The way to clean up the Middle East UN forgets important truth: terrorists can’t kill us when they’re already dead

This is a republication of an original article written by Craig Finkelstein in the Breeze on Thursday, August 31, 2006.

The importance of fighting the war on terror was not taken seriously enough this summer when the United States and the rest of the world failed to commit themselves to defending democracy and fighting international terrorism. With one of the most pressing threats to the safety of Americans coming from global terrorism, we missed an opportunity to seriously strike a blow against this dangerous foe.

The main event of this summer was a war between Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East, and Hezbollah, a U.S. Department of State-designated terrorist organization committed to the destruction of both Israel and the United States.

Hezbollah committed an act of war on July 12 by crossing over a sovereign international boundary and kidnapping two Israeli soldiers (and killing three others in the process). This heinous act gave the United States and Israel an opportunity to finally step up to help preserve freedom and democracy by disposing of a terrorist network that itself has shed not only Israeli blood, but American blood as well. Hezbollah’s actions and existence mark an extreme threat to the security of the United States, and they must be dealt with seriously.

To put America’s security situation in context and historical perspective, one must remember that before there was al-Qaida, there was Hezbollah. Hezbollah did, in fact, bomb the American Embassy in Beirut in both 1983 and 1984, and also committed what generally is considered the first ever international terrorist attack against American interests with the bombing of the American Marine Barracks in Beirut. The attack resulted in the deaths of 241 American servicemen.

Just like al-Qaida, Hezbollah has claimed the lives of Americans and continues to remain a threat to our security. The United States and the rest of the world must deal with Hezbollah as it should every other terrorist organization — through the use of force. The United States cannot continue to rely on diplomacy and United Nations resolutions to be able to deal with the problem of terrorism for the simple fact that they do not work. Diplomacy, treaties or negotiations would have done nothing to prevent Sept. 11 from happening. No matter which way you look at it, terrorist groups like al-Qaida and Hezbollah have one purpose: to kill or be killed. Had the United States not chosen to exercise the military option by removing al-Qaida from Afghanistan, they would have continued to operate unfettered and possibly have struck more blows against American interests.

The war in Lebanon was halted by the U.N. Security Resolution 1701, which called for the complete disarmament of Hezbollah and the return of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers. A U.N. resolution, however, is futile not only because of the fact that it is dealing with radical terrorists, but because there already was a U.N. resolution that called for nearly the exact same terms. U.N. resolution 1559, which was implemented back in 2004, entrusted the government of Lebanon to disarm Hezbollah and to use a U.N. force to maintain border control between Lebanon and Israel. The failure of both the U.N. and the Lebanese government to act on these resolutions allowed Hezbollah to continue to disrupt the peace and security of the Middle East and caused this conflict to occur.

If Hezbollah was not removed the first time when the international community called for it, why would it be removed this time? The first resolution did not work and a second one, sadly, will bring about no progress for the war on terror. The world must not forget what occurred on Sept. 11, and the response we showed to those who wish to destroy the existence of democracy. We must choose to deal with Hezbollah the same way we have dealt with al-Qaida, or else we may find ourselves no safer than we were that fateful day five years ago.

About the Author

Craig Finkelstein is a contributing writer for the Breeze and a senior international affairs major.