Attack on the Liberty: A Review
July 12, 2013
“Hello out there, Peabody here. And now we’ll be off for another exciting journey back into history.”
“No nation would dare attack a U.S. flagged ship in international waters would they Mr. Peabody?” asked Sherman.
“Funny you should ask, my boy, because that’s exactly what we’re going to find out today. Set the way-back machine for June 8, 1967, in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.”
“The way-back worked perfectly and in less than an instant, we found ourselves standing on the bridge of the U.S.S. Liberty with Ensign John Scott who was on deck watch even though it was his twenty-fourth birthday. We arrived just a few hours before the Israeli jets attacked at almost 2:00 P.M.” said Peabody.
And attack they did. Sherman’s question was answered emphatically. Not only was an American vessel attacked, it was attacked by one of our allies. When the smoke cleared, there were thirty-four dead Americans and 171 wounded or injured.
In Attack on the Liberty, Ensign John Scott’s son, James Scott, an award winning journalist, has written a thorough account of the attack supported by recently declassified documents as well as interviews with survivors of the attack.
It’s easy to see why Scott has earned awards for his writing. His narrative moves along at a brisk pace, his style is captivating, and pages turn like a thriller. The attack on the American spy ship happened during the Six-Day War.
It was a time during which Israel, the nineteen-year-old country, was enjoying a wave of popularity in the States. It was also a time when the American voter was growing disenchanted with the involvement of the United States in Viet Nam.
Lyndon Johnson needed the support of the American-Jewish voter to win re-election. Scott details the back stories, the deals and the outcomes. In the end, we’re still left to wonder how politics and diplomacy affects battlefield decisions.
Some readers will be disillusioned to discover that even our own allies can attack us and get away with it. All readers will be reminded — yet again — that a sitting president will do anything to get re-elected.