Wednesday October 23, 2013
Today, October 23, 2013, marks the 30th anniversary of the US Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, Lebanon. Some 241 American servicemembers were killed. These deaths were the direct result of US intervention in an area where there was neither US interest nor any threat to the United States.
Although after the bombing President Ronald Reagan initially pledged to stay the course in Lebanon, within months, facing waning support and a realization that his was a futile policy, he decided to withdraw the US military.
The US troops were sent in after the June, 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which was supported by the US government at the time. Resentment ran high at the US (and French) military presence, increasing with the gradual involvement of US forces on one side of the conflict. Following the grisly September 1982 Sabra and Shatilla massacres, carried out by the Israel-allied Phalangists facilitated by the Israeli Defense Forces, the temporarily withdrawn US forces were sent back in to Lebanon where they became magnets for increasing resentment and therefore targets for attack. It was recklessness.