The United States' military attack against Libya on April 15, 1986, was probably the most controversial discrete foreign policy action undertaken by the Reagan administration. I respect some of the arguments that have been made on both sides of this matter, and I do not see fit to endorse or decry the action. I cannot respect, however, the tendency to portray it as though it occurred in a vacuum, particularly where the foreign behavior of the Qaddafi regime is concerned. This book is written to give an account of the context of “Operation El Dorado Canyon, ” as much as of the event itself.
I wish to express thanks for the encouragement and assistance provided by the following members of the Department of Political Science at the University of Mississippi (in alphabetical order): Goberdhan Bhagat, Daniel S. Geller, Harold W. Kuhn, Jr., Raimond W. Lehman, and Chester L. Quarles. My gratitude also goes to those individuals who granted me interviews; to Don Campbell for his long and patient work typing the manuscript; to the staff of the John Davis Williams Library, particularly Elizabeth S. Buck, Sherrie Sam, Sharon L. Schreiber, and Martha E. Swan; and to those who enabled me to extend the grasp of my research, specifically Thomas and Victoria Jarmusik, John Haydon, S.D. Jayasuriya, Thomas A. Tarrants III, Robert Moeller, Z. Fadlallah, and the International Security Council. Needless to say, none of these bear responsibility for the deficiencies of the work.