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Dickinson College and the Clarke Forum For Contemporary Issues will host:
"The Beirut Barracks Bombing of 1983: The Stories that America Needs to Hear"
Thursday, September 21, 2023

at Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.
360 S. Louther Street, Carlisle, PA 17013
(Situated between N. College and Cherry Streets)


James Breckenridge, U.S. Army War College

Michael Gaines, Beirut Veterans of America

Mireille Rebeiz, Dickinson College

In 1975, civil war erupted in Lebanon and opposed the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Muslim fighters to Lebanese Christian militias. The PLO was launching military attacks on Israel from Lebanese soil. On June 6, 1982, Israel Defense Forces, under the orders of the Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, launched Operation Peace for Galilee and invaded Lebanon to end these attacks and eliminate the PLO. Upon Lebanese request, a Multinational Peacekeeping Force (MNF) was created to oversee the departure of the PLO from Lebanon. The MNF was composed of American, French, Italian, and British military. Iran responded to Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and the MNF’s arrival by training Shiite fighters whose immediate goal was to expel all foreign forces out of Lebanon.

On October 23, 1983, witnesses reported seeing a yellow Mercedes speeding toward the barracks. Loaded with over ten thousand pounds of explosives, it flattened a concrete building that housed American troops. Two hundred and forty-one (241) American servicemen died that day. Minutes later, an identical attack hit the French barracks and killed 58 French paratroopers. On February 7, 1984, President Ronald Reagan ordered the American troops to begin withdrawing from Beirut.

To this day, the Beirut barracks bombing remains the deadliest single-day attack for the United States Marine Corps since the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. The Islamic Jihad, a pro-Iranian Shiite group, claimed responsibility for the attacks. This group was allegedly linked to Hezbollah who, along with Iran, denied their involvement.

This panel will discuss the history of the Lebanese civil war and the American military intervention from 1982-1984. The Beirut barracks bombing is an important event in American history, one that is often disregarded and forgotten, and yet it is loaded with meaning and lessons in counterterrorism. The panel will emphasize the value of remembering the past and honoring the sacrifices of the Beirut veterans.

The program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues.

Prior to the program, the Clarke Forum is hosting a reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. If you are interested in attending the reception, please RSVP to [email protected]. We will confirm your RSVP with the necessary details. Space is limited.

More details can be found at: