Washington — Reagan defends Marine commanders in Beirut
In a hurriedly scheduled appearance at the White House, President Reagan Tuesday said local Marine commanders ''should not be punished'' for the lack of proper security at the Marine headquarters in Beirut.
''If there is to be blame, it properly rests here in this office, with this President,'' Mr. Reagan said. The President had delayed his departure for California briefly to comment on the Pentagon investigation of the suicide bombing of the Marine barracks that killed 241 US servicemen Oct. 23. There has been speculation the report, to be made public today, recommends action be taken against some of the officers in command in Beirut.
Reagan said he agreed with the report that US forces were ''by tradition'' inadequately equipped to deal with the ''fundamentally new phenomenon of state-supported terrorism.'' But he added that strong measures were being taken to better guard against such terrorist acts.