Monday, July 31, 2006

The Threat from Hezbollah to U.S. Security Interests

Jeff Jacoby's got a sobering piece up today at on the threat Hezbollah poses to U.S. security. Regular readers here at Burkean Reflections will remember Jacoby's commentary, as I previously posted an excerpt from his incisive Boston Globe article, "Are You a Chicken Hawk?"

In today's piece, Jacoby notes that Sheik Hassan Nazrallah pledged "death to America" in February 2005. Here's the article's introduction:

According to a pair of Gallup polls released last week, 83 percent of Americans say Israel is justified in taking military action against Hezbollah, while 76 percent disapprove of Hezbollah's attacks on Israel. Yet when asked which side in the conflict the United States should take, 65 percent answer: neither side. Indeed, 3 in 4 Americans say they are concerned that the US military will be drawn into the fighting, or that it will increase the likelihood of terrorism against the United States.

Gallup's numbers suggest two things. First, that most Americans, sizing up the warfare in northern Israel and southern Lebanon, recognize that Hezbollah is the aggressor and that Israel is fighting in self-defense. And second, that most Americans believe this fight has nothing to do with the United States.

Welcome to Sept. 10.

For years Osama bin Laden had preached that it was "the duty of Muslims to confront, fight, and kill" Americans. His adherents had responded by blowing up the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and slamming a boat laden with explosives into the USS Cole. Yet most Americans paid no attention to Al Qaeda and its threats -- until 3,000 people lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.

Has nothing been learned from that experience?

Hezbollah's barbaric assault on Israel -- kidnapping and murdering soldiers who weren't engaged in hostilities, firing waves of missiles into cities and towns, packing rockets with ball bearings meant to maximize suffering by shredding human flesh -- is part and parcel of the radical Islamist jihad against the free world. Nothing to do with the United States? It has *everything* to do with the United States. Hezbollah hates Americans at least as implacably as Al Qaeda does, and rarely misses an opportunity to say so.

Jacoby notes that the Bush administration's spokesman, Tony Snow, on July 19, was hesitant to recognize Hezbollah's threat to the U.S. when asked if this was "as much the United States' war as it was Israel's."

Perhaps Snow was being coy, seeking to gain time from press corps queries on administration objectives, in furtherance of the administration's support for Israel's effort to neutralize the threat from Hezbollah's rocket capabilities in Southern Lebanon. Who knows? Whatever the case, though, Jacoby's right: This is our war, too!

No comments: