Did the israelis know that they where attacking a us ship and if they did why would the U.S. help them cover it up?
I was reading an encyclopedia of espionage the other day and it seemed to believe that the attack on the Liberty was deliberate. It cites the fact that visibility was excellent, the ship was quite unlike any Egyptian ship and had a prominently displayed American flag. IIRC it also mentions that prominent American government officials like Dean Rusk have stated that it was deliberate.
As to why the US government covered it up (if that’s what they did) I don’t know. It could be domestic political pressure, realpolitik or a combination of the two.
Why would Israel want to attack a U.S. ship, especially during the Six Day’s War? It sure wouldn’t (and didn’t) make anything easier.
Besides, give us more credit. If we’d really wanted to sink that ship, it would have gone down with all hands and you’d be sure to this day that the Egyptians did it.
I believe one explanation given is that the Israelis didn’t want the US to monitor what was going on in the war at that moment including massacres of Egyptian prisoners. This is the argument of James Bamford in his book “Body of Secrets”
CyberPundit: Michael Oren (Israeli Historian on the 6th Day War) debunked Bamford’s claims about a massacre. The article is in The New Republic dated 27/03/2001 (no web links as the www.tnr.com is subscriber only). In it Oren shows that Bamford took a lot of quotes out of context and had he actually interviewed the people who’s quotes he used (which Oren did) he would have found a different story. Another good Michael Oren article on the attack explaining quite a bit can be found here
Its surprisingly easy to hit your own allies, particularly from the air.
" Israeli attack on USS Liberty 6-8-67
Did the israelis know that they where attacking a us ship and if they did why would the U.S. help them cover it up?"
Interesting question for 1967 jimbarryusa, just curious, why did you bring it up now?
Don;t see a cover up. We all know it happened. As to why…
Well, if you’ve been paying attention, you would have seen that there have been a horribly high number of “friendly fire” casualties in the Gulf right now. Even though the targets have been very clearly marked as friendly forces and even though information gathering and command and control is enormously better than 1967 technology allowed.
So which is easier to believe – terrible accident in the fog of war or a deliberate attack on a friendly nation’s vessel?
But if you pay attention to what the survivors said, they shot out the lifeboats, they clearly saw the Stars and Stripes, and the ship’s name was clearly visible.
It was a fuck up, and I’m not saying Israel is evil. However, I do believe they knew what they were doing. Now, I do not believe, necessarily, that they did this with the government’s say so.
(Probably like, oh, say Kent State, or the Lusitania.)
Bamford discusses some of the points that Oren makes here in a response to a review which references Oren’s TNR article. It should be noted that Oren is a former Israeli army veteran and worked for the Rabin government and as such is hardly a neutral scholar.
The fact that he worked for Rabin means he’s left-wing, and the fact that he’s an IDF veteran means absolutely nothing, besides the fact that he’s an Israeli.
Guin - how could the sailors know what the pilots saw? And why should an American flag mean an American ship? After all, even Egyptians can sew.
Besides, no one answered my question - why didn’t they finish the job? I’d think that most deliberate murderers prefer not to leave witnesses.
“The fact that he worked for Rabin means he’s left-wing…”
But the Israeli government in 1967 was left-wing and Rabin was the chief of staff at that time. Israeli governments of all parities obviously support the official Israeli story and Oren is someone likely to be sympathetic to that version.
“Besides, no one answered my question - why didn’t they finish the job?”
Why didn’t they finish the job under the official story where they claim they thought the ship was Egyptian?
Apart from that there could be other reasons;perhaps the initial order was given by someone lower in the chain of command and was later overuled by someone higher in the government. .
Because if you think you’re sinking an enemy ship, you don’t worry about witnesses - all you need to do is put it out of commission. And someone low down in the chan of command wouldn’t know that it was an American ship, would he?
Anyway, flags are a crappy way to identify yourself in battle. Anyone can make a flag. The Israelis should have ben told that the ship was there ahead of time, by the CIA.
“Because if you think you’re sinking an enemy ship, you don’t worry about witnesses - all you need to do is put it out of commission”
But the surest way of making an enemy ship useless is sinking it, right? And why let enemy sailors off to fight another day.?
“And someone low down in the chan of command wouldn’t know that it was an American ship, would he?”
I didn’t say “low” but “lower”. It could be anyone lower than the cabinet.
“Anyway, flags are a crappy way to identify yourself in battle”
The USS Liberty is quite a lot bigger and different-looking from the Egyptian ship that the Israelis claimed to mistake it for. It’s not as if the flag is the only thing that distinguised it.
A friend told me about it a few days ago and I never heard the story before so I looked into it and could not make up my mind if the Israelis knew it was a US ship or not.I just thought to get some other peoples point of view
BTW here is an excellent article on the affair published in the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence:
It makes a powerful case that the attack was deliberate:
For instance about the difference between the Liberty and the Egyptian ship El Quseir:
“The Israelis initially claimed they had “mistaken” the
Liberty for the Egyptian ship El Quseir. But the El Quseir was
only 40 percent the size of Liberty (4000 vs. 10,400 tons). The
El Quseir was an old, rusted-out horse transport that bore about
as much resemblance to the Liberty as a rusty VW does to a new
Cadillac. The Liberty was arrayed with numerous specialized
antennas, and an ultra-modern (for 1967) 16-foot microwave dish,
a device possessed by no other ship in the world except her
sister ship Belmont. She bore standard U.S. Navy markings, which
included a freshly painted 10-foot-high hull number, and Libertyon the stern.”
Check out the friendly fire incident referenced in this thread:
It’s amazingly similar except that it’s a US plane and British troops. But they had big flags on their vehicles and the plane came back and made a second pass even though they were waving it off. And this was * last week *.
Why (except that it’s a good chance to slag the Israelis) would one imagine a conspiracy when there is plentiful evidence that this kind of incident often happens in a shooting war when there are lapses in communication and someone is insufficiently careful and fucks up?
Believing that this was a conspiracy requires believing in a ridiculous amount of coordination among the participants. If the flag was clearly visible, * some * member of the Israeli boat crews or planes would have seen it and protested or tried to cancel the attack unless they were * all [/] explicitly ordered to attack a US vessel. If so, that would be a hard secret to keep – one of these witnesses would likely have stepped forward sometime in the intervening years.