Our Libyan Excursions - Operation El Dorado Canyon begun on April 14, 1986 - U.S. fighter-Bombers attack Libyan targets in Tripoli and Benghazi in an overnight raid in retaliation for a Libyan terrorist attack on a Berlin nightclub that killed two Americans.
March 21, 2011

Operation El Dorado Canyon - if it wasn't for some guy in Malta giving a heads up . . . .

Our history with Libya and our run-ins with Muammar Gaddafi go back a ways. Last week I posted a piece on an attack that took place on Libya by U.S. forces in March of 1986. A few weeks later there was the infamous disco bombing in Berlin that killed two Americans and injured scores of others and less than two weeks after that, President Regan ordered up a military operation dubbed Operation El Dorado Canyon which was in retaliation to the Berlin bombings. The interesting parallels between that military operation and the current one are the loud proclamations that "we-aren't-really-trying-to-kill-the-guy ., . .but-if he-happens-to-be . . . ." (nudge-nudge/wink-wink) by spokespeople from both Administrations. In Reagan's case, the non-assassination assassination was bungled by a tip from Malta as F-14's flew past on their way to Tripoli. The word of warning helped Gaddafi dodge the attack by minutes and allowed us to arrive at this point in history today.

The other big difference between our latest military operation and the one in 1986 is that at least we have a coalition of other countries (including some tacit support among the Arab Nations), not to mention the rebels in Libya who are relieved the playing field is a bit more level than it was this time last week when they were threatened with annihilation.

At this point we're in the "damned if you/damned if you don't" stage on Capitol Hill and with mainstream media. In 1986 they weren't asking that question.

And next week it will probably be something else.

Here are reports from the first 2-3 hours of Operation El Dorado Canyon as reported on CBS Radio on the night of April 14 - morning of April 15, 1986.

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