Friday, October 05, 2007

"But Sir, It's An American Ship -- I Can See The Flag!"

New details about Israel's deliberate attack on the USS Liberty (via Daniel Larison).

24 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course it's anti-semitic to even bring this up.

10/05/2007 10:05 AM  
Blogger wendyo said...

I hadn't heard of this particular incident before, and after reading the article twice, I still have not seen a specific mention of "why" this happened...what was the motivation? Was it simply war paranoia or that the US was in the area to broker some kind of compromise? I don't get why this happened, though all the subsequent cover-up certainly isn't surprising.

10/05/2007 11:31 AM  
Blogger Gringo_Malo said...

The word ally, which appears repeatedly in the Trib story, must have been redefined. I would have assumed that a country that attacks our naval ships and kills American sailors would not be an ally. Strangely, we've continued to provide huge sums in annual aid to Israel. Of course, it's anti-Semitic to mention that, too. Mea culpa.

10/05/2007 11:44 AM  
Anonymous The Pale Scot said...

Should have nuked Tel Aviv in response

10/05/2007 11:54 AM  
Anonymous The Pale Scot said...

During the Cold War, everybody knew each other's surveillance ships, they were the ones covered from bow to stern with massive radio antennae, going around in circles for days if not weeks at end. The IAF pilots would have had to be blind. The idea that the Liberty could have been misidentified is fantasy. Whatever the real reason was, Israel decided that the deaths of American sailors were worth the avoidance of some diplomatic inconvenience; the attacks went on for HOURS.

10/05/2007 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and let's not forget the guys under investigation for funneling US state secrets to AIPAC over the past couple of years. With "friends" like this....

10/05/2007 1:20 PM  
Anonymous RW said...

Well that didn't take long: The notion that "Israel decided" to sink the Liberty or that top Israeli leadership ordered the attack to avoid some "diplomatic inconvenience" is asshat speculation and the assertion that the appropriate US response would have been to nuke Tel Aviv is right off the human map into unknown crank genomic territory.

It seems clear from the available evidence that this was not a spontaneous attack nor was it likely a FUBAR episode: Someone in Israel's military chain of command ordered it, knew (or quickly discovered) it was an American target, and none-the-less appeared to want that target sunk w/ 100% casualties (possibly to facilitate deniability later?).

In the absence of evidence regarding mass psychosis among Israeli leadership, any argument attempting to demonstrate the attack was indeed planned at the highest levels of Israeli government in spite of the incredible risks to Israel as a nation must provide evidence commensurate to that extraordinary conclusion. AFAIK no such evidence exists and the audience is free to judge the degree of bias and/or stupidity exhibited by anyone who attempts the task in its absence.

So we are left with a purposeful attack and a rather desperate attempt to cover it up. Is there any rational explanation for this? Was there some faction in Israel with sufficient military control to do this regardless of what leadership may have wanted? What possible purpose could have been served?

And was the cover-up an example of realpolitik due to the desire to make Israel a client state to counter Soviet clients in the region or was something else going on? Certainly the "domino theory" was alive and well in those days (e.g., Vietnam) and the level of US support given Israel after the war was far greater than the level provided before.

10/05/2007 1:59 PM  
Anonymous llyonnoc said...

There is something wrong in America.

How can we lose so many American lives without Congress being interested in investigating what happened? Its leadership must be in great fear of something.

LBJ, our president, who wore a Silver Star pin on his lapel believing he earned it for sitting in a plane as a passenger that came close to being attacked by the Japanese, was also cowered. What was he in fear of?

The captain of the Liberty received a Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism during the attack. Unlike almost all recipients of that medal, he had to get his, not from the president or secretary of defense, but from the Chief of Naval Operations. McNamara the man of a steel mind now alleges a memory lapse about the incident.
What was ans is McNamara so afraid of?

What is it out there that can intimidate the president of the United States, his secretary of defense, the Pentagon, and Congress?

So the question is not why would Israel attack the Liberty, the real question is why were so many powerful people and institutions afraid to look for the answers.

10/05/2007 5:35 PM  
Anonymous RW said...

Brad DeLong has some posts on John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt's new book, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," that are worth serious reading (see http://tinyurl.com/2hrkbk and http://tinyurl.com/ypvwbt for e.g.).

The misleadingly short summary is that distortions of America's foreign policy in the Middle East are real and must be corrected but it is not necessary to correct them by abandoning an ally even though Israel has done things that an ally shouldn't.

For all the verbiage spent on this problem and the fog of bigotry from various quarters obscuring the sky what it seems to mean is that a first order solution can be stated with surprising simplicity: Israel must cease to be an occupier ...and so must we.

10/05/2007 7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most telling item in the whole article was . . .

"McNamara retorted that "President [Lyndon] Johnson is not going to go to war or embarrass an American ally over a few sailors." "

How many variations on that theme could one come up with?

Bush and his cronies are not going to lose that oil over a few thousand soldiers (or a million Iraqis).

Congress is not going to buck these free trade lobbyists over a few million workers.

The government is not going to report true inflation numbers over a few million COLA retirees.

10/05/2007 7:43 PM  
Blogger Forty_Two said...

All human interests are ultimately...self interests.

10/06/2007 4:20 AM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

The article hints that one motive might be that the Israelis did not want the US listening in on its military manuevers. Israel had promised not to expand the war...and they were making plans at the time to do just that. I personally don't believe that one. I believe the Israelis were going to blame it on the Egyptians. As the Mossad motto states...by deceit thou shalt do war. Nothing like the sinking of an American ship to drum up hatred in the American public for the Arabs...and sympathy for the Israelis. So there are two plausable motives. Everybody knows how the Nazis used the reichstag fire. Everybody knows how our politicians have used 9/11 to pursue our elites interests...Is it to far a jump to think that political leaders might actually try and orchestrate such an event?
Is that really such a big leap?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavon_Affair

ummmm...probably not huh?
As far as rw saying we are not allowed to draw any conclusions because nobody knows for sure...blah blah blah...Well maybe if our own political leaders decided to defend their own country and back their own soldiers (who risk their lives for the polticians power and prestige) than we wouldn't have to draw our own conclusions. We are left with no alternative in this case so I do not think it is wrong to speculate. What are we supposed to do when our government refuses to discuss investigations with us openly. We are left in the dark. Nobody has explained the Israeli spies that might have had knowledge of the attacks. They were deported in secret hearings. All we know is they were captured because they were celebrating the collapse of the trade center towers. With friends like this...

Fox news Carl Cameron did a 4 part series about the Israeli spies captured celebrating the burning wreckage of the twin towers in New Jersey. Cameron stated that...

"There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9-11 attacks, but investigators suspect that the Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are – quote – 'tie-ins.' But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, – quote – 'evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It's classified information.'"

10/06/2007 1:59 PM  
Anonymous RW said...

"As far as rw saying we are not allowed to draw any conclusions because nobody knows for sure ..."

If you can show where I actually said something that stupid I'll be more than glad to take it back.

While you are conducting your search the audience of course can continue to draw its own conclusions regarding those who make extraordinary claims with less than extraordinary evidence.

10/06/2007 5:06 PM  
Blogger Carl said...

I'm confused now. Usually the Cunning Linguist speaks the truth, and I'd consider the Chicago Tribute a reputable source too. On the other hand, there's a fairly solid refutation here:

http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/critiques/Return_of_the_USS_Liberty.asp

Frankly, I find the idea of a major screwup more plausible than that of Israel purposely attacking their #1 ally. On the other hand, the motive of getting the USA mad at the Egyptians is at least a possibility...

Can anybody contribute more information that will help clarify this, one way or another?

10/06/2007 8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think rw displays excellent sense here. His heaping of salt onto some very questionable posts is entirely appropriate.

I'd like to salt the honestreporting.com site.
Mission Statement: http://www.honestreporting.com/a/page.asp?page=4 "As an organization dedicated to defending Israel against prejudice in the Media, we aim to provide educational tools and resources to anyone wishing to advocate for Israel."

I'm sure that's the best place to look for unbiased and straightforward historical detail.

10/06/2007 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, the Isrealis knew that they could get away with it, big time.

Either they can get us to believe the Egyptians did it, or if that did not work so they lie like they usually do.

THEY KNEW THAT IN THE END NOTHING WOULD HAPPEN TO THEM.

The aid and money and military equipment would continue to flow like it aways does.

I think if they would nuke an american city, nothing would happen. They OWN US lock, stock and barrel, and ALWAYS WILL.

Just look at the joke of a middle east policy that we have.

If the palestinians would do to the isrealis, what the isrealis are doing to the palestinians do you really, really think we would pursue the same course of action?

The peace process is a huge joke and the joke is on the palestinians who believe that they will ever get the isreals to treat them as fellow human beings.

There will be peace when the isrealis will have managed to kill or elimate with prejudice ALL of them, and given enough time they will happily be able to do that with our whole hearted support.

10/07/2007 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the Mossad motto states...by deceit thou shalt do war. Nothing like the sinking of an American ship to drum up hatred in the American public for the Arabs...and sympathy for the Israelis. So there are two plausable motives. Everybody knows how the Nazis used the reichstag fire. Everybody knows how our politicians have used 9/11 to pursue our elites interests...Is it to far a jump to think that political leaders might actually try and orchestrate such an event?

I'm very, very dubious about the state of Israel in general and our relationship to it in particular, but if Tel Aviv was really trying to pull off the scheme you're talking about, wouldn't they at least take the time to paint over the roundels on the aircraft?
-- sglover

10/07/2007 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...trying to pull off the scheme you're talking about, wouldn't they at least take the time to paint over the roundels on the aircraft?"

You miss the point. Why bother, we will accept every lie they tell us, swallow it and come back with more money and arms for them.

There is ABSOLULTLY NOTHING they can do to us that will shut the pipline of american tax money to isreal.
So they killed 30 american sailors. No big deal, Isreal is more important than some stupid sailors who got themself killed. And what happend?

NOTHING.

They can more easily get our tax dollars than the poor in New Orleans after the hurricane!!!

10/07/2007 11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You miss the point. Why bother, we will accept every lie they tell us, swallow it and come back with more money and arms for them.

There is ABSOLULTLY NOTHING they can do to us that will shut the pipline of american tax money to isreal.


This episode happened in 1967, a very different political reality than now. In those days, France was almost as much Israel's benefactor as the U.S. The Six Day War never would have been the lopsided victory it was if Mirages and Etendards hadn't destroyed the Arab air forces on the ground. I don't believe AIPAC even existed (it certainly didn't go by that name, since PAC's were born a couple of decades later).
-- sglover

10/08/2007 4:17 AM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

But why no investigation by our government? Why deport these Isareli spies back to Israel in closed secret precedings? What is the big secret? Any comments on the Lavon Affair? Any comments on the origins of Hezzbolah (they didn't exist before 1982). Any comments on the creation of Hamas...how they were helped out in the beginning to draw support away from the PLO...Israel has an incredible history of doing stupid things...Mossad does not deserve the reputation they have.

As I said before...with friends like these...

http://www.counterpunch.org/mcgovern10062007.html
Here Ray suggests some other theories.

Why the Israelis decided to take the draconian measure of sinking a ship of the U.S. Navy is open to speculation. One view is that the Israelis did not want the U.S. to find out they were massing troops to seize the Golan Heights from Syria, and wanted to deprive the U.S. of the opportunity to argue against such a move. Another theory: James Bamford, in "Body of Secrets," adduces evidence, including reporting from an Israeli journalist eyewitness and an Israeli military historian, of wholesale killing of Egyptian prisoners of war at the coastal town of El Arish in the Sinai. The Liberty was patrolling directly opposite El Arish in international waters but within easy range to pick up intelligence on what was going on there. And the Israelis were well aware.

http://www.ussliberty.org/reese.htm

John F. Kennedy and the Politics of Arms Sales to Israel
By Abraham Ben-Zvi

Building on his previous work, Decade of Transition: Eisenhower, Kennedy, and the Origins of the American-Israeli Alliance (1998), Abraham Ben-Zvi has crafted an informative case study of the Kennedy administration's decision to sell Hawk missiles to Israel in August 1962. Ben-Zvi contests the arguments of other scholars who date to 1967 the U.S. decision to forge a strategic alliance with Israel. While conceding that the Six-Day War solidified Washington's and Tel Aviv's relationship

Have you read the baltimore sun article? Do you really think it was an accident still?

10/08/2007 8:10 AM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

I can't say I know why the Israelis did what they did. Since everybody else wants to give them a free pass I am just going to go to the opposite extreme and assume the worst. What I find particulary insulting is that our elite view military men and their personal play toys. To dispose of and use as they see fit. If somebody ever wants to put together a hanging party and head to DC...I'm in.

10/08/2007 3:13 PM  
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