26 July 2006
Israeli Bombs Kill UN Observers!
I see that Israel has bombed a clearly marked United Nations outpost in Lebanon, killing 4 UN observers. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert gave multiple assurances to the UN that their people were safe and their observation points were well known and would not be bombed. This was true right up until an Israeli jet blew the building into a million pieces!
I couldn't help but laugh out loud that poor Kofi Annan has declared the bombing "apparently deliberate" and has demanded... DEMANDED, that Israel investigate the matter. He demands that Israel investigate its own wrong doing, it's own possible war crime, and I assume he also expects them to find themselves guilty and write a stern public assessment of themselves. Then of course, he'll probably demand that they come up with a harsh punishment for themselves and then of course he'll expect them to carry it out. This is why the UN is rapidly becoming an international joke.
Kofi, please get your head on straight and get some real investigators to look into the deaths of your staff members. It is probably an insult to every UN peacekeeper and observer, to have the country that killed their co-workers, be charged in investigating the actions that killed them. What Kofi Annan is saying to the UN is, "If you die in service of the UN, we will not take your death too seriously. We will not try too hard to punish those responsible."
My disappointment in Kofi aside, this killing of UN observers is really not unheard of when Israel feels threatened. Many people have either forgotten about, or never heard of the USS Liberty incident. I haven't and it came right to mind when I heard about these UN casualties being called deliberate.
Basically, on June 8, 1967 on day four of the six day "Arab - Israeli War" the USS Liberty, a clearly marked, US flag baring, intelligence gathering ship was in the eastern Mediterranean sea. The ship was 13 miles off the coast of the Sinai Peninsula in International waters. The night before, for over six hours, Israeli jets flew low overhead, visually inspecting the lightly armed ship. The Israeli's were US allies so, there was no alarm on the Liberty. When the morning came, Israeli jets and torpedo boats attacked the US ship for almost 75 minutes, using rockets, napalm, torpedoes and machine gun fire. When the unprovoked attack was done, 34 Americans had been killed, 172 had been injured, the ship was in flames, listing to her side, and communications had been knocked out. Later inspection showed over 800 bullet holes in the ship and a massive 40 foot section of the hull was blown away by a torpedo.
Israel immediately called the incident a terrible accident and sent apologies to Washington. However, few in DC bought the story - for one, during the attack, the Israelis jammed communications from the ship, they jammed the specific frequencies known to be used by American vessels. Then there was the fact that President Lyndon Johnson did not want the Israelis to seize the Golan heights from Syria. They infact took the Heights just after the Liberty was attacked - many believe they knocked a US intelligence platform offline so Washington would not hear of the Golan Heights matter until after it was complete. But - the most shameful aspect of the whole situation was the fact that just as the attack started, the Liberty was able to get off a distress signal to an aircraft carrier in the Med. Several US jets were dispatched but when President Johnson heard that Israeli fighters were attacking our ship, he declared that he didn't want to see a US ally embarrassed like that, so he ordered the US jets to return to the aircraft carrier. He was willing to sacrifice American lives and an American ship, to allow Israel to save face.
Amazing how the more things change, the more they stay the same.
For more information on how Lyndon Johnson let Israel get away with murder, visit: