(On October 23, 1983, Iranian backed terrorists carried out the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut leading to the largest loss of life by Marines in one day since Iwo Jima. This is the 40th anniversary of that Islamic terrorist attack. What follows is a reprint of an article I wrote in 2014)
“The worst part for me is that nobody remembers,” Mark Nevells said on the anniversary of the Hezbollah bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut. A Marine had thrown his body in front of the truck to try stop the vehicle and afterward for five days, Nevells and other Marines had dug through the rubble for the bodies of the men they had served with. One of the first Marines on the scene heard voices coming from underneath the rubble. “Get us out. Don’t leave us.” The Marines lost more people that day than at any time since Iwo Jima and the number of Americans murdered that day by a terrorist group was a record that would stand until September 11. In Washington, the murder of 220 Marines and the Iranian, Ismail Ascari, who drove the truck full of explosives that tore through their barracks, are inconvenient truths and lost memories. And it has always been that way.
Before the attack, the NSA intercepted a message from Iranian intelligence in Tehran to the Iranian ambassador in Damascus ordering “a spectacular action against the United States Marines.” Mohsen Rafiqdoost, Khomeini’s bodyguard who helped found Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and served as Minister of Revolutionary Guards during the bombing, boasted, “both the TNT and the ideology, which in one blast sent to hell 400 officers, NCOs, and soldiers at the Marines headquarters, were provided by Iran.” The Marines who died in the bombing were lucky. Another Marine did not die as quickly. Colonel William R. Higgins was captured by Hezbollah, the terrorist group acting as Iran’s hand in Lebanon, and tortured for months until his body was dumped near a mosque. An autopsy report found that he had been starved and had suffered multiple lethal injuries that could have caused his death. The skin on his face had been partially removed along with his tongue and he had also been castrated.Fred Hof, a diplomat who had been a friend of the murdered man, said, “I am one of a small handful of Americans who knows the exact manner of Rich’s death. If I were to describe it to you now – which I will not – I can guarantee that a significant number of people in this room would become physically ill.” “The State Department, not the Defense Department, had the lead. That meant diplomacy, not military might. It meant no retribution, no retaliation, no rescue,” Robin L. Higgins, his wife, wrote. Colonel Higgins’ wife and daughter sued Iran for the murder and won a $355 million judgment from seized Iranian assets. The court found that, “Although an act of cruel savagery, the mutilation of the Colonel’s body was apparently consistent with the Islamic Guard’s fulfillment of Iranian foreign policy.” Like Higgins, William Francis Buckley, the CIA station chief, was also captured and tortured for months. On video tapes released by his Hezbollah captors, he was incoherent and his mind had been broken by the horrors inflicted on his ravaged body and his soul. “They had done more than ruin his body,” CIA Director William Casey said. “His eyes made it clear his mind had been played with. It was horrific, medieval and barbarous” Imad Mughniyah was reportedly one of Buckley’s main interrogators and Iran passed along messages offering to trade Buckley in exchange for weapons sales. Robert Stethem, a Navy diver, was brutally murdered when Hezbollah terrorists took over TWA flight 847. The Iranian-backed terrorists, one of whom was Imad Mughniyah, beat and kicked him to death. “They were jumping in the air and landing full force on his body. He must have had all his ribs broken,” Uli Derickson, the stewardess, described. “I was sitting only 15 feet away. I couldn’t listen to it. I put my fingers in my ears. I will never forget. I could still hear. They put the mike up to his face so his screams could be heard by the outside world.” Stethem’s screams, like those of the other American victims of Iran, have yet to be heard in Washington. After the bombing of the American embassy in Beirut, the terrorist group that took credit for the attack warned, “This is part of the Iranian revolution’s campaign against imperialist targets throughout the world.” It may be tempting to dismiss all this as ancient history, but the terror never stopped. In 1996, 19 Air Force airmen were killed in the bombing of the Khobar Towers with another truck bomb. “The Khobar Towers bombing was planned, funded, and sponsored by senior leadership in the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the judgment in yet another case by victims of terrorism against Iran found. President Clinton responded to the Iranian act of terror with a conciliatory message to Mohammad Khatami, another newly elected phony reformer playing the part of the President of Iran “The United States has no hostile intentions towards the Islamic Republic of Iran and seeks good relationships with your government,” Clinton wrote. “In order to lay a sound basis for better relations between our countries, we need a clear commitment from you that you will ensure an end to Iranian involvement in terrorist activity.” The Iranians rejected the call for peace and Clinton, who had earlier told advisors, “I don’t want any pissant half-measures”, backed down, as he usually did when confronted with Islamic terror.The 9/11 Commission found evidence that the majority of the “muscle” operatives who would terrorize the crews and passengers had “traveled into or out of Iran between October 2000 and February 2001.“ After September 11, top Al Qaeda officials fled to Iran as part of its policy of covertly allowing Al Qaeda terrorists to travel across its border without passport stamps. The key figure in the cooperation between Iran and Al Qaeda was once again Imad Mughniyah who met with and influenced Osama bin Laden. The 1998 indictment of Al Qaeda stated that the terrorist group had “forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with representatives of the government of Iran, and its associated terrorist group Hezbollah, for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States.” After the Israelis finally took out Mughniyah with a bomb in his headrest, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared, “The pure blood of martyrs like Imad Mugniyah will grow hundreds like him.” All these horrific acts of terror took place as a result of Jimmy Carter’s appeasement of Iran. What blood price will be exacted for Obama’s appeasement of Iran?