In April 1980, President Carter had reached a point he could no longer tolerate52 Americans were still being held hostage in Tehran, Iran. He ordered a rescue mission. Contrary to popular right-wing culture, Carter did not do this as an election stuntalthough the ongoing situation was damaging him in the polls, he was still dominating early polling during the election. The reality is that Carter, like most Americans, wanted this damned thing to be over with.
An ingenious plan was conspired that involved incredible bravery: by all accounts, it would be an attack directly on and in Tehran. Unfortunately, during the mission, a seasonal sand and windstorm hit the aircraft as they were preparing to execute this plan, and a helicopter unable to see clearly struck a fueling plane, resulting in a huge explosion and fire. The mission was scrubbed, but the weather conditions made it difficult for the rest of the team to evacuate. As a result, not all the aircraft were destroyed or rendered safe, and the responding Iranian forces found military aircraft, tons of intelligence that may have even revealed the depth of the CIAs involvement in Iran, and the bodies of eight American servicemen.
What happened next was instructive: the White House announced they screwed up the next morning. The mission was hasty, and the units selected were not the best trained nor best equipped for the mission. Certainly, they should have known about the seasonal sand storm, and the Carter administration confessed they probably made future rescue impossible by this point.
And while Americans slapped their foreheads and became upset over the extent of the screw ups, America moved on. They thanked the President for at least trying, and within weeks the United States military became superbly expert at rescue missionsthe ability for military branches to coordinate (something we take for granted today) was developed as a result of this failed mission. While Carter failed at rescuing the hostages, and while the ongoing crisis eventually did hurt his popularity at the polls, no one blamed Carter for trying.
Now leap forward to today, with the Benghazi tragedy. Imagine what could have happened if the Obama administration just admitted what they were up to, sent a rescue mission in to save the Americans, and took credit for that success. Instead, the administration screwed around with American lives to play a cheap political game, lost control of it, and tried extensively to hide the facts from the public. As a result, they won the short-term goalhide this screw up from the votersbut are clearly losing the long-term goal of getting away with it. As conspirators, the Obama administration are cretins. Had they handled Benghazi like Carter handled his debacle, we would be over it already and Obama would still be president, with Clinton seeing her runway to a 2016 election all but assured.
Instead, the Obama administration will be reminded of their political mess many times over in the next few years.