Election 2016

Republican Candidates Pretend We're in the Midst of Iranian Hostage Crisis II

The weirdest saber-rattling moments at last night's Republican debate


Your kabobs were subpar. SUBPAR!
Soft Records

On Tuesday, two American Naval boats wandered into Iranian waters, where they were taken captive. The Pentagon quickly declared that the incursion was an accident and that the Iranians had said they'd release the sailors soon. Unconvinced, the McCainian wing of the Republican Party, which at this point would bomb Iran over a bad meal at a Persian restaurant, snapped into war mode: accusing Tehran of deliberately humilating America on the day of the State of the Union Address, demanding that the president cancel the speech, complaining that he didn't mention the alleged crisis when he spoke anyway. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton called on Obama to "nullify the nuclear deal if Iran doesn't release U.S. sailors immediately."

And then the next morning the sailors were released unharmed, and everyone who lost their minds the night before looked a little foolish.

But at least they had the excuse of speaking at a time of actual uncertainty. You can't say that about the candidates who brought up the incident at the GOP's presidential debate last night. More than a day after the issue had been resolved, they seemed intent on pretending we were in the middle of a hostage crisis.

The debate began with a moderator posing a question about the economy to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who began his reply by changing the subject:

Here I come to save the day!
Really Big Coloring Books

I want to get to the substance of the question on jobs, but I want to start with something. Today, many of us picked up our newspapers, and we were horrified to see the sight of 10 American sailors on their knees, with their hands on their heads.

In that State of the Union, President Obama didn't so much as mention the 10 sailors that had been captured by Iran. President Obama's preparing to send $100 billion or more to the Ayatollah Khamenei. And I'll tell you, it was heartbreaking.

But the good news is the next commander-in-chief is standing on this stage.

And I give you my word, if I am elected president, no service man or service woman will be forced to be on their knees, and any nation that captures our fighting men will feel the full force and fury of the United States of America.

Some people call for war when they don't think diplomacy will work. Ted Cruz calls for war when diplomacy has already worked. If you tuned in to the debate without having followed the news, Cruz's answer would give you the impression that the sailors were still being held.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie invoked the incident too: "We need to rebuild our military, and this president has let it diminish to a point where tinpot dictators like the mullahs in Iran are taking our Navy ships." (Note: The U.S. spends more money on the military than the next seven countries combined.) Donald Trump declared that "the only reason we got them back is because we owed them with a stupid deal," then immediately added: "If I'm president, there won't be stupid deals anymore." There are coherent arguments against Obama's agreement with Iran, but It helped us get our sailors back really isn't one of them.

The whole thing felt a little sad. I realize that every Republican candidate dreams of being Ronald Reagan running against Jimmy Carter. But that doesn't mean the world will automatically provide them with an Iranian hostage crisis of their own.

NEXT: Ted Cruz Slams Donald Trump For 'New York Values.' What the Hell Does That Mean?

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  1. Dow is now pushing down towards 16000. Where’s PB?

    Our Mother, who art in the Fed,
    Yellen be thy name.
    Thy interest hike shall come.
    Thy will be done on Earth,
    as it is in the market.
    Give us this day our daily E/P ratios.

  2. This old Marine has no understanding of what the hell went down in the Gulf this week. I asked a retired Navy Officer I work with what he thought – he’s sailed through the Gulf many times and doesn’t get it. Something very odd went on.

    I don’t believe they could have been lost (GPS, compasses, the sun – just head west away from Iran!). I don’t believe that multiple boats all suffered mechanical failures – they can tow each other, call for help, or just abandon and scuttle the broken down boat. I don’t know why they surrendered without a bit of resistance unless specifically ordered to do so – in which case, why have the Navy in the Persian Gulf?

    Allen West doesn’t get it either.

    1. This young(er) Marine know the old adage, “In government incompetence is always an acceptable answer.”

      1. That Code of Conduct was up on a wall everywhere when I was in the Marines then the National Guard.

        II. I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

        III. If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

        Not much wiggle room there.

        1. Was this like in Bridge on the River Kwai perhaps?

    2. +1 Navy Vet.

      This doesn’t make sense. I didn’t even see references to the battle group (although, I haven’t reviewed stories in the past 24 hours).

      1. These are the defenseless boats that were surrendered.


      2. From what I’ve seen, they didn’t actually float into Iran? It was an island Iran claims in the middle of the Gulf? I read one headline that said, and from that it makes sense – having flown over the gulf you can see both sides from 15-20k feet and there are a lot of island dotting the the coasts and towards the center.

        Otherwise, no, I just don’t get it.

  3. no need to start a war. It has already begun.

  4. “And I give you my word, if I am elected president, no service man or service woman will be forced to be on their knees, and any nation that captures our fighting men will feel the full force and fury of the United States of America.”

    Respect other nation’s borders and territory?? Pffff. American military personnel have the right to be wherever they wish.

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