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    Before Bombing Syria, Four Cases Of Déjà Vu

    Even with good intentions, America's quick military strikes can have prolonged and unintended consequences.

    1. US in Lebanon - 1983

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    Following a ceasefire between Israel and the PLO, a multinational peacekeeping force (including the US, France, and Italy) entered Lebanon to ensure the safety of the Palestinian citizens who would be left behind following the PLO's withdrawal from Beirut.

    In September 1982, Bashir Gemayel (Lebanon's President-elect, and the leader of a Christian militia) was assassinated, and a wave of violence followed – with Gemayel's militia killing hundreds of Palestinians in refugee camps. In response, the peacekeeping forces returned to the ground in Lebanon – and by early 1983, things seemed stable.

    On September 19th, the US military opened fire on a Muslim militia.

    Many Lebanese Muslims saw the US as siding against them in Lebanon's Civil War.

    Middle East expert Robin Wright notes that, "the commander bluntly warned Washington that a strike would have dire consequences for U.S. policy and his troops. 'We'll get slaughtered down here,' he predicted. Nonetheless, the cruiser Virginia stationed offshore fired 70 deafening rounds on the Lebanese fighters."

    34 days later, a suicide bomber drove a truck of explosives into the US Marine barracks, killing 241 US troops

    2. US in Libya - 1986

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    For years, Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi supported terrorist groups in the Middle East and Europe.

    In April 1986, Libya became a priority for the United States after Libyan operatives bombed a nightclub in Berlin that was known to be popular with US troops stationed in Germany. The bombing killed three and injured more than 200 people (many of whom were not Americans).

    Ten days later, the US launched airstrikes on Tripoli and Benghazi.

    The operation hit Libyan military targets, but several bombs also missed and struck civilians

    Two years later, Libya masterminded the bombing of Pan-Am Flight 103 in Lockerbie, killing 270

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    And Qaddafi remained in power in Libya for another quarter century – until the revolution in 2011.

    3. US bombs Iraq - 1998

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    In December 1998, the Clinton administration launched four days of cruise missile bombings against Saddam Hussein, who had repeatedly refused to comply with UN weapons inspectors. Many feared that Hussein was actively trying to obtain or manufacture weapons of mass destruction.

    Hussein remained in power for another five years – until the Bush administration launched the Iraq War in 2003

    The Iraq War killed thousands of troops, hundreds of thousands of civilians, and cost hundreds of billions of dollars

    4. US bombs Afghanistan & Sudan - 1998

    The US's bombs killed 224, including 12 Americans

    Ayman al-Zawahiri told Newsweek, "The war has only just begun; the Americans should now await the answer"

    The US has had some successes, including the 2011 US and NATO air strikes that helped oust Qaddafi in Libya

    But, as Robin Wright notes, "it had the full endorsement of the Arab League, the United Nations and NATO, which ran the international mission. Thousands of Libyans actually did the fighting, while the Transitional National Council provided a viable alternative government from inside the country. And still Operation Unified Protector lasted 222 days."

    "In the case of Syria, a few days of strikes against military targets may assuage moral outrage over its heinous use of chemical weapons. But they also carry the danger of widening the war by legitimizing or deepening involvement by other foreign powers..."