Did you know that out of the monthly salary of every soldier in the Lebanese Army, a 7% tax is levied that goes straight into Hezbollah's coffers? This is supposedly to compensate Hezbollah for fighting "in lieu" of the Lebanese army in "defending Lebanon and resisting against Israel"?
Did you know that Lebanese Army salaries are in large part paid by "donor nations" like the US, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the EU, etc. who have kept Lebanon artificially alive for the past 20 years by pumping money into the failed country of Lebanon?
Did you know that Lebanon's GDP of $30 billion is about half the national debt of $60 billlion which was incurred by Rafik Hariri who "lent" all that money to the Lebanese government from his own money by stealing half the real estate in downtown Beirut at pitiful prices from its rightful owners?
Did the US not know that large fractions of the money that it has been doling out to the Lebanon were going to Hezbollah indirectly? For example, the US government gives the Lebanese government subsidies to shore up its decrepit infrastructure like electricity. However, a good chunk of that money ends up largely pilfered by the massively corrupt Lebanese government and administration, including Hezbollah ministers and operatives. Also, supposedly because Hezbollah is "defending" Lebanon, all Shiite territories and enclaves occupied by Hezbollah and to which the Lebanese government is denied access steal electricity from the national grid and do not pay any bills - that's about 30% of the Lebanese population. This is the primary reason why the LEbanese government has been unable to restore the electric service to 24-7 since 1990, and why electricity is still rationed to 8 hours a day.
Does the US not know that the Syria it called a "factor of stability" in Lebanon for 30 years (from 1973 to 2003, when Colin Powell was the first US official to refer to the Syrian occupation as "occupation" when for the previous 30 years all US officials called it "presence") is by far the single reason why there is no peace in the Middle East today?
How can the US be surprised all of a sudden that Hezbollah has been the indirect recipient of US Aid for decades through money shunted by the Lebanese government to Hezbollah or stolen by Hezbollah and their Amal leader ally, Nabih Berri?
In my own visits to Lebanon, I have spoken to senior Lebanese Army officials and others who tell me there is nothing they can do about Hezbollah's control of the Army and its usurpation of the power and authority that should the Army's alone. Hezbollah';s control and domination of Lebanon are a political decision made by the supposedly US allies in Lebanon, the likes of Saad Hariri, Amine Gemayel, Samir Geagea, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, etc.... All the leaders of the pro-US "March 14" organization are in bed with Hezbollah, they sit in the same Parliament with Hezbollah, and they sit on the same government with Hezbollah, and they chant Hezbollah's "resistance" and "defense" and "bravery" every day, going so far as welcoming Hezbollah's murderers and criminals and terrorists on red carpets.
How can the US be surprised that, by helping the traditionalists in the Lebanese political establishment - those feudal and religious leaders who ran the war and destroyed their own country - they are helping unprincipled merchants of war and blood who would switch political positions every day to suit their own selfish narrow interests - Just look at Saad Hariri who went three times already to Damascus knowing that the criminal Bashar Asad killed his own father. Just look at the traitor Michel Aoun who spent 15 years begging the Americans to help him against Syria, working with the "Zionist" Eliot Engel no less to pass the Syria Accountability Act, and now he is Hezbollah's and Syria's best ally in Lebanon. Just look at Walid Jumblatt, the stalwart "anti-Syrian" of the 2005-2009 period, whose father the Syrians also killed, and who is now Syria's top poodle who goes to Damascus every week, then returns to Beirut to inject Syria's poisons and throw poisoned bones to the Lebanese politician dogs....
This is the Lebanon that the US has built - no pun intended, since one can equally say, the Lebanon it destroyed over many decades by cavorting to dictators in Syria - and so Howard Berman and other congressmen should not be surprised. They should recognize their own mistakes. Syria is the culprit in all of this, and the US has long supported Syria's destructive role in the Middle East. Time to focus on Syria, and leave Lebanon alone.