THE SPINE FEBRUARY 13, 2008
Imad Mughniyah is dead. He wasn't a household name, not even among the crazed Arab throngs who are shrieking for revenge. But he was probably the single most accomplished terrorist in the entire world. Read the coverage of his life-before-death in the New York Times, in Ha'aretz and in the Jerusalem Post to grasp the extent of his bloody achievements. The Times focuses on the blood that he shed of enormous numbers of Americans and the damage he did to American interests. He was, as the Times said, "behind the bombings of the United States embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut in 1982," for a death toll of 304 lives. Ha'aretz and the Post concentrate understandably on his relentless assaults against Israelis and against non-Israeli Jews. It is he who is primarily culpable for the atrocities against the Israeli embassy in 1992 and the Jewish community center in 1993, both in Buenos Aires, which took the lives of more than 100 people. And these are only the beginnings of his murderous hand. No one has claimed credit for this retributive and preventative killing, and Israel has denied that it was its deed. But I hope that, actually, it was the hand of the Mossad or another of the security arms of the Jewish state that brought Mughniyah to justice, and I more than suspect that it was. Still, I'd also be satisfied if it was American justice that brought about his end. It would signal that the U.S. doesn't still think that master terrorists, like Mughniyah and bin Laden, need to be tried in a court of law, the crazy inhibition that, as the 9/11 report tells us, Mme. Albright and her peers insisted on for justice to be done to murderous men of Al Quaeda.