Sunday, October 05, 2008

Why Israel Had to Whack the USS Liberty

All night and day in the hours leading up to the first day of the Six Day War, Moshe Dayan was in continual contact with executive offices in the White House of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Of chief concern to the Israeli defense minister was that the United States should keep him briefed as to the positions of all, and that meant ALL naval traffic in the eastern Mediterranean, international waters or otherwise; this in order to avoid the least possibility of exactly what happened to the incognito spy ship, USS Liberty.

The U.S. complied with this request only to a limited extent, this being due to a massive failure of understanding, or which is the more likely, a bull-headed lack of respect for Israel's critical position, one which demanded in the emergency, a war-time agreement for disclosure between allies, the neglect of which, in terms of the consequences for the USS Liberty, can be viewed by History only at so many fathoms of depth beneath contempt as to be completely out of sonar range.

At first, Dayan had made it plain that since the US, along with all Europe, had opted (in fear of the USSR-UAR alliance) to do nothing about the Egyptian naval blockade in the Gulf of Aqaba; about Egyptian expulsion of UN forces from Sinai; the movement of Syrian, Iraqi, Jordanian and Egyptian tanks, artillery and troops toward Israel's borders; therefore, because the US and Europe would not stand with Israel against this aggression, there was no reason at all, for US naval forces to be in place anywhere near the coasts of Israel--and that meant NONE whatever.

It was not in honor of Israel's critical position, that President Johnson ordered the Sixth Fleet drawn back a hundred miles and more from the theatre of potential conflict. It was done strictly to avoid any appearance in sight of the Soviets that America had even the least intention to honor any form of commitment to her ally, Israel.

Dayan put 'Israel's friend' LBJ on notice that any foreign ship in waters off the coast of Israel and Sinai would be regarded as a threat and an obstacle to Israel's unencumbered mobility in those waters--and because there was nothing to prevent UAR nations, or the USSR from disguising a ship for one of American or European registry, then minus 100% disclosure, there was no way for Israel to gain full assurance as to what the nature of any craft might actually be. Israel had to know the identity and coordinates of any US ship not pulled back with the Fleet, lest that ship should stand as a target, pure, plain and simple.

From Wiki . . .

"The IDF, in its History Report about the attack, says it asked the United States to inform them of any U.S. ships in the area but was not told of the Liberty's presence.[3](p.22) The IDF air and naval forces, respectively, misidentified the Liberty as an unknown destroyer and the Egyptian cargo ship El Quseir.[3](p.15)"

As the US had by this refusal of disclosure failed to stand out of the way of the logistical mobility Israel had to have, the Liberty disaster became inevitable. And it happened only because LBJ, in his tragic pride-bound way, was refusing to face the dynamic of what his timidity before the Soviets had come to; a greater threat, so to hobble an Israeli defense against a sure-fire Second Holocaust, burgeoning belly up to her borders and coasts. For Israel, there would be, in short, NO time for any complications: nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of an unfettered defense--no damned ambiguities of uncertainty and doubt would be tolerated, pure, plain and simple.

From Rabin's Memoirs . . .

"According to Israeli Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin’s memoirs, there were standing orders to attack any unidentified vessel near the shore. The day fighting began, Israel had asked that American ships be removed from its coast or that it be notified of the precise location of U.S. vessels. The Sixth Fleet was moved because President Johnson feared being drawn into a confrontation with the Soviet Union. He also ordered that no aircraft be sent near Sinai."
By brunt of critical necessity, Israel was forced to treat that ship for the thorn in the side to her defense that it was, and blew the bull-headed, disrespectful son of a bitch out of the water--sad as that is to say.

And that is the true story of Israel v. LBJ and a pitiful fate for the pride of the USS Liberty.
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