Here is a timeline of Reagan’s dealings with Lebanon:
- 1982: After receiving a "green light" from the U.S., Israel invades Lebanon to crush Palestinian and other anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli forces. Over 20,000 Lebanese and Palestinians are killed, and Israel seizes southern Lebanon, holding it until 2000.
- September 14, 1982: Lebanon's pro-U.S. President-elect, Bashir al-Jumayyil, is assassinated. The following day, Israeli forces occupy West Beirut, and from 16 to 18 September, the Phalangist militia, with the support of Israel's military under now-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, move into the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps and barbarically massacre over 1,000 unarmed Palestinian men, women, and children.
- 1983: U.S. sends troops to Lebanon, supposedly as part of a multinational "peace-keeping" operation but in reality to protect U.S. interests, including Israel's occupation forces. U.S. troops are withdrawn after a suicide bomber destroys a U.S. Marine barracks.
And in '85, they propose training foreign intelligence agents to go out kind of as hit teams and destroy the terrorists. This did not work. And finally Casey in 1985 worked out with the Saudis a plan to use a car bomb to kill Sheik [Mohammed Hussein] Fadlallah who they determined was one of the people behind, not only the Marine barracks [bombing], but was involved in the taking of American hostages in Beirut.
Because diplomacy and military action didn't work. We took the Marines out of Lebanon after the bombing. Diplomacy was not functioning. And Reagan wanted action. And Casey went off the books on his own, and worked it out with the Saudis to pay two million dollars to get...people to build this car bomb that killed eighty innocent people in Beirut [in 1985] and not Sheik Fadlallah.
What was the final outcome of all of that?
... Well here's the frustration of dealing with terrorists. [It] reaches the point where Casey had lunch with Prince Bandar. the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, one of the most powerful figures even today in Washington. And they went for a stroll in the garden and they said, "We have to go off the books." And they agreed that the Saudis would put up the money to hire some professionals to try to car bomb Sheik Fadlallah.
And it was so off the books, there's no evidence that Reagan knew about it or Weinberger or Schultz. It was Casey on his own, saying, "I'm going to solve the big problem by essentially getting tougher or as tough as the terrorists in using their weapon"--the car bomb.