Managing the Crisis

While the hostages suffered intense fear and loneliness in Beirut, officials in Washington endured another kind of ordeal as they struggled to work out a strategy for freeing the Americans. Although the 17-day drama had its moments of tension on this side of the Atlantic, there was little of the minute-by- minute crisis atmosphere, marked by heated meetings and sweaty palms, that is thought to accompany such showdowns. Instead, the President's top aides insist, the situation was handled in an orderly and subdued manner that seemed to come straight from the pages of an introductory textbook on crisis management, a style...

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