Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Is the Iranian Deal a Good One? Ask a Marine!

Ask yourself what product or service you have been craving, but unable to obtain, for the last thirty years, due to ongoing sanctions against Iran. For the life of me, there is not a thing that I am missing. Not a dish, not an object, not a book, not a thing that I have any sense of having lost, or having suffered the deprivation of, because of sanctions against Iran. Can you name one thing?

Given that virtually every American's answer is the same as mine, I am at a constant loss to understand any reason based in our needs as a People to reach an agreement with Iran, which has been and remains a State sponsor of terror. Yet, for months and months, the Obama Administration has stood on the European street corner in cheap makeup, stiletto heels, and an ultra-miniskirt, trying to catch the eye of the Ayatollahs of Iran, and dropping the price on the toss in the hay it offers, minute by minute.

I guess I just need someone to explain it to me. Someone who understands the realities of the world today, who sees the potential for Iran to be transformed through our kiss-kiss and make-nice diplomacy.

As I thought about the sources to which I could turn, who could answer my questions, particularly the troubling ones about the three decades long history of Iran as an international sponsor of terrorism, I suddenly realized to whom I could turn.

Vincent Smith.

When I was a very wee lad, and my dad a Marine JAG officer, our family was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, near Havelock, North Carolina. Among families our befriended aboard the Air Station, one was the Smith family. They had children in our age range. One of my brothers, David, became good friends then with Vincent.

Of course, as can happen, we all grew up and moved to distant locations, we took up careers, and raised families. Still, I thought I would see if Vincent Smith could give me the insight I needed to make an appropriate judgment about Obama's deal with Iran.

Vincent, like his dad, became a Marine, serving in the Air Wing of the Corps.

Here's a photograph of him, taken when he was a young Marine officer:

Of course, not every person that serves in the US Military is an expert on issues of international relations, or international terrorism, or the question of whether Iran is a State sponsor of terrorism. Honestly. Some serve their enlistment buried deep in the bowels of computing centers, processing payroll. Some spend their time processing deliveries of materiel. Even those whose tours of duty take them overseas do not necessarily acquire intimate knowledge of such questions.

Vincent, however, isn't one of those.

Vincent could answer my questions about the role of Iran as a State sponsor of terror. In particular, he could talk with me about how Iran uses puppets, like Hamas in the Gaza Strip, or Hezbollah in Lebanon, to inflict substantial harm on civilian populations, induce social unrest, and to kill.

So, I have decided to speak with Vincent about these things.

I thought you might find some value in reading a transcript of our conversation, it appears in its entirety below.

I began by asking him whether he considered the proposed deal with Iran a good deal for America. I also asked him whether he was convinced that Iran has abandoned its over thirty year history of being a State supporter of terror. Finally, I asked Vince if he would give those that read my blog an explanation of how it was that he was familiar with the impact of Iranian sponsorship of terror groups like Hamas in Gaza, and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Here are his answers:

You see, Captain Vincent Smith, USMC, died serving his Nation. At the time of his murder at the hands of Hezbollah terrorists, he was serving as a peacekeeper with the Marines in Beirut, Lebanon. Yes, Vincent was one of those Marines, one of those peacekeepers. The ones -- 241 Marines and Naval medical personnel -- killed in their sleep when their barracks was destroyed by a Hezbollah truck bomb.

So, in a sense, of course, we will never know what sixty-two year old Vincent Lee Smith would say in response to my questions. We won't know because Iran's paid stooges, Hezbollah, murdered Captain Smith, his men, and those serving with him, in a direct act of terror.

Seriously, Jim. Are you so sure that Hezbollah is the paid stooge of Iran?

If you don't believe me, then you don't read or don't care.  But, to clarify, here's a photograph to consider:

The distinguished gentleman on the right, with white beard and hair?

That's the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammed Zarif. This photo catches the live action as Zarif lays a wreath at the tomb of Imad Mugniyah.

And just who was Imad Mugniyah?

According to the revolutionaries in Iran, Mugniyah was a senior member of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Or, you could ask the Washington Post to introduce you to Imad. If you do, you will meet the mastermind

  • of the Beirut Bombing that killed Vincent Smith, along with 240 other American servicemen, along with members of the French military stationed with them
  • of the kidnapping and murder of the CIA Station Chief in Lebanon, William F. Buckley, in 1984 
  • of the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847, resulting in the murder of Robert Stethem, a US Navy diver
  • of the 1992 bombing of Israel's Embassy in Argentina, which killed 29, including 4 Israelis and 25 Argentines
  • of the 1994 bombing of an Jewish community center in Argentina, which killed nearly 100, mostly Jews
  • of the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, with the resulting death of, among others, 19 US Air Force pilots and service members, and
  • of the training in 2006 and 2007 of Shiite militias headed to battle US troops in Iraq, resulting in the killing or wounding of additional hundreds of US troops.

Yet, as shown above, while the Obama administration was falling over itself in a school girl swoon to get an agreement with Iran on nuclear technology, Iran's foreign minister laid a wreath to honor the murdering puppet Iran used to kill hundreds of Americans.

Still, there are voices that can speak in place of Vince's. For example, Vince's sister, Lynn Smith Derbyshire. Derbyshire testified in an action seeking damages against the Islamic Republic of Iran that was tried before Judge Royce Lamberth, a federal judge in Washington, DC. Judge Lamberth included salient portions of her testimony in his final judgment against Iran:
I'm not sure it's true that time heals wounds, but even so, a wound which has healed over time is not the same thing as not having a wound. Even a healing wound gets reopened from time to time.
[A]s I have talked to so many of the Beirut families, I believe that many of them would concur with me when I say that the pain does not stop when you bury the dead; it is only the very beginning. We feel this loss over and over  and over again. It does not go away and it does not lessen with time; that is a myth. It is more like teaching someone who has a chronic pain disorder how to manage and embrace their pain than it is a lessening of pain. 
I have spoken to quite a number of the family member and I think we're all--I think they would all agree with me when I tell you that what Vince would have wanted was justice. Vince was a fair-minded man. Vince was a man of integrity, as I know so many of the men who were lost that day were. It's the kind of men Marines are. 
That's what the Marine Corps produces. And Vince would have wanted us to fight. Vince would have said ... we must hold these men accountable. Vince would have said that it is time for justice, that it is time for compensation, that it is time to make it--to make them pay enough to make them stop, because Vince was a man who believed in what was right, and if he had lived, he would be sitting here in my place and he would be saying, "Come on, sis, let's go get them." 
But he can't be here, and in his name, and in his honor, and with the permission of some of the other family members here ... in their names and in their honor, I salute them, and we stand together to do what they cannot do for themselves. 
So, I sit here, staring at the screen.

I've also spent some time looking at a family photo taken when Vince was a teen. He and his five brothers and three sisters in a group setting. And I wonder how it must wound them again, to see America's president negotiating with the world's leading State sponsor of terror. How it must tear at them to know that the nation that spent hundreds of millions of dollars to inflict death and destruction, and that deputized the Mugniyahs who visited murder on so many has found such an easy lay in our President.

Vince's voice cannot speak out against Obama's outrage and insult of the memories of those "who came in peace."

Vince's voice cannot speak out for William Buckley, who served in the Nation's clandestine service.

Vince's voice cannot speak out for the Airmen killed in the Khobar Towers.

Vince's voice cannot speak out for the Israelis and Argentinians killed in bombing there.

Vince's voice cannot speak for the American servicemen killed in Iraq by Iran's puppet's trainees.

But I can. And I will. I hope you will speak too.