On this day in 1983, Pres. Ronald Reagan took full responsibility for the October bombing of the Beirut Embassy in Lebanon that killed 241 U.S. troops. Contrast that with the lies, stonewalling, and passing the buck of the Obama administration in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack.
Of course, neither president was directly responsible for the death of American service members overseas; we must not lose sight that both of these attacks were perpetrated by America’s enemies. However the policies of both presidents and the actions of their subordinates certainly played a role and is worth further investigation (in Obama’s case) and discussion.
Reagan wasn’t perfect. No man is. But by taking responsibility for something that happened under his watch, President Reagan displayed a level class that Americans are unlikely to ever see from the man who currently occupies the White House.
I have fought against the restrictive rules of engagement in Afghanistan under Bush and Obama as part of the counterinsurgency doctrine. To be fair, under the Reagan administration Marines were not allowed to have loaded weapons during their peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, and were only allowed to return fire under certain circumstances. Had the Marines pulling security outside the barracks been locked and loaded, then those 241 Marines, sailors, and soldiers probably wouldn’t have died.
After the attack, Reagan withdrew the peacekeeping force. But why send combat troops to a country that poses no significant threat to the United States in the first place? When a president feels it is necessary to handicap our military’s ability to respond to deadly force in a particular theater, then we probably shouldn’t send men with guns in the first place.
In an age of terrorism, I wholeheartedly support counterterrorism. There are plenty of people who not only feel divinely inspired to kill innocent Americans, but also seek to do so. They must be stopped. But when we go beyond intelligence and special operations – putting “boots on the ground” – there has to be a legitimate reason.
Photo of the Day: Marines in Norway
Military history: ‘Flaming Joe’ returns to Iwo Jima (now called Iwo To).
The House of Representatives has voted to exempt TRICARE from the health reform bill. But if Obamacare is such a great thing, then why keep veterans out?
Haditha: Wuterich seeks to dismiss charges
Hillary Clinton tells audience that the U.S. will not “compromise on its commitment” to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. What exactly is our “commitment,” and what will it do to prevent Iran from nuking up? She also stated that U.S. support for Israeli security is “rock solid, unwavering, enduring and forever.” Talk about a “willing suspension of disbelief.” Judging by our foreign policy, one would think that Israel is the genocidal country that also happens to be killing our troops in two theaters – not Iran, who we seem to be placating at every opportunity.
In case you missed it, the American Civil Liberties Union (more accurately – the American Communist Lawyers Union) has filed a lawsuit demanding the basis for conducting targeted killings with armed drones.