September 13, 1983 – A world in conflict. In Beirut, Marines were given authority to call for air support in case artillery attacks from Lebanese rebel groups. Earlier in the day, President Reagan extended the Marines authority to defend themselves by allowing them to call for airstrikes against any units with threaten the safety of the multi-national force. Officials in Washington confirmed the local commander in Beirut no longer needed approval from them to call for air support. But they insist the President’s decision was just a logical follow-up to his repeated statements that the Marines could take appropriate counter-actions in their own defense. White House Spokesman Larry Speaks disclosed that the Marines could call in airstrikes even if they weren’t under direct attack, but if other members of the multi-national force came under attack. And even though the move wasn’t seen as an escalation of our involvement in Lebanon, critics of the excursion weren’t going to see it that way. Time would tell.
Meanwhile, Japanese Defense officials said 8 Japanese jet-interceptors scrambled when at least 7 Soviet bombers appeared off the northwest coast of Japan, in the general area where Korean Air Flight 007 was shot down. There was no violation of Japanese air space. The controversy and memorials for the victims of Korean Air Flight 007, shot down on September 1st were continuing. Pope John Paul II, making his first comment regarding the tragedy said the world could not forget the lives lost in the incident. The Pontiff spoke to some 20,000 people at an outdoor Mass outside Vienna. South Korean officials vowed to press the UN for sanctions against the Soviet Union after the attack and killing of all 269 passengers and crew of the ill-fated 747. Soviet officials claimed the jet was on a spying mission as it claimed to have veered into Soviet territory. South Korean officials claimed the attack was deliberate and that the plane had mistakenly veered off course and into Soviet air space. Soviet officials at first denied the shooting down, but later said they had been tracking the plane for the better part of an hour.
All that, and much-much more for this September 13, 1983 as presented by CBS Radio Hourly News.