For many years I have wanted to believe that the attack on the Liberty was pure error. It appears to me that it was not a pure case of mistaken identity. I think it's about time that the State of Israel and the United States Government provide the crew members of the Liberty, and the rest of the American people, the facts of what happened, why it came about that the Liberty was attacked 30 years ago today.&emdash; Captain William L. McGonagle, Commanding Officer, USS Liberty, speaking at Arlington National Cemetery, June 8, 1997
Carefully consider the words of Jim Ennes when he says:
We knew that - from the daily news that - the Arab Israeli situation was getting more and more hostile. That so far there was no war, but it looked to anybody who read the newspapers that there would soon be a war.Was that the press reporting the story, or was that the press creating the story? Was it the press being used by others to create the story?
The decks above were being shredded. Attempts to send an SOS message failed. The Liberty's frequencies were being jammed.
You'd have to know what frequencies we were going to come up on. Um, to know that you'd have to know we were an American ship. If you knew we were an American ship, you knew what frequencies we were going to be on because you knew what the fleet frequencies were. Dhu! Hello!
They took out all of our transmitting antennas and shortly thereafter deposited napalm on the deck. It appeared to me it was the intent of the attacker to take out all communications and keep all people off deck so they couldn't reestablish any sort of antennas or communication system. If it was an accident it was the best planned accident I've ever heard of. The only reason we got the SOS out was because my crazy troops were climbing the antennas stringing long wires while they were being shot at.
Udi Erell (Israeli Navy):
The torpedo is simply dropped into the water. You lose sight of it for a minute, and then you see the wake. It was going straight for the ship and we were sure our torpedo was the one that hit.
What wasn't supposed to happen
The liberty was now paralyzed. Her power and steering control lost, but her desperate SOS message had been picked up by the American 6th Fleet.
Condition November meant that nuclear-armed A-4 bombers were to be used. Incredibly, the US was about to launch a nuclear strike against Egypt; the Liberty's presumed attacker.
What kind of Navy would do this?
"...I saw one of the Israeli torpedo boats methodically machinegunning one of the life-rafts..."
That is not merely a war crime. That is a violation of a code of honor that transcends national loyalties or supranational agreements. This was an act of piracy on the high seas of the worst kind.