WASHINGTON, D.C. -- If recent surveys of public opinion are correct, war-weary Americans are already suffering "combat fatigue" from the most recent battle in the global war on terror -- the fight between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Apparently the U.S. public doesn't believe this bloody engagement to have to do with us -- thus, the waning interest. Those who believe that Hezbollah is simply an Israeli problem need to think again.
"Know your enemy" isn't just a hackneyed military slogan -- it's an essential survival tool in this new world disorder of global Islamic terror. Hezbollah is -- and has always been -- America's enemy.
When Lebanon descended into civil war along sectarian and ethnic lines in 1975, nearly a half dozen rival factions with armed militias began a deadly struggle for power -- Christian, Sunni, Shia, Druze and Palestinian. Into this chaos, and well before Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, Ayatollah Khomeini began sending Pasdaran -- Iranian Revolutionary Guards -- to the Lebanese Biqa Valley to organize, train and equip the poorly armed, disparate Shia militias into an effective politico-military force. Hezbollah was the result -- and almost immediately, Americans began to die.
From their bases in the Biqa, Hezbollah terrorists launched a series of spectacular attacks against Americans:
-- April 18, 1983: A suicide bomber driving a pickup truck loaded with explosives rams into the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 -- including 17 Americans.
-- Oct. 23, 1983: A suicide bomber detonates a truck full of explosives in the U.S. Marine barracks near Beirut International Airport, killing 241 U.S. servicemen.
-- Dec. 12, 1983: Hezbollah operatives attack the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait. Near simultaneous attacks are carried out against the Emir of Kuwait, the French embassy, the airport, a major oil refinery and an American residential compound. In all, six people die; more than 80 are wounded.
-- April 2, 1986 -- a bomb aboard TWA Flight 840, en route from Athens to Rome Rome to Athens kills four members of the Kluge family from Annapolis, MD, an American family that included an infant girl.
-- Feb. 17, 1988: U.S. Marine Col. William Higgins, assigned to the U.N. Peacekeeping Force for Lebanon, is kidnapped, tortured and murdered.
-- June 14, 1985: TWA Flight 847 is hijacked and landed at Beirut International Airport. During the 17 day stand-off, U.S. Navy Seabee Diver Robert Stethem is murdered aboard the aircraft and his body is dumped on the tarmac.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.