This is the "Israeli" Version of events, re: Dakar.....they say it was wholly accidental...???
January , 2009 -- SPECIAL REPORT. The U.S. Navy had its revenge in 1968 for the Israeli attack on the Liberty...?
Two incidents in the eastern Mediterranean only a little over six months apart involving Israeli and U.S. military forces may lie at the heart of two major cover-ups. According to U.S. intelligence sources, the willful Israeli attack on the National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence collection ship, the USS Liberty, on June 8, 1967, during the Israeli-Arab "Six Day War," was followed by the U.S. Navy sinking the Israeli submarine, the INS Dakar, in January 1968...
There are also indications that U.S. Navy distrust of the Israeli military and intelligence services continued long after the Israeli attack on the Liberty, an attack that killed 34 US. naval personnel, including NSA signals intelligence analysts, and wounded over 170 other crewmen on board.
The Israeli attack on the Liberty has been mired in controversy ever since the day it occurred. Israel continues to stand by the story that it attacked the clearly-identifiable U.S. ship in international waters north of Sinai because it had been mistaken for an Egyptian vessel. However, many top American naval and government personnel, including the then-Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Thomas Moorer, CIA director Richard Helms, NSA deputy director Louis Tordella, Undersecretary of State George Ball, Undersecretary of the Navy Paul Warnke, Clark Clifford, and Secretary of State Dean Rusk, rejected the Israeli contention. U.S. military officials, as well as diplomats and journalists, have concluded over the years that Israel's attack on the Liberty was purposeful and designed to destroy the vessel and kill its crew. Illinois Senator Adlai Stevenson III (D-IL) was defeated in the 1982 Illinois gubernatorial election largely by American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) money after he questioned Israel's version of events about its attack on the Liberty. Stevenson lost by 1/7 of 1 percent of the vote in a recount after the first count showed him winning.
In June 1967, President Lyndon Johnson was planning on running for re-election. Knowing that making an issue of the Israeli attack on the Liberty would hurt his standing among deep-pocketed Jewish contributors to the Democratic Party, Johnson buried the incident.
Just five days after the Israel attack, on June 13, 1967, Johnson was asked about the Liberty at a White House press conference. "Q: Mr. President, do you have any more facts that you can release on the attack on the USS Liberty?" Johnson incredulously answered "No. I think you know about as much about it as we do." Certainly, if Johnson included the NSA in "we," the NSA certainly knew that its vessel had been purposely attacked by the Israelis. But Johnson remained silent. Moreover, there have been several credible reports over the years that Johnson ordered a major cover-up of the incident not only to curry favor with Jewish Democrats in return for their tamping down their criticism of the Vietnam War but also to preserve America's close relationship with Israel, a relationship to which Johnson was fully committed.
Johnson continued to cover up the Liberty attack in his memoirs, "The Vantage Point: Perspectives on the Presidency 1963-1969," published in 1971. Johnson wrote: "June 8 began on a note of tragedy. A morning news bulletin [emphasis added] reported that a U.S. Navy communications ship, the Liberty, had been torpedoed in international waters off the Sinai coast. For 70 tense minutes we had no idea who was responsible, but at 11 o'clock we learned that the ship had been attacked in error [emphasis added] by Israeli gunboats and planes. Ten men of the Liberty crew were killed and a hundred were wounded [emphasis added, Johnson was in error on both counts, 34 men were killed and 173 were wounded]. This heartbreaking grieved the Israelis deeply, as it did us. There was a possibility that the incident might lead to even greater misfortune, and it was precisely to avoid further confusion and tragedy that I sent a message to Chairman Kosygin on the hot line. I told him exactly what had happened and advised him that carrier aircraft were on their way to the scene to investigate. I wanted him to know, I said, that investigation was the sole purpose of these flights, and I hoped he would inform the proper parties. Kosygin replied that our message had been received and the information had been relayed immediately to the Egyptians."
The fact that Johnson used the hot line to contact the Soviets was an indication that they were aware of the Israeli attack on the Liberty and that what Johnson said "exactly what happened" was a lie and the Soviets, who had a massive naval and intelligence presence in the eastern Mediterranean saw through Johnson's big lie.
That Johnson was willing to cover up a major naval incident would also be of use to the Soviets in May 1968 when another incident involving a Soviet submarine and the nuclear submarine USS Scorpion would require a mutual cover-up by the White House and Kremlin.
On December 19, 1980, the United States and Israel formally closed the chapter on the Liberty attack. The agreement came a little over a month that the U.S. ship, the SS Poet, which had delivered arms from Philadelphia to Iran as part of a secret "October Surprise" deal worked out by the Reagan-Bush campaign and the Iranians to ensure that Iran did not agree to a U.S. embassy hostage release before the November election, was sunk with the help of Israeli forces after delivering its cargo to Iran. Thirty-four American seamen died on board the Poet, ironically the same number that died on board the Liberty. The Israelis agreed to pay the United States $6 million in addition to the $7 million it previously paid to the families of the 34 dead U.S. servicemen and the wounded crewmen.
Originally, the State Department wanted $17 million to cover repairs to the Liberty plus accrued interest. Shortly after President Jimmy Carter's defeat by Ronald Reagan, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Ephraim Evron, quietly asked Vice President Walter Mondale to forgive the $10 million in accrued interest and whittle the $7.5 million in damages to $6 million. Of course, the Israelis had the trump card: that the Reagan-Bush team told them that the Carter White House was working on its own "October Surprise" to ship arms to Iran in return for a pre-election release of the U.S. hostages. The blackmailed worked. The Liberty and Poet, and the combined 68 crewmen who lost their lives from Israeli military action, would remain forgotten.
The cover-up would even extend to Arlington National Cemetery. The grave markers of six Liberty crewmen who died from the Israeli attack were simply notated: "died in the Eastern Mediterranean, June 8, 1967." Nothing indicated they died from hostile military action. In June 1982, just prior to the anniversary of the Liberty attack, the markers were revised by the Department of the Army to read: "Killed, USS Liberty, June 8, 1967."
There is reason to believe that two major branches of the U.S. military -- the U. S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force -- began to part company over relations with Israel as early as June 1967. In a 1984 book titled "Taking Sides: America's Secret Relations with a Militant Israel," author Stephen Green reveals that the Liberty was attacked by the Israelis because the ship detected a secret U.S. Air Force operation in the Negev Desert during the Six Day War. The secret Israeli nuclear weapons plant at Dimona is located in the Negev. Any collaboration between the Air Force and Israelis as early as 1967 would go a long way in explaining Israel's links to the recent breakdown in the nuclear security at U.S. Air Force bases in Minot, North Dakota; Barksdale, Louisiana; and F. E Warren in Wyoming and the mercurial rise in influence of former Israeli Air Force major Dr. Lani Kass in U.S. Air Force strategic planning operations.
On May 6, 1992, the columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak responded in a letter to the New York Times to an attack on their column by long-time Israel apologist Abe Rosenthal, the former executive editor of the New York Times. In November 1991, Evans and Novak reported that the Israelis knew the Liberty was an American ship when they attacked it. Rosenthal tried to insinuate that one of the columnists' sources, former U.S. ambassador to Lebanon Dwight Porter, would not confirm Evans' and Novak's earlier report. The columnists wrote about Rosenthal's sloppy journalism: ". . . Mr. Rosenthal insinuated in his column that Mr. Porter would not confirm what we wrote because he 'did not return my call.' Three days later, after reading the column, Mr. Porter wrote Mr. Rosenthal that he had in now way intended to 'evade' him but was not home when the 'one and only call came.' 'I stand by the essential facts set forth in the Evans-Novak column with respect to the attack on the Liberty," Mr. Porter wrote. Neither Mr. Rosenthal or The Times chose to let readers in on that confirming fact, ignoring the damage to our reputation by Mr. Rosenthal's accusation. In his letter to Mr. Rosenthal, a copy of which was sent to us, the former Ambassador wrote: "I brought a piece of history into the public domain, which should have been done much earlier by others. This was not done, as you suggest, because I was an 'opponent of Israel." Nor are we, no matter what Mr. Rosenthal may think."
Novak once told this reporter in answer to a question about his late partner Evans, "Rowlie was known for his excellent contacts at the CIA."
In a July 18, 1967, report to Johnson by Clark Clifford, the chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), Clifford wrote, "the unprovoked attack on the Liberty constitutes a flagrant act of gross negligence for which the Israeli Government should be held completely responsible, and the Israeli military personnel involved should be punished."
Captain William McGonagle, the commanding officer of the Liberty, who was also severely wounded in the Israeli attack, died in March 1999. McGonagle received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1968 for his actions in saving his ship but, in keeping with Johnson's cover-up, the award ceremony was not held at the White House but at a quiet affair at the Washington Navy Yard. In 1997, McGonagle broke his long silence and said the Israeli attack on the Liberty was willful and not an error. In 1998, while taking a shower, McGonagle discovered a piece of shrapnel from the Israeli attack had been dislodged and was sticking out through his ribs. He pulled the shrapnel out from his body and collapsed in pain in the shower.
Although the crew of the Liberty have long felt that they were forgotten, I have learned of a tantalizing U.S. Navy retaliation for the Israeli attack on the Liberty from U.S. intelligence sources. In September 1967, Johnson had decided that he would not run for re-election. It was a mere three months after he covered-up the Israeli attack on the Navy ship to preserve his standing with Jewish voters and contributors. Johnson's decision changed the picture dramatically and the top echelon of the Navy and CIA, which knew of Israel's premeditated attack knew that the time was ripe for a counter-attack.
In November 1967, a two-sentence Reuters item appeared in the newspapers: "Portsmouth, England, Nov. 10 -- Israel commissioned her [emphasis added, the use of the feminine descriptor for Israel has long been a puzzle] fourth submarine here today, a craft bought second hand from the British Navy, after a two-year refitting operation. Israel bought the 1,280-ton vessel, renamed the Dakar, with a sister ship, the Leviathan, in November, 1964." Dakar, Hebrew for "shark," was a World War II-vintage submarine before its three year retrofit began in Portsmouth in 1964.
Little did the 69-member commissioning crew of the Dakar realize, but their submarine was a marked target the minute they departed Portsmouth.
On January 26, 1968, it was the British Admiralty, not the Israeli Naval headquarters in Haifa, the destination of the Dakar, that first reported the submarine was missing. The British reported the Dakar's last known position was some 100 miles west of Cyprus. The Israelis, for the most part, treated the submarine's disappearance as a state secret. Even after Haifa Navy radio began broadcasting SOS distress calls to commercial vessels to be on the look out for the Dakar, Israeli officials in Jerusalem would not even admit the submarine was missing. The Israelis later admitted the last signal it received from Dakar was at mid-day on January 26, at a position southwest of Cyprus. The last message from Dakar's deputy commander, Major Avraham Barkai, was "The Dakar is in the depths at full strength."
Significantly, the British destroyer Diana and the U.S. destroyer Turner deployed to the area around the last datum of the Dakar with decompression equipment for any survivors.
The Israelis adamantly denied that the Dakar sank as the result of hostile action. However, a retaliatory strike by the U.S. Navy, aided by its close ally Britain, would not be "hostile action" but revenge for a deliberate Israeli attack on the Liberty known not only to the top echelons of the U.S. Navy, CIA, NSA, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and State Department, but also to senior British military and intelligence officials through NSA's British counterpart and partner, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), which maintained a number of listening stations in Cyprus.
There was a report that searchers in Cyprus intercepted a signal on the same radio frequency used by the Dakar's radio buoy and that it may have been a distress call. At first, the buoy could not be found by search vessels and planes. There were also reports that U.S., British, Israeli, Greek, and Turkish vessels and planes had spotted oil slicks, oil drums, and floating wreckage but these reports soon ceased. In 1969, Israeli officials revealed that an emergency buoy from the Dakar had washed ashore 90 miles south of Tel Aviv.
Suddenly, and without further comment, Israel called off its search on February 4, 1968. The Israelis stated that the Dakar was involved in crash diving exercises on its return voyage and probably as a result of a mechanical failure. On April 25, 1968, Vice Admiral Abraham Botzer, the commander of the Israeli Navy, stated that the Dakar sank from "technical or human malfunctioning." He ruled out "foul play," a change in terminology from previous denials that "hostile action" sank the Dakar. The Dakar was reported to have gone down on January 24, 1968, two days before the British Admiralty's first announcement.
The Israeli admiral's statement was far from the end of the story about the Dakar. On January 1, 1970, the Egyptian newspaper Al Akhbar reported that the Dakar had been sunk by an Egyptian naval vessel with depth charges. The Israeli government merely responded by stating there was no evidence to substantiate the Egyptian charges. Later, an Israeli army spokesman called the Egyptian report "absolute nonsense," iterating that an Israeli court of inquiry could never determine the cause of the sinking. However, the Israeli army spokesman changed the date of the Dakar's sinking to January 25, 1968, the third date change by the Israelis. Later reports said radio contact was lost with the Dakar on January 24, south of Crete.
Oddly, on August 25, 1986, the New York Times, in an article by John Cushman, Jr., reported that the U.S. Navy was going to conduct a search for the Dakar, not in waters west of Cyprus, but in Egyptian waters, ironically, in waters close to where the Liberty was attacked in 1967. The Navy committed P-3 Orion marine reconnaissance and USS Forrestal-based S-3 anti-submarine warfare aircraft for the search. Private contractors were hired by the Navy to examine the submarine's hull in the event it was located. During the 1980s, the Israelis used a salvage vessel with Egyptian liaison officers on board to look for the Dakar in waters north of Sinai. There were three such missions that turned up empty handed. The U.S. Navy had originally offered Israel to help locate the Dakar and an agreement was hammered out that the Egyptians would cooperate in the search. The search in Egyptian waters was unsuccessful as was one conducted off of the Greek island of Rhodes.
In 1997, there was another strange twist to the tale of the Dakar. A book titled "Dakar," written by former Israeli Navy Captain Michael Eldar, was yanked off bookshelves in Israel on national security grounds. Police confiscated copies of the book and other documents from Eldar's home. Oddly, the book had already been cleared for publication by Israel's military censorship authority. Eldar's book contained an astonishing revelation: that the search for the Dakar had never been serious. The question remains, if the Israelis and others conducted a half-hearted search for the Israeli submarine, what was the reason?
Then, there was another strange turn. In October 1998, Israel began running advertisements in newspapers in a number of countries offering rewards of between $5,000 and $300,000 for any information on the fate of the Dakar. Ads were placed in newspapers in Turkey, Egypt, France, Greece, and Russia. Strangely, France lost one of its submarines, the Minerve, in the western Mediterranean as the search for the Dakar was underway in the eastern Mediterranean at the end of January 1968.
The Minerve disappeared 25 miles southeast of the French naval base of Toulon with 52 men on board. The Minerve's commander, up to a week before its deployment from Toulon, said he had never had any problems with the vessel. The U.S. Navy submarine rescue ship, the USS Petrel, which was en route from Gibraltar to assist in the search for the Dakar, was diverted to help find the Minerve. On January 31, the French Navy declared the Minerve lost at sea. On March 4, 1970, the French suffered an eerie replay. The submarine Eurydice,with a crew of 57, was lost 35 miles east of Toulon, in the same general area where the Minerve was lost two years earlier. A large explosion was detected by the French Navy and some papers from the Eurydice were found floating on the ocean surface. Two years earlier, President Charles de Gaulle had attended a memorial service for the Minerve on board the Eurydice.
The Israeli ads on information about the Dakar were placed in Russian papers in an attempt to attract a retired Russian naval officer who might have information.
Interestingly, the planes used by the Israelis to attack the Liberty were French-made Dassault Mirage III fighters.
At the end of May 1999, a U.S.-Israeli search team, with the U.S. firm Nauticos as prime contractor, finally located the Dakar in 9500-feet of water between Cyprus and Crete. The Nauticos underwater robotic equipment used to find the Titanic was used to locate the Dakar. The Dakar was found on its original course, not off of Egypt as thought earlier by some searchers.
The Dakar was found on the bottom with its bow section intact. According to an eyewitness account by Brigadier General Gideon Raz, who was a former deputy commander of the Israeli Navy, the middle part of the submarine was heavily damaged with amidships debris scattered on the sea floor. The aft section was completely separated from the rest of the submarine. The Dakar's reported debris field coincides with the information received from U.S. intelligence sources. The submarine was broken in two aft of the conning tower. The actual story related to us is that the Dakar was hit by a lightweight acoustic homing air-dropped torpedo. The mission was highly compartmented and classified. Yet it proved to the Israelis that some sectors in the U.S. military and intelligence community had no problem in killing 69 Israeli sailors in retaliation for Israel's attack on the Liberty and the loss of 34 U.S. sailors.
There would be yet one more strange postscript to the story of the Dakar. Mere hours after hearing that the Dakar had been located, retired Israeli Navy Commander, Admiral Michael Barkai, committed suicide. Barkai's brother, Avraham, had been the deputy commander of the Dakar who was lost with the other 68 crewmen....
The final chapter in President Bush's staged aircraft carrier publicity events
Senior White House correspondent Helen Thomas penned a sad commentary in the waning days of the failed presidency of George W. Bush. She titled her article, "History Cannot Save Him." In her article Thomas makes a prediction regarding the 43rd president's legacy: "They say that journalism is the first draft of history. So I am going to predict that those future historians will not deal kindly with the Bush presidency." But the President begged to differ: "Not to worry, Bush says he isn't concerned about how history will view his militant eight years in the White House."[i]
Not to Worry. This makes one wonder what Dubya and his political handlers have up their sleeves. For his final act, does Bush believe that he is going to rewrite history by using the same "perception management" sleight of hand that got him into the White House in the first place? Does he actually have a plan in the works at this time to salvage the Bush family name?
When presiding over the commissioning ceremony of America's newest aircraft carrier, CNN-77, President George W. Bush characterized the ship as a gift to its namesake, his father and 41st President of the United States of America George H.W. Bush. "What do you give a guy who has been blessed and has just about everything he has ever needed?" asked President Bush from aboard the Navy's newest ship. "Well, an aircraft carrier... It's the perfect gift for an old Navy flier - 1,092 feet of flattop."[ii]
This bothered me. As a concerned former Naval aviator, I had written to the Armed Services Committees of both the House and the Senate before the event encouraging Congress to change the name of the vessel to something other than "Bush," out of concern for the well being of the pilots and crew who will be stationed on the carrier. What I found peculiar was Dubya's use of the word "gift." Since Navy ships are paid for by taxpayer dollars and owned by the country as a whole, how could a warship be considered a "gift" to any one individual? It was only after reflecting on investigative journalist Russ Baker's work in his new book Family of Secrets, The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America that it dawned on me what the President was referring to. In his book, Baker persuasively documents Karl Rove's construct of a "legend" for Dubya Bush[iii]. Although the religious conversion ploy worked well enough to get him into office, Dubya's subsequent missteps created the need for a second round of damage control - one that would manufacture a more flattering legacy for the country's 43rd President. Bush's handlers had obviously taken in the movie "Top Gun" and realized the unprecedented opportunity the aircraft carrier afforded image makers. In the film Tom Cruise, after wasting the "bad guys" in an aerial dogfight, is greeted to a hero's welcome by his shipmates upon landing on the flight deck of his aircraft carrier. The impact of this film on the Country cannot be over emphasized. In the aftermath of the film's release applications to attend my alma mater, the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, increased more than ten fold. According to The Celluloid President: Images of Presidential Leadership in Hollywood Movies "The image Bush conveyed [by impersonating a Navy pilot] was carefully designed to both bolster and capitalize on his newly-assumed role as a wartime president... This...Bush-as-fighter-pilot display" represents...a phenomenon that Bruce Miroff has termed ‘the presidential spectacle'".[iv] But according to the New York Times the spectacle was backfiring on the Navy Carrier Pilot Impersonator as "...criticism (was forthcoming) from Democrats on Capitol Hill who said Mr. Bush had indulged in a political stunt that demeaned the military. Some said Mr. Bush could have arrived by helicopter or small cargo plane without the flight suit (incorporating the rolled up sock bulge so admired by G. Gordon Liddy) and helmet, and that his decision to make a ''Top Gun''-style entrance had turned the carrier into a campaign prop." "I am loath to think of an aircraft carrier being used as an advertising backdrop for a presidential political slogan, and yet that is what I saw," Senator Byrd commented on the Senate floor.[v] Although the contrived "Mission Accomplished" fiasco backfired on him, Dubya's handlers never lost sight of the power of the aircraft carrier to bestow hero image status on an undeserving politician. They were in fact determined to "get it right" the next time they employed this technique.
After reading Russ Baker's conclusions it occurred to me that "next time" opportunity to employ an aircraft carrier in a PR stunt might be for the purpose of salvaging Dubya's father's reputation. Remember that Poppy Bush had reason for concern about his own legacy as well as Dubya. During his political heyday George H.W. Bush was not known by the "handle" or "call sign" typically assigned to a hero aviator. "Have Half George" was nowhere referred to deferentially as "Maverick," "Iceman," "Flack," or "Ace." This raised the specter of Dubya's "gift" of an aircraft carrier being part and parcel of an effort to reinvent his father George H.W. Bush, "the Wimp," as George H.W. Bush, the "hero Fighter Pilot"? About this time right wing talk radio show hosts began "mistakenly" referring to Poppy Bush as having been a carrier "fighter pilot" in World War II. The timing of the aircraft carrier commissioning event also seems to suggest such a ploy, since it had to be done before W. loses his grip on the reigns of power. It is telling that the commissioning ceremony was held prematurely, just days before Dubya leaves office, even though the ship will not be completed or deployed for several more months. Staging another aircraft carrier PR stunt of this nature seems to indicate that the gift Dubya was giving his father was not the ship itself--it was the gift of a counterfeit legacy, a makeover of his father's less than stellar image.
Contesting the Wimp Factor:
According to George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin:
George H.W. Bush detractor William Loeb (the outspoken publisher of the Manchester Union Leader in New Hampshire), hated Bush and worked doggedly for his defeat in 1980. Loeb had said about him: "hypocrite...double-standard morality, involved up to his neck in Watergate...unfit to be the Republican nominee...incompetent; liberal masquerading as a conservative; a hypocrite...a spoon-fed little rich kid who has been wet-nursed to success," In 1988 Mrs. Loeb called presidential candidate H.W. Bush "a preppy wimp, part of the self-appointed elite," and wrote: "George Bush has been Bush for 63 years. He has been Ronald Reagan's errand boy for just the last seven. Without Ronald Reagan he will surely revert to the original George Bush. Republicans should flee the presidential candidacy of George Bush as if it were the Black Plague itself." A Doonesbury comic strip follow-up asserted that Bush "had placed his manhood in a blind trust."
"Displays of this type began to inspire a more general public contempt for Bush during 1987. Bush was coming across as "deferential almost to the point of obsequiousness," "too weak, too namby-pamby." George Will, anxious to pick a winner, began to ridicule Bush as a "lapdog." The "wimp factor" was beginning to torment Bush. Old Bill Loeb was still making Bush squirm. Two veteran observers pointed out: "Reagan's own physical presence and self-confidence made Bush in contrast seem even weaker, and Bush's penchant for the prissy remark at times cast him as the Little Lord Fauntleroy of the campaign trail..." Bush said he was running a negative campaign so as not to leave the Democrats a monopoly on "the naughty stuff."
All of this culminated in the devastating Newsweek cover story of October 19, 1987, "Fighting the 'Wimp Factor." The article was more analytical than hostile, but did describe the "crippling handicap" of being seen as a "wimp." Bush had been a "vassal to Kissinger" at the United Nations and in Beijing, the article found, and now even Bush's second term Chief of Staff said of Bush, "He's emasculated by the office of vice president." To avoid appearing as a television wimp, Bush had "tried for the past 10 years to master the medium, studying it as if it were a foreign language. He has consulted voice and television coaches. He tried changing his glasses and even wearing contact lenses. [...] Bush's tight, twangy voice is a common problem. Under stress, experts explain, the vocal cords tighten and the voice is higher than normal and lacks power." According to Newsweek, 51% of Americans found that "wimp" was a "serious problem" for Bush. The magazine offered various sophomoric psychological explanations of how Bush got that way, mainly concentrating on his family upbringing. Here Bush was allegedly taught to conceal his sociopathic drives beneath a veneer of propitiation and sharing, as in his childhood nickname of "Have Half" George.
The Newsweek "wimp" cover soon had Bush chewing the carpet at the Naval Observatory. Bush's knuckle-dragging son George W. Bush called the story "a cheap shot" and added menacingly, "...I'd like to take the guy who wrote that headline out on that boat,"( i.e., the Aronow-built Fidelity in which Bush was depicted on the Newsweek cover), which sounded very much like a threat. George W. Bush also called Newsweek Washington bureau chief Evan Thomas to inform him that the Bush campaign had officially cut off all contact with Newsweek and its reporters. The decision to put Newsweek out of business was made by candidate Bush personally, and aborted a plan by Newsweek to publish a book on the 1988 campaign. The press got the message: portray Bush in a favorable light or face vindictive and discriminatory countermeasures."
George H.W. Bush - a fitting namesake?
The party line justification for the naming of our newest carrier is that George H.W. Bush deserves naming rights because he was a popular "War" President who had served as a courageous Navy torpedo bomber pilot during World War II.
But neither of these false premises holds water. Bush was not highly regarded as president - he was turned out of office after only a single term. His reasons for making war against Iraq remain controversial, as the primary beneficiaries were his political sponsors, the Saudi Royal Family and Kuwait's billionaire emir Sheik Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah. His stint as a Navy pilot is also clouded by controversy, particularly as pertains to the event about which he's often referred to as a hero, the downing of his three man crew Avenger aircraft in 1944. Eyewitness Chester Mierzejewski, a crewmember in another squadron plane that was directly in front of and had a clear view of Bush's bailout from his plane, maintained that Bush abandoned his aircrew in order to save himself. Mierzejewski, who is a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, is nonpolitical and only spoke out when he became upset that Bush was making himself out to be a hero during his presidential campaign in 1988. As documented in Russ Baker's book, Bush himself says on tape that he looked back and saw his gunner "slumped over", while on other occasions he claims not to know whether his crewmember got out of the plane or not. [vi] Bush's own contradictory claims only serve to deepen suspicions that he acted in a cowardly manner. Although the facts cannot be established for certain at this late date, it is undisputed that Bush saved himself and that both of his crewmembers perished. So whatever interpretation one chooses to accept, Bush's conduct can hardly be considered laudatory or commendable. He certainly did nothing "heroic" that would recommend him as namesake for a Navy aircraft carrier.
We do know for certain that there is a long tradition in the United States Navy. The Captain is in sole command of his ship and is personally responsible for the safety and wellbeing of its crew. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the old adage that usually comes to mind: "The Captain must go down with the ship." That is utter nonsense. What is expected and in fact required of a Captain is that he be the last living soul to depart the sinking ship. His first and foremost responsibility is to see to it that all crewmembers abandon ship--including the sailors trapped below deck, and the wounded and the infirm to the extent possible--before he even thinks about saving himself.
With the advent of the aircraft carrier, this concept of "command" responsibility carried over from ship captains to Naval pilots. The flyer in the airplane with the stick and throttle in his hands was designated "Pilot in Command" while others manning the guns, bombsights, navigation and communications gear were designated "aircrew"--they had no control over the flight of the plane and were in essence just along for the ride. As Pilot in Command, Naval Aviators are held to the same level of accountability as the Captain of a ship. In the event of damage or malfunction of the plane, the Pilot in Command's first and foremost responsibility is to see to it that his crewmembers evacuate the plane BEFORE he does. The reason for this is self evident: if the pilot bails out first, who will fly the plane during the time it takes the crewmembers to un-strap, open their hatches or canopies, and position themselves for bailout? A pilotless plane can exert g-forces making it impossible for the remaining aircrew members to escape. That is why it is absolutely imperative that the pilot bail out LAST.
When my own Navy fighter jet went out of control, the first thing that I did as Pilot in Command was to order my back-seat radar intercept officer to bail out. He ejected at over 10,000 feet in altitude, giving him ample cushion to allow for his chute deployment, seat separation, life vest and raft inflation, and leisurely descent to a controlled water landing. Struggling to regain control of the aircraft, I rode the fighter down to the very edge of the ejection envelope before bailing out myself. At about 1,200 feet, with the aircraft in a steep nose down dive, I was pushing the envelope. After ejecting I had only a half swing in my chute before hitting the water perilously close to the burning ring of fire that had only seconds before been my F-4 Phantom II fighter jet. Neither my life vest nor raft had been inflated prior to my entry into the choppy water. I relate this incident not to make myself out to be a heroic figure; rather, I am making the point that my conduct was simply SOP - Standard Operating Procedure. This is what honorable Pilots in Command are expected to do and did in fact do in every case that I know of--except that of George H.W. Bush.
A Navy pilot who panics in an emergency and saves himself at the expense of his crew would most likely have been court marshaled and dishonorably discharged from the Armed Services of the United States. But then again, your average Naval Aviator does not have a high profile advocate covering for him (nor a father who is close friends with individuals in the highest levels of government and the intelligence business). At the time of this incident, Bush's brother's father-in-law was Commander of the Pacific Fleet. As a result of this, Bush was given special treatment[vii], notwithstanding the deaths of his aircrew.
Presidential pardon --Pardon me Son
It appears that the intent of plastering George H.W. Bush's name on one of the most awe inspiring, intimidating warships in this country's arsenal and rewriting the story of his Navy service in WW-II is to convert Poppy Bush's history as a run of the mill torpedo bomber pilot into the legend of a highly acclaimed "fighter pilot." Dubya and the right wing spin-meisters have constructed a counterfeit resume that makes Dubya's father look like a cross between John Wayne and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was the same perception management technique used to describe Duby's "Mission Accomplished" performance in college study entitled The Celluloid President: Images of Presidential Leadership in Hollywood Movies. What was needed to complete this hat trick was to stage a high profile, public ceremony to publicize and create a public record of the coronation event. All that remains to be done now is to selectively steer grant funding to obsequious "historians" who agree to memorialize the contrived record by incorporating it in both text books and history books. As soon as these wheels are put in motion; voila - H.W.'s political fixers will have finally succeeded, once and for all, in torpedoing Bush's objectionable call sign - The Wimp. Although the makeover of his Father may be the final insult from a corrupt and inept Administration, it certainly explains Dubya's lack of concern over Helen Thomas' prediction that "History Cannot Save Him." Because the Decider-in-Chief has already put these legacy building subterfuges in motion, he is confident that the history of his Administration, and that of his Father, is being rewritten at this very moment in a manner that will portray the Bush Family in a favorable light.
Conclusion : No Guts, No Glory... where are today's courageous Leaders to call it like it is, in the Navy and DOD and outside ...???
My objection to the naming of our nation's newest aircraft carrier "Bush" is not intended to bring further disrepute upon George H.W. Bush's conduct as a pilot in WW-II, disparage his service record, or create another "Swift Boat Vets" smear campaign. The point of my letters to Congress is that it is unconscionable to endanger the lives of over 5,000 kids for the sake of a legacy-building exercise intended to embellish what by all available eyewitness accounts appears to have been the less than commendable conduct of Bush '41 when confronted with a pressure situation. The troubling facts make it clear that this is precisely what is at work here - Dubya is giving Daddy an image makeover as a going away present. Removing the wimp label from his Father's legacy is the real "gift" that President Bush is bestowing upon his Father -- a Presidential pardon of sorts.
True to form, the Bush family is using a position of public trust for self-aggrandizement at the expense of others. If George H.W. Bush had one iota of respect for the officers and sailors serving in the United States Navy, he would direct that his name be removed from association with
CVN-77. In fact, if he would do the right and honorable thing, instead of what is self-serving and politically expedient, people might actually stop thinking of him in terms of Wimp - even without the contrived PR schemes.
Bill White is a former Navy fighter pilot who went into business with Dubya's Air National Guard buddy Jim Bath. When White refused to participate in the cover-up of the Bush family's secret business dealings with the Saudi BinLaden family he was threatened with, and endured, personal attacks staged by Bush family lawyers, prosecutors and judges in Harris County, Texas. Concerned former military personnel, organizations and readers concerned about the preservation of our Constitutional Republic....
[ii] Deb Riechmann, Gift fit for an ex-president, The Associated Press, 11Jan09
[iii] Russ Baker, Family of Secrets, Dec08, P383
[iv] Voorhees, Matthew, PhD. The Celluloid President: Images of Presidential Leadership in Hollywood
Movies, Department of Politics, Whitman College, Mar06, P2
[v] Ken Guggenheim, Byrd Rips Bush's Aircraft Carrier Use, Associated Press, 6May03
[vi] Russ Baker, Family of Secrets, Dec08, P20
[vii] Russ Baker, Family of Secrets, Dec08, background research.