February 14, 2008, - 12:32 pm
A member of the Stethem family wrote this great column she wrote for the New York Sun on the assassination of Hezbollah military chief Imad Mughniyeh. Mughniyeh helped torture and assassinate Robert Dean Stethem, the U.S. Navy diver on hijacked TWA Flight 847. As I’ve noted before, Stethem was tortured to death because he was an American, an American soldier, and because he refused–amidst much torture and stomping–to denounce America. That is the definition of a true patriot.
American Hero Robert Dean Stethem, Rest In Peace
Imad Mugniyah is, most tragically, a Stethem household name. His career of terror and exploits of destruction are well known to our family. One incident in particular is all too close to home. Imad Mugniyah was the Hezbollah mastermind of the 1985 TWA Flight 847 hijacking during which U.S. Navy Diver Robert Dean Stethem was brutally tortured and then murdered.
The memory of Robert’s bravery and heroism during his ordeal was formally recognized and forever preserved for posterity in the commissioning of the USS Stethem, an Aegis class guided missile destroyer. The ship motto is “Steadfast and Courageous,” a fitting tribute to this brave American son lost all too soon. The list of Imad Mugniyah’s acts of hatred is heartbreaking. . . .
As my husband held the phone and listened quietly, his expression was one of both relief and reserve.
There is, of course, the hesitancy of the civilized mind in the actual rejoicing over the death of another human being. That being said, this particular death is one for which we are thankful and in which we find relief. . . .
It is fitting that he would meet the same kind of violent fate as did so many of his victims. This time, the blood on his hands was his own. . . .
Hell’s gates have swung wide open and swallowed one whom earth has regurgitated. He will not be comforted and his cries will be unheard. Imad Mugniyah is now denied the same mercy that he refused his victims.
The death of Imad Mugniyah does not bring back Robert Stethem. That son was ripped from his parents, snatched from his sister and brothers. He is a distant memory to one nephew and but a revered shadow to his other nephew and nieces. The murder of Robert Stethem was a devastating loss to his family. But it is the knowledge of Rob’s unspeakably brutal suffering that was and remains their agony. Time heals the sting of a personal loss. What time cannot touch is an imagination haunted by thoughts of a loved one’s torture for 15 hours, alone, on the other side of the world without a chance to be kissed goodbye or to be told how very much he would be missed.
As the Stethem Family and countless other freedom-loving Americans agree, despite Hezbollah’s claims, Imad Mughniyeh is not a martyr. He is a monster. And he is not enjoying 72 mythical virginal rape victims-in-waiting. He is rotting and burning in jehenim [Arabic for "hell"].
In the Stethem family, yesterday was a new day. Read the whole thing!
Tags: America, brother-in-law, Debbie Schlussel My, diver, Hizballah, Imad Mughniyeh, Imad Mugniyah, military chief, Robert Dean Stethem, the New York Sun, United States Navy