This must have been the “triumph” the papers are talking about

I remember Jimmy Carter’s failed attempt to rescue hostages in Iran. It was a disaster from start to finish.

With the Iran Hostage Crisis stretching into its sixth month and all diplomatic appeals to the Iranian government ending in failure, President Jimmy Carter ordered the military mission as a last ditch attempt to save the hostages. During the operation, three of eight helicopters failed, crippling the crucial airborne plans. The mission was then canceled at the staging area in Iran, but during the withdrawal one of the retreating helicopters collided with one of six C-130 transport planes, killing eight soldiers and injuring five. The next day, a somber Jimmy Carter gave a press conference in which he took full responsibility for the tragedy. The hostages were not released for another 270 days.

Note that Carter took responsibility for the failure, because that was the kind of guy he is. The screw-up in the rescue mission is one of multiple factors that contributed to his defeat by Ronald Reagan.

Compare and contrast with Trump’s recent gung-ho attack on terrorists (maybe) in Yemen.

As it turned out, almost everything that could go wrong did. And on Wednesday, Mr. Trump flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to be present as the body of the American commando killed in the raid was returned home, the first military death on the new commander in chief’s watch.

The death of Chief Petty Officer William Owens came after a chain of mishaps and misjudgments that plunged the elite commandos into a ferocious 50-minute firefight that also left three others wounded and a $75 million aircraft deliberately destroyed. There are allegations — which the Pentagon acknowledged on Wednesday night are most likely correct — that the mission also killed several civilians, including some children. The dead include, by the account of Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen, the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Qaeda leader who was killed in a targeted drone strike in 2011.

Did Trump take responsibility for the failure? Of course not. That’s not the kind of guy he is.

Mr. Trump on Sunday hailed his first counterterrorism operation as a success, claiming the commandos captured important intelligence that will assist the U.S. in preventing terrorism against its citizens and people around the world. A statement by the military’s Central Command on Wednesday night that acknowledged the likelihood of civilian casualties also said that the recovered materials had provided some initial information helpful to counterterrorism analysts. The statement did not provide details.

Carter paid a political price for his blunder. Trump won’t — he’s already spinning it into a victory.

At least Carter’s mistake didn’t murder any little girls.


  1. kevinalexander says

    Trump will be in his bunker below the smoking ruin of America declaring victory over China. You know, that country of what’s left of a billion people who know how to grow food from nothing.

  2. says

    I wish the US had something like a “war powers resolution” in which congress had to approve the president’s proposed use of military force.

  3. Gregory Greenwood says

    It looks like Trump is trying to redefine military disaster as victory. You know, in the same way that ignorance is strength.

    And in case you hadn’t heard, we’ve always been at war with Eastasia China/Mexico/Islam/all of the above (delete as expedient for one’s ‘triumphant’ propaganda)…

  4. archangelospumoni says

    Still waiting for the very first Drumpfheteer to explain the banned list(s).
    1. Countries with Drumpfh properties not on the list. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, etc.
    2. Countries without Drumpfh properties ON the list. Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, etc.

    Have gotten interesting replies elsewhere. Most were on the “Obama did something once sometime somewhere” bent.

  5. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    ugh, let me share my poor memory of that Jimmy Carter Clusterfuck.
    After the failed rescue, he cloistered into his office to show a form of penance, refusing to campaign to relinquish his presidency as not worthy of it. His diplomats negotiated and the Iranians saw Carter as incompetant, the hostages no threat, so they arranged terms settling on a date to release the hostages. The release date was the day after Raygun’s inauguration, which he promptly claimed as the reason for the release, and claimed credit for scaring the Ayatollah into releasing the hostages.
    I see Drumph following the Testament of St Raygun.
    bah humbudge

  6. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 6:
    I have seen one Drumpheteer explanation, that this was merely a WARNING, a demonstration of the power of the POTUS to cutoff travel to any country that upsets him. So don’t make him angry, in Bruce Banner’s voice.
    we are fokked

  7. davidnangle says

    Is this “important intelligence” regarding special, paper-based promises of reduced cost at a local market? Is there intelligence about a monthly debt to a cable TV provider? Did they retrieve someone’s mail, and perhaps the diary of an 8-year-old girl who is no longer a threat?

  8. robro says

    We should probably keep in mind that these operation take a long time to plan, and this one goes back before Trump took office. Obama stalled approving it for “operational reasons” per a CNN report. Trump gave the go ahead “fairly quickly” after his inauguration.

    Apparently, such info gathering raids are common, and unreported. Perhaps the fatality makes this raid unique and explains TweeterDumb’s posturing. Or, it’s more Trump/Bannon shock treatment. They like to shake their big sticks a lot at everyone.

    Incidentally, that CNN story is titled “Inside the Yemen raid: Women al Qaeda fighters surprised US forces.” Oh dear, what an embarrassment for Trump. Defeated by women. (The title is CNN sensationalism. The article doesn’t say much more than that women participated.)

  9. numerobis says


    2. Countries without Drumpfh properties ON the list. Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, etc.

    Iran is on the list because of the story relayed in the OP — they had a revolution against our man in Tehran, and they nationalized OUR rightful oil industry. Then they provided the cassus belli by taking some hostages. Then, they had the temerity of not falling apart and coming to grovel for our forgiveness — not only that but they had the crazy idea that maybe they needed nuclear weapons to prevent an attack by the US (and why would they need that? we hardly ever talking about bombing their country back to the middle ages, or outright “glassing” them).

    Iraq was our friend when Iran rebelled, and we fed them lots of weapons to fight a ridiculous war. But then they stopped fighting that war (their soldiers weren’t fighting very hard anymore, on account of being dead), and switched alliance to the soviet union, and became friends with Iran. Worse, a few years after stopping the war, they interrupted oil shipments from our good friend Kuwait and threatened shipments from Saudi (also, invaded it and killed a lot of people, but whatever). We’ve been bombing Iraq ever since. Nominally we’re allied now since Bush Jr’s war, but they had the temerity of asking us to please leave for a couple years. I suspect a certain amount of ignorance as well: Iraqi Kurdistan is our best friend, has been since Bush Sr’s gulf war. But they’re banned too. That has to be an accident.

    Syria is baathist just like Iraq was. They also allied with the Soviet Union, and they threaten Israel from time to time. Israel was initially was the salve to make us feel better about not taking in jewish refugees and now is the fever dream of evangelicals who want to immanentize the eschaton, so we love Israel. That and they funded the groups that blew up a couple hundred US soldiers in Lebanon. Must hate. Oh, and brutal dictator, about as bad as Saudi or Egypt.

    Somalia shot down a blackhawk. They also have pirates that threaten international shipping, including oil. Hate.

    Yemen bombed the USS Cole. Fuck them. Also, the Iran-backed government fell in the Arab Spring, and now its remnants are at war with the Saudi-backed government. Saudi Arabia is our BFF, so if it’s at war with Yemen, we must be at war with Yemen too — especially against Iran.

    Sudan is nominally at war with Egypt. Egypt is another BFF, because under pressure they signed a peace treaty with Israel (also, they control the Suez Canal, which is pretty important for international trade). So we hate Sudan. We claim it’s because the dictator is a butcher, but that’s transparent bullshit, we love butchers.

    Libya was some variant of communist under Qaddafi. So we hate them, because we hate communists. We’ve been bombing them on and off since the 1980s, and they occasionally bomb back (e.g. Lockerbie). At the first chance, we bombed the heck out of them and imposed a new government, but that was probably too recent for Trump’s lackeys to notice. Also, Benghazi.

  10. numerobis says

    women participated according to the US military.

    That’s an organization that thinks if you die in a drone strike and are male, you are by definition a terrorist. The Pentagon is starting to admit that some civilians might maybe have died. Maybe. But it’s the fault of the “terrorists” using “human shields”. My bet: they’re full of shit.

    By this logic, the US army uses human shields as well: soldiers live with their families when they’re at their bases.

  11. thirdmill says

    We are told that we need the electoral college to make it harder for demagogues to get elected. After the last ten days, I honestly do not see how anyone can make that argument with a straight face.

  12. says

    Oh dear God…lets hope he manages to make it through the funeral without implying that the soldier’s mother is domestically abused because she doesn’t feel like giving a speech about how devastated she is :(

  13. says

    Cross posted from the Moments of Political Madness thread.

    Josh Marshall made some interesting points about that botched raid:

    […] Did Trump press for a more aggressive policy than his advisors counseled? Are they blaming the President for operational shortcomings in the military planning? Whatever the reality of the situation, what seems most germane is that military officials (at least on a fair reading of this Reuters report) seem to be throwing the Commander-in-Chief under the bus. That is a big deal whether they’re pointing out his poor decision making or covering up for their own. […]

    The entirety of Marshall’s article is well worth reading.

  14. says

    Wow, I just read the Reuters article Josh Marshall references and its pretty damning:

    U.S. military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations. As a result, three officials said, the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists.

    Do you think the Republicans will conduct a series of congressional hearings to determine whether Trump is to blame for this fiasco? Yeah, me neither.

  15. archangelospumoni says

    #11 Numerobis:

    Thanks for the work of art, which I plan to freely plagiarize and post elsewhere.

    bald music major retired union goon blue collar never-Republican

  16. says

    @#4, Marcus Ranum

    I wish the US had something like a “war powers resolution” in which congress had to approve the president’s proposed use of military force.

    Well, obviously you’re trying out some irony, but sadly this issue has already been addressed. Specifically: Democrats under Obama argued that the 2001 AUMF Against Terrorism (which is not the 2003 AUMF Against Iraq, although Democratic tribalists persistently seem to want to conflate the two) permitted a sitting president to declare a country’s leadership “terrorists” and immediately begin a war against them. That’s how we bombed Libya against the vote of Congress, the same strategy being used against Syria (although despite Democratic hawks really trying we never actually got that far). It was an explicit argument, which led to a mostly-ignored-by-the-media minor revolt by a few Democratic office-holders, led by Barbara Lee, who tried to repeal the 2001 AUMF — but of course the Republicans and the majority of the Democrats refused, because endless war is now a bipartisan agreement. When the Republicans have been dreaming of starting more wars for decades, and the Democratic candidate was an advocate of every major conflict started without Congressional approval, closing that loophole was basically a pipe dream.

    Now, of course, Democratic Tribalists are appalled, absolutely appalled, that Trump can do this. But as with NSA spying, drone bombing, and so much else which our government does which is utterly despicable, when their party had control of the government they were perfectly happy to permit such things to go on.

  17. says

    The Vicar@#18:
    I was outraged by Obama’s “boots on the ground” lie, too. I believe all presidents’ ability to use military force should be subject to approval. It’s not a partisan issue for me. So thanks for the fountain of obviousness.

  18. numerobis says

    Good luck convincing the Vicar that you disagree with a Democratic Party policy. He’s seen you agree with the Democrats once, so from now on, you are in the Democratic Tribe.

  19. secondtofirstworld says

    @Marcus Ranum #4:

    What’s even “funnier”, Congress approving it in and of itself is insufficient in the eyes of international law, which obviously states, that starting a war without being attacked is a Class A war crime. Regardless who the president is.

    However for all of this to matter, like I said in one of our previous discussions, America should be part of ICC, just as well still a part of the Vienna Accords on Consular Relations.

    It’s actually a good thing that Mr.Myers brought up Carter (who I still fault for bringing Evangelicals to the White House, I mean, seriously, the guy, as much as I like him, tied the repatriation of Saint Stephen’s crown to allowing Billy Graham into the country, who laid the cornerstone of Evangelical influence in Eastern Europe) as the matter of importance is what came after it, Iran-Contra. Both the War on Drugs and the War on Terror comes from America supporting and arming guys who they later abandoned and fight ever since.

    Many casualties could be avoided if actual intelligence work is being done. Like not relying on shady secret police officers in “friendly” dictatorships who point to a boogeyman of their own choosing. The Republicans decry Benghazi, except the Brits, their closest allies left months earlier amidst established fears of terror attacks. It’s impossible, that during intelligence exchange nobody said “guys what the hell are you still doing there?” especially after a truck hit the titular compound back in June of that year. When your allies leave, when the Red Cross leaves, only the bold stay.

    There’s no spy ring working for the military over there, no credible spotters, which is no wonder, since either they ditch them when they leave or they can come, only to be detained at the airport. I don’t want to appear rude toward people who aren’t responsible for this, but having lived in a military occupation, where you only meet either soldiers who can’t and won’t adapt, or lackeys, so it’s not very easy to not be antagonistic toward said nation.

  20. says

    If I can draw another parallel here back to the Carter fiasco:

    The cause of the Carter fiasco is that not one of the advisors he was listening to — nor former-LT Carter himself — had any command experience or joint-operations experience. This blind spot led them all to believe (against all of the senior military advice they received) that a scratch force for a complex, semicovert mission halfway across the world not only could work… but could be tactically controlled from DC by those same inexperienced advisors in real time.

    We still have that problem. Exhibit A: Benghazi… which reflects an utter failure in the 2002-2008 George III budgets to provide for infrastructure or training of personnel who might have to control the response to any non-state attack on any US installation anywhere. It takes at least a decade to build in the institutional experience, so even if the Obama administration had reversed course on this on day 1 and made it the highest priority, it would have been too late to avoid much of the chaos of the Benghazi response.

    Frankly, it’s a testament to the quality of our company-grade officers (ensign to lieutenant in the Navy, 2d lieutenant through captain in the land-based services), and to a slightly lesser extent our senior NCOs, that our casualties from operations like this are so low and quiet. But that’s a rant for another time…

  21. numerobis says

    archangelospumoni: when you plagiarize, please fix my typos and grammar errors and bad capitalization and runon sentences ;)

  22. says

    @#20, numerobis

    Good luck convincing the Vicar that you disagree with a Democratic Party policy. He’s seen you agree with the Democrats once, so from now on, you are in the Democratic Tribe.

    Nope. A tribalist is someone who seeks only the supremacy of their group, and doesn’t care about means. If you turn a blind eye — or, worse, condone — behavior from your group which you object to in others, then you are a tribalist. Republicans who objected to Clinton using a private mail server, but are now okay with Trump doing so are tribalists. Democrats who protested the Iraq war under Bush but fell silent under Obama are tribalists. IOKIYAR and IOKIYAD are the key signs.

  23. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Vacar, run over to your tribe, the Greens, and leave us alone. You never give us a cogent reason for listening to your diatribes of hate.

  24. lotharloo says

    they had a revolution against our man in Tehran, and they nationalized OUR rightful oil industry
    Sorry but that’s wrong. It was the British oil and that was the reason used by the British to block the gulf: Iranians stole the British property. The role of us in the coup was marginal compared to what the British did.

  25. Rob Grigjanis says

    lotharloo @27: Yeah, it was British oil interests, but the role of the US in the coup was certainly not marginal.

    The [CIA] historian wrote: “[T]he military coup that overthrew Mossadegh and his National Front cabinet was carried out under CIA direction as an act of U.S. foreign policy.”

  26. F.O. says

    @Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls #26

    You never give us a cogent reason for listening to your diatribes of hate.

    Holy fuck Nerd, doesn’t your head explode by the sheer irony?

    Every single post of his, Vicar spends several lines of an actual argument, listing reasons and alleging facts.
    You can disagree with the argument, you can challenge the facts, hell you can even complain about the pedestal the Vicar puts himself on and I’d be with you there.

    But that’s not what you do.
    What you do, every single time you answer to him is irrational ad-hominem, and sometimes you barely flirt with the possibility of maybe addressing his arguments.
    And after all this, you have the gall say that HE never gives us a cogent reason, and HE is the hateful one?
    Holy fuck mate, you are full of shit.

  27. wzrd1 says

    Why, this is a Trumpette success!
    One of his signature campaign promises was to murder the families of terrorists. He’s carrying that promise through, despite the cost in lives, reputation and equipment.

  28. archangelospumoni says

    numerobis #23.

    Not to worry about spelling or whatever. I did have to change some of the bad words, but you really should consider contributing more, here and elsewhere. Some souls have the gift of the written word, which you DO and I do NOT. I am better off for having learned this one.

    Keep up the good work, as contributors who have some facts and the ol’ sense o’ humor are valuable to the sane world right now.

    old, bald, retired blue collar proud union member goon who was a music major back when.

  29. archangelospumoni says

    Speaking of non sequiturs, here is one for the club:

    A lady I know recently started in on me recently about the Koran, evil, bad, Arabs, everything bad, rotten, bad, and whatever. I had to rudely but proudly shut her off, as I actually have a Koran AND a Bible by the night stand. (Now I am in a confirmed but proud but very small minority here.)

    Please remind your loyal, educated, Bible-quoting, pious, fine, upstanding, Drumpfh-supporting Christian friends of the following, and there is no need to be gentle unless you are in a good mood:

    1. The Koran devotes quite a bit to Mary. In fact, the Koran has a CHAPTER on Mary. (No, not Mary Queen of Scots or Mary your bookie’s wife.) “The” Mary.
    2. The Bible does NOT have a chapter on Mary.

    Ask your fine, loyal, unhypocritical, Bible-quoting, Bible-thumping, clean, reverent, pious, upstanding, charitable pals WHY do you have to go to the Koran to find a CHAPTER on Mary.

    And then be prepared for this blinking, staring, vacuous, confused look. Sorta like when you discuss quantum mechanics with your goldfish.

    Tell me how this works out.

    Archangeo Spumoni, failed music major and never-Republican

  30. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    old, bald, retired blue collar proud union member goon who was a music major back when.

    Will you trade a high five with an old, retired, man who was a union member fifty years ago during the summer twice, and played piccolo in the Rose Parade/Bowl even if I was a scientist? *raises hand*

  31. Rob Grigjanis says

    archangelospumoni @34:

    2. The Bible does NOT have a chapter on Mary.

    Luke chapter 1 has a lot of overlap with the Sūrat Maryam. I’d say they are about equally about Mary.

  32. numerobis says

    (Of course, “Trump Lying” is not really news)

    It needs to remain news, as long as he’s in power.

  33. madscientist says

    What Trump is doing is typical of a corporate manager: just lie because you’re Top Dog and no one’s really going to challenge you. It’s sad that dolts like him are paid many millions per year rather than being drummed out of town.

  34. says


    2. The Bible does NOT have a chapter on Mary.

    Ask your fine, loyal, unhypocritical, Bible-quoting, Bible-thumping, clean, reverent, pious, upstanding, charitable pals WHY do you have to go to the Koran to find a CHAPTER on Mary.

    There’s no such thing as ‘The Bible’. There are a fucktonne of different versions, in different languages, and translated from different languages. The Latin Vulgate was translated into the Douay, the version I grew up with, also known as the first Catholic bible.

  35. ck, the Irate Lump says

    rietpluim wrote:

    (Of course, “Trump Lying” is not really news)

    It shouldn’t be news, but since the media is so loathe to use the word “lying” when referring to him (preferring to use words like misleading, erroneous, etc) that when they use the L-word, it actually is news.

  36. lotharloo says

    @Rob Grigjanis:
    Yeah, I wrote the comment quickly on the phone but what I meant was that the role of the US in the whole affair was marginal compared to the role of the British. The coup was simply the culmination of the conflict and the crises that was mostly brewed by the British. While it is true that the British do not have the hegemony of the old times but this is no reason to write off what they did to US’s account.

  37. secondtofirstworld says

    @lotharloo #44:

    It was the Suez Crisis that turned the tide, Ike had intentionally let the British and the French run afoul of Soviet-influenced actions so that he can prove they need America, and the first time stepping above mere containment and adopt a more hands-on approach, hence why ’53 was different.