PC/WI: Stronger US reaction to the USS Liberty incident

In 1967, during the Six-Day War, Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats attacked the USN research ship USS Liberty resulting in US casualties. Both governments' official conclusions, following inquiries, were that the attack was a case of mistaken identity, with the IDF believing the Liberty to be an Egyptian vessel, but various American sources, including veterans associations, members of the JAG Corps involved with the investigation, and even the US secretary of state at the time (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Liberty_incident#Ongoing_controversy_and_unresolved_questions) have maintained that the attack was deliberate or at least rejected the above explanation. There is speculation that Israel intended the US to assume the attack was by Egyptian forces and thus bring them into the war, or else that it was to conceal the Israeli offensive in the Golan against the terms of an existing ceasefire. Regardless of the true nature of the attack, what is the plausibility of Washington, or the American public, taking a harder line regarding the attack, particularly if reports of possible Israeli war crimes (the alleged attacks on US lifeboats and personnel working to launch them) are leaked to the public earlier?

Alternatively, IOTL, the US Admiral commanding the Sixth Fleet ordered jets to respond to the Liberty's SOS, but was countermanded by Robert McNamara, apparently in an effort to preserve the US-Israeli diplomatic relationship. What happens if, due to slow radio traffic, this update never reaches McNamara until it is too late, resulting in sustained battle between US and Israeli aircraft and further military escalation?

In either scenario, would the US engage in an all-out intervention against Israel, cease to support them, or what? If the US doesn't attack, does Israel loose the Six-Day war with increased US sanctioning, and if so, does it respond with a nuclear attack against Egypt and/or Syria (according to the wiki, Israel had a few crude nukes operational by the War)? How does the USSR respond, and what are the longer-term ramifications for the world?
 
In your reference to US government inquiries following the attack on our ship you leave the reader with the impression that the US government has conducted an investigation of the attack on our ship.

While there are a number of reports prepared in the wake of the attack, none is the result of an investigation of the attack on our ship.

That fact can be verified independently by contacting your Congressional Delegation and asking them to provide you with a copy of the Congressional investigation of the attack and request that they ask the Congressional Research Service the simple question, “Has the US government conducted an investigation of the June 8, 1967, Israeli attack on the USS Liberty?”

We’ve taken the pain our of making that request at our blog entry at https://www.usslibertyveterans.blog/ask-for-copy-of-attack-investigation/.

Respectfully,

Joe Meadors
USS Liberty Survivor
Director of Operations, USS Liberty Veterans Association
Email: joe@ussliberty.com
 

CalBear

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In 1967, during the Six-Day War, Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats attacked the USN research ship USS Liberty resulting in US casualties. Both governments' official conclusions, following inquiries, were that the attack was a case of mistaken identity, with the IDF believing the Liberty to be an Egyptian vessel, but various American sources, including veterans associations, members of the JAG Corps involved with the investigation, and even the US secretary of state at the time (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Liberty_incident#Ongoing_controversy_and_unresolved_questions) have maintained that the attack was deliberate or at least rejected the above explanation. There is speculation that Israel intended the US to assume the attack was by Egyptian forces and thus bring them into the war, or else that it was to conceal the Israeli offensive in the Golan against the terms of an existing ceasefire. Regardless of the true nature of the attack, what is the plausibility of Washington, or the American public, taking a harder line regarding the attack, particularly if reports of possible Israeli war crimes (the alleged attacks on US lifeboats and personnel working to launch them) are leaked to the public earlier?

Alternatively, IOTL, the US Admiral commanding the Sixth Fleet ordered jets to respond to the Liberty's SOS, but was countermanded by Robert McNamara, apparently in an effort to preserve the US-Israeli diplomatic relationship. What happens if, due to slow radio traffic, this update never reaches McNamara until it is too late, resulting in sustained battle between US and Israeli aircraft and further military escalation?

In either scenario, would the US engage in an all-out intervention against Israel, cease to support them, or what? If the US doesn't attack, does Israel loose the Six-Day war with increased US sanctioning, and if so, does it respond with a nuclear attack against Egypt and/or Syria (according to the wiki, Israel had a few crude nukes operational by the War)? How does the USSR respond, and what are the longer-term ramifications for the world?
Actually the U.S. recalled the original strike package because the carrier that launched it had just finished a strategic exercise and the "Alert 5" Skyhawks were armed with thermonuclear weapons.

If those aircraft had reached their target, there wouldn't BE an Israel.
 
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. . the plausibility of Washington, or the American public, taking a harder line . .
Things are awkward and strained between the U.S. and Israel, for a while, and then things generally get back to normal.

Question is, does that “for a while” lead to ripples or butterflies in which we’re essentially on a parallel course from OTL?
 
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In your reference to US government inquiries following the attack on our ship you leave the reader with the impression that the US government has conducted an investigation of the attack on our ship.

While there are a number of reports prepared in the wake of the attack, none is the result of an investigation of the attack on our ship.
Huh, mea culpa. And if you have anything to add to my summary of events, please do!
Edit: I do find, at least, an assemblage of investigations by the U.S. gov't, including a Naval Court of Inquiry, a House Armed Services committee report on the communications regarding the ship, and others, and so would not say the US government has done nothing even if there has been no dedicated report on the incident by the Congress.
Actually the U.S. recalled the original strike package because the carrier that launched it had just finished a strategic exercise and the "Alert 5" Skyhawks were armed with thermonuclear weapons.

If those aircraft had reached their target, there wouldn't BE an Israel.
Per Wikipedia, at least, the initial strike was recalled to avoid an accidental nuclear strike, but jets later scrambled were recalled for diplomatic reasons, at least by my reading.
Things are awkward and strained between the U.S. and Israel, for a while, and then things generally get back to normal.

Question is, does that “for a while” lead to ripples or butterflies in which we’re essentially on a parallel course from OTL?
Especially if the outcome of the Yom Kippur war is altered if the US doesn't support Israel in that conflict.
 
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