I don’t think I’ve ever began an article with a thank you but today it is appropriate. During her Monday night show, Rachel Maddow reminded me that it was the 40th anniversary of the terrorist bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon which took place on October 23, 1983. 241 American servicemen, mostly Marines, died in that attack. Tragic as it was there is so much more and I’d like to explore a bit of it with you today.
In the immediate aftermath of the bombing President Ronald Reagan vowed America would not leave. By the end of February of 1984, under Reagan’s orders, the marines had all left Lebanon. While likeable, Reagan was little more than a coward and a malarkey artist. By pulling out he proved to the world that committing terrorist acts against American interests was a winning tactic.
The group that was responsible for the attack was Hezbollah. They were mostly unknown in 1983, today they are a major international terrorist group that threatens to open a second front in the current Israel-Hamas war.
In 2001 under another Republican president, George W. Bush, America was attacked by terrorists who were based in largely Taliban controlled Afghanistan. Shortly thereafter America attacked and then tried to occupy Afghanistan. The “occupation” lasted through several versions and administrations. Today the Taliban controls Afghanistan.
I have theory that Ronald Reagan is the father of terrorism against America. Based on the incident in Lebanon it is difficult to refute my theory. While a few Democrats have been stuck with Republican errors in combating terrorism, in my mind it is the original error that counts the most.
The bottom line is simple. Republicans have a lousy record in combating international terrorism. (On another note, I will contend that they encourage and embrace domestic terrorists but that is another topic for another day.) In forty years, they haven’t learned from their errors but the bad guys certainly have.
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