Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Quotes of the day: Obama on the 40-minute wait in the Situation Room

President Obama on 60 Minutes: "And you know, there were big chunks of time in which all we were doin’ was just waiting. And it was the longest 40 minutes of my life with the possible exception of when Sasha got meningitis when she was three months old, and I was waiting for the doctor ...

United States Government Work/Flickr
United States Government Work/Flickr
United States Government Work/Flickr

President Obama on 60 Minutes: "And you know, there were big chunks of time in which all we were doin' was just waiting. And it was the longest 40 minutes of my life with the possible exception of when Sasha got meningitis when she was three months old, and I was waiting for the doctor to tell me that she was all right. It was a very tense situation."

By chance, last night I was reading some material on the failed hostage rescue operating in the Iranian desert in 1980. It was heartbreaking for all concerned, and politically crippling for President Carter. I think one of the unexpected side benefits of getting bin Laden will be that the U.S. military has greater faith in Obama as commander in chief-and Obama in his military:

Q: How much did some of the past failures, like the Iran hostage rescue attempt, how did that weigh on you? I mean...

President Obama on 60 Minutes: "And you know, there were big chunks of time in which all we were doin’ was just waiting. And it was the longest 40 minutes of my life with the possible exception of when Sasha got meningitis when she was three months old, and I was waiting for the doctor to tell me that she was all right. It was a very tense situation."

By chance, last night I was reading some material on the failed hostage rescue operating in the Iranian desert in 1980. It was heartbreaking for all concerned, and politically crippling for President Carter. I think one of the unexpected side benefits of getting bin Laden will be that the U.S. military has greater faith in Obama as commander in chief-and Obama in his military:

Q: How much did some of the past failures, like the Iran hostage rescue attempt, how did that weigh on you? I mean…

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I thought about that.

Q: …was that a factor?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Absolutely. Absolutely. No, I mean you think about Black Hawk Down. You think about what happened with the Iranian rescue. And it, you know, I am very sympathetic to the situation for other presidents where you make a decision, you’re making your best call, your best shot, and something goes wrong — because these are tough, complicated operations. And yeah, absolutely. The day before I was thinkin’ about this quite a bit.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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