Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Chris Slane (New Zealand)

One foot dancing, one foot nailed
To the floor

Chasing those circles in the ground

The same old shit is still the same old lie

Just when you think you've got it down

Watch it fly

--Trouble, Shawn Colvin

Murphy's Rules of Combat:

If you can kill them, they can kill you

It's all showbiz

--John Lennon


Since day one, Ranger's training has been asymmetrical via-a-vis terrorism.

SFOC indoctrinated us about the terror tactics of Communists in Southeast Asia, yet the practices of it's opponents -- carpet-bombing, B 52 strikes, napalm, white phosphorus and CS/CN -- were never given the same consideration. Ditto the Phoenix assassination program, which was branded as a tool of democracy in the fight against a heartless enemy.

Fast-forward to October 23, 1983, when the BLT HQ of the 1/8 Marines was destroyed by a truck bomb, killing 241 men. Colonel Timothy Geraghty, the Marine commander has recently written a book on the event, "Peacekeepers at War," in which he maintains this is the first instance of large-scale terrorism against U.S. citizens.

It is a general given that the '83 Marine barrack bombing was an early example of terrorism against the U.S., but is this actually so?
Dissenting voices are usually quelled as being unpatriotic louts, while the majority walk lockstep to the terrorist tune. As Glenn Greenwald wrote, "That we are at war -- not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but generally against Islamic extremists -- is an absolute bipartisan orthodoxy that must be affirmed by all Serious people" (More Cause and Effect in our Ever Expanding War).

From a review in this month's Military Heritage, "At the time, it was the worst act of
terrorism ever recorded against Americans." "The Marines began to sustain casualties, and their role as Peacekeepers was transformed into becoming active combatants in the conflict. ... Naval gunfire and airstrikes were authorized by the U.S. in direct support of the Lebanese Armed Forces."

Despite Col. Geraghty's position, there is an alternative one:

FACT: This was a Battalion Landing Team (BLT) utilizing naval assets to directly support the Lebanese Forces

This was not a United Nations Peacekeeping mission

The Marines were in a military mode

The Marines did not tactically deploy the BLT, but rather housed them in an administrative posture

FACT: There were no in-depth defense deployed by the BLT

While Geraghty is correct that this was an assault upon a BLT Headquarters, it was not an attack on civilians or upon Peacekeeping (PK) forces. The P.K.'s were not operating as P.K.'s, but actually took an armed position supporting an element of what could be called a
civil war. Yes, Syria and Iran had a hand to play in this event, but those facts are irrelevant to the question of this being considered an act of terrorism.

If the U.S. could intervene, then what logical criticism can be made towards Syria and Iran? This is their area of concern, and their right to intervene in Lebanon is no less than that that of the U.S. The U.S. has no heavenly mandate to intervene in anybody's civil war. If they do, it is a law of physics that action will produce a reaction. This law holds throughout the physical and psychological world.

Again, from Greenwald:

"That's what happens when a country is at war -- it doesn't just get to blow up things and people in other countries, but its own things and people sometimes get blown up as well. That's how war works. ... The principal problem is that by pretending that we do nothing to fuel Islamic radicalism, we stay unaware -- blissfully ignorant -- of the staggering costs of our actions."

It's regrettable that good men such as the Marines were killed in this incident, but knee-jerk patriotism branding this event Terrorism serves no legitimate purpose.

The problem with Terrorism is that the U.S. taxpayer is being force-fed over a long period of time a fanciful interpretation of events. It's theater rather than reality. The Marine Barracks bombing occurred 26 years ago, yet we still accept a fictional account of the event.

When the U.S. forces throw Naval aviation and gunfire at a target, they must accept return fire. This is not Terrorism, but a fact of life.

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Blogger Lisa said...


For some reason, your post did not post, so I have re-printed it below [ponsi is Finnish for the pollen-bearing part of a stamen. Figures you'd get that one :)]

it always helps to remember that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

when menachem begin's irgun blew up the queen elizabeth hotel in jerusalem, he was a terrorist. after they won, and he became prime minister, he was a freedom fighter.

when bobby sands was making nail bombs in that ulster basement, he was a terrorist. when he was elected to parliament while in prison, he was still a terrorist.

when he went naked, clad only in a blanket because he refused to wear a prison uniform, and went on a hunger strike until his death, somehow, he was a freedom fighter...

usually one has to win to become a freedom fighter.

had they lost, every single one of our founders knew that they would be treated as terrorists and traitors.

at that time in england the execution process for a traitor was being hung, until they turned blue, but weren't dead, then their belly would be cut, their guts drawn out on a hook. finally their bodies would be cut into four portions to be driven by coach to four prominent places to be displayed on a gibbet.

this whole "we can't shoot at them because we're soldiers, but they can't shoot at us on account of that's no fair.." bullshit is unbecoming of folks who like to style themselves warriors.

warriors want hard ass enemies. it means the glory is greater.

like cyrano cried in that alley

bring me giants!

(my post code is ponsi which i hope is not obama's new econo

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 7:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous barcalounger said...

The US embassy was destroyed by a suicide truck bomber six months before the Marine Barracks bombing in April '83. That was probably the first terrorist attack against Americans by an Islamic group. Unless you want to count the seizure of the embassy in Iran back in '79(?) by Islamic extremists.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 11:56:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post is right on target.

We declared war against the muslim population in Beirut when we began delivering direct naval gunfire aganst them in support of christian factions. We were also killing a number of muslims in the Southern suburbs in the course of small unit engagements.

We expected retaliation and all signals were that it was headed our way soon. I guess no one expected anything as spectacular as what happened, but still, no surprise really.

At that time, the Marines understood in terms of your post. It was the ass hat politicians and foreign policy "intellectuals" who didn't get it then and still don't today.


Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 5:49:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

The taking of the US embassy in Tehran was an act of war , but the Carter Admin did not treat it as such.That was one sucker that could've been solved with military power and we failed to do so.This imho was a very serious blunder.
I'll NEVER understand putting all the Marine assets in one building,AND storing explosives in the same building. Not cool.Ultimately a CDR must look in the mirror and ask himself WHY?

Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 2:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Ref the Embassy bombing in Beirut I seem to remember that the device was so located as to desatroy CIA assets. That's my memory-sound familiar?
These people know how to target in theater .

Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 2:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I've never accepted the rhetoric that the FF's were terrorists.
Maybe the Sons of Liberty but not G Washington. He was certainly a traitor to Gr Bri , but not a T.
My opinion. Either way he would've swung if captured.

Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 2:25:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Jim for bring up the fact of why in the Hell would Marines be in a Hotel. My close friend a tet vet never could figure out why either. If I did wear a tin foil hat, well maybe another time on to wine and dinner.

Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 8:38:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It wasn't an intelligence failure. It was a failure to act intelligently. And it was hubris combined with political meddeling (e.g. right down to no rounds allowed to be chambered; side arms, rifles, machine guns, old ma deuce....because we are not in a combatant posture, we are peace keepers).

CDR? You guys said the threat was car bombs. You never mentioned truck bombs.

It's a wonder I don't drink more......


Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 4:31:00 AM GMT-5  

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