But this isn't, as they say, your father's heartland. Hezbollah itself is popular in Dearborn, which can fill a banquet hall to celebrate "Lebanon Liberation Day" -- the day Hezbollah claims as its 2000 victory over withdrawing Israeli forces. Osama Siblani, the publisher of Dearborn's Arab American News, considers Hezbollah, along with Hamas and other jihadist groups, to be "freedom fighters." And, as Siblani tells it to the Detroit News, he's not alone: "If morally supporting Hezbollah or associating with [Hezbollah spiritual leader Muhammad Hussein] Fadlallah is a crime, 'there is not (sic) going to be enough buses to haul the people out and take them to jail.'"
Siblani was speaking before the Israeli offensive began. But not before the 1983 Hezbollah bombings in Beirut that killed 241 US servicemen, 63 U.S. Embassy personnel and 58 French paratroopers. And not before the 1984 Hezbollah torture-murder of CIA station chief in Lebanon William Buckley. And not before the 1985 Hezbollah hijacking of TWA Flight 847 and the torture-murder of Navy diver Robert Stethem. And not before the 1988 Hezbollah torture-murder of Col. William Higgins. And not before the Hezbollah bombings of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992, killing 29, the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in 1994, killing 96, or the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, killing 19 U.S. servicemen.
American sympathy for Hezbollah profanes American dead. In our wide-open society, however, such allegiance isn't considered beyond the pale. But it should be. And it could be. I have long argued that the "war on terror" is an amorphous term, sacrificing clarity for fuzzy political correctness. What if we, as a nation, belatedly declared war on specific jihadist groups -- Al Qaeda and Hezbollah and other organizations dedicated to our destruction? This would have the tonic effect of clarifying not only our enemies' identity, but our own. We can't fight if we don't know who we're fighting. We can't win if we don't know who we are.