April 15, 1986 — The US bombs Libya

In the 1980s, the two most insecure men in the world were Ronald Reagan and Muammar Qaddafi, both of whom were aging wannabe-alpha males whose greatest fear was being thought weak. Unfortunately, one of them was the US President and the other was the dictator of Libya. So the clash of egos played out in civilian lives lost to terrorism and military lives lost to reprisal.

In 1986, Libyan agents bombed a nightclub in West Germany on April 5, killing three people (one of them a US serviceman) and injuring 229 more. Ten days later, the US sent a force of 45 jets to raid a range of military targets in Libya. The raid was considered a major success, destroying barracks, aircraft and air defences, and killing 45 soldiers and 15-30 civilians. Two members of the attacking force were also killed.

Reagan celebrated like he was personally responsible for the success of the mission; Qaddafi fumed and escalated his support of anti-US terrorism; most of the world condemned both leaders for their actions and the actions they ordered.

USF-111 Libya1986.JPG
By SSGT Woodward – U.S. DefenseImagery [1] photo VIRIN: DF-ST-88-02677 [2], Public Domain, Link

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