Commentary: "We will not embarrass an ally"
Dear Gene Thomas,
The Liberty survivors have been fighting the two-government cover-up
about the attack for 39 years now but it is still in place. Most
people never heard of the attack and it is a shame. Our foreign
policy might have been a lot different had the truth been known
John Gidusko, LT, USN, (Ret) Former Liberty crewman (not a survivor)
In light of the current fighting taking place today in the Middle
East, can you imagine how angry the American people would become if
they learned the truth about the attack on USS LIBERTY? While this
tragic incident coveredup by the US and Israeli governments
occurred 39 years ago, it took the US and Russian governments 50
years to admit to the truth about the Katyn Wood massacre. The
question is, "How long will the US and Israel continue to perpetuate
this lie?" How long will the Secretary of Defense and Congress
ignore appeals from leaders like Rear Admirals Merlin H. Starling
and Clarence A. Hill who continue to appeal for truth and justice on
behalf of the Liberty crew?
In 1943, German soldiers discovered a mass grave in the Katyn forest
near Smolensk in western Russia. The grave held the bodies of some
4,500 Polish army officers who were gagged, bound, shot once in the
head and buried on the spot in the spring of 1940. The Germans
publicized the grave and accused the Soviets of the massacre. Moscow
denied the charge and claimed the Germans were attempting to cover
up their own atrocity.
Despite evidence that the Kremlin was indeed behind the massacre,
the United States chose to look the other way. President Roosevelt
opposed a call by the Polish government-in-exile for an
investigation by the International Red Cross into the incident.
Following the war, at the Nuremberg war crime tribunals, the issue
of Katyn was originally included on the list of crimes attributed to
the Nazis. But it was later dropped, apparently out of concern that
any revelations about the massacre would "embarrass" the Soviets.
It wasn't until 1990 that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev
admitted Soviet involvement in the Katyn forest massacre. Two years
later, the Russian government handed over to Polish President Lech
Walesa previously secret documents showing that Soviet leader Joseph
Stalin had directly ordered the killing of the Polish army officers.
Just as Presidents Roosevelt and Truman did not want to embarrass
the Russians who were our allies during World War II, so too did
President Lyndon Johnson respond to the Israeli attack on the
Liberty by saying, "We will not embarrass an ally."
When I was growing up in the 50s, I was taught to pity the Russian
people for being deprived of the truth by their media even though
one of their major publications was "Pravda" (the Russian word
for "truth"). Do our governmental officials always tell the truth
even under oath at the risk of committing perjury? Do our own US
newspapers and websites always publicize the truth about various
news events? One of the Liberty survivors sent me a video about the
attack and subsequent cover-up entitled, "Dead in the Water." While
the video has been broadcast in over 50 countries and four languages
(English, French, Russian and German), why is it that not one US
network or cable outlet has allowed it to be aired?
While Liberty survivors wrote letters this past week to the Fleet
Reserve Association (FRA) and other organizations, websites and
newspapers thanking them for publishing last week's article
("Liberty Betrayed"), they would be very saddened to learn how many
US media sources chose not to run it. Those who fought and died for
our country from Revolutionary War times to the present have so done
so with the belief that they were defending a free and just
society "with liberty and justice for all." The ongoing media
blackout and the governmental cover-up of the truth involving the
Liberty betrays those "who more than self their country loved, and
mercy more than life."