Twenty-seven years ago, on June 8, 1967, war planes of Israel, "our only reliable ally in the Middle East," attacked USS Liberty in international waters killing 34 sailors and injuring 171 others.
Once again, (see ) Edith Parker, in spite of all the evidence available, maintained in her Sep. 30 letter that the "incident was a tragic mistake." Once again she preferred to believe the Israeli version. She quoted the Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara saying that "the attack was unintentional."
How can that be when the attack took place after nine hours of close surveillance. According to retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. James Ennes who was on the bridge of USS Libertyon the day of the attack, "the Israeli pilots circled the ship throughout the day at low level 13 times on eight different occasions before attacking." To suggest that those pilots who usually conduct "surgical" strikes could not identify Liberty with its US flag and distinctive satellite dish antenna is ridiculous. As Adm. Thomas H. Moorer, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, put it in a White House ceremony on June 8, 1991 in honor of the survivors: "Anybody who could not identify the Liberty could not tell the difference between the White House and the Washington Monument."
If the attack was a "mistake" and "unintentional" why is it that Walwarth Barbour, then US Ambassador to Israel, reported in a declassified cable on file in the LBJ library that Israel did not intend to admit to the incident and urged "strongly that we too avoid publicity?" Why did the Congress and the Navy never investigate the incident? Why did the pro-Israeli groups consider as an insult to Israel the name of USS Liberty Memorial Public Library, built in Grafton, Wis., in memory to the 34 American dead sailors?
October 12, 1994