McCain Should Explain About Liberty Killings
- McCain Should Explain About Liberty Killings
By RAY HANANIA
October 17, 2008
If Barak Obama's association with 1960s radical William Ayers is a
critical issue in this campaign, then Sen. John McCain's role in
protecting the actions of his father in the deaths of 34 American
sailors is an issue, too.
While most Americans know all about the Ayers controversy, few know
that McCain's father, Navy Admiral John McCain Jr., was involved in
the cover-up of the Israeli assault on the U.S.S. Liberty on June 8,
On that day, Israeli fighter jets, torpedo boats and helicopter
assault ships killed 34 sailors and wounded 174 others during the
McCain and pro-Israel activists insist the attack was an "accident."
But eyewitnesses on the ship, American veterans in uniform who went
into the Mediterranean Sea as champions of Israel, insist Israel
wanted to sink the ship to force the United States to join the war
against Egypt, then a Soviet client.
Phillip Tourney was a young officer on the Liberty working in the
security and communications room. In an interview on Radio
Chicagoland on WJJG last week, which is online at
RadioChicagoland.com, Tourney described what really happened.
"The Israeli Air Force had been flying around us for seven hours.
They knew exactly who we were," Tourney said. "The Israeli planes
left and a dozen unmarked planes returned and began firing on us."
Tourney said the planes put more than 800 holes in the ship, dropped
napalm and strafed the ship with gunfire, killing 10 sailors.
"We were waving an American flag from the deck that was 7 by 13 feet
in size. They knew we were American and they shot at the soldiers
carrying the flag," Tourney said.
The Liberty sent an SOS to Capt. Joseph Tully, the commander of the
U.S.S. Saratoga, which was a part of the 6th Fleet. Tully's order to
help was reversed by 6th Fleet Rear Admiral Lawrence Geiss. Geiss
received his orders not to protect the Liberty directly from Admiral
Five clearly marked Israeli torpedo boats returned and one of the
torpedoes hit the ship and immediately killed 24 young men.
That means 24 American soldiers died after McCain intervened and
prevented the 6th Fleet from responding to help the besieged American
As the attack intensified, the Israelis sent several assault
helicopters filled with assault soldiers to finish the job.
"They planned to come on board and kill every one of our men. They
wanted to wipe us out," Tourney said. "If they would have sunk our
ship and killed all our men, everyone would have thought the ship had
been sunk by the Egyptians and the United States would have attacked
Egypt. I believe the Israelis wanted to drag the United States into
The Israeli strike force only withdrew when it became clear that
Israel had been identified as the attacking force, not Egypt.
Several books by Liberty survivors were written documenting these
events. But Admiral McCain's son, Senator John McCain, decided a few
years ago to endorse a book written by a pro-Israeli activist who
insisted the attack was a "mistake."
If Obama must answer to his friendship with Ayers, doesn't McCain
have an obligation to explain his father's role in the deaths of 34
Doesn't Senator McCain have an obligation to explain his subsequent
actions to protect his father's name, rather than stand up for the
dignity of our soldiers?
We need a real, open investigation. The survivors and the families of
those who died deserve it.
(Ray Hanania can be reached at rayhanania @ comcast.net.
Nader Presses McCain on Liberty Attack:
October 31, 2008
Adding to his usual criticisms of the "corporate candidates" from the
two major parties, independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader
yesterday introduced a wrinkle, calling on John McCain to come clean
about Israel's 1967 attack on the USS Liberty.
"He doesn't like to have his character impugned. I'm challenging his
character on this point," Nader said in a news conference at the
McCain was not involved in the incident, which killed 34 American
sailors amid the Six-Day War between Israel and several Arab nations.
Israel said the attack was a case of mistaken identity, and McCain's
father, Adm. John S. McCain Jr., approved an investigation that
determined the incident was a mistake.
Nader is among those who think the report was a cover-up. He's
dragging McCain into it because the senator wrote a positive note on
a 2002 book, The Liberty Incident, that also concluded the attack was
"He has been asked again and again by these Sailors and their
families to come clean," Nader said. "Instead, he endorses a
propaganda book that says it was accidental. That reflects on his
The McCain campaign declined to respond
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