Nation: Raging Debate over the Desert Raid

Critics ask the Pentagon: Was it too little—or too much?

Three C-130 Hercules transport planes roared low across the Florida panhandle last week, two flying tightly as a pair, one trailing without its partner. This is the traditional "missing buddy" formation of the U.S. Air Force, a symbol of mourning for lost fliers. On the ground, in a green park just inside the gates of Hurlburt Field, some of the toughest men in the armed services could not suppress their tears.

The ceremony honored five of the eight servicemen who died two weeks ago in Iran's Dasht-e-Kavir desert during the aborted raid to...

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