U.S. presidential candidate worked in Lebanon during civil war

Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb listens to speakers at the Urbandale Democrats Flag Day Celebration (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) — U.S. presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Jim Webb won an Emmy award in 1983 for a special report he produced in Lebanon during the country’s civil war.

The former Democratic senator from Virginia is virtually invisible from media coverage of the 2016 presidential race, pulling in only 2 percent of support among Democrats, according to a CBS poll.

But his history offers an interesting perspective on the U.S. role in international conflicts. The 1983 report, which aired on “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour” was introduced as a “personal commentary.”

Webb, who graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center, previously served as Secretary of the Navy, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, and as a Marine Corps officer.

PBS sent Webb, a former journalist, to Beirut to examine the disconnect that can exist between decision makers in Washington, and military officials who implement policies on the ground.

“The military does not make policy. That responsibility belongs to members of Congress and, of course, the President,” he said in the video essay. “The military simply implements their policy, often at great cost. A politician might suffer bad press or a lost election if things go wrong. The military man suffers the loss of his friends, early and often.”

His extensive reporting brought him back on PBS to comment on the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, which killed 241 American military servicemen that year.

Today, Webb offers an interesting prospect on conflicts in the Middle East, warning against adding boots on the ground in Syria.

“We need to be very careful,” Webb told The Washington Post in a September 2014 interview. He compared the situation in Syria to the civil war that raged Lebanon and drew U.S. involvement, calling Syria “Lebanon on steroids.”

WATCH Webb’s 1983 report from Beirut:

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