In response to an Imus question about possible U.S. action regarding the 24 U.S. military personnel being detained on Hainan Island in China, Russert proceeded to recount past American rescue mission failures.
In dicussing the failure to respond to North Korea's seizure of the USS Pueblo on the high seas, Russert lambasted President
Sorry, Tim. Wrong.
Better crack the history books.
The Pueblo incident occured in January of 1968, when left-wing historian Doris Kerns Goodwin's
Gee, it seems that perhaps Russert isn't "smart" enough to be the managing editor of a major network news show. After all, he can't get his presidents straight.
Just in case Russert is lurking out there in cyberspace, following is a quick primer, from a previous column, on recent U.S. rescue mission efforts.
On January 23, 1968, when North Korean gunboats and Soviet-built MiGs seized the USS Pueblo, a naval intelligence vessel, President Lyndon Johnson did nothing. The repercussions of allowing the surviving 82-man crew to languish in prison, brutalized for 11 months, were felt for years, and U.S. prestige was victimized as well.
On November 21, 1970, Operation Kingpin was undertaken on orders from President Nixon in a daring attempt to rescue U.S. prisoners of war held at a camp in Son Tay, deep in North Vietnam. A joint Special Forces and Air Force team brilliantly executed the high-risk mission only to find, on their arrival, that the imprisoned U.S. military personnel had been moved and the camp was vacant.
On May 15, 1975, a combined Marine and Air Force operation resulted in the successful return of the crew and the SS Mayaguez, a U.S. merchant ship that had been seized by the communist Cambodian Khmer Rouge. In a daring and dangerous mission ordered by President Ford, sustaining the loss of 18 men and four aircraft, Marines stormed Koh Tang Island in the Gulf of Thailand in an attempt to rescue the crew of 40 which had been held captive there, but who had been spirited away by friendly locals via ship just prior to the assault.
The results of Operation Eagle Claw on April 24, 1980, ordered by President Carter to rescue Americans held hostage in Iran were disastrous. With equipment failures in the Iranian desert, eight U.S. personnel were killed in a terrible mishap and the rescue mission was aborted.
The success of Operation Urgent Fury, begun on October 23, 1983, to rescue U.S. medical students in Grenada following the assassination of the prime minister of the small Caribbean island-nation, was a multi-service military operation ordered by President Reagan.
There, Tim. With a bit more diligent study maybe you can redeem yourself and attempt to remove the "serious" doubts about your "intelligence."
Read Dan's previous column:
• April 6, 6:00 p.m. – KIQ radio in Salt Lake City, Utah
• April 12, 5:00 p.m. – WHRW radio in Binghamton, N.Y.
Dan Frisa represented New York in the United States Congress and served four terms in the New York State Assembly.
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