberty was misidentified as the Egyptian vessel El Quseir, it's significant that:

  • The Israelis jammed the ship's transmissions on American, not Egyptian frequencies (watch video below)
  • The USS Liberty's hull bore markings in English, not in Arabic script (video)
  • The Liberty was more than twice as large as El Quseir (video)
  • Various Israeli pilots had identified the ship as the Liberty several times before the attack (video)
  • While lightly armed, the Liberty did not return fire during the first attack, and only fired fearing a second attack (video)

Quotes from high-ranking American officials/commanders:

  • "...the board of inquiry (concluded) that the Israelis knew exactly what they were doing in attacking the Liberty." - Former CIA Director Richard Helms
  • "I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation. . . . 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 " - Former US Secretary of State Dean Rusk
  • "I can tell you for an absolute certainty (from intercepted communications) that the Israelis knew they were attacking an American ship." - NSA Deputy Director Oliver Kirby
  • That the attack was deliberate "just wasn't a disputed issue" within the National Security Agency - Former NSA Director General William Odom
  • "It appears to me that it was not a pure case of mistaken identity." - Captain William McGonagle, Commanding Officer, USS Liberty

Please pay some small tribute to the U.S. servicemen killed in the attack by watching the fascinating 2002 BBC documentary Dead in the Water (embedded above; link below) with first-hand accounts from USS Liberty survivors and interviews with high-ranking American and Israeli officials.  You will likely never see this documentary or anything close to it on American television.  If the above video doesn't play or you'd like to see a large-format version, please search Google Video for "USS Liberty" or simply use this link: USS Liberty Dead in the Water video

Below are some still photos of the damage done to Liberty by Israeli rockets, cannon fire, napalm, and the torpedo that ultimately disabled her, killing 25 of her crew in a single explosion.