Saturday, June 9, 2007
Forty Years Later
By WARD BOSTON
"Forty years ago this week, I was asked to investigate the heaviest attack on an American ship since World War II. As senior legal counsel to the Navy Court of Inquiry it was my job to help uncover the truth regarding Israel's June 8th 1967 bombing of the USS Liberty.
On that sunny, clear day 40 years ago, Israel's combined air and naval forces attacked our American intelligence-gathering ship for two hours, inflicting 70 percent casualties. Thirty four American sailors died and 172 were injured. The USS Liberty remained afloat only by the crew's heroic efforts.
Israel claimed it was an accident. Yet I know from personal conversations with the late Admiral Isaac C. Kidd -- president of the Court of Inquiry -- that President Johnson and Secretary of Defense McNamara ordered him to conclude that the attack was a case of "mistaken identity".
The ensuing cover-up has haunted us for forty years. What does it imply for our national security, not to mention our ability to honestly broker peace in the Middle East, when we cannot question Israel's actions even when they kill Americans?......
I join the survivors in their call for an honest inquiry. Why is there no room to question Israel even when they kill Americans -- in the halls of Congress?
Let the survivors testify. Let me testify. Let former intelligence officers testify that they received real-time Hebrew translations of Israeli commanders instructing their pilots to sink "the American ship".
Surely uncovering the truth about what happened to American servicemen in a bloody attack is more important than protecting Israel. And surely forty years is long enough to wait."