Friday, August 18, 2006

The 'USS Liberty': Case Closed

The 'USS Liberty': Case Closed

The claim that Israel's attack on the Liberty was premeditated has also appeared persistently in the press. In 1992, nationally syndicated columnists Roland Evans and Robert Novak dedicated a column, "Twenty-Five Years of Cover-Up,"8 to this charge. Similar accusations have been aired on television programs such as ABC's 20/20 and Geraldo Rivera's Now It Can Be Told.9 The claim is particularly widespread on the Internet, where a search for the "USS Liberty" yields dozens of sites, from those of Arab propagandists (Birzeit.edu, Salam.org, Palestine Forever) and anti-Semitic hate mongers (The Tangled Web, Jew Watch) to the award-winning USS Liberty Homepage, posted by Ennes and other veterans. But while the tenor of these pages may differ - the veterans abjure any anti-Semitism, stressing that several of their crewmates were Jewish - their conclusions are indistinguishable: Israel wantonly attacked the Liberty with the intention of killing every man on board, and then thwarted attempts to investigate the crime.10

Refuting this accusation was difficult if not impossible in the past, when the official records on the Liberty were designated top-secret and closed to the general public. With the recent declassification of these documents in the United States and Israel, however, researchers have gained access to a wealth of primary sources - Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and U.S. military records, Israeli diplomatic correspondence, and memoranda from both the State Department and the White House. With the aid of these materials, the attack on the Liberty can now be reconstructed virtually minute-by-minute and with remarkable detail. The picture that emerges is not one of crime at all, nor even of criminal negligence, but of a string of failed communications, human errors, unfortunate coincidences and equipment failures on both the American and Israeli sides - the kind of tragic, senseless mistake that is all too common in the thick of war.

This is a fascinating analysis of the mistakes made that led to this attack. Refutes claims that Israel purposely attacked this American ship.

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