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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Teflon vs. Velcro

In 1980, President Carter ordered a military operation to rescue the 53 American hostages being held in Iran. Things went wrong at the staging point called Desert One, when a Sea Stallion helicopter collided with a C-130 transport plane, killing eight. The mission was aborted and Carter's popularity plummeted, contributing to his loss to Ronald Reagan in the election that fall.

Meanwhile, today's helicopter crash in Afghanistan may well have killed 17 service members, and was the ninth chopper lost in Afghanistan since that insane war was started by aWol back in 2001. Bush has gotten nearly 2000 US troops killed in his maniacal "global war on terror," plus thousands of others seriously wounded. Yet somehow (mostly due to totally incompetent opposition) he got re-selected, and continues to get away with pretending that things are going well in his two quagmires.

There wasn't even Fox News back in 1980--why Desert One had such a negative effect on Carter's popularity isn't clear. I know he brought a lot of it on himself, turning a serious but minor-compared-to-many incident into a full-blown crisis. Hostages were taken during Reagan's years as well, but he didn't vow not to leave the White House until they were home or in general make it seem like World War III, like Carter did with the hostages in Iran. But that Carter's presidency was doomed by this incident, while Bush's spinners managed to somehow increase his popularity after the massive failures of 9/11, the two wars, and the zillions of other things he has screwed up, is totally amazing--and disgusting.