By: David Kober  | 

The Iran Operation: Declassified (Vol. 45, Issue 11)

Despite intensive and thorough news coverage of the recent military operation in Iran, many questions remain unanswered. Probably the most important one is — “Why”? Why try a rescue attempt at this time? Why were there mechanical slip-ups? Why wasn't there a contingency plan? Well, I found the answers to all these queries when I acquired the transcript of a secret meeting that took place right after the Pennsylvania primary.

President Carter: “What the hell happened in Pennsylvania, Strauss? I spent three weeks on the telephone begging for votes, and we still lost!”

Strauss: “Don't worry, Mr. President. After all the campaigning Kennedy did, he only came away with a lousy three delegate victory. It won't mean anything. The only way you could blow this thing now would be if your secretary came out with an expose of what you really think of Rosalyn and your mother. Have you taken care of that secretary, Jody?”

Powell: “Yeah, sure. She’s going to be the next Director of the CIA.”

Strauss: “That'll be even better for the female vote.”

President Carter: “Good thinking. But you can’t just ignore Pennsylvania. All Kennedy needs is another victory or two and he could blow everything. The Kennedy mystique is still something to be reckoned with. I read that in Reader's Digest.”

Strauss: “I don't know what else I can do.”

President Carter: “I know you don't. That's why I called this meeting. I want a plan. A fool-proof plan. Your Rose Garden strategy is wearing thin at the polls. My image needs a shot in the arm.”

Brzezinski: “How about some more hard negotiations with Sadat and Begin? You know, remind people of your single greatest achievement.”

President Carter: “Forget it, Zbig. I'm tired of those two. If Begin implies one more time that he knows more about the Bible than I do, I’m going to give the West Bank to the Shah for his birthday. If Sadat reminds me one more time how brave he was to go to Jerusalem, I’m going to make him eat one of Rosalyn’ dinners to show him what real bravery is!”

Powell: “How about taking Iran back to the World Court? Civilleti’s getting tired of sitting around his office with nothing to do.”

President Carter: “Jody, you know as well as I do that the World Court decision is worth about as much to the militants as Gromyko's word is to me. Boy, I still find it hard to believe that those Russians can’t be trusted.”

Strauss: “How about meeting with Schmidt and D’Estaing. It would remind people of the Big Three conference of World War Two. You'd he equated with Roosevelt,”

President Carter: “That would be fine if I had people to meet with who were as famous as Churchill or Stalin. Schmidt and D’Estaing — they sound like they belong in an American Express commercial. But you're on the right track with the throwback to WW II, I wouldn't mind having the image of a gutsy Commander-in-Chief.”

Brown: “I have an idea. If it works, they'll probably throw away the amendment limiting Presidents to 2 terms.”

President Carter: “Now we're talking. Let’s hear it, Harry.”

Brown: “Go into Iran and get the hostages out.”

Powell: “Are you out of your mind?! Don't you realize that the reason we haven't acted on the Iranian situation so far is because it’s the one thing that's helped us most in the primaries. We worked for months trying to spread out sanctions that really should have been imposed on the first day. And now you want to blow everything we've worked for!”

Brown: “Look Jody, I’m not stupid. I wouldn’t suggest it if I didn’t think it would be beneficial. The situation we're in now is deteriorating, When we gave the Russians the chance to move into Afghanistan, it started to go downhill. We had to compensate for that with the Olympic boycott and the draft. You have to admit, those aren't the most popular of moves.”

President Carter: “Se what will going into Iran accomplish?”

Brown: “It will turn the draft issue in our favor. The main reason people are against the draft is because there's no glamor in the army any more.” Kids have been seeing movies like “Animal House” and “Hair,” where the army is the place for straight-laced mohawks who have all gone establishment in the worst way. A raid into Iran would change this image. We'd bring back the age of the commando, the real-life hero. If we go in and get those hostages, you can parade them down Pennsylvania Avenue with the leader of the strike force at your side. It'll be fantastic public relations for you, and every kid'll grow up again wanting to join the service.”

President Carter: “Harry, I like it, But can we pull it off?”

Brown: “Mr. President, let me put it to you this way. If the Israelis can do it...”

President Carter: “Good point: But how long will it take to set up? I want this in the press and in the voters’ minds as soon as possible.”

Brown: “I’m sure we can get underway in a month at the latest.”

President Carter: “A month! Are you crazy? We've got the greatest army in the world! You think they need a month of training to get past a few teenagers with rifles? I want it done this week. Have the team run through it a few times, and then airlift them out of here. It’s perfect. They won't be expecting it because I said I wouldn't act till mid-May. And I can tell everyone that I waited so long for sanctions because I was setting up this attack.”

Brown: “But sir, it will take time to check out all the equipment, secure landing strips, etc.”

President Carter: “Nonsense, Harry. If there’s any trouble, I'll call off the mission. But I won't have to. Because what could go ‘wrong ?”