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Tue May 1, 2012, 09:07 PM

A reminder for Mitt Romney: President Carter DID give that order.

And doing so effectively cost him his presidency.

Officially it was known as Operation Eagle Claw, although today most Americans would probably recognize it by the name Desert One. In an effort to rescue the 52 American hostages taken prisoner at the US Embassy in Tehran, US Army troops from the Delta Force special operations unit were dispatched to Iran along with transport aircraft and helicopters. The plan: spec-ops teams would strike the US embassy at night, rescue the hostages, and get them to a nearby soccer stadium where helicopters could land, taking both the hostages and the strike team to a captured airfield south of the city, and from there to freedom.

The operation was a complete failure. During the initial infiltration by eight helicopters, a sandstorm forced one to crash, another to turn back, and a third made it to the staging area badly damaged, leaving only five of the six copters that were considered a minimum to go forward. The commanders on site requested an abort, and Carter approved it; during the evacuation of the staging area, one of the helicopters crashed into a C-130 transport plane, destroying both aircraft, killing eight troops, and forcing the other helicopters to be abandoned on site. The event became an international embarrassment for the United States, and ended up being pivotal to Carter's landslide defeat in the election six months later.

Operation Eagle Claw is a perfect example of why "giving that order" is not nearly as simple as Mitt Romney would have you believe. Military special operations have no second chances, and very little margin for error. Something as simple as a storm, mechanical failure, or a pilot making a minor error during a tricky nighttime exercise can result in disaster. Being able to give such an order hinges on being able to know that you are gambling with your entire presidency, and the lives of the men on the ground, and still having the nerve to make a decision based on what is the best course of action, rather than the safest. If Eagle Claw had been successful, it's likely that Carter's surge in popularity and perception could have ended the "Reagan Revolution" before it began. President Obama had the option of safely striking from the air, and maybe never knowing whether they really did get their target, or the dangerous, necessary route of a ground incursion, knowing that it could mean dozens of deaths, diplomatic strife, and his presidency being recorded as a catastrophe. He did it anyway.

Somehow, Mr. Romney, I don't think you have the conviction to make that call.

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Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply A reminder for Mitt Romney: President Carter DID give that order. (Original post)
TheWraith May 2012 OP
onehandle May 2012 #1
babylonsister May 2012 #2
freshwest May 2012 #5
Not Me May 2012 #3
Atman May 2012 #4
Auntie Bush May 2012 #6
RZM May 2012 #7
qkvhj May 2012 #8

Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 09:13 PM

1. Damn straight. nt

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 09:23 PM

2. I remember watching. Sigh. James Fallows has a good

article about what President Carter went through, and a bit of compare and contrast...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/12513390

And I suspect if someone has a conscience, it would never be easy. I don't know if Romney has one, and
that's the truth, and scary because who knows?

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Response to babylonsister (Reply #2)

Tue May 1, 2012, 10:54 PM

5. With what he did at Bain? I suggest at best, he has a selective one, only cares about his own.

With his religious views, that would not include most of the people in the USA or elsewhere. He's a textbook Randian type, he's a 'producer' and it's part of his duty to that class to eliminate the 'parasites.' And to such people those who serve in the military are cattle to be used for their ends. Rather harsh, but that's my take.

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 09:24 PM

3. There's a great article in the Atlantic

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 10:30 PM

4. Romney could make the call

But if it went wrong, he'd say he didn't make it.

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 11:33 PM

6. How coud Romney say with a straight face that

he would have made the same decision? He still doesn't know the facts or circumstances that night. He has no idea what he'd have done. Many in the
what the hell does he know? Many in the administration didn't think it should be done...but smart ass Romney does? What a jerk! I wish some commentator would call him on that...I'm not holding my breath.

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 11:37 PM

7. Carter got the worst of both worlds there

 

Not only were Americans killed without achieving the objective, but the accident happened after the decision to abort was made.

Of course, who knows what would have happened if the mission had gone forward. It might have been an even bigger disaster.

But at least he tried. If all of the equipment had been in working order, they would have attempted the mission. It really is too bad. If it had gone as well as the Bin Laden raid, Reagan might never had been president.

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed May 2, 2012, 01:24 AM

8. not the same type of mission.

 

These two missions were nothing alike. It would serve Obama's image better to say that he never would have approved the mission to rescue the Iranian hostages. The mission was doomed from the start. It's failure insured by poor planning and over extension of assets that were never designed to be used as they intended. I'm very glad it was aborted in the first stage. It would have only gotten worse from there.
Most of what has been published about that night in the desert is true. Politics were not an issue there and then and I'm sorry that it is becoming a political issue now.
President Carter made a huge mistake in authorizing that mission. It was way too far from supporting logistics to send any force and expect success. We are talking a few hundred miles for the SEALS, and a few thousand for the Rangers. I think Obama made a smart decision, and Carter made a well intended but irrational decision.
I am a retired Ranger, and I spent my time in Delta.
If you take the time to read what is out there and leave politics out of it and factor in that you are dealing with troops that are headed for a suicide mission you will get the right perspective. The Rangers knew when they left Egypt that success was far from assured.
My knowledge is first hand.

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