Should active duty sailors be concerned that no U.S. military salute is given to those killed on the USS Liberty?
As a retired U.S. Army Reserve Colonel, with 29 years in the U.S. Army and Reserves, I know that virtually without exception, the U.S. military services provide honor guards, fly-overs and other salutes to members of their service who have been killed in action.
The US Sixth Fleet is made up of 40 ships, 175 aircraft and 21,000 people in the Mediterranean.
No doubt many sailors on those 40 ships and others of the 21,000 personnel assigned to the Sixth Fleet command will be horrified to know of the decision of their senior leaders that no active duty sailor would attend the memorial service for 34 of their fellow sailors killed and 174 wounded 44 years ago and that their command would not come to the aid of an American sailor who had sailed 8,000 miles to honor their own.
Of course, the exception to these time-honored traditions relates to Israel and the decisions of American political leaders of both parties beginning with Lyndon Johnson's whitewash of the 1967 Israeli attack and continuing through the Obama administration's refusal to investigate the execution murder by Israeli commandos of American citizen Furkan Dogan on the 2010 Gaza flotilla.
Cracks in Total U.S. Support for Israel-Gates calls Israel "an Ungrateful Ally"
However, cracks in the
monolithic U.S. government support for Israel are appearing.
Recently retired U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, in a meeting of
the National Security Council Principals Committee held shortly before his
retirement a month ago, told President Obama that Israeli Prime Minister
Netanyahu is "not only ungrateful, but also endangering his country by refusing
to grapple with Israel's growing isolation and with the demographic challenges
it faces if it keeps control of the West Bank."
Gates reminded Obama that the U.S. had guaranteed Israel's security through access to top-quality weapons, assistance developing missile-defense systems and high-level intelligence sharing. Gates stated bluntly that the U.S. has received nothing in return, particularly with regard to the peace process.
Earlier, in January, 2010,
General Petraeus, now director of the CIA, sent a team to tell Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel and that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing
in the region.
Vice-President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"This is starting to get dangerous for us. ...What you're doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan."
According to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth:
"The vice president told his Israeli hosts that since many people in the Muslim world perceived a connection between Israel's actions and US policy, any decision about construction that undermines Palestinian rights in East Jerusalem could have an impact on the personal safety of American troops fighting against Islamic terrorism."
The actions of Larry Toenjes and the S/V Liberty are helping to expose the U.S. government's silence on the actions of America's "Ungrateful Ally" -- Israel! Thank you Larry!
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