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Mideast Hijacking

June 25, 1985

I nearly wept in frustration over the American passengers being held hostage by Shia Muslim terrorists. My blood boiled with rage and bitterness. I was angry at our government's lack of response as well as at the crime being committed. I wasn't reacting with the typically narrow-minded response: "They can't do this to Americans."

But I couldn't help feeling some kind of affinity for the people because they are Americans. What angered me was that they became victims of their own country's inept foreign policy and military. They were targets precisely because they were U.S. citizens. And for that reason their lives were in danger from the start. They represent a nation of unpopular views and activities. They come from the hotbed of the world's original evils, according to their captors.

In retrospect, it might be more accurate to say that they come from a country whose most violent reaction to this atrocity is to say, "Oh, golly." We could add that they are people protected by a military whose tactics are as useful as a bullet hole in an airplane at 32,000 feet.

We're fighting a losing battle against an army that officials tell us is unidentifiable. Somebody has declared war on our people. Maybe the rules have changed and maybe it's not the kind of war we want to fight. Meanwhile, the body count continues to rise: the Marines in Beirut, and now a sailor on an airplane.

Somewhere our priorities got screwed up. We send our troops to fight our wars in the wrong places. We have a false sense of pride in our misplaced power. We boast about an invasion of some inconsequential island called Grenada, on which the only real danger to Americans was sunburn. Meanwhile, our honor fades as the world watches us gawk helplessly at terrorists abusing our diplomats, soldiers and citizens.

When it's time to really defend our people, we've failed miserably in the recent past. When is it going to end?



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