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The Desert One Debacle

The new Atlantic has a great article by Mark Bowden on the failed attempt to rescue the American hostages from Tehran in 1980. The online editors have set up a special page that has photos, videos, and maps along with Bowdon's cover story "The Desert One Debacle."

It is fascinating to read in light of the very real potential for some kind of special forces action against Iran in the next three years. The "debacle" of that failed Delta Force mission 26 years ago stands in stark contrast to the attitude and competence of the U.S. military today. Reading the article you can viscerally feel the difference in morale from circa spring 1980 versus morale today (notwithstanding a few disgruntled generals.)

This is something our nation's leaders should keep in mind as the country continues to debate the wisdom of what U.S. troops are doing in Iraq. The United States turned its back on the military in the 1970's and you can feel the consequence of that reading Bowden's article. Whatever one thinks of the wisdom of our current action in Iraq right now, we should never again turn our back on the men and women who defend the freedom we so often take for granted.