America's war on terrorism did not start on 11 September. Long before the overt war in Afghanistan and the covert war against al-Qaida, U.S. forces struck at one of the hotbeds of terrorism in the world. On 15 April 1986, in the dead of night, American strike aircraft roared into the very heart of Muammar Qaddafi's Libya, attacking carefully selected targets and nearly killing the "brother leader" himself. Code-named Operation El Dorado Canyon, the raid was in direct response to Qaddafi's support of a terrorist act against U.S. service personnel stationed in Europe and was a result of President Ronald Reagan's pledge to respond to terrorism with "swift and effective retribution."
Stanik, a retired naval officer and Middle East scholar, provides a detailed account of the raid as well as an in-depth analysis of its causes and effects. He also describes three other hostile encounters between U.S. and Libyan forces during Reagan's presidency and details U.S. covert operations. From a bombing in Berlin, West Germany, to terrorism in the skies over Lockerbie, Scotland, from the halls of power in Washington to airbases in England and the decks of American warships in the Mediterranean, Stanik has woven a truly international thriller that is all too real and forebodingly relevant to current events. A study in diplomacy, strategy, high-level policy, deck-plate operations, and the unique challenges offered by a new brand of evil, this book is required reading for a better understanding of the ongoing war on terrorism.