From About:

In August 1982, members of the Armed Forces of the United States, France and Italy moved into Lebanon to effect the evacuation of Syrian troops and PLO soldiers from Lebanon. A new President of Lebanon was elected and Israel gave their backing to the election. It was short-lived however, as the new President was assassinated by Syrian agents. The next day Israeli troops invaded West Beirut to secure any threats and to attempt to eradicate PLO members within the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. This attempt led to the massacre of nearly 3000 (This number is in dispute) Lebanese in those refugee camps. While the Israeli military wasn’t directly involved in the massacre, they stood by as members of the Lebanese Christian militia, sent in by the Israeli’s to find any PLO members, killed many women and children. Later, the Israeli’s agreed to withdraw from Lebanon on the sole condition that Syria left as well. Syria declined that invitation. As 1982 moved into 1983, Muslims began to view the multi-national force in Lebanon as an enemy just as dangerous as Israel. The Hezbollah, a terrorist organization funded by Iran and Syria, formed in the midst of this violence. In April 1983, they bombed the United States Embassy in Beirut, killing 63. It was a portent of things to come…
The United States Marines were stationed in Beirut as a peace keeping force. They were headquartered in a compound building at the Beirut International Airport. At 6:20 a.m. on October 23, 1983 most Marines were still in bed. A yellow Mercedes delivery truck, not unlike many other trucks that came and went around the Marine barracks entered the International airport, turned on an access road that led to the Marine barracks and circled around a parking lot. The truck turned towards the compound and raced forward. It crashed through a chain link fence separating the parking lot from the entrance to the barracks. It burst through a gate and drove into the lobby of Marine Headquarters. The truck, carrying more than 12,000 pounds of TNT, was detonated by the driver.

The four story building immediately collapsed. Two hundred and twenty Marines, eighteen Navy personnel and three Army soldiers lost their lives in the attack. Sixty Americans were injured in the explosion. Two miles away and twenty seconds later, at the French barracks, another truck exploded, killing fifty-eight French paratroopers and injuring 15. Rescue attempts at the barracks were difficult as snipers took shots at the rescue workers.

Aftermath: President Ronald Reagan called the attack a deplorable act and insisted that they would stay in Lebanon. They eventually moved the Marines out to the Naval Fleet in the Harbor to protect them. In 1984, the Marines departed. The United States did not retailiate for the attacks, fearing they would lose support of other Arab nations. The French, however, did response with an airstrike against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which had given support to the Hezbollah organization.

The failure to take revenge for this terrorist atrocity is probably Ronald Reagan’s biggest foreign policy blunder. It ranks with Jimmy Carter’s enormous blunders in Iran.

Our enemy has a long memory that dates back to the founding of Islam; they savor every victory over the infidels (that’s us) and seethe and writhe in shame at every loss. It is way past time for the Bush administration to tie Hezbollah to Iran, its nuclear weapons program, and the war on terror. Would Iran supply WMD to Hezbollah if it could? We shouldn’t wait to find out. Better to send a large force of Marines to Southern Lebanon to help the Israelis wipe out Hezbollah. I’m sure the Marines would relish the oppotunity to avenge the cowardly murder of 220 of their fellow Marines back in 1983.

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