This month marks the 26th anniversary of the beginning of an asymmetrical war waged by radical Islamists against the United States and its allies. It was on Oct. 23, 1983, during the Lebanese civil war, that coordinated suicide truck bombings in Beirut killed 241 American peacekeepers under my command, as well as 58 French peacekeepers.
These atrocities led to the withdrawal of the Multinational Force from Lebanon and to major changes in U.S. national policy. Since then, radical Islamism has evolved into the major national security threat to Western civilization.
Perhaps the most significant development that grew out of the Beirut peacekeeping mission was the ascent of Iran as a major player, not only in the region but also globally. Since Iran does not share a border with Lebanon (or Israel), in the early 1980s it established an operational and training base in Lebanon that remains active to this day. They founded, financed, trained and equipped Hezbollah to operate as a proxy army and used these Shiite surrogates to attack the U.S. and French peacekeepers early that October morning.
We can see today that Iran’s entry into Lebanon was a game-changer. Meanwhile, it has continued to destabilize Lebanon and attack Israel indirectly, which raises its stature, popularity and influence throughout the Arab region and globally.
Iranian mullahs, while waging a radically aggressiv…