Vice President Biden at a fundraising event in New Jersey Monday night (comments from the pool report)
“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.”
“Do any one of you have a doubt that if that raid failed that this guy would be a one-term president?”
“This guy is willing to do the right thing and risk losing.”
I struggle with math, but I’m fairly certain that covers a pretty sizable chunk of American history. The most audacious plan to date?
Ed Morrissey put together a quick list of potential rivals…
- Raid on Tokyo
- Battle of Cowpens
- Bunker Hill
- Agincourt, if one is willing to go back 600 years or so
The true award winner in this category is the D-Day invasion of June 1944 of Fortress Europe by Dwight Eisenhower. It took months to lay a trap of misdirection for the Nazis, a trap that Eisenhower couldn’t have known for certain had sprung until his troops hit the beaches. It took a massive effort to build and train his armies not just for the landings, but also to get materiel on shore and push off the beachheads into the hedgerows, and this against the mightiest military force on the continent. Few know the context of the D-Day decision and its precursor in the embarrassing failure at Dieppe in 1942, and the real risks of failure — certainly higher than 52%.
I don’t mean to diminish the plan to take out Osama bin Laden, or the result for that matter. I simply prefer to look at that decision with a sense of perspective. Ignoring the scale or craft with which it was planned and carried out, the motivation behind the raid truly has no equal in American history. I would have given Biden that much. That said, the fact that Americans nearly unanimously supported the kill/capture of OBL, greatly diminishes the risk/reward argument Biden is trying to make here. Sure, had the raid gone south, it would have been a PR nightmare; but let’s be real about it. A PR nightmare is Pakistan? We’re talking about two news cycles – at best. And American soldier allegedly kills more than a dozen Afghan citizens and Peyton Manning just made that story go away like last month’s edition of Time Magazine.
Does the president deserve credit for pushing the button on bin Laden? Absolutely. Let’s just keep things in perspective for a change.
A telling headline from The Atlantic…