…..At first, Reagan insisted that he wouldn’t cave in to the terrorist threat. Then he realized the best policy was to pull out the troops. Here’s how he explained it in his autobiography:
Perhaps we didn’t appreciate fully enough the depth of the hatred and the complexity of the problems that made the Middle East such a jungle. Perhaps the idea of a suicide car bomber committing mass murder to gain instant entry to Paradise was so foreign to our own values and consciousness that it did not create in us the concern for the marines’ safety that it should have.
In the weeks immediately after the bombing, I believed the last thing that we should do was turn tail and leave. Yet the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics forced us to rethink our policy there. If there would be some rethinking of policy before our men die, we would be a lot better off. If that policy had changed towards more of a neutral position and neutrality, those 241 marines would be alive today.
Reagan’s sensible policy — “neutral position and neutrality” — should be followed today…. And troops now in Iraq should be brought home immediately. Almost 2,600 have been killed in Iraq, 10 times the number killed in Lebanon when Reagan decided to leave…..