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.
"We consider [America] to be an enemy because it wants to humiliate our governments, our regimes, and our peoples,"
railed Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, at an enormous rally in February 2005. (Video of Nasrallah's speech,
which was broadcast on Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV, has been posted on the internet by MEMRI, the Middle East Media
Research Institute.) "It is the greatest plunderer of our treasures, our oil, and our resources. . . . Our motto, which we are not
afraid to repeat year after year, is: 'Death to America!' "
And from tens of thousands of Hezbollah supporters came the answering cry: "Death to America! Death to America! Death
to America! Death to America!"
These are anything but empty threats. Prior to 9/11, Hezbollah was responsible for more American casualties than any other
terrorist organization in the world. Among its victims was Army officer William F. Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut who
was abducted by Hezbollah in March 1984 and who died after 15 months in captivity of torture and illness.
And the young Navy diver Robert Stethem, singled out during the 1985 Hezbollah hijacking of TWA Flight 847 and brutally
beaten before being shot to death.
And William Higgins, a colonel in the Marine Corps and commander of the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, who was
seized by Hezbollah in February 1988, tortured, and eventually hanged. (As Michelle Malkin perceptively noted last week, the
tape of Higgins, bound and gagged and swinging from a rope, was one of the first publicly disseminated jihadi snuff films.)
And the 241 US servicemen murdered by Hezbollah on Oct. 23, 1983, when a suicide bomber drove a truck rigged with
12,000 pounds of TNT into their barracks at the Beirut airport.
And the 19 US servicemen killed in the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.
For more than two decades, Hezbollah's Shi'ite fanatics, backed by Iran and sheltered by Syria, have made it their business
to murder, maim, hijack, and kidnap Americans with the same irrational hostility they harbor for Israel. Yet when Tony Snow,
the Bush administration's gifted spokesman, was asked on July 19 whether the president believes "that this is as much the United States' war as it is Israel's war," he answered, "No," and then tried to change the subject. A moment later the question returned: "I don't think you really answered the part about why is this not our war?"
Snow's incredible reply: "Why would it be our war? I mean, it's not on our territory. This is a war in which the United States it's not even a war. What you have are hostilities, at this point, between Israel and Hezbollah. I would not characterize it as a war."
9/11, it was said time and time again, "changed everything." No longer would Americans walk around with eyes wide shut, oblivious to the threat from the Islamofascists. Not our war? Listen again to the Hezbollah hordes: "Death to America! Death to America!"
They're serious about it deadly serious. Why aren't we?