I love it when a reporter takes the time to completely obliterate a stupid political remark:
BIDEN on the bin Laden raid: “You can go back 500 years. You cannot find a more audacious plan. Never knowing for certain. We never had more than a 48 percent probability that he was there.” – At a Morris Township, N.J., Democratic fundraiser Monday.
THE FACTS: Pick your audacity for the ages. A partial list of awfully bold and odds-defying plans of the last 500 years to stack beside the bin Laden raid for comparison:
-George Washington’s nighttime crossing of the Delaware in December 1776, capturing 1,000 prisoners with fewer than a dozen casualties in his own army, in a watershed for the American Revolution.
-Any number of daring feints and bloody raids of the Civil War.
-Dec. 7, 1941, the sneak assault on Pearl Harbor by more than 350 Japanese planes that killed more than 2,400 people, decimated the Pacific Fleet and drew the U.S. into war.
-June 6, 1944, D-Day, the surprise landing of 160,000 Allied troops on the massively fortified shores of Normandy, France, supported by 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft – a “nothing less than full victory” gambit that unleashed armies on a march across Europe to crush Nazi Germany.
-The Sept. 11, 2001, destruction of the World Trade Center, damaging of the Pentagon, downing of four airliners and deaths of nearly 3,000 people, at the hands of hijackers with knives, set loose by bin Laden’s al-Qaida.
Biden’s remark has prompted a U.S. Naval Institute blog to build a list of 500 audacious acts over 500 years – many with a seafaring flavor, given the contributors. Astonishing acts of courage, or foolishness, are recounted, some lost to the memory of all but the most ardent history buffs: British sailors paddling canoes into a Norwegian fjord to attach mines to the German battleship Tirpitz was one.
In 1519, the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez personified the audacity of hope when, after landing his men on the shores of Mexico, he ordered his ships burned, beached or scuttled so there could be no turning back. His invaders pressed on to defeat the Aztec empire.
D-Day is definitely the most audacious military action (in sheer size), for my own spit take. But hell, why not throw in the German Blitzkrieg, which any historian will argue has become the de facto standard of conduct in how to initiate a foreign invasion. The surprise nuclear bombing of Japan marks another. But this just marks a prime example of the kind of historical revisions and delusions of grandeur that cloud the heads of the mighty political creatures like Biden.
Biden’s egotism about his role in building the most audacious utopian killing machine in 500 years is pathetic though, but in his own way he’s probably right.