Unz’s Edification of My Own Work: “Remember the Liberty!”
Ron Unz has published, in his widely-read newsletter, a very thorough, well researched article that summarizes the historic record connected to the 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, referencing every significant book and article ever written about that incident. In the final paragraphs he validates the premise of my book Remember the Liberty! stating that I have made a very strong case, that no other explanation is as persuasive as the premise that it was an “LBJ” ordered operation designed to reinforce his political base in time for the presidential election of 1968.
From The Unz Review, Oct. 18, 2021 (CLICK HERE — The article includes an optional 1 hour 25 minute audio recording)
It was very interesting that Ron Unz chose to save my book Remember the Liberty! for last, and it was not because it was the last one published; it was published in 2017, the 50th year anniversary of the crime, others appeared later. As you read the excerpt of the ending paragraphs below, you’ll realize that it was because of the single-most important point of the book, the point that no other author before, or after me, seriously explored — despite it being the single proximate cause of the attack and its aftermath: It was about the dynamics of Lyndon Johnson’s concurrent psychotic actions juxtaposed to his political objectives and his efforts to aid Israel in its conquest of additional Arab lands. It was about the fact that President Johnson was the key “driving force” behind the Israeli attack on LBJ’s own ship, all to assist him in preparing to run for reelection the following year, at least in his deluded mind (thankfully for the world, it didn’t work).
Within the closing sentences of the Unz essay — leading up to the excerpt from his 2019 article about FDR’s role in World War II, which he portrays as a precedent for LBJ’s actions — he has carefully worded the predicate for believing the essence of my conclusions as presented in Remember the Liberty!.
FDR seems to have played the crucial part in orchestrating the outbreak of WWII, greatly assisted by Churchill and his circle in Britain.
It is a well-established fact that FDR was LBJ’s mentor for many years in the 1930s-40s and Johnson learned much about “bending rules”, subverting moral or legal impediments, and political gamesmanship, from President Roosevelt.
Mr. Unz’s logic, from start to finish, is exquisite. In the end — according to him, within the last month — he, too, has come to the realization that the sum and substance of my “persuasive” arguments is quite plausible, not nearly as unthinkable as he once thought.
The last 475 words of Mr. Unz’s 11,300-word essay follow:
Insofar as Mr. Unz’s comment about how, “at certain points he [me] seemed insufficiently cautious about accepting some of less solidly-attested accusations in the case of the Liberty,” I believe that he is referring primarily (only?) to what I wrote on pages 180-181 regarding what survivor Larry Weaver stated.
Larry Weaver — arguably the worst-injured sailor on board, who barely survived and would later require over 30 surgeries, had been denied service benefits for his disabilities — thus had been forced to hire a highly-connected military man to conduct an investigation and pursue a correction in that bureaucratic morass to obtain the benefits he deserved. While conducting his work, the investigator had succeeded in getting access to the secret files due to his documented “need to know,” and reported back to Larry that, after the Israeli torpedo boats failed four times to hit the ship and had run out of torpedos, LBJ personally ordered the captain of the submarine USS Amberjack to hit it with the “5th torpedo” that finally hit the Liberty and almost sank it. This knowledge came to Weaver long before my books were published; it was pure happenstance that it was entirely consistent with my own findings, formed as I wrote the 2014 “Colossus” book and the 2017 Remember the Liberty!.”
The only reason that that statement cannot be corroborated is because Weaver is the only one who heard it from the investigator; immediately after that encounter, the investigator was warned not to ever repeat that statement again and has since denied having said it. Larry did confirm it with two Amberjack sailors he met, however they were unwilling to publicly confirm it out of fear of reprisals.
To say that the assertion is “less solidly-attested” is, of course, journalistically accurate, however it is, nevertheless, believable. Especially if one extends to Weaver a tiny fraction of “the benefit of a doubt” that Lyndon B Johnson received from journalists practically every day of his presidency, even as they created the term “credibility gap” to cover his chronic lying about nearly every subject of which he spoke (especially the constant refrain about the “light at the end of the tunnel” during 1965-68 on the Vietnam War).
Larry Weaver is an honest man, as credible as anyone else among the survivors, and deserves no less credibility ranking than anyone else. Because there were numerous other single-sourced utterances made — by many others, such as Loyd Painter’s unique statements about how the life-boats were shot up — yet his report is not questioned (at least, by critics, only by the government shills for whom it is like TNT), nor should it be. Weaver’s testimony is merely being held to a higher standard because of the person to whom he’s pointing the finger, President Lyndon Johnson. Yet Johnson should be given lesser weighted credibility simply due to his own pathologically-induced, chronic lies documented throughout my four books and dozens of blogs on this very site.
Besides, I stated repeatedly within the book that this part should be considered an “unsubstantiated rumor” and, “. . . it cannot be stressed enough, this story is not being reported as ‘fact’.”(p. 181). And yet, having said that, I must confess that I do believe Weaver’s story “100%, on the basis that, with all the other evidence of Johnson’s treacheries on that date, and his lies and deceits during the entire era of his regime, that it was merely one of many.
For all of these reasons, I maintain that I was “highly-sufficiently cautious” regarding my accepting Larry Weaver’s statements, to Mr. Unz’s point. And I believe his essay reproves the findings and conclusions of the book. In fact, his thesis can be said to be a summary of the advances made over the last 40+ years, from Anthony Pearson and James Ennes’ in the late 1970s through all other significant books on the subject to my own.
The evolving story — as Mr. Unz has described and vetted it — now conforms with what has been posited within the pages of Remember the Liberty! In due course, it will increasingly be seen by rational and objective people as the only possible explanation of how one of his greatest treacheries — risking nuclear annihilation of the world for his personal political goals — was covered up through his misuse of secrecy protocols and exploitation of weak men (SECDEF Robert McNamara and Admiral John McCain II primarily, among others) to subvert justice and hide his own malfeasance.
The world was only saved due to the heroic actions of the Liberty crew and, according to many of them, Divine intervention.