Biden’s History Lesson

Joe Biden has, once again, proven that his mouth engages long before his brain.  Biden was speaking  in New Jersey when he stated that, the capture of bin laden (I think he meant killing) was the most audacious plan of the last 500 years.  Biden went on to say that the plan only had a 48% chance of success.  Joe seemed genuinely astounded by this.  I don’t know a single military leader who believes that operations, especially covert special forces operations, are guaranteed success.     Some missions are so fraught with risk that they are called “suicide missions”  For someone assigned to one of these suicide missions, a 48 % success rate might sound pretty darn good.  At any rate, I, like most of our fellow citizens, am proud of the courageous and skilled action of Navy Seals Team 6.  However, I just don’t think that the killing of one man, hidin out in a 3rd world nation will in the long run prove to be one of the great history changing events.  Especially, once viewed from 500 years in the future.  One thing that should be mentioned is that operations such as Navy Seals 6 have been ongoing since 2001.  For obvious reasons, they are not all publicized.  At any rate, I have my own choices of audacious plans that have had an impact on history and the way our world has been shaped.  1.  Washington Crosses the Delaware and captures Trenton.  Without this audacios plan executed on Christmas night and the next day, there would be no United States.  Americans were beaten, short of supplies and Washington’s army was falling apart.  Let’s see 1776 was less than 500 years ago.    2. Cortes Conquers Mexico. Now this took audacity.  With a few hundred solldiers, some horses, and the ability to plan militarily and politically Cortes conquered the most powerful native nation at the time in the Americas.  It set the stage for Spain becoming the richest and most powerful nation in the world from 1521 till the 18th century. 3.  Nelson wins at Trafalgar.  Napoleon needed in 1805 the ability to transport his armies across the English Channel to invade England.  He had the combined navies of France and Spain with a plan to sail up the coast having naval protection for his transports.  There was much audacity in Nelson at all times.  He had already lost an arm and an eye.  However, his audacity here was to turn conventional naval battle tactics on its head.  Instead of 2 fleets in lines firing broadsides at each other, Nelson proposed an approach of the enemy in columns that sailed directly into the broadsides of the enemy with the expectation of breaking up the enemies’ lines and having one fleet cross the T of the other.  These tactics worked but the lead British ships would and did take tremendous punishment.  Nelson was on one of the lead ships the HMS Victory and was killed on the day of the battle.  4. D-Day June 6, 1944.  The largest combined arms battle ever or since.  This is the most complete and audacious plan ever and it was just 68 years ago!  Military planners did not even try to estimate a success rate.  The  enterprise was so audacious, so complex, and so historic that even Josef Stalin was impressed.  Stalin, in his comments, noted that the Allies had succeeded where Hitler and Napolieon had failed.    5. Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign 1863.  Grant had been known as audacious from his first campaigns against Forts Henry and Donelson.  The capture  of Vicksburg was essential to the Union war effort as it would  split the Confederacy in two.  Union naval leaders deserve much credit for audacity in this campaign as well.  Vicksburg sits on a bluff on the Mississippi River where the River OxBows.  19th Century naval vessels had to take considerable punishment from cannon situated on the Vicksburg bluffs.  They also could not elevate their guns effectively to fight back.  Grant’s audacious plan was to march down the west side of the Mississippi and to have naval transports run past Vicksburg and to pick up his troops where the ground was suitable for moving and fighting.  Once his troops disembarked Grant had no means to supply his army as the naval vessels could not go upstream past Vicksburg.  Grant marched first east to Jackson Mississippi.  He drove off forces of Joe Johnston.  He then destroyed the railroads around Jackson and to Vicksburg.  He then marched east and defeated the Confederate Forces under Pemberton. After an unsuccessful attempt to take Vicksburg by assault, Grant laid seige to Vicksburg.  The Confederates surrendered on July 4, 1863.  The importance of the Civil War to American History cannot be understimated.  It was successful Union armies that ended slavery.   6. The Battle of Vienna 1683.  This was the last and most serious incursion by the Muslim Turks into the heart of Europe.  Some argue that the Turkish Empire was in decline.  I don’t see that decline as inevitable.  A victory outside Vienna and the practical and psychological advantages that would bring could have changed many things especially since France’s Louis XIV was making trouble for the Holy Roman Empire on their Western Border.  The audacity belonged to the King of Poland, Jon Sobieski.  He had made commitments to the Holy Roman Emperor to defend Vienna.  Poland had their own problems with certain neighbors and it took a courageous decision to empty his kingdom of fighting men.  Sobieski was put in charge of the battle plan due to the superiority of the cavalry.  The Battle of Vienna saw the largest charge of cavalry in Worl History.  7.  The Battle of Midway 1942.  Military Historian John Keegan calls the Battle of Midway the most important Battle of the Pacific War.  After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese Army and Navy forces ran wild. American Naval forces in the Pacific were out numbered, out gunned, and unprepared.  Outnumbered and outgunned U.S. Naval forces set a trap for the Japanese Naval forces. The Japanese  were attempting to eliminate U.S Naval Carriers in the Pacific.  From Admiral Nimitz to the guys bombing the Japanese Carriers, this was an exercise in “audacity”. 8. Pizzarro conquers the Inca Empire.  Just see my comments on Cortes.  These guys were certainly audacious and had successful plans. 9.  Mac Arthur at Inchon. Douglas MacArthur executed the most audacious battle plan of his great career during the Korean War.   His actions at Inchon, which  changed the entire complexion of the Korean War, was a textbook case of combined arms operations.  The U.S. Navy deserves much credit for the success of this event.  10. Yamamoto at Pearl Harbor.  This was an unbelievably risky and audacious plan. Japanese Admiral Yamamoto was a fan of America.  He had gone to college in America.  The audacious plan had the Japanese fleet  traveling across the North Pacific, unobserved, to launch the attack on Pearl Harbor.  But, is was not an original plan.  The Japanese actually copied another attack made by the British against the Italian fleet at Taranto.  The historic significance of this event did not work out well for the Japanese or Nazi Germany.    Winston Churchill had been trying to get America into the war and Franklin Roosevelt was sympathetic but hesitant.  Of course, once the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred the USA was in WW2.    The one part of  this audacious plan that totally failed was the diplomatic end.  The Japanese diplomats were supposed to deliver a declaration of war prior to the attack.  Once Admiral Yamamoto learned of all of the diplomatic facts and mistakes , he replied,  “I fear that all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant” .  So it was. So at any rate if others have their own contributions, I welcome the debate.

14 thoughts on “Biden’s History Lesson”

  1. Stop it, you are bringing brains and facts to a debate with a liberal. That is an unfair advantage.

    It feels good to say that. Who needs facts? After all, we dismissed truth decades ago from political debate.

  2. Yes I know. Liberals actually never know History. Now Pandora has said in the past that she wanted a history debate with me. I think like a typical liberal, She will bail.

  3. Laffter once again proves that his reading comprehension skills are so limited that he cannot actually have a comprehensible post. Of course you are lifting stuff solely from Wikipedia which demonstrates your total lack of historic knowledge.

    So now go back to Wikipedia and figure out that when the Cortes expedition left Cuba, Cortes had not met his translator, mistress, and mother of his son Martin. He only met her after he landed outside of what is now Veracruz.

    Now laffter will have us believe that Cortes was not audaucious based on the fact that one native woman helped him as a translater. This was a woman he had never met until he landed with his troops in what is now Mexico.

    Laffter can you actually argue an intellectual point? Was the Cortes expeditions audacious? Did it have historic significance? Did it occur within the last 500 years? I guess you agree with Joe Biden that the action to take out Bin Laden was the most audacious plan in the last 500 years. I have given you 10 examples that refute the Biden example. Make your case as to why Biden is correct.

  4. Yamamoto’s attack on Pearl Harbor was audacious, but terribly executed. Japanese bombers ended the attack without completely destroying the American battleships in the harbor. Of the five that were sunk that day, four were left in good enough condition to be repaired and rejoin the fleet. All four fought at the crucial Battle of Leyte Gulf.

    Yamamoto also left untouched the Navy’s crucial stockpile of fuel oil at Maui, just ninety miles away. Destroying those stockpiles would have crippled the U.S. carrier fleet due to fuel starvation.

  5. My standards in the original post were as follows:

    1. Were the events in the last 500 years?
    2. Were the actions audacious?
    3. Were the events historically significant?

    I don’t agree with Mike Borgia that the Pearl attack was “terribly executed”. The tactics were practiced to mimic the shallow waters of Pearl Harbor.
    I agree that the Japanese did not complete the job and that the oil storage facilities should have been hit but still it was an “audacious” plan with historically significant consequences.

  6. Yes, it’s pretty clear you don’t agree with anyone who doesn’t agree with you.

    Count on conservatives to jump on a point of hyperbole so they can club it to death, and then to believe that it makes them intelligent.

    Should I counter by pointing out that, despite what Rick Santorum believes, this is not the most important presidential election since 1860? These are political campaign statements. What kind of fool takes them seriously? Ooops. Present company excluded, of course.

  7. Some people can get away with saying anything … some people can’t. It’s probably better to try to accept the fact, and get on with life. The most important thing, in my opinion, is to understand which type you are and then act accordingly.

  8. ummmm TW – I do NOT see why you think I took it from Wikepedia
    If YOU ACTUALLY read my very comprehensible post you would see the link (whoops) and it is NOT to Wikepedia – so ummm why would you claim I used wikepedia?

    which begs the question……who didnt read whose post accurately….????

    you are NOT entitled to your own facts friend – you blew off the cuff nonsence , got called out on it then made even more erroneous statments – I never mention Wikepedia- not ONE time

    wow – please buy some glasses……its in black and white – i provided the link to mexconnect – it could not be clearer
    which leads me to doubt all your posts on history issues as you clearly did not research even my humble small reference – what else did you not reasearch??

  9. TW stated – “Laffter once again proves that his reading comprehension skills are so limited that he cannot actually have a comprehensible post. Of course you are lifting stuff solely from Wikipedia which demonstrates your total lack of historic knowledge”

    1. you might want to look in the mirror when discussing reading conprehension – or lack thereof
    2. please prove I used Wikepdia – the link I provided was this
    http://www.mexconnect.com/articles/224-la-malinche-harlot-or-heroine
    posted in that post – and here again for all to see…
    3. I think you did more to demonstrate your lack of knowledge than mine
    4. quit while you are ahead

  10. Biden’s general stupidity is well documented. Only in politics can one so inept as he succeed- all that’s needed is an abundance of ego and hot air.

  11. I don’t see where anything that TW said was contradicted by Laffer. TW said that Cortez achieved one of the most audacious victories in 500 years against the most powerful empire in the West with a hundreds of troops just by amazing political and military intrigue.

    Finding weaknesses, developing alliances, exploiting local hatred of the oppressors, converting natives, and strategically utilizing their superior weapons is the long way of saying that. Laffer wants to pretend that Cortez’ mistress was the real brains behind the operation. She was not. That is revisionism to the absurd degree. She was a key part though without which, I doubt he would have succeeded. She obviously bright and capable and motivated to end the evil regime of oppression that was the Aztec Empire. She may have even inspired him, who knows, but let’s be honest, without him, the empire would have lasted at least another hundred years and history would be very different. His audacious strategy against all reasonable odds changed the world. It has to be in the top 3, maybe the top military, political, and social military based operation of the past 500 years.

    Laffer just hates to admit that a European type did it. I don’t know why. TW was not giving a comprehensive account of the incident. It is obvious that many of our readers are at least somewhat familiar with the narrative and did not need an outline of it. I thank Laffer, for contributing details, it just didn’t need the superior attitude. Come back any time.

  12. The most amazing thing about Cortes and the Spanish Conquistadors generally is that Spain is actually guilty, in reality, of what leftists try to blame the USA for. Every accusation and claim about America as a “colonial power” — the USA was a COLONY itself — is actully true of Spain, not of the USA. Yet the leftists give Spain a pass, and falsely blame the USA.

  13. I’m just impressed that our native Delawarean Vice President is being included in a favorable discussion of the most audacious acts of the past 500 years… That speaks rather highly of our small state….

  14. Laffter my wikipedia reference was sarcastic. I saw your link and read it. It tells the basic story. You obviously didn’t get it that when Cortes left Cuba he had a few hundred soldiers and some horses. That is what made his plan so audacious.

    I never said that Cortes did not have allies on the Mexican mainland although he had to fight battles against Natives on the mainland to secure their eventual alliance.

    The fact is Cortes had no allies when he left Cuba. It was an audacious plan that achieved something historically significant. You are the one who misunderstood the original post.

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