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Media Matters blogger: Furor over Benghazi attack hype, more died under Reagan

The October 1983 bombing of US Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.
The October 1983 bombing of US Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.
U.S. Marine Corps

Linking to a November 2012 article at the progressive Media Matters, blogger Eric Boehlert appeared to minimize the furor over the Benghazi terror attack that killed four Americans by issuing tweets recalling that more people died in embassy attacks under President Reagan than Obama, Twitchy reported Thursday.

"In less than 18 mos under Reagan, 320+ people were killed by terrorist attacks on the U.S. Embassy in/around Beirut," he tweeted.

"In less than 18 mos under Reagan, 270 Americans were killed by terror attacks on the U.S. Embassy in/around Beirut," he added.

"[A]nd aft third terror attack on U.S. Embassy in/around Beirut, Reagan refused to curtail his campaign for even 1 day," Boehlert said in a third tweet.

"You can’t criticize the Obama administration over Benghazi and worship Reagan, see?" Twitchy said.

But there are a number of differences between the two attacks, as conservatives on Twitter pointed out.

"He didn't jail an innocent YouTube user to save his political bacon," one person tweeted, referring to Nakoula Nakoula, the man believed to be behind the online video that was blamed for the Benghazi attack.

Another Twitter user said the Beirut attack was a car bomb, not a sustained firefight.

Several pointed out that Reagan did not deflect blame for the attack, nor did he try to cover it up in the aftermath.

"There's nothing sane or rational about the right-wing's Benghazi fantasy and the role they have assigned for the president," Boehlert wrote in 2012. "But it does allow the conservative press to project their deepest fears up against the passions of the campaign season's final push."

A 2008 USA Today article said the bombing still haunts Stephen Russell, the Marine who served as the sergeant of the guard that Sunday morning who said he could still see the face of the man driving the truck laden with explosives.

"The truck," USA Today said, "would shatter the Marines' building with a bomb more powerful than 12,000 pounds of TNT — the biggest non-nuclear explosion since World War II, the FBI concluded."

''I think we should all recognize that these deeds make so evident the bestial nature of those who would assume power, if they could have their way and drive us out of that area,'' Reagan said. ''We must be more determined than ever that they cannot take over that vital and strategic area of the earth or, for that matter, any other part of the earth.''

Obama's response to the Benghazi attack, however, was quite different.

"Here's what I’ll say. If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal," he told Jon Stewart, sparking outrage from conservatives. "We’re going to fix it," he added. "All of it. And what happens, during the course of a presidency, is that the government is a big operation and any given time something screws up."

Recent testimony, however, would seem to indicate the problems have not been fixed.

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