Wednesday, October 23, 2013
It was not America's first baptism of fire, coming four years after the Iranian Revolution and subsequent hostage crisis, but the toll of dead was a shock and there was a rush to assign blame, leading to the Long Commission Report and to the withdrawal of the Marines. (Though the Reagan Administration was interventionist, it knew when to cut its losses and go home.)
I'd have to put America's loss of innocence in the Middle East quite a bit earlier, but it was a shock to the public (and the voters) who thought the Lebanon intervention was essentially a separation of forces peacekeeping mission. (It started that way, but then we took sides.)
None of my friends died there but I knew a lot of people involved with Lebanon at the time and one old friend wrote a lot of the Long Commission Report, so a lot of this is fairly fresh in my mind. Let's hope we learned something.