Sen. John McCain, in a presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 7 in Nashville, Tennessee, said he "stood up" to President Reagan and opposed the deployment of U.S. Marines to Lebanon.
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The U.S. Multinational Force operated in Beirut, Lebanon, from August 24, 1982, to March 30, 1984, as part of an international peacekeeping operation in the war-torn country.
McCain was a freshman member of the House of Representatives in September 1983 when it approved legislation "that would invoke the War Powers Act in Lebanon and authorize the deployment of American Marines in the Beirut area for an additional 18 months," the New York Times reported.
The resolution had the backing of House leaders of both parties and President Reagan, and it passed by a vote of 270 to 161, the Times report said. But McCain "argued that his military training led him to oppose the continued deployment of troops in Lebanon," the Times reported.
The newspaper reported that McCain said "I do not see any obtainable objectives in Lebanon" and that "the longer we stay there, the harder it will be to leave." On Oct. 23, 1983, a suicide attack at the Marine headquarters in Beirut killed 241 U.S. service members.
"In Lebanon, I stood up to President Reagan, my hero, and said, if we send Marines in there, how can we possibly beneficially affect this situation? And said we shouldn't. Unfortunately, almost 300 brave young Marines were killed," McCain said at the debate.