HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » Ronald Reaganís Benghazi

Tue May 6, 2014, 09:29 AM

Ronald Reaganís Benghazi

... Around dawn on October 23, 1983, I was in Beirut, Lebanon, when a suicide bomber drove a truck laden with the equivalent of twenty-one thousand pounds of TNT into the heart of a U.S. Marine compound, killing two hundred and forty-one servicemen. The U.S. military command, which regarded the Marinesí presence as a non-combative, ďpeace-keeping mission,Ē had left a vehicle gate wide open, and ordered the sentries to keep their weapons unloaded. The only real resistance the suicide bomber had encountered was a scrim of concertina wire. When I arrived on the scene a short while later to report on it for the Wall Street Journal, the Marine barracks was flattened. From beneath the dusty, smoking slabs of collapsed concrete, piteous American voices could be heard, begging for help. Thirteen more American servicemen later died from injuries, making it the single deadliest attack on American Marines since the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Six months earlier, militants had bombed the U.S. embassy in Beirut, too, killing sixty-three more people, including seventeen Americans. Among the dead were seven C.I.A. officers, including the agencyís top analyst in the Middle East, an immensely valuable intelligence asset, and the Beirut station chief.

There were more than enough opportunities to lay blame for the horrific losses at high U.S. officialsí feet. But unlike todayís Congress, congressmen did not talk of impeaching Ronald Reagan, who was then President, nor were any subpoenas sent to cabinet members. This was true even though then, as now, the opposition party controlled the majority in the House. Tip OíNeill, the Democratic Speaker of the House, was no pushover. He, like todayís opposition leaders in the House, demanded an investigationóbut a real one, and only one. Instead of playing it for political points, a House committee undertook a serious investigation into what went wrong at the barracks in Beirut. Two months later, it issued a report finding ďvery serious errors in judgmentĒ by officers on the ground, as well as responsibility up through the military chain of command, and called for better security measures against terrorism in U.S. government installations throughout the world.

In other words, Congress actually undertook a useful investigation and made helpful recommendations. The reportís findings, by the way, were bipartisan. (The Pentagon, too, launched an investigation, issuing a report that was widely accepted by both parties.)

In March of 1984, three months after Congress issued its report, militants struck American officials in Beirut again, this time kidnapping the C.I.A.ís station chief, Bill Buckley. Buckley was tortured and, eventually, murdered. Reagan, who was tormented by a tape of Buckley being tortured, blamed himself. Congress held no public hearings, and pointed fingers at the perpetrators, not at political rivals.

If you compare the costs of the Reagan Administrationís serial security lapses in Beirut to the costs of Benghazi, itís clear what has really deteriorated in the intervening three decades. Itís not the security of American government personnel working abroad. Itís the behavior of American congressmen at home. ...

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2014/05/ronald-reagans-benghazi.html

4 replies, 1389 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread

Response to MinM (Original post)

Tue May 6, 2014, 09:41 AM

1. and then there's Baby Bush's Behghazi: 9/11

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MinM (Original post)

Tue May 6, 2014, 09:43 AM

2. Yeah, but Reagan is a liberal by today's GOPNRAteahadist standards.

Making that the Democrat's fault, retroactively.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to onehandle (Reply #2)

Tue May 6, 2014, 11:32 AM

4. Reagan was slightly to the left of the today's corporate wing of the Democratic Party

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MinM (Original post)

Tue May 6, 2014, 09:54 AM

3. And then there was Ben Linder, an engineer who was murdered by Reagan-supported contras

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread