Remember the Liberty: Almost Sunk by Treason on the High Seas
(Image by Trineday Publishers/Phil Nelson) Permission Details DMCA
-- Give us Liberty, or Give us Death --
With the anniversary of the enormously consequential 1967 Six-Day War (SDW) between Israel and the Arab states (Egypt, Syria, Jordan) upon us, Phil Nelson's book, Remember the Liberty!: Almost Sunk by Treason on the High Seas, is a timely and welcome addition to the literature of that event and the key people involved, and for that matter, the era. Although on its face about the deliberate attack by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) during that conflict on the U.S. naval 'sig-int' ship the USS Liberty, with the loss of 34 lives and over 170 casualties, it's much, much more than that.
Along with showcasing one of the most disgraceful episodes in U.S. military history -- to say little of the self-serving, hypocritical and callous manner in which the political and military establishment treats its service personnel -- "Remember the Liberty!" presents us an opportunity to place into broader, more urgent relief, the history of America's increasingly dangerous -- some might say existentially so -- relationship with Israel, in addition to probing the role of both nations in past events and those unfolding as we speak in and across the Greater Middle East.
His new book moreover, crucially invites us to reexamine the virtually unexplored, indeed, wilfully neglected rol
We're talking here the then president of the U.S., Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ), he of the Gulf of Tonkin fame. As the author reveals, had things gone the way as LBJ had planned, it almost certainly would've triggered the most cataclysmic consequences of all for humanity. Suffice to say that to the extent there might've been anyone around to write about it, by way of comparison, the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis would've ended up a mere footnote in history.
On all counts then, Nelson's book provides us ample context and perspective within which to contemplate all of this and more. The truly astonishing story in this new book then is about one of the most explosive and hidden secrets in U.S. history -- one that has never been previously told in such a transformative way. It is made all the more explosive because it involves Israel, the 'no-fly-zone' of critical political commentary.
Based on all available evidence, this is the most authentic, complete, up to date -- and it has to be said, disturbing -- account of the Liberty tragedy and its subsequent cover-up; the war in which it took place and that war's own hidden backstory; and the real perpetrators behind both of these, along with revelations about their motivations and intrigues. No matter what you read elsewhere, I can pretty much guarantee you're not getting the 'full monty'. For those looking to write about the Liberty going forward, they'd be well advised not to put pen to paper without it. Regardless of whether such folks are in the mainstream or alternative media camps, they'll just look like they've not done their homework! (Either by omission or commission, from what I've seen thus far, the "full monty" even now is not being exposed, with many leading 'by-lines' in both camps putting their names to incomplete if not even misleading narratives.)
"Remember the Liberty!" explores how a sitting U.S. president collaborated with Israeli leaders in the fomentation of what became known as the Six-Day War between them and their Arab neighbors. The so-called "spontaneous war" had been planned for months -- possibly even as early as two years before -- to be a war that would ensure a victory for Israel; the weakening of her enemies in neighboring Arab nations; and the acquisition of additional territories for Israel. These were all incentives to create 'buy-in' from Israeli leaders to this diabolical quid pro quo between them and LBJ, which might not otherwise have been forthcoming.
But the man known as "Landslide Lyndon" had his own ulterior motives in facilitating the Six-Day War: For the estimable LBJ, his highest priority was always about the ruthless accumulation of power, and in this case, it was about holding onto said power by ensuring his re-election the following year. Upset by his loss of popularity generally and with Jewish voters in particular, he wanted to give Israel as much covert -- and ultimately, had the plan succeeded, overt -- support as possible in the plan to engage their neighbors in that war, including the creation of a pretext to join them in attacking Egypt.
After the botched plan was implemented, the ship refused to sink even after being hit by a torpedo (more on this shortly), leading the attack to be abandoned and a massive cover-up set in motion, which included serious threats to the crewmembers to "keep their lips sealed." As ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern put it in the book's Foreword, those orders "put steroids to the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) suffered by many of the survivors." That cover-up is still in place (barely), but now completely exposed. Indeed, we can now say with some certainty it's the worst best-kept secret in the history of the U.S.-Israeli relationship.