re: "Too Little Learned"
"(T)he order for attacking the Marine compound came straight from Tehran, through the Iranian ambassador to Lebanon. The job of planning (and executing) the strike fell on a senior Hizballah operative, Imad Fayez Mughniyeh. His deadly bombing of the Marine barracks (and a similar, near-simultaneous attack on a building housing French peacekeepers) marked the start of Mughniyeh's own, bloody career as a terror master-mind."
"On October 23rd, the 25th anniversary of the bombing, there will be two commemorations, Mr. May writes. In North Carolina survivors of the attack and families of the dead Marines will gather at Camp Lejeune for the dedication of a memorial, honoring the fallen peace-keepers.
Half-way around the world, there will be a second ceremony on the 23rd. At Tehran's Behesht-E-Zahra Cemetary, crowds will honor the suicide bombers that launched the devastating attacks. The Iranian government erected a monument to the terrorists in 2004.
With perfect hindsight, we can now see the war against American that began with the embassy seizure in Tehran in 1979, then took a new and deadly turn with the 1983 Beirut attack. But we never learned the larger larger lessons of those episodes until much, much later--and we paid a price for our inaction."
"Mr. Reagan took on the Iran over other matters, and inflicted a series stinging naval defeats on Tehran in the late 1980s. But the snap decision to remove the Marines from Beirut was not his finest hour. With the exit of western forces, Iran and Hizballah eventually took control of Lebanon, creating the terrorist state that has now emerged on Israel's northern border.
In fairness, Reagan's decision made sense--at least from a military perspective. Sitting inside a compound, with restrictive rules of engagement, the Marines couldn't adequately defend themselves from terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, the withdrawal from Beirut was not followed by new, effective policies that would have slowed--or prevented--the advent of an Iranian proxy state in Lebanon."