Republishing this one 3 years later. Now it is 49 years of treason and lies, so I changed the headline. The rest of the post is below.
1. It’s hard to believe that it has been 46 years since I first heard the news that the USS LIBERTY had been attacked. 46 years. 46 years of treason and lies.
And look where we are now after all those years. A shell of a country. At least one in six Americans lives at or below the poverty line. But we have more wars than ever and no end in sight.
The image of that piece of shit, John McCain, snuggling up to terrorists in Syria this past week says it all. He and the entire government care much more about terrorists in Syria than about you. Much more. But I digress.
This post is about the USS LIBERTY.
I have restored a number of my previous commemorative posts about the LIBERTY and you can find them on the left side of this page under “Recent Entries”. I also link to them here, here, here and here. Lots of information in there if you are new to the issue.
I want to call your attention to a remarkable story I heard the other day narrated by Ray McGovern. You can hear McGovern tell that story by clicking here and going to the 16:28 mark of the interview Ray did with Scott Horton. A great USS LIBERTY story, wish I had been at the scene Ray describes when it happened. Ray also puts the LIBERTY massacre in proper context.
I also want to take a moment to talk about the Captain of the LIBERTY, William Loren McGonagle.
He was the son of a share cropper, a man who earned everything he got. A man who after performing acts of quiet heroism having watched many of his men blown to bits, others die slowly and horribly while help did not arrive, and almost all of the rest of his men wounded – including himself – after all this, he sat down in Malta and wrote to the families of each and every man onboard his ship who was murdered on June 8th, 1967 by Israel. A leader who actually cared about his men. He stood out then, but after 46 years of treason and lies – and of useless, stupid and evil wars – he stands out even more.
McGonagle did not cozy up to terrorists, he fought them. And he won.
Of course, the US government then, as now, was ashamed of Captain McGonagle. Cowering before its master, the government didn’t want anything to do with a hero who guided his broken, battered and bloodied ship to safety using the North Star.
When he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism in the face of an implacable enemy the US government was afraid to have him come in the front door to accept the award. Instead he was smuggled in through the back door, as if his open presence would shame the sterling reputations of those who had actually contemplated letting his ship sink forever into the Mediterranean.
The back door of the White House? Nope. Normally the medal is presented at the White House, but this time it was presented in the dump known as the Naval Yard. Quite the insult. Oh, and the President usually is the one who gives the award. Not this time. Linden Baines Johnson was too fucking busy – really he was just too fucking ashamed.
But this wasn’t to be the only time that the President of the United States would in-person snub the USS LIBERTY. Turns out that George Herbert Walker Bush was too fucking busy too.
Yes, former CIA director, oil company executive, possible JFK conspirator and the architect of the slaughter of God only knows how many Iraqis somehow granted an audience to Captain McGonagle and some of the crew members.
Phil Tourney was there and recounts what happened after close to 50 members of the LIBERTY crew had waited at the White House for over two hours.
“Finally we saw the presidential limousine pull up to the White House. Bush had been at a parade of veterans returning from the First Gulf War which was why he had been late. As the limousine drove by, he waved at us through an open window.
“Our spirits were a mile high. We were on cloud nine and in seventh heaven. This was it, we were sure – or at least our stomachs were, because they were a flurry of butterflies.
“Shortly afterwards, the door from the White House leading out to the Rose-Garden opened and we waited with bated breath for the President to come walking out. Instead, it was Brent Scowcroft, his National Security Advisor and Chief of Staff, John Sununu. both of them were smiling like two cats who had just eat a bowl of mouse soup. . .
“Scowcroft and Sununu, like a duet doing a vaudeville number, informed us the President was “too busy” to meet with us. then, they started “making nice”, shaking our hands, apologizing for the fact that we had been left waiting for two hours – the exact amount of time we were left out there when we were attacked by Israel.
“The disappointment on McGonagle’s face was as unmistakable as if he had been kicked in groin. H was dying inside, we all knew it, although he tried his best to hide it from us. I was sure he would break down in tears, but he did not.”
George Herbert Walker Bush had no problem meeting with sports teams in the White House, but no time for a group of heroes led by a man who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor. It’s not honorable to meet a man who stood up to Israel. It’s a source of shame.
Captain McGonagle was able to hold back the tears on that day, over twenty years after the terrible events of June 8, 1967. Maybe James Scott, the son of one of those heroes, has told us why. Over twenty years earlier:
“Ignatious turned to McGonagle afterward. The secretary of the Navy, against a backdrop of whirring cameras, placed the Medal of Honor around the skipper’s neck. The five-pointed gold star, suspended from a blue ribbon, rested just beneath McGonagle’s chin. The son of a sharecropper-turned-janitor, the man who had guided his ship to safety by the North Star, lowered his head and wept.”
May God bless Captain McGonagle, his men, and all of those who will not forget what LIBERTY is all about.
2. Somehow this video seems appropriate right now. Shas Party members would never understand.
3. And I want to give credit for the great pic at the top of the page to Skulz.