Why Were Republicans Silent When Reagan’s ‘Benghazi’ Killed 241 American Servicemen?

Author: May 9, 2013 9:35 pm

Benghazi wasn’t the scandal that the conservative right tried to make it out to be. Unfortunately, the Democratic president didn’t engage in a big cover-up, and the Republicans trying to score political points by shouting “Benghazi, Benghazi!” are rapidly becoming irrelevant. In the fact of that, it should be pointed out that this amount of supposed outrage is completely hypocritical. One way to illustrate this is using the Beirut Barracks Bombing of 1983, which occurred during, and was the fault of, the Reagan administration. The following image, which has been shared quite a bit recently, is referring to it:

The image isn’t entirely correct. Only 220 United States Marines were killed. The remaining casualties consisted of 18 killed sailors and three soldiers, for a total of 241 servicemen. Yet other than that small error, what the image claims is true — it was President Reagan’s fault that incident occurred. In fact, the official investigation and subsequent Department of Defense report found chain-of-command errors and placed fault on the Reagan administration, as well. The Marines had been stationed there as part of an international peacekeeping venture:

Those Marines had been ordered into Lebanon by President Ronald Reagan as a part of an international peacekeeping force following the June 1982 Israeli invasion of that country and the Palestine Liberation Organization’s withdrawal.

Making an already-dangerous situation even more hazardous, the Marines were under strict presidential orders not to load their weapons — this, so that they would appear as peacekeepers and not as armed belligerents in the conflict and despite the fact that they were moving into a war zone.

Realistically, they had become “sitting ducks” from the moment they entered Beirut. And as a result of their absurd orders, when the explosives-laden truck sped toward their doomed barracks, the two unarmed guards had no way of stopping it. (Source)

Where was the outcry from Republicans when Reagan ignored then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger’s pleas to put the Marines in a more defensible position, or not station them at all?

The Associated Press reported, in 2006, remarks by Caspar Weinberger:

“I was not persuasive enough to persuade the president that the Marines were there on an impossible mission,” Caspar Weinberger says in an oral history project capturing the views of former Reagan administration officials.

They also go on to mention the following statements, a few paragraphs later,

But he said one of his greatest regrets was in failing to overcome the arguments that “‘Marines don’t cut and run,’ and ‘We can’t leave because we’re there”‘ before the devastating suicide attack on the lightly armed force.

“They had no mission but to sit at the airport, which is just like sitting in a bull’s-eye,” Weinberger said. “I begged the president at least to pull them back and put them back on their transports as a more defensible position.”

It should also be noted that United States retaliation for this incident was virtually nonexistent, and we actually ended up removing our forces as a result of this bombing and the second one that occurred, attacking the French, just a couple of minutes later.

Where was the call for impeachment by the right when their golden boy was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers? And let’s not even get started on diplomatic targets hit during the Bush administration, or the number of American soldiers that died searching for nonexistent WMDs. There’s only one word for it — hypocrisy.


Political Writer, Justin Acuff Please join me on Facebook, or visit my home site.You can also follow me on Twitter.

 

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2 Comments

  • Why?
    Because Reagan was already battling the media over scandals he created.

    Whereas now, The Republithugs have yet to find a created scandal they can make stick.
    Rather frustrating for them to battle an honest man for once. They have no idea how to deal with such.

  • As has been noted, the real story here is that the GOP slashed millions for State Dept. funding of overseas embassies before this happened, including funding for security, which makes all embassies more vulnerable. That’s what we need to keep reminding people, and news media need to focus on.

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