Ignorance is His Excuse

The PJ Media Tatler reports that Vice President Joe Biden told an audience that the SEAL takedown of Osama was the most audacious raid — in centuries. The exact quote: “You can go back 500 years. You cannot find a more audacious plan.”

We  don’t know how to break it to Mr Biden, but that was not a hard day for the participants… the TF 160 part of it was a good bit hairier than the shooters’ end of it. For them it was just a day at the office: this is what our guys do. Day in and day out, in Afghanistan, Iraq and all around the world. Our guys have taken down ten thousand targets like Bin Laden’s “ISI Resort.”

The entire special operations community is howling with laughter. As a group, we tend to read history. Indeed, current special-ops boss Admiral William McRaven has written a book on the history of special operations that comprises a set of case studies of great historical special operations, all of which were far more audacious than the whacking of Osama… not to diminish what those SEALS did, but I don’t think they’d put themselves ahead of the Son Tay Raid in audacity.

A few other operations that you may have heard of. If you haven’t, Google them. You’ll be impressed at the daring and imagination in these historic operations.

  • SAS attempt to kill/capture Rommel
  • Commando raid on Bruneval (grabbed a radar for elint and techint exploitation)
  • Clider attack on Pegasus Bridge 5/6 Jun 44
  • Mosquito raid on Amiens prison (bombers precisely blew a hole in a prison wall so condemned members of the Resistance could escape).
  • Swordfish (Biplane) attack on Italian battleships in Taranto harbor
  • Destruction of the Vemork heavy-water plant. Heck, they even made a movie about this, for people who never read. (We’re looking at you, Joe).
  • Operation Iron Cross (not executed, but planned and trained)
  • RNAS raid on the Zeppelin sheds, 1916
  • RN raid on Zebrugge, 1918 (More or less duplicated at Ste-Nazaire in 1942; both raids were incredibly daring)
  • X-Craft raid on DKM Tirpitz in Norway
  • Entebbe rescue 1976
  • Mogadishu (German GSG-9 rescue)
  • SAS Raid on Pebble Island, 1982
  • SAS Iranian Embassy rescue
  • German capture of Fort Eben Emael 1940
  • Gunther Prien U47 into Scapa Flow
  • many operations by the Italian Maritime Commando unit (Decimo MAS)  in WWII
  • Italian special op into Pola Harbor in WWI

Some of these operations succeeded; a few laid an egg. Three things these operations have in common: they all took place some time in the last 500 years (last 100, really… do you honestly want us to run the list back to Medway in 1667, where Dutch Marines sank, burned or pilfered an entire British fleet?). And anyone interested in special operations or, for that matter, world history, has heard of at least some of them. And Joe Biden has heard of none of them.

There’s something wrong with that man.

“I mean, it’s just absolutely staggering the things they say,” Biden also said. He was talking about Republican politicians, but normal people say that about all politicians — especially him.

You don’t have to be an Obama supporter to pray every night for the health of the President. You just have to understand just how much Joe Biden doesn’t understand.

The PJ Tatler » Biden: In 500 Years There Was Never So ‘Audacious’ a Military Op as Osama Nab.

Edited: unclear grammar fixed, Amazon link to ADM McRaven’s book added.

6 thoughts on “Ignorance is His Excuse

  1. Medic09

    Your last line is the clincher, even though I don’t particularly like the serving POTUS.

    I’ve always been partial to Operation Rooster 53, carried out by the IDF Dec. 1969. The unit I would join 11 years later for my mandatory service carried out the heavy work. The IDF raid in April, ’73 on the PLO in Beirut and Tzidon was also pretty out there. Of course. round the world there are yet many classified operations that we just don’t know about at all.

    Maybe we should credit the guy with somehow intending to compliment the SEALs (who probably shook their heads in disgust). But it is very scary that these people can send men into battle without even knowing what they are asking those men to do.

    Thanks for that great list. I didn’t know about some of those, or Adm. McRaven’s book.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Medic – I’ve added a link to Admiral McRaven’s book. Well recommended. I can also recommend books on most of the other events. I’ll have to hit the books on Rooster 53. I’m fairly ignorant of Israeli special ops, except for Entebbe of course,and I do recall reading of the Beirut/Sidon raid… that was waterborne IIRC.

      You can’t throw a rock in Hollywood without hitting three Jews, how come there’s so few movies about Israeli ops? I miss Golan and Globus!

      I was lucky to hear some first-hand stories of Egyptian special ops against Libyan targets during their brief (1977?) war. The Jordanians have done some interesting hostage rescues and terrorist takedowns, but not much about them in English in open source.

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  3. Torres

    You forgot one WWII special op that was truly audacious. Operation Oak, Otto Skorzeny’s glider raid to rescue Mussolinion from Campo Imperatore Hotel on Gran Sasso in the Appenines. There was only one way onto the mountain – by tram car. Skorzeny’s men landing in 9 gliders, took the objective guarded by the Carabinieri without firing a shot.

    The only hitch was that Skorzeny nearly killed the “precious cargo” during exfil by going along in a heavily overloaded Feisler Storch.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I think Skorzeny overstated the risk in his book. The Storch is a big plane — twice the size of an L4 (our version, the Piper Cub dressed in OD) and does have seats for three. It’s powered by a 240 hp V8 compared to the L4’s 65 HP. A few years back, Nestor Slepcev, an Aussie who builds a replica of the Storch, flew one of his replicas to and from the same field. He did it solo… his replica is scaled down but still bigger than a Cub. Still, there are hundreds of operations… I could probably list another dozen just from the American Revolution (Trenton & Princeton, for starters). I have a post in the works about a special operation by the North Vietnamese Air Force that most people don’t know about. Or check out Operation Virile, by the Rhodesian Selous Scouts into Mozambique. Or the Brandenburg Division’s pseudo-American groups during the Bulge.

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