Iran Hostage Crisis: 25 Years of Jihad
Rusty Shackleford reminds us that the Islamists Declared War on the US 25 Years Ago Today:
Today is the 25th anniversary of the day the jihadis declared war on America. On Nov. 4, 1979 Islamist students in Tehran overan the U.S. embassy and took 66 Americans hostage. The hostages were held for 444 days. They were released on Jan. 20, 1981–the day Ronald Reagan was sworn into office.
I thought of this the other day in a different context but hadn’t done the math. The Iran Hostage Crisis marked the beginning of my serious interest in politics. I was a couple weeks shy of my 14th birthday at the time. Every night for the next 444 days, Walter Chronkite would sign off telling us which “day of captivity for the American hostages in Iran” we were up to. Ted Koppel launched a nightly program wrapping up the day’s hostage crisis news; it would evolve into Nightline.
The one year anniversary of the hostage crisis was inopportune for Jimmy Carter; it was Election Day 1980.* Ronald Reagan, who had been trailing in the polls only weeks before, won a landslide victory. My fascination with politics hasn’t waned. Neither, sadly, has the zeal of the Islamic extremists.
*This was the “different context.” The conventional wisdom that “late deciders break for the challenger” came from this election. The problem was that 1980 was an anomaly in that there was only one debate, which was held only days before the election, and because Carter had to endure coverage of the anniversary of the biggest failure of his presidency right at the end. Carter would have almost surely lost, anyway, but the timing was poetic.
Update: Professor Chaos thought about this, too, but didn’t get a lick of credit for it.