The rub is that in a sense, Carter did give “that order,” as Romney puts it. In April of 1980, Carter ordered the launch of an American military operation designed to rescue Americans held hostage in Tehran. The mission went horribly awry, of course, killing eight American service-men — a disaster that played a major role in ending Carter’s presidency.The purpose of Romney's answer was not to demonstrate just how tough of a decision it was for the administration, but to render the simplicity of the decision by inferring even the tree hugging diplomacy-loving Carter would have ordered it. Sad at every level.
Like Sargent mentions, this ignores the fact that the bin Laden raid was built upon the 1980 Tehran raid that failed miserably. We learned from history. Amazing I know. The Obama administration knew enough about the failed 1980 raid that it ordered backup gunships just in case everything went wrong like it did for Carter. President Obama, in making his order to go after bin Laden, had to have had the Tehran raid staring at him with excruciating realness.
All of this, however, fails to even touch upon the fact that Carter is not the weakling the GOP tries to portray him, which was the exact intention of Romney's comment. Carter is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis Maryland-- one of the finest military academies in all the world. Unlike tough guy Ronald Reagan who lived in liberal Hollywood all throughout WWII and made movies, Carter served his country by fighting in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. After the war, Carter remained in the Navy and served in the nuclear submarine program. Hardly the job for an appeaser.
It's possible Mitt Romney knows nothing about Carter's background or anything at all about the 1980 raid, which thankfully President Obama did. But comments inferring emasculating conditions against people who actually served their country in time of war from a guy who fled to a palace in France during Vietnam isn't something the American public should take lightly.