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America’s Compulsion to Intervene is Intact and Ready for More

The gung-ho American journalists summoning Ukrainians to punch holes in enemy lines might better serve their readers by reflecting on the larger pattern of American interventionism that began several decades ago and culminated in the disastrous fall of Kabul in 2021. To cite a particular point of origin is necessarily arbitrary, but the U.S. “peacekeeping” intervention in Beirut, its 40th anniversary now fast approaching, offers a convenient marker. That bizarre episode, today largely forgotten, ended with 241 U.S. Marines, sailors, and soldiers killed in a single devastating terrorist attack, their sacrifice neither keeping nor making peace.

Frustrated by developments in Beirut, President Ronald Reagan wrote in his diary on September 7, 1983, “I can’t get the idea out of my head that some” U.S. Navy fighters “coming in at about 200 ft… would be a tonic for the Marines & at the same time would deliver a message to those gun happy middle east terrorists.” Alas, by blowing up the Marines’ barracks, the terrorists delivered their message first.

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[Editor’s Note: It is hard to see this ever ending. The US maintains roughly 750 military installations / bases spread across 80 nations. By proximity alone, that puts the US in the backyard of many of the world’s troubled areas.]

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