Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Remember the USS Liberty

Israel's attack last year on a convoy bringing humanitarian aid to Palestinians, and the formation of another convoy this spring, brings to mind another tragic event in recent history: Israel's attack on the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967.

The Liberty was a U.S. Navy intelligence ship that was suddenly and brutally attacked by the air and naval forces of Israel while sailing in international waters. Israeli reconnaissance aircraft identified the Liberty as a U.S. naval ship nine hours before the attack.

Sailing in international waters at less than 5 knots, with no offensive armament, the Liberty was not a military threat to anyone. In the attack, Israel dropped napalm on the Liberty, torpedoed it, and then, in violation of the Geneva Convention, machine-gunned U.S. sailors in life rafts as they fought for their lives. Israeli air and naval forces intended to inflict maximum damage and kill as many sailors as they could. What stymied their plans was the courage and heroism of the men on board. Cmdr. William McGonagle, captain of the USS Liberty, won the Medal of Honor for his heroism that fateful day.

Every survivor, as well as then-Secretary of State Dean Rusk, is certain Israel made a deliberate attack against the Liberty. Thirty-four Americans died and 173 were wounded that day. The ship, a $40 million state-of-the-art signals intelligence platform, was declared unsalvageable and sold for scrap.

Tragically, the U.S. government has not given in to the demand of survivors for an official inquiry. Survivors of the attack on the Liberty have been forbidden for 40 years to tell their story...[Full Article]

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