The Corner

How Will Victims of Hezbollah React to a Hagel Nomination?

The opposition to the rumored nomination of former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel is reaching fever pitch. Reports today indicate it may extend to the gay rights and Cuban-American communities. If the battles rages on, there is another group that may emerge to oppose him, too. 

Lynn Smith Derbyshire is the national spokeswoman for Beirut Families, a group of Americans who lost loved ones in Hezbollah’s 1983 attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut; her brother, a Marine helicopter pilot, was one of those murdered in the bombing. Derbyshire tells National Review Online, “It’s very disappointing to me that Senator Hagel has a record of not recognizing the threat of terrorism in the way he’s voted in the Senate.”

Hagel was one of twelve senators who refused to sign a 2006 letter calling on the European Union to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization; the letter argued that doing so would “have important symbolic value” and “further cut off funding sources and assets that are used to support Hezbollah’s ongoing terrorist acts.” Beirut Families has not decided whether it will take an official position on Hagel’s nomination, if it occurs, but Derbyshire says, “I am really concerned that if he becomes secretary of defense, we are going to go in the wrong direction.” 

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