Conservative Liberal

FDR would have been a Republican today.

Friendly fire and conspiracy theories

The reason I am writing on this subject is because some time ago I got an e-mail on this subject from from somebody I respect. Thus, although normally I would not dignify any conspiracy theory with an answer, in this case I felt that I needed to respond.

Friendly fire happens in wars. The Wikipedia article I link to lists numerous examples of friendly fire incidents throughout history. The most well known recent incidents are the accidental killing of 4 Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan and the death of Pat Tillman. It is always sad and tragic. In some instances friendly fire happened between future foes. For example, the highest-scoring Allied Ace Ivan Kozhedub is officially credited with 62 aerial kills. Yet his real score is 64. His 2 additional kills are American P-51 Mustangs. Apparently late in the war, while on a fighter sweep mission, he spotted a formation of American B-17 Flying Fortresses under attack by German fighters. He went in to lend a hand to the Allies and opened fire on the Germans. The Germans retreated, but Kozhedub found himself under attack by P-51 Mustangs escorting the bombers. Why? You see, Kozhedub flew Lavochkin La-7 fighter, which could be easily mistaken for the German Focke-Wulf FW-190. Look at the pictures for yourself:

Lavochkin La-7

Fig. 1. Kozhedub’s Lavochkin La-7.

Fig. 2. Focke-Wulf FW-190-A8. Spring of 1945.

In heat of battle it is pretty easy to mistake one of these aircraft for another. And if you have ever flown any Combat Flight simulator, you know that it is almost impossible to see the markings. Mustang was slightly faster than La-7, so the only way for Kozhedub to avoid being shot down by the unrelenting Mustangs was to shoot the Mustangs down. Unfortunately one of the Mustang pilots was killed. But the other managed to bail out and land in the area of Kozhedub’s airfield. When Kozhedub landed, he thought he was in huge trouble, but lucky for him, when the American pilot was asked who shot him down, he replied that he was shot down by a Focke-Wulf with a red nose. Thus, the incident was hushed up.

Sometimes friendly fire occurs when a party not participating in the conflict tries to gather intelligence on both sides. American Wayne Peake shot down an RAF Mosquito, while flying for Israeli Air Force during Israel’s War for Independence. The Mosquito was flying from Iraq. Aparently the British denied that they were flying there. So, an assumption that it was a hostile aircraft was very reasonable. There was another incident, also described here, when RAF Spitfires went down to the ground to look at the Israeli convoy just strafed by Egyptian Spitfires which fled the area. Needless to say, they were immediately engaged by the IAF, also flying Spitfires. 3 or 4 RAF pilots were shot down.

What all these incidents have in common is the fact that they are all regarded for what they are: unfortunate and tragic accidents that often happen in wars. There is however one such incident that is surrounded by conspiracy theories that even now, 40 years later would not go away. I am talking about the USS Liberty incident. Anti-Semites on the Left and on the Right are eager to scream about deliberate Israeli attack. For the Left this incident also presents a rare opportunity to be on the side of American military, just like the story of SS St. Louis gives them a chance to defend the Jews. In the case of SS St. Louis they get to defend the Jews, while blaming America. In the case of USS Liberty they get to defend American military, while blaming Israel. The incident was investigated in both countries. But it does not matter: the conspiracy lives on. Just like with 9/11 conspiracy theories, there people who believe that huge numbers of people in both countries are in on it. There are even people who actually justify a deliberate attack by Israeli forces on USS Liberty, as described on this conspiratorial site. Here the proponents of the conspiracy theory use a straw man argument, saying that those who justify the attack claim that USS Liberty was spying on Israel, and then go on to say that there were no Hebrew linguists on board, but only Arabic and Russian linguists. Yet then they go on to quote one of the survivors saying: "We heard their (Israeli pilots – Eric-Odessit) communications". So, which is it? The last time Israeli pilots communicated in English was during the War for Independence, when they all were American, Canadian and other British Commonwealth nationals. And those who were born in Israel, like Modi Alon and Ezer Weitzman, were RAF veterans. But in 1967 the language used by IAF was Hebrew. So, whatever survivors of the attack might have heard, they could not understand. In June NSA released the declassified intercepts of Israeli helicopter pilots participating in the rescue efforts. Here are the links to those transcripts in English:

Labeled 104, dated 8 June 1967, 1229Z-1244Z;

Labeled 105, dated 8 June 1967, 1247Z-1319Z;

Labeled 130, dated 8 June 1967, 1307Z-1311Z.

It is very clear that the helicopter pilots and their commanders did not know who the ship belonged to, although by that time they were already worried that a tragedy had occurred. The fact that there are no intercepts prior to the rescue efforts suggests that indeed there were no Hebrew linguists on board, and Liberty was not spying on Israel. So, what the hell did the survivors hear? Read the rest of the NSA document dump. Apparently, USS Liberty was ordered out of the area, but somehow did not get the message. Yet, the Israelis were assured that there were no friendlies in the area. Now put yourself in the place of Israeli commanders. You are assured that the only ships in the area are hostiles. You know that your enemies are not shy about using illegal tricks, like flying false colors. You would order an attack even if if you did see the friendly flag. In fact, I suspect the ship would have been attacked even if it was flying an Israeli flag. And by the way, if you have a combat flight simulator (any of them), try attacking a ship in it. By the time you the flag, you’ll be crashing into the ship.

On the other hand, what would be the motivation for Israel to attack an American ship? The conspiratorial site I linked to, as well as other sites like that one, mention some tactical reasons for it. But again, put yourself in the position of Israeli leaders at the time. Your tiny country is surrounded by enemies. The country that was your sole supplier of sophisticated weapons, like aircraft, just decided that they would be better off if they were friends with the Arabs. Yes, that was France. They even used your preventive strike on your enemies preparing to attack as an excuse to stop the shipment of Mirage fighter that you had already paid for. Out of 2 world superpowers, one – the Soviet Union – is openly hostile and supports your enemies bent on your annihilation. The other superpower – the USA – is somewhat friendly. You would hope to cultivate that friendship, and you have a good chance to do just that, since the rival superpower happens to support your enemies. Why would you risk alienating America and blow your chance for American support, even if you think that an American ship is spying on you? Les Kinsolving of World Net Daily wrote a couple of articles on the subject. In one he wrote:

…the theory that Israel, during the Six Day War in 1967, would have deliberately attacked the U.S.S. Liberty is utterly preposterous.

It is as preposterous as the idea that Capt. John Paul Jones would have been ordered by Gen. George Washington to sink the French troop ships bringing soldiers and artillery to help us win our war of independence. (emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit)

This is exactly my thought.

Powered by Qumana

July 29, 2007 Posted by | Articles, History | 1 Comment

Tony Blair’s last interview as a PM

Actually, I am not 100% sure that it is his last interview as a Prime Minister.  But it is close to it, and very relevant (via LGF):

Blair here is very eloquent and pretty blunt.  He also threw out political correctness, perhaps because he does not care any more.

Powered by Qumana

July 3, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A disturbing story

Well, this disturbing story was first posted by Debbie Schlussel in May, but I have just discovered it, thanks to Pamela of Atlas Shrugs.  In light of the latest plot by some jihadi doctors I think it is very relevant:

…On December 1, 2003, Joe Applebaum was admitted to Rush North Shore Medical Center, a major hospital in Chicago. He was stricken with an acute (or distended) abdomen–a swelling of the stomach that is easily diagnosed and treated. But it was never treated by anyone at the hospital. For 12 hours, Joe Applebaum was left alone–left to die, which he did the next day.

A Jewish man, he was identified as a Jew on the front page of his medical chart. The chief resident doctor assigned to treat Mr. Applebaum, Osama Ahmed Ibrahim, MD, sure noticed the religious notation on Applebaum’s chart. And it appears that this is why he never once checked or examined this emergency patient, Mr. Applebaum, and left him to die. When another doctor at the hospital finally examined Mr. Applebaum–not his assigned doctor, Dr. Ibrahim, he told Applebaum’s son, Michael, to say good-bye to his father because he was about to die.

Dr. Ibrahim, is a Muslim from Birmingham, England–a hotbed of Islamic radicalism and terror planning. It is breeding ground for anti-Semitic hate. He is a graduate of Ain Shams University Medical School in Egypt. This extremist school featured on its faculty the father of Al-Qaeda mastermind and number two, Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri. There Zawahiri was a Muslim Brotherhood activist.

As usual, I recommend reading the whole thing.

Powered by Qumana

July 3, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Disappointment

I supported the Bush administration.  Although Bush wasn’t my first choice in 2000 (I voted for McCain, which might have been a mistake anyway), I voted for him with enthusiasm in 2004.  After all, his opponent was worthless and dishonest political opportunist.  But Bush keeps failing me and people like me.  The latest example is this:

At Wednesday’s rededication ceremony of the Saudi-funded Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., President Bush missed a perfect opportunity to repudiate apologism for radical Islam, and instead announced his latest plan to get the Muslim world to stop hating America: appoint a special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

Bush praised the OIC, saying, “We admire and thank those Muslims who have denounced what the Secretary General of the OIC called ‘radical fringe elements who pretend that they act in the name of Islam.’” The special envoy’s mission, Bush said, would be to “listen and learn” to OIC ambassadors.

While this may sound nice, it is rooted in complete ignorance of the rampant radicalism, pro-terrorist, and anti-American sentiments routinely found in statements by the OIC and its leaders, including referring to “Islamophobia” — and not the mass slaughter of innocents in the name of Islam — the “worst form of terrorism,” as OIC did last May.

Do read it all.  It looks like, while Bush is willing to fight to some extend, his heart is really in appeasement.  And that is how he might be remembered by history.  There was another leader in history who did go to war when he was backed against the wall, but whose name is forever associated with appeasement.  His name was Neville Chamberlain.

Powered by Qumana

July 1, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

History is important

Here is an interesting article, thanks to Pamela, a. k. a. Atlas:

After their military defeat by regular forces, the occupied population produced terrorists who engaged in bombings, sniping, poisonings, and other attacks on occupation forces and on the civilian population. They operated as irregulars in small terror units, armed with automatic weapons and bazookas.

Women and minors as young as eight participated in the terror attacks. They attempted to build weapons of mass destruction, using chemical poisons. They assassinated officials of the occupation regime. They had a special obsession with torturing and murdering "collaborators." They murdered hundreds of civilians, while thousands of the terrorists themselves were killed by the occupation armed forces. The occupiers responded to terror with brutality and force, sometimes using collective punishment.

The above does notrefer to or describe the anti-American and anti-British terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nor does it describe Palestinian terrorism against Israel launched from the West Bank and Gaza.

What it does refer to is the campaign of terrorism directed against Allied forces in Europe in the aftermath of the defeat of Nazi Germany. The terrorists were members of a number of underground "resistance" organizations attempting to punish the Allied "occupiers" and drive them out. The most important of the terror groups was known as Werwolf (German for werewolf).

A while ago there was an episode on the History Channel about Werwolves in Germany.  I can’t find a link to that particular episode now, but I did watch it.  The Nazis kept up their resistance well into 1948.  So, the comparison is definitely valid.

Powered by Qumana

July 1, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Go, Rudy!

I have already expressed on this blog my support for Rudy Giuliani’s candidacy for President in 2008.  I believe he is the kind of leader we need in order to win the war we are in right now.  Here is the link to Rudy’s "contract with America", explained in details:

1. I will keep America on offense in the Terrorists’ War on Us.

…………………………………………………………………………….

2. I will end illegal immigration, secure our borders and identify every non-citizen in our nation.

…………………………………………………………………………….

3. I will restore fiscal discipline and cut wasteful Washington spending.

…………………………………………………………………………….

4. I will cut taxes and reform the tax code.

…………………………………………………………………………….

5. I will impose accountability on Washington.

…………………………………………………………………………….

6. I will lead America towards energy independence.

…………………………………………………………………………….

7. I will give Americans more control over their health care with affordable and portable free-market solutions.

…………………………………………………………………………….

8. I will increase adoptions, decrease abortions, and protect the quality of life for our children.

…………………………………………………………………………….

9. I will reform the legal system and appoint strict constructionist judges.

…………………………………………………………………………….

10. I will ensure that every community in America is prepared for terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

…………………………………………………………………………….

11. I will provide access to a quality education to every child in America by giving real school choice to parents.

…………………………………………………………………………….

12. I will expand America’s involvement in the global economy and strengthen our reputation around the world.

Obviously, read the whole article for details.

Powered by Qumana

July 1, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Quick links 7-2-07

Again, in the interest of saving time, here are the links that I find important, but think it’s OK to lump them together:

Winds of War
Iran is making a mistake that may lead the Middle East into a broader conflict.

BY JOSHUA MURAVCHIK
Monday, June 25, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Several conflicts of various intensities are raging in the Middle East. But a bigger war, involving more states–Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, the Palestinian Authority and perhaps the United States and others–is growing more likely every day, beckoned by the sense that America and Israel are in retreat and that radical Islam is ascending.

…………………………………………………………………………….

A large portion of modern wars erupted because aggressive tyrannies believed that their democratic opponents were soft and weak. Often democracies have fed such beliefs by their own flaccid behavior. Hitler’s contempt for America, stoked by the policy of appeasement, is a familiar story. But there are many others. North Korea invaded South Korea after Secretary of State Dean Acheson declared that Korea lay beyond our "defense perimeter." Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait after our ambassador assured him that America does not intervene in quarrels among Arabs. Imperial Germany launched World War I, encouraged by Great Britain’s open reluctance to get involved. Nasser brought on the 1967 Six Day War, thinking that he could extort some concessions from Israel by rattling his sword.

Gaza’s Fall
The splitting of Palestine into two entities is clarifying.

By Charles Krauthammer

Gaza is now run not by a conventional political party, but by a movement that is revolutionary, Islamist, and terrorist. Worse, Hamas is a client of Iran. Gaza now constitutes the farthest reach of the archipelago of Iranian proxies: Hamas in Palestine, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Mahdi army (among others) in Iraq, and the Alawite regime of Syria.

This Islamist mini-replica of the Comintern is at war not just with Israel, but with the moderate Arab states, who finally woke up to this threat last summer when they denounced Hezbollah for provoking the Lebanon war with Israel. The fall of Gaza is particularly terrifying to Egypt because Hamas is so closely affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, the chief Islamist threat to the secular-nationalist regime that has ruled Egypt since the revolution of 1952. Which is why Egypt has just invited Israeli, Jordanian, and moderate Palestinian leaders to a summit next week — pointedly excluding and isolating Hamas.

The splitting of Palestine into two entities is nonetheless clarifying. Since Hamas won the parliamentary elections of January 2006, we’ve had to deal with the fiction of a supposedly unified Palestine ruled by an avowedly “unity” government of Fatah and Hamas. Now the muddle has undergone political hydrolysis, separating out the relatively pure elements: a Hamas-ruled Gaza and Fatah-ruled (for now) West Bank.

Two Palestines, Anyone?
By Daniel Pipes
FrontPageMagazine.com | June 20, 2007

The Hamas victory over Fatah in Gaza on June 14 has great importance for Palestinians, for the Islamist movement, and for the United States. It has rather less significance for Israel.

Tensions between Fatah and Hamas are likely to endure and with them, the split between the West Bank and Gaza. The emergence of two rival entities, "Hamastan" and "Fatahland," culminates a long-submerged conflict; noting the two regions’ fissiparous tendencies in 2001, Jonathan Schanzer predicted it "would not be all that surprising" were the Palestinian Authority (PA) to divide geographically. Subsequent events did indeed pulled them apart:

  • The anarchy that began in early 2004 spewed forth Palestinian clan chieftains and criminal warlords.
  • Yasir Arafat’s death in November 2004 removed the transcendentally evil figure who alone could bridge the two regions.
  • Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in mid-2005 deprived Gaza of its one stabilizing element.
  • Hamas’s victory in the PA elections of January 2006 provided a strong base from which to challenge Fatah.

Former Soviet Dissident Warns For EU Dictatorship

Vladimir Bukovksy, the 63-year old former Soviet dissident, fears that the European Union is on its way to becoming another Soviet Union. In a speech he delivered in Brussels last week Mr Bukovsky called the EU a “monster” that must be destroyed, the sooner the better, before it develops into a fullfledged totalitarian state.

Mr Bukovsky paid a visit to the European Parliament on Thursday at the invitation of Fidesz, the Hungarian Civic Forum. Fidesz, a member of the European Christian Democrat group, had invited the former Soviet dissident over from England, where he lives, on the occasion of this year’s 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising. After his morning meeting with the Hungarians, Mr Bukovsky gave an afternoon speech in a Polish restaurant in the Trier straat, opposite the European Parliament, where he spoke at the invitation of the United Kingdom Independence Party, of which he is a patron.

Powered by Qumana

July 1, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

   

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.