Party of God and Reagan: A Hezbollah History Lesson

Greg Palast

OK, class, answer this question — and let’s not see the same hands:

President George W. Bush says, “Syria has been a primary sponsor of Hezbollah and it has helped provide Hezbollah with shipments of Iranian made weapons…[which] threaten the entire Middle East.”

This month marks the twenty-first anniversary of a shipment of 508 anti-tank missiles to Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in support of Hezbollah. Who approved that shipment?

Need a hint? The shipments were approved by a group which calls itself, “The Party of God.”

That’s right, Republican President Ronald Reagan sent the Ayatollah the weapons (and a birthdayreagan antlers cake — no kidding) in return for loot to fund the illegal war against the elected government of Nicaragua. As part of the deal, Iran’s operatives in Hezbollah would release the two dozen hostages they’d taken, including a Presbyterian minister, a Catholic priest, a librarian and US reporter Terry Anderson. After the arms shipment, Hezbollah released three of the hostages and over time, executed several others. With Iran’s funding, the US supplied its own terrorist group, the “contras,” with weapons used in the killing of 30,000 Nicaraguans.

Bonus essay question: If President Bush wants to give Israel another week to “finish the job” of wiping out Hezbollah and its backers, shouldn’t he add an extra day to finish off Ollie North?

Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, “ARMED MADHOUSE: Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats Bush Sinks, the Scheme to Steal ’08, No Child’s Behind Left and other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War.”