President Lyndon Johnson and World War III? I’m not exactly sure when I first heard of the Liberty incident of 1967. The story was certainly a dramatic one, the attack upon an almost defenseless American intelligence ship by Israel’s air and naval forces late in the Six Day War fought against several Arab states. Over 200 American servicemen were killed or wounded by Israeli machine-guns, rockets, napalm, and torpedoes, representing our greatest naval loss of life since World War II. Only tremendous luck and the heroic actions of the sailors prevented the Liberty from being sunk with all hands lost. The Israeli government quickly claimed that the attack had been accidental, a consequence of mistaken identification and the fog of war, but none of the survivors ever believed that story, nor did many of America’s top political and military leaders, notably Secretary of State Dean Rusk, CIA Director Richard Helms, and numerous top officers, including a later Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
by Ron Unz
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