2006-01-10 13:34:06 UTC
"Justice Will Be Done"
Remembering Robert Dean Stethem.
This is a letter from Kenneth Stethem to President George W. Bush.
Ken is a former U.S. special-forces operator and the brother of Robert
Dean Stethem, the Navy diver who was brutally tortured and murdered
by Hezbollah 20 years ago. Robert's murderer was just released by
the German government (and fled to Lebanon) in an apparent exchange
for a German hostage in Iraq.
The administration has falsely claimed (according to my sources) that
we did not know in advance about the release and the administration
has not acted to compel the Lebanese government to arrest Stethem's
killer, Muhammad Ali Hammadi, and turn him over to face American
justice. That is why Ken Stethem, on behalf of the rest of his family
(including his and Robert's parents), has written this powerful letter.
Let's hope the president is as moved by the letter as I am.
Date: January 8, 2006 4:15:57 PM PST
Subject: ROBERT DEAN STETHEM
I would like to provide you with an explanation as to why Muhammed Ali
Hammadi's recent release by Germany, and your Administration's lack of
any attempt to prevent it, is so upsetting to our family and to Americans
everywhere. I am not writing you out of grief or anger but out of a hope
that his example will inspire you to follow act on your own words and the
dictates of your conscious in this War on Terror.
Robert Dean Stethem was singled out, beaten beyond recognition and
tortured in order to make him scream into a transmitter (so that the tower
would send a fuel truck). Not a cry was heard to come from him, despite
the brutal beating he endured. Instead he chose to remain silent and
endure the beatings because he knew that the only way a rescue attempt
could be conducted by U.S. forces was if the aircraft remained on the
After Robert was beaten and tortured and bleeding from puncture wounds
all over his body, he was placed next to a 16-year old Australian girl. As
bad as Robert was beaten, he had the courage and strength to comfort
and console her. He told her that, "She would be okay and that she would
get out of here alive." When she tried to return the comfort, he said, "No,
I don't think so. I am the only one in my group that is not married and
some of the guys have children, too." Some time later, Robert was again
taken up to the cockpit and tortured in order to get the fuel. But it didn't
work, he would not give in to them.
One of the hijackers, Muhammed Ali Hammadi, was so enraged that he
dragged Robert to the door, pulled a trigger and shot Robert in the head.
Then he dumped Robert's body onto the tarmac. While Robert was being
dragged to the door, he knew that all he had to do in order to live was to
cry into that transmitter, but he wouldn't do it. He would not give in to the
demands of the terrorists. He would not allow the honor and dignity of
America to be intimidated by the fear and pain that Hammadi and
terrorists everywhere represent. Robert sacrificed his life in order to
protect our liberty and defend our way of life.
You have rightly said, "Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring
justice to our enemies, justice will be done." You have truly said that "We
are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by
them." Robert lived by them. Robert also died by them. The motto of
the USS SSTETHEM (DDG-63), named in Robert's honor, is "Steadfast
and Courageous." I hope that his example, and the example of other
heroes like him can inspire you to understand why allowing Germany to
release Hammadi was a wrong. Justice was not done, Robert was not
honored and Americans are not safer by allowing Hammadi to return to
Lebanon and Hezbollah.
You know this, we know this and the American people know this.
The Germans have always refused to extradite the thug, Hammadi
to the US. Last month, they released him after he had served 18
years of a life sentence. Coincidentally (so they say), a German
hostage in Iraq was freed a day later.
Stethem was beaten so badly his body had to be ID'ed from his
fingerprints. Hammadi is free in Lebanon today.
Anybody want to buy a Volkswagen?