"Governor Perry, I am one of the Americans waiting in Athens for the Freedom Flotilla to get underway in our effort to deliver humanitarian supplies to the people of Gaza. I was also on the Flotilla last year and was aboard the USS Liberty when the ship was attacked by Israel on June 8, 1967. A few years ago at my request you issued a proclamation honoring the crew of the USS Liberty.
As Sidney O. Smith has mentioned several times there has been an echoing, stony silence on the part of Senator Jim Webb on the subject of the deliberate Israeli attack on USS Liberty in 1967. He surely knows the truth. Now that he is leaving public life we should expect hear from him on this subject. pl
The USS Liberty was a former merchant ship stationed at Norfolk, Virginia. Its sister ship, soon to become another infamous tragedy, was the USS Pueblo. Israel had begun to plan for war against a truculent Egypt and bellicose Syria early in 1967. On May 14, Soviet intelligence warned Cairo and Damascus that Israel was planning to invade them on May 17 using 13 brigades.
This report was a Russian fabrication given to Egyptian leader Nasser by the KGB in Cairo as a means of making him more dependent on Moscow. Egypt had signed defense pacts with Jordan and Baghdad. Jordan was a “friend” of America, its leader King Hussein was being paid $7 million per year by the CIA for “security,” according to a former CIA official. America wanted to keep that “friend” in the region.
"It is ironic that the Israeli Defense forces attacked a flotilla of relief ships bound from Europe to Gaza in international waters in a manner all too similar to its assault against the USS Liberty also in international waters on June 8 forty-three years ago. It is even more tragic and a national disgrace that in the immediate aftermath of Memorial Day there is scant remembrance of the 34 crew members comprising naval officers, seamen, two marines and a civilian who were killed in the attack along with the 171 crew members who were wounded. While the official inquiries by both nations found the attack to be a case of mistaken identity of the Liberty, to this day there is a long record of distinguished officers and journalists who take strong exception to this view believing that the attack was deliberate. Indeed the attack on the Liberty is the only maritime incident in U.S. history where our military forces were killed that was never investigated by the Congress." Ebinger
America's criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace. Its irregularities and inequities cut against the notion that we are a society founded on fundamental fairness.
Excellent words from the good senator.And if Senator Webb from Virginia truly wants to expose “irregularities and inequities” that cut against our notion of “fundamental fairness”,then he need go no further than the Record of Proceedings of the Navy Court of Inquiry (NCOI) into the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967.
Two days after the attack, on June 10, Admiral John S. McCain, Jr, then the Commander-in-Chief,US Naval Forces, Europe, headquartered in London, England appointed this Navy Court of Inquiry, with Admiral Isaac Kidd presiding and Captain Ward Boston, JAGC, USN, as the senior legal counsel.And at the initial convening of the Court in London, Admiral McCain then ordered that it conduct and complete the proceedings in one week -- an abbreviated time that Rear Admiral Merlin Staring later described as“patently unusual and unreasonable”.
Yes, one week.As anyone familiar with our criminal justice system can tell you -- and certainly Senator Webb would agree -- you cannot adequately investigate a barroom brawl in Mobile, Alabama in one week, much less a repeated and coordinatedmilitary attack that took place at sea and left 34 men slaughtered, at least 171 wounded, and an essentially unarmed spy ship dead in the (international) water.
First an admission.“Elijah” has always ranked very, very high on my list of favorite names.Unlike Freud and according to tradition, Elijah reconciles father with son and mother with daughter.And as some unique Americans, the Satmar Rabbis, will tell you, the appearance of Elijah portends very good things to come, much like watching the sun breaking through and then rising above the ocean on a beautiful early morning.
So Elijah comes across as the anti-Freud and let’s face it, at least a few of the intelligentsia, among others, tend to view as a guru Sigmund and his (perhaps misunderstood) mantra of you too can think like an angry 4 year-old all your life. And while I am not graced with either theological virtues or insights, much less the life that such would entail, I am inclined to prefer Elijah and his approach to that of Freud.
"One day something will happen. You will take a side."Graham Greene, The Quiet American
The Vietnam War again.Can we ever get over those times?But when it comes to Senator James Webb of Virginia, the Vietnam War is the only place to start.Putting aside beliefs about whether or not the war was justified, absolutely no one on this planet can deny that Senator Webb, like few others, displayed genuine heroism while serving in Vietnam.As a platoon leader in the United States Marine Corps,Jim Webb earned so many medals that, taken collectively,they speak volumes about the two words he later used to sum up his life and title his book,Born Fighting.A Navy Cross, a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts.
For those of us in the civilian world, the following words from the citation for his Navy Cross give us a glimpse into his sacrifice on the battlefield.Just visualize the following in slow motion:
“Observing the grenade land dangerously close to his companion, First Lieutenant Webb simultaneously fired his weapon at the enemy, pushed the Marine away from the grenade, and shielded him from the explosion with his own body. Although sustaining painful fragmentation wounds from the explosion, he managed to throw a grenade into the aperture and completely destroy the remaining bunker. By his courage, aggressive leadership, and selfless devotion to duty, First Lieutenant Webb upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.”
And uphold such traditions, he has continued to do. To put in civilian words, when things get tough, Senator Webb will not sell out but will stand tall, even for the little guy.Simply to illustrate the point: as an attorney after his military service, he represented veterans pro bono.And nothing he has done to date as a US Senator, at least one so hopes, indicates he is the type who would walk out on you simply because you are not on the A-list with the Georgetown martini circuit or even dare I say, Castlerock Productions.
Sailors do not get enough credit for accepting their share of danger in the Republic's service.
The recent discussion on the site of the USS Liberty Incident broght to mind the sinking of PR-5, USS Panay on 12 December, 1937 near Nanking, China.
I have always been interested in the fate of this 19 knot gunboat because my uncle was in the ship's company as Chief Quartermaster.
I discussed "The Sand Pebbles" with him in 1969. He said it rang true except for the political "load" that Hollywood had imparted to the film. He said that, in fact, the US had been openly supportive of the Kuomintang throughout this period.