USS Liberty (I know, again): but new sworn testimony of cover up

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I have participated in a few Liberty threads. My major problem with “Israel did it on purpose” is “why”?

Adm. Moorer offers this theory:

This controversy is about as old as I am. This should qualify as one of the longest running debates of our times. But, is it a “great” debate?

The debate topic is “Is this debate topic great or not?” ???
We’ve come to that, have we?

Magic Eight Ball says: No.

Well, now that someone highly placed in the administration (old enough to not care anymore) thinks there was a big coverup, then maybe there was.

But, if Israel intentionally attacking a US warship and a massive coverup going to the highest levels of government isn’t interesting enough, why bother making smartass remarks?

Why would Israel want to bring the US into the war? By the time the attack on the USS Liberty was happening Israel was storming across the Sinai. They were not in any kind of losing scenario that would require US intervention to bail them out.

And if it was intentional, why did the IAF do such a half-assed job - strafing it with bullets instead of sinking it (with all hands) via rockets, and giving the crew a clear view of who was attacking them? I’d think that the airforce that just two days earlier destroyed all their enemies’ planes on the ground would do much more efficient work.

To me, a better question is: if the attack was not intentional (nothing in the story suggests one way or the other), why was there a cover up ordered by Lyndon Johnson and carried out by Robert McNamara – if there was?

I guess one could argue that they knew it was an accident, so they felt compelled to force a supposedly neutral commission to conclude that.

Every time I hear an argument like that one, I wonder: "How are you so sure it happened the way you think it did? Followup: (if there was a reason, and not just smoke-from-ass) “Why not present that evidence to the trier of fact?”

And I even know the answer I’d get to those questions from the government: “That’s classified.” “National security.” Or, if dealing with civilians: "Sorry, you’ll need to contact (another person that will not help you).

[q]why did the IAF do such a half-assed job [/q]?

Well, perhaps they knew that torpedo boats were on the way to finish the job. In fact the only reason the ship DIDN’T sink was that only one of the 5 torpedos fired hit the ship and luckily it struck a member, limiting the damage done. She certainly WOULD have sunk if not for the efforts of the crew.

Beagle why do you say that nothing suggests whether the attack was intentional? The fact that the attack was coordinated (air and surface units attacking), the ships markings and prominently displayed flag, and the fact that the Liberty in no way resembles the Egyptian horse carrier Israel claims to have mistaken her for all leave no doubt as to whether Israel is lying.

This article is a fairly accurate accounting of all of the attack’s circumstances.

If you haven’t already seen it, I suggest you also take a look at the survivors’ website at They have done a pretty thorough job of responding to published opinions that claim the attack was a mistake.

If you have any questions that aren’t addressed on the site I’d be happy to pass them on to Jim Ennes, who was the OOD at the time of the attack and also wrote Assault on the Liberty

Reflex. Remember, these were the people who brought you the Vietnem War. Lying to them was as simple as breathing - they decided what the truth was, and stuck to it with no moral or ethical considerations. The fact that in this case, what they decided was the truth was, in fact, the actual truth, was just a lucky coincidence.

Never underestimate a pathological liar. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

GWVet - you didn’t answer my question: why weren’t the planes equipt with missiles, rockets, bombs or torpedpes? Would the Israeli government give such an important mission - potentially starting a war with an ally - to pilots who had just returned from a sortie, after expending most of their ordnance? And why did they let the ship ID them?

You can impunge the IDF’s morals all you want. Don’t impunge their professionalism.

And an even more interesting question, if the enemy’s planes were all destroyed, how would they expect anyone to believe that those enemies attacked the Liberty? If the goal was to make the US think that the Egyptians had attacked, then an air attack would make no sense whatsoever.

Why not? They are the ones who said they mistook the Liberty for the Al Quseir. The only similarity between the two ships is that they each have masts on the fore and after parts of the ship. They are the ones who claim not to have seen an oversize US flag flying.

Their excuse impunges their own professionalism.

As to your question about how the planes were equipped…it makes no sense. The ship received damage from bullets, napalm, missiles and rockets (in addition to the torpedo hole from the MTBs). You are basing your question on a false premise - they did not simply “strafe with bullets”.

Your question also assumes that the theory for the reason behind the attack was that Israel was trying to start a war with the US is true…or at least that I subscribe to the theory. Not so.

As far as I am concerned, WHY the attack happened will only come out when Israel starts telling the truth about it. Frankly, I don’t think that that will ever happen. I don’t need to know WHY Israel attacked…the fact that they did is not in question. The only thing people seem to question is whether it was deliberate or a mistake. I don’t question that either…

Have any of you so persistently convinced of Israel’s nefarious wrong doing read the book that brought this guy out of his years of no comment, The Liberty Incident? Allegedly the most comprehensively researched book about this subject ever?

Even if, for some political agenda’s purposes, Johnson wanted to be sure that one conclusion was reached, that only says what the US did, not what Israel did.


You’re right. I should have said there is nothing new in this particular article about the events back then. This question is an interesting one for the very reasons you mentioned. Most of that has been available for 35 years. But, I agree, the case is compelling. That’s why my interest never totally wanes.

By the way, somehow this story escaped the conspiratorial news filter that keeps all Americans from seeing the truth. (If you don’t understand, I wasn’t speaking to you)

Yes, I’m totally sick of hearing about the Big Jewish Conspiracy. If you despoil my GD thread with it again, well, I may have to type angrily.

“Have any of you so persistently convinced of Israel’s nefarious wrong doing read the book that brought this guy out of his years of no comment, The Liberty Incident? Allegedly the most comprehensively researched book about this subject ever?”
I haven’t read the book but this article examines in detail the flaws in the book’s arguments:
It should be noted that Cristol has been for several years the leading proponent of the “mistake” school of thought. He is not a disinterested participant in this debate. Also he appears to dismiss the testimony of most of the crew-members as unreliable which doesn’t inspire much confidence in his sense of balance.

I think it was done on purpose, to show the world that Isreal was not a US Puppet. This it accomplished.

Hee Hee…, this is a case I find interesting because it seems like a classic bizarre conspiracy theory, and the little I know about the case just seems to raise more questions than it answers (I only heard about it recently, it doesn’t seem to be very well known in the UK, or maybe the Evil Conspiratorial News Filter is getting to me!)

I did think of asking about it here - (not realising it had already been done to death), but I thought it might be needlessly provocative, and that the “debate” would consist of everyone forming into two groups:-

“Israel is Eeevil - it must be true!”
“But no Israeli could ever do anything bad, obviously it’s false!”
“No, Israel is Eeevil - it must be true!”
“No, Israelis could never do anything bad, obviously it’s false!”
Etc - with increasing amounts of finger-pointing and name-calling from both sides.

Perhaps a great debate would be why is so difficult to have a great debate (even here) when the subject touches on Israel or the Palestinians. (Can’t just be those damn filters again can it)

It would be nice to find out what really happened though………

the OP asks if this is worthy of a Great debate

The answer is NO, because of one basic fact that everyone ignores:
It was a one-time incident that has had absolutely no long-term effect on anything.

Like the JFK assasination, we will never know all the details, what we do know is often contradictory, and we will never convince the conspiracy-theory supporters.

But one thing is for sure,of both JKF and the USS Liberty:
whatever happened then has never happened again.

In the immediate aftermath, it was critically important to know if JKF was killed by an organized group of plotters, because the world would need to know if that group would continue to kill again.But now, 40 years later, we know that there is no such danger. It is no longer important–it is merely a fascinating question of an unsolved curiosity.

The same is true of the USS Liberty. In 1967 it would have been critical to know if the Israeli airforce would continue to attack other US ships. But 40 years later we know that there is no such danger.
So, like an unsolved murder in a local police archive–it is fascinating, but ultimately irrelevant.

(And yes, I know that good men died, and their families want to know why. But good men die in all wars. The question today, 40 years later is whether it is important–ie. is it likely that more Americans will die in similar circumstances. And the answer is absolutely no.That is why I say it is irrelevant as a Great Debate. )–but still an interesting mystery.

“It was a one-time incident that has had absolutely no long-term effect on anything.”
If in fact the US government did cover-up a deliberate Israeli attack I would say that did have a long-term effect on the relations between the two countries. Not that a full-blown scandal would have benefited either government but it certainly would have had an effect.

I don't think the comparison between the JFK assasination is apt. The evidence that the official explanation is faulty in this case appears much stronger. There are many senior American former officials like Admiral Moorer who believe the attack was deliberate.

There are those who believe the USS Liberty was attacked because its crew was listening to Israeli army communications relating to a massacre of Egyptian POWs.

Other cites can be found by googling “USS Liberty” Egyptian POWs.