James Gotcher replies to Jay Cristol
Naval Institute Proceedings
Liberty Victims Did Not Die in Vain
(See A. Wells, p88, March 2005; A. Cristol, p 28, April 2005; R. Russell, p14-16, May 2005 Proceedings
James R. Gotcher -- The letter by A. Jay Cristol is an attempt to perpetuate discredited myths. Captain Cristol objects to Mr. Wells's characterization of former Secretary of State Dean Rusk's position and suggests that Secretary Rusk in fact held contrary views. In his formal diplomatic note to the Israeli government (6/10/67), Secretary Rusk characterized the attack as follows:
"In these circumstances, the later military attack by Israeli aircraft on the USS Liberty is quite literally incomprehensible. As a minimum, the attack must be condemned as an act of military recklessness reflecting wanton disregard for human life. The subsequent attack by Israeli motor torpedo boats, substantially after the vessel was or should have been identified by Israeli military forces, manifests the same reckless disregard for human life."
Cristol's suggestion that Secretary Rusk held different views is belied by Secretary Rusk's own words not long before his death:
"But I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation. Their sustained attack to disable and sink Liberty precluded an assault by accident or some trigger-happy local commander. Through diplomatic channels we refused to accept their explanations. I didn't believe them then, and I don't believe them to this day. The attack was outrageous." -- Rusks memoirs: As I Saw It, p.388.
Similarly, Captain Cristol suggests that the Central Intelligence Agency concluded that the attack was a mistake. Commenting on the final CIA report that followed the interim report quoted by Captain Cristol, former director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms wrote in his memoir, A Look Over My Shoulder:
"I had no role in the board of inquiry that followed, or the board's finding that there could be no doubt that the Israelis knew exactly what they were doing in attacking the Liberty. I have yet to understand why it was felt necessary to attack this ship or who ordered the attack."
Finally, Captain Cristol suggests that readers visit his web site for further information. On that website, he alleges: "After ten official US investigations (including five congressional investigations), there was never any evidence that the attack was made with knowledge that the target was a U.S. warship."
The allegation is false. There is conclusive evidence that Congress has never investigated the Israeli attack on the Liberty.
http://www.usslibertyinquiry.com/arguments/American/israelidefenses/investigations/investigations.html ) Captain Cristol should offer proof if he intends to continue his campaign on behalf of Israel.