My stomach churned and my breath grew shallow as I read his emotional letter describing the carnage when scores of U.S. Marines were pulverized by a single terrorist in Beirut. The man who would one day become my husband was on bridge watch aboard the USS Joseph Hewes, patrolling the gunline just off the beach that fateful day in 1983.
“The number of black body bags on nearby Iwo Jima grows larger every hour,” Andy wrote. “Yet, people continue to play on the beach, seemingly oblivious to the smoldering bodies and terror around them.”
Our young men in uniform were in the region, not in time of war, but as part of a multi-national peacekeeping force. When all the bloodied and mangled bodies were counted, the world learned that 241 U.S. servicemen had been murdered in a single barbaric act of terrorism orchestrated by Hezbollah -- the same Hezbollah cowards that are tormenting and terrorizing Israel some 23 years after Andy penned those words.
Hezbollah has always hated Israel and the United States. According to Heritage Foundation Middle East expert James Phillips, since Iran founded the violent gang in 1982, its primary objective has been to spread their blood-soaked brand of “revolution,” to mobilize Lebanese Shiites and to sponsor “terrorist surrogates” to attack Israel and the U.S.
But, as Phillips explains, their current attacks on Israel are specifically calculated to distract attention from the debate over Iran’s nuclear program. Iran is the power behind Hezbollah, providing them with arms, money and training. The long-range Katyusha rockets fired last week at Israel’s northern port of Haifa, for example, were provided by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
Today, points out Heritage Senior Research Fellow Ariel Cohen, “Hezbollah is a subcontractor of Iran in the Gaza Strip, teaching Hamas advance terrorist tactics, including tank attacks and soldier kidnappings. Hezbollah does not operate independently. Its remote control is in Tehran, and it also coordinates tactically with Syria, where Khaled Meshal, the paramount leader of Hamas, resides.”
Another goal of the latest attacks, Cohen adds, is to prove that Iran and its Shiite allies are the leaders in the struggle against Israel and the U.S. -- not al Qaeda. Plus, he says, Hezbollah wants to split the Group of Eight, or G-8, between those who support Israel (primarily, the U.S.) and those who would express support for the Arab cause: