Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Long Haul

The 1980 Presidential Election was fast approaching. President Carter, already vulnerable from unemployment, inflation, oil shortages and dealing with the Soviet Union invading Afghanistan was in deep political trouble. He even faced a primary challenge from Sen. Edward Kennedy. 

President Carter knew this hostage crisis was a severe threat to his re-election chances. After the initial sanctions imposed on Iran and forcing some Iranians from the country, Carter relied heavily on his State Department to initial diplomatic efforts to attempt to secure the release of the hostages. These attempts were futile, as the Ayatollah knew the political value of the incident and continued to play it out on the world stage.

Compounding Carter's problem was the nightly news, which usually started their nightly telecasts with an update of the hostage crisis with the day number of the crisis emblazoned prominently across the screen. The longer the crisis went on, the more Carter's reelection chances decreased.

Carter, increasingly was pressed to attempt military action. The State Department opposed military action, believing if it failed, future diplomacy would be useless. Military planners had been working on operations for months in preparation for an order from the President. Carter, who had looked weak throughout the crisis, needed to take bold decisive action. He decided on military action. 

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