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Catchawave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-19-05 08:51 PM
Original message
Reagan "cut and run" on Beirut.....
From a CNN interview from Oct 2003...

Wright: Barracks blast 'ripped through all of Beirut'

NEW YORK (CNN) --Twenty years ago Thursday, the United States was stunned by a suicide bomb attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The blast killed 242 Americans. Within six months of the attack, most of the American troops were pulled out of Lebanon. American policy-makers and terrorist leaders, too, have taken cues from what happened there.

Journalist Robin Wright was in Beirut on October 23, 1983, when the barracks were bombed. She's the author of "Sacred Rage: The Wrath of Militant Islam." And she talked with CNN's Aaron Brown about her memories of that horrific day.

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: What do you remember about the day?

ROBIN WRIGHT, AUTHOR, "SACRED RAGE": Oh, I'll never forget it, the enormous explosion that literally ripped through all of Beirut.

I was five, six miles away, and I'll never forget being awakened by a really thunderous explosion that rattled windows a long distance from where the two bombs went off at the American and French compounds.

BROWN: You said today earlier, everyone knew it was going to happen. Who was everyone and what did they know was going to happen and what did they do to stop it?

WRIGHT: Well, Colonel Garrety (ph), who was the commander in Beirut at the time, had been ordered 34 days earlier to fire on a Muslim militia in Beirut.

He protested because the Americans had been deployed as peacekeepers, not to get engaged in what was then a raging civil war in Lebanon between Christians and Muslims, who were vying for a different division of power inside Lebanon. And he protested and said that, if the U.S. warships opened fire on the Muslim militias, that the American Marines would then become targets. And his direct quote was to the effect, "We'll get slaughtered down here."

And he was right. And everyone who lived in Beirut and knew the situation that well knew that the Marines were going to become a target. The blast October 23, 1983, was the most powerful non-nuclear explosion anywhere on Earth since World War II.

BROWN: I went back and listened to what President Reagan said after the attack. And he talked about, if we cut and run, the terrorists or the people -- I'm not sure he used the word terrorists, honestly -- the people who did this, the criminals who did this, will be emboldened.

I suppose you can argue whether six months is cutting and running, but that's certainly how it was perceived. Have the terrorists been emboldened?


If you look at that whole period, it was a yearlong period where both two American embassies and the Marine compound were all destroyed by suicide bombers. Those were the first suicide bombers in the Middle East. This was a new tactic. The use of militant Islam, the emergence of Hezbollah was then a new type of political party. Only in Iran had you seen a kind of angry Islam become a political force.

But, even then, it was not used as a terrorist tactic. It was against another nation. Even if you look at the takeover of the American Embassy, that was a political act, in many ways. But this was pure terror. And so, these were the seeds that we now see having -- played out in so many countries in so many parts of the Islamic world.

BROWN: John Lehman, the former Navy secretary, is quoted today as saying: "There is no question" -- the Beirut bombing -- "it was a major cause of 9/11. We told the world that terrorism succeeds."

Was that the lesson of Beirut?

WRIGHT: To a certain degree, yes.

It also showed that -- in part, because we did effectively cut and run -- the Marines moved underground into bunkers. And then they moved -- were deployed, redeployed on to ships offshore. And then they sailed away. But it showed that extremist tactics can be effective in intimidating nations to leave. Israel withdrew first after a three-year presence deeper inside Lebanon back to an area across the border, in, largely, almost totally in response to extremist tactics used, suicide bombings, by Hezbollah and other militant groups, and then, several years later, withdrew from Lebanon altogether.

It was the only country Israel has ever withdrawn from without a security pact or a peace agreement. And it was in response to this kind of extremism that took its -- had its beginnings in 1983.

BROWN: Now flash forward to today. Are the policy-makers -- certainly the policy-makers are aware of what happened 20 years ago. Some of them were young decision-makers at the time. Do you think it's a lesson learned by the American government?


We clearly haven't learned enough about what spawns Islamic extremism, how to deal with it politically, as well as militarily. What's happened to Hezbollah in the interceding 20 years is very interesting, how it's evolved. There are a lot of lessons to be learned. One of the tragic ironies is that we didn't respond way back then. And the man believed to be responsible, widely linked by U.S. intelligence and others to this bombing, is a man Imad Mughniyeh, who today is still out there. And he's one of the 22 most wanted on the terrorism list.

And he's the one who has been there much longer. Osama bin Laden learned his tactics from what was used by Imad Mughniyeh much earlier.

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DELUSIONAL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-19-05 09:10 PM
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1. kick
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Catchawave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-20-05 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. Thank you :)
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tocqueville Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-19-05 09:10 PM
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2. This is very true
and there are other examples like Somalia.

The other side of the story is the myth of the US invincibility (mostly due to the victory in WWII and the overwhelming fire power of the US military)

But if you look at a the US "victories" after WWII, they are very few if any.

Besides pure losses like Vietnam, Beirut, Somalia and to a certain extent Korea, there were only victories against countries unable to really defend themselves (Panama, Grenada) or that didn't want to like Iraq.

Bosnia, Kosovo are other examples where the air war was "successfull" - in Kosovo, it destroyed the Serbian infrastructure, but left the Serbian army practically intact -
while the fight and the occupation on the ground was done by others (British, French).

Still there is a lot of boosting "WE liberated etc..."

I think some countries or groups have seen though this, and when they are willing to sacrifice their lives, it puts the US rapidly in big trouble.

I think the major flaw is in the old cliche : it's not enough to have a big tool, it depends how you use it.
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Burried News Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-19-05 09:15 PM
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3. Agree. Perhaps one can say the same about Haiti, Mogadishu,
Saigon, Liberia, Tehran and possibly other places. Of course the comment yesterday wasn't to provoke thought and discussion - it was meant to cower someone and ONCE AGAIN fail to treat the American people as a constituency entitled to explanations. The comment weakened and further divided Americans. So be it.

Cut and Run is on the table - they did us a favor and put it on the table; Another step forward to ending the war and discrediting the machine that masquerades as a political party.
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Daphne08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-19-05 09:16 PM
Response to Original message
4. There was no appetite for war in this country twenty years ago,
and anyone who says there was... well, he/she is not telling the truth.

Vietnam was still seared into the minds and hearts of Americans!

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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-19-05 09:55 PM
Response to Original message
5. IIRC, he cut and ran to Grenada.
I couldn't believe how fast it occurred or why that invasion was necessary. That was truely a "wag the dog" moment.
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Catchawave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-20-05 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Could Bush have "cut and run" for Katrina then?
...sorry, I don't understand Grenada either, but he coulda said, "sorry Iraq, have to take care of my own country now" ?

Hope that didn't sound stupid, but I was one of millions in our country who watched thousands of my fellow citizens suffer and die on live t.v.

The world would have understood ?

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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-20-05 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Katrina should have exposed the bankruptcy of the Bush GWOT.
(1) His terror fantasy required large investments of that should have been fixing our infrastructure. We may not have terrorists hijacking planes, but the next time we lose a bridge due to neglect, that ought to be laid at the feet of those who have bankrupted the Treasury to promote this unwinnable WOT.

(2) Going forward, what is a bigger threat to America....a Cat 5 hurricane or a few criminals blowing themselves up? Under Bush, we aren't prepared for either.
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NinetySix Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-20-05 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. How fast exactly?
Well, the bombing of the barracks was on October 23, 1983, and the invasion of Grenada was on October 25, 1983.

There are some pharmaceuticals that aren't as fast-acting as that -- now that's fast acting relief!
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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-20-05 08:23 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. Talk about changing the focus......
I had forgotten the actual timing....2 days. I recall there were some kids in a medical school that were hostages...but we sent 1/2 the army in if I remember. What a spectacle.
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mitchum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-21-05 01:28 AM
Response to Reply #10
15. Incredible, wasn't it?
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bluedog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-20-05 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
7. what about bush 1?highway of death?

I want to give testimony on what are called the "highways of death." These are the two Kuwaiti roadways, littered with remains of 2,000 mangled Iraqi military vehicles, and the charred and dismembered bodies of tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers, who were withdrawing from Kuwait on February 26th and 27th 1991 in compliance with UN resolutions.

U.S. planes trapped the long convoys by disabling vehicles in the front, and at the rear, and then pounded the resulting traffic jams for hours. "It was like shooting fish in a barrel," said one U.S. pilot. The horror is still there to see.

On the inland highway to Basra is mile after mile of burned, smashed, shattered vehicles of every description - tanks, armored cars, trucks, autos, fire trucks, according to the March 18, 1991, Time magazine. On the sixty miles of coastal highway, Iraqi military units sit in gruesome repose, scorched skeletons of vehicles and men alike, black and awful under the sun, says the Los Angeles Times of March 11, 1991. While 450 people survived the inland road bombing to surrender, this was not the case with the 60 miles of the coastal road. There for 60 miles every vehicle was strafed or bombed, every windshield is shattered, every tank is burned, every truck is riddled with shell fragments. No survivors are known or likely. The cabs of trucks were bombed so much that they were pushed into the ground, and it's impossible to see if they contain drivers or not. Windshields were melted away, and huge tanks were reduced to shrapnel.

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Senator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-20-05 03:28 PM
Response to Original message
11. Iraq is just a longer, drawn-out Beirut -- What part of "Quagmire" ...
...does the bushcabal and its DC/Euphemedia Analstocracy fail to understand?!?

As with Vietnam (and Haiti/Somalia as noted above), they're called quagmires for a reason. Like boggy quicksand, you can't pass through it with your current means of locomotion.

You either change your means (uh...we're gonna need a bigger boat) OR you back out the way you came (yes, feeling like an idiot) and then go around, or over, or fill it in (like with allies, or diplomacy, or actual nation-building as opposed to occupation and resource theft -- you know, that icky, non-masturbatory, reality-based stuff).

This is why the meme "cut and run" is just another Luntz/Rove empty (yet effectively distracting) phrase. All it literally means in this situation is to NOT DO the only thing that is POSSIBLE TO DO.

Like everything else coming from the right that passes for "thought" it is not even an argument, let alone debate. It is simply complaint.

But you can't "reason" with complaint. It is form of intellectual/rhetorical violence. So it must be met with the same.

Trouble is, since we reality-based, rational folks on the left don't operate in their black and white, belief-based, self-delusions, we have a great deal of difficulty inflicting even this mild kind of violence. It's just not in our nature. (Sorry, we're the good guys.)

But we have to try. It is not possible to "reason with," or "inform," or "convince" the complainers (really, it's not - we need to stop wasting efforts by trying).

We can however be more (non-physically) violent. When they squawk things like "We Can't Cut and Run!" we need to respond just as loudly the they are proposing we "Stand and Die!" (Yes, I realize that's just a different strawman, and there are oh so many shades of gray and all that, but we have fight fire with fire a bit -- otherwise things will just keep burning.)

And BTW, I've been somewhat encouraged by the few things we've seen lately (perhaps bare necessity is mothering some invention). It is a good sign that the DC/Euphemedia Analstocracy is whining about Dems "not having plans" and "risking backlash."


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Catchawave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-20-05 04:58 PM
Response to Original message
12. Just wondering.....
Cutting and Running started with Reagan's Beirut ? What came after, was, well....

over 300 troops died in the barracks attack, we left 6 months later. Saint Reagan started this mess over 20 years ago, what have we learned?
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CTyankee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-20-05 07:18 PM
Response to Original message
13. Thanks for the memory
Ah, ammunition for the RWers I am seeing at a family wedding in Wisconsin in early December.

Yes, it was cut and run day in the White House of Ronald Reagan. I remember it well. All those dead Marines. And goodbye, Beirut!
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