A rare military success for a modern Democratic president

And as Obama’s Democratic predecessors can attest, a victory — no matter how small — is better than a failure.

Clinton’s decision to send the USS Harlan County to Haiti loaded with troops was seen as a half-measure taken by a president spooked by the earlier downing of a Black Hawk helicopter in Somalia.

After the Harlan’s failure to get ashore, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote in a column that year that the incident “makes the administration look feckless and the country look weak.”

Thirteen years earlier, Democratic President Jimmy Carter authorized a military rescue of the 52 hostages being held by Iranians in Tehran. The 1980 attempt, called Operation Eagle Claw, ended when two helicopters crashed in the desert, killing eight servicemen.