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, 1967.
On that day, Israeli fighter jets, torpedo boats and helicopter assault ships killed 34 sailors and wounded 174 others during the Arab-Israeli war.
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 McCain.
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 soldiers.
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 war.”
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 American soldiers?
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.