How did Reagan escape blame for Beirut, which was far worse than Benghazi?


All through these endless Benghazi committee hearings — which ultimately have been pointless, except for partisan  political considerations — I’ve been reminded of a similar, but worse, situation that arose during Ronald Reagan’s first term as president.

Of course, many of today’s Republican lawmakers don’t really remember the Reagan administration, which is why they portray it as more conservative than it actually was. They seem to know nothing of how Reagan was held blameless for what happened in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983.

Steve Benen reminds us HERE of what happened:

When looking for comparable situations to the deadly 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, the most obvious example came 30 years ago in Beirut. Both crises featured a terrorist attack on a U.S. outpost in the Middle East, American deaths, and a congressional inquiry. 

By practically every metric, the attack on a U.S. Marine compound in Beirut was far more devastating – it killed 241 American servicemen, which came just six months after militants had bombed the U.S. embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people, including 17 Americans. Six months after the attack, militants struck American officials in Beirut again, killing the CIA’s station chief. And six months after that, terrorists bombed a U.S. government outpost in Beirut once more – in the middle of Reagan’s re-election campaign.
In recent years, the obvious question has largely gone unanswered: if Democrats didn’t blame the deadly attacks in Beirut on President Reagan, why should Republicans blame President Obama for the four Americans killed in Benghazi?
Jane Mayer of The New Yorker WROTE last year about the political aftermath of the attack at the barracks in Beirut:
There were more than enough opportunities to lay blame for the horrific losses at high U.S. officials’ feet. But unlike today’s 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 O’Neill, the Democratic Speaker of the House, was no pushover. He, like today’s opposition leaders in the House, demanded an investigation – but 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 “very serious errors in judgment” 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 report’s findings, by the way, were bipartisan. (The Pentagon, too, launched an investigation, issuing a report that was widely accepted by both parties.)
My, how times have changed since a Democrat has moved into the White House and Republicans have taken control of Congress. Wouldn’t you agree?







  1. Apples and oranges, finger-pointing liberals. In Benghazi we have an incompetent Secretary of State who failed in providing basic protection to unarmed US citizens in one of the most dangerous places on the planet. After all, according to the liberals, all Muslims are our friends, why would they attack us?. Besides providing military protection against radical Islamists is racist.

    In Beirut it was US Marines who were ambushed, but not for lack of resources. Reagan biographers also tend to agree the Gipper regretted his decision to do nothing after the assault. As opposed to the arrogant liberals, who continue to deny they did anything wrong.

  2. Steverino

    It all seems ridiculous when you consider not only Reagan’s blunders but Bush’s embassy failures as well.

  3. Why? Granada less than a week later, with a feel-good “victory” in a “war”, complete with I-can’t-get-into-a-real-medical-school American students being flown back to the U.S. and kneeling down and kissing the sacred American ground (or tarmac, as the case may be).

  4. Conservatives are conditioned to believe Ronnie Raygun was a modern day Gilgamesh and the bringer of the dawn, in reality he was a cut-and-run muslim appeaser and chicken hawk coward. Right-Wingers forget there were Two separate Terrorist Attacks in Beirut in 1983. On April 18, 1983 the Beirut Embassy Car Bombing killed 17 Embassy personnel (and 46 Lebanese) and the follow on Truck Bombing attack 6 months later on October 23, 1983 at the US Barracks in Beirut killed 241 Marines, Soldiers and Sailors. Ah, but Saint Reagan was President. The most despicable thing is the attacks followed the same tactics because the Terrorists knew the Embassy Marine Guards were specifically ordered by Ronald Reagan not to have ammo at their posts.

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