The Israeli attack on the USS Liberty is one of those ugly historical facts that are too big to sweep under the rug. It was definitely not a mistake; Israel was trying to sink the ship and its crew. We still don’t know why Israel staged the attack. From Ray McGovern at antiwar.com:
The murder of journalist Shereen Abu Akleh on May 11, 2022 is, sadly, not the first time Israeli forces have killed American citizens and gotten away with it.
The Israeli bulldozer that ran over – and then backed up over – 23 year-old Rachel Corrie to ensure her back was broken on March 16, 2003 is another sad example.
Today, we call to mind the most egregious example 55 years ago (June 8, 1967), when Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats attacked the USS Liberty in international waters, killing 34 and wounding more than 170 (total crew was 294). At the height of the attack, Seaman Terry Halbardier jerry-rigged an antenna so an SOS could be sent. The Israelis heard the SOS and broke off the attack.
That Israeli forces attacked the ship is not in dispute. Former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Thomas Moorer helped form an independent commission to investigate the attack on the USS Liberty. After an exhaustive review of previous reports, naval and other military records, including eyewitness testimony from survivors, in October 2003 it presented its findings to Capitol Hill. They include:
- Israeli reconnaissance aircraft closely studied the Liberty during an eight-hour period prior to the attack, one flying within 200 feet of the ship.
- Weather reports confirm the day was clear with unlimited visibility.
- The Liberty was a clearly marked American ship in international waters, flying an American flag and carrying large U.S. Navy hull letters and numbers on its bow.