Video: Matthews says SEALs “got lucky”

posted at 12:18 pm on April 14, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Perhaps not quite as egregious as Radio Vice Online posits, but it’s close.  Chris Matthews says that people follow “lucky” commanders, and that the Navy SEALs who iced three pirates with single shots had a lot of luck in doing so.  Chuck Todd can hardly believe his ears:

Chance favors the prepared mind.  Desert One didn’t fail because of bad luck; it failed because the mission was not properly equipped for its environment, and because the Pentagon had not prepared a joint commando mission of this kind before.  Carter didn’t have that option, but by that time he’d been President for over three years, and the hostages had been held for several months.  The failure to anticipate the needs of this mission hardly falls into the “bad luck” category.

It’s hard to imagine why Matthews wants to pursue a “luck” explanation.  If the mission was that chancy, perhaps Obama shouldn’t have ordered it.  Todd gets it right when he notes that the SEALs and other commando units prepare constantly for just this kind of mission, and that their skills are honed to the nth degree.  That ain’t luck — it’s preparation, training, and excellent command decisions, the qualities that actually produce leaders people follow.

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He calls it luck because he didn’t want anything done.

It’s his inance contribution to raising people’s concern for future missions to save American lives.

notagool on April 14, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Let’s let some Navy Seals loose on Mr. Matthews.

tnmama on April 14, 2009 at 1:53 PM

I don’t see why sites like this print Chris Matthews analysis of anything. Or Olbermann’s or Shuster’s. I remember during the conventions seeing clips of Chris going on about something and even Olbermann gave him the face palm half way through.

Marcus on April 14, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Hey folks, I have a SEAL friend that I asked today about this, and what he thought SEALs in general would think about this comment. His answer, and I quote: “Chris who?”

MikeA on April 14, 2009 at 1:59 PM

3 SEALs. Firing simultaneously. On a boat (think waves, water rising and falling). At 3 separate targets. From distance. And, all 3 dead. All 3. Simultaneously.


Matthews, I’ve got a hand full of luck for you, pal. Right here hanging.

pabarge on April 14, 2009 at 1:59 PM

You left an important part out of that analysis… that those shots were taken from a moving boat, at targets located on a moving boat.

The motion was a gentle swell, from what I understand. For a head-sized target that’s still dead easy. When I was a kid we used to practice shooting pop-cans that were swinging at the end of a rope from 30 yards. Dead easy. A head? No trained marksman could miss.

Anyway, the point here is not that the Seals aren’t accomplished marksmen. They are, and they’d toast me in any shooting competition. The point is that this was entirely unrelated to luck. The navy got the pirates within 200 feet using a clever ploy, and then within 100 feet because the pirates weren’t paying attention. My guess is that the snipers would have been fine at 200 ft, but told the captain that at 100 ft it was a sure thing so he arranged it for them. That’s smart tactics: make it so the opponent has no chance and then take him out. No luck involved. Good job by the navy.

Gaunilon on April 14, 2009 at 2:02 PM

“Lucky” is how you describe a guy with Matthews’ talent and intellect who somehow blunders into a high-paying job like that. Other adjectives that come to mind include “snide,” “verminous,” “puerile,” “asinine,” “petty,” and “irritating.”

morganfrost on April 14, 2009 at 2:06 PM

Oh it’s just luck? Ok cool, so we can start sending out 80 year old grandmas to be our snipers now.

Riposte on April 14, 2009 at 2:07 PM

Did Chris Matthews have to write the speech Carter had to give after the death of the eight soldiers in the failed Iranian hostage rescue? Chris was a Carter aide/speechwriter, and if he had to write that speech, it would explain his obsession with that 29-year-old failed attempt, and probably his attitude towards military rescues in general, since the Carter White House no doubt was cursing out the Pentagon and what they saw as those bumblers in the desert for putting them in such a public relations predicament (and the Carter staff will go to their graves bitter over the events that helped them lose to Reagan in the 1980 election).

jon1979 on April 14, 2009 at 2:08 PM

What would a liberal political hack know about training hard and having to perform? He proves more each day what an embarrassment he is to the human race.

flytier on April 14, 2009 at 2:08 PM

Mathews correctly realizes that, ultimately, the credit for the success of this operation goes to the previous administration — under whose command the military’s capabilities and performance has been honed to a perfection barely seen previously in history — and not the current one.

Dusty on April 14, 2009 at 2:12 PM

My high school band teacher drilled into our heads, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity”.

This was not luck. This was skill.

If I were a pirate, I’d scat my pants wondering when black death was going to fall on me.

madmonkphotog on April 14, 2009 at 2:18 PM

I’m late to the party but let me weigh in.

My son is a Navy Seal, currently deployed in Afghanistan. This will be his tenth year as a seal. When these fine young men are not on the battlefield or stealthily doing their job in some of the most dangerous parts of this world, they do nothing but train. They train for every possible scenario you could imagine. Tactical training, weapons training, sniper training, close combat training, the list is long, the hours demanding.

Ten years of training does not result in LUCK. Chrissy Matthews wouldn’t last through 5 seconds of BUDS training.

So on behalf of my own son and all of his seal brothers, I would just like to tell Chrissy ….. #%%$@%^@%. Can’t say it here, use your imagination.

fogw on April 14, 2009 at 2:18 PM

fogw on April 14, 2009 at 2:18 PM

You said it just fine. And please tell you son thanks for keeping us safe. The weird talking head may not get it, but the rest of us do.

MikeA on April 14, 2009 at 2:29 PM

Matthews says SEALs “got lucky”

Han’t the idiot heard of the idiom (paraphrased)”Three times the charm.”?

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on April 14, 2009 at 2:34 PM

Obama’s now guilty of murder on the high seas; He shall be brought to trial for these crimes.
The SEALS were trained under the Bush Administration, otherwise the boat captain would be dead, too.

Cybergeezer on April 14, 2009 at 2:37 PM

I am not and was not a SEAL, but I operated with them in the Mekong Delta. Chris Matthews isn’t fit to be classified as being in the same gender as a Navy SEAL.

Star20 on April 14, 2009 at 2:39 PM

“Luck is the residue of design”

John Milton

quikstrike98 on April 14, 2009 at 2:44 PM

Chris Matthews isn’t fit to be classified as being in the same gender as a Navy SEAL.

I don’t think Matthews himself considers that he is of that gender. But let’s not insult the fairer ender by throwing him in witht hem either. He is of some unusual gender by a genetic malfunction.

MikeA on April 14, 2009 at 2:46 PM

I’d like to put Chris Matthews in the same situation those pirates were in and see him curse his luck.

Chaz706 on April 14, 2009 at 2:55 PM

Chris Matthews has to be one of the most anti-American idiots on the air. Snipers were lucky? He’s lucky to have a job on American TV and not tarred and feathered and thrown out of the country!

afotia on April 14, 2009 at 2:56 PM

The lucky one: The [email protected] who was on the USS Bainbridge at the time; he is still alive. Man he must have crapped a redwood when he saw what was going down! I say life as the cellmate of Charles Manson!

“Fortune Favors the Brave!”, as the English say.

As for the Desert One incident; had President Carter not insisted on micromanaging the rescue attempt it might have worked.

Bubba Redneck on April 14, 2009 at 2:56 PM

Looks like Chris hasn’t gotten “lucky” since 1978!

Bubba Redneck on April 14, 2009 at 2:58 PM

People who have never accomplished anything real in their lives – and by that I mean something tangible – always attribute excellence to luck. They simply don’t understand what they call luck is nothing more that when preparation meets opportunity.

TheBigOldDog on April 14, 2009 at 3:01 PM

PS – somebody should tell old Chrisy to try watching Top Sniper on the Military Channel before he goes around attributing their capabilities to “luck.”

TheBigOldDog on April 14, 2009 at 3:03 PM

Yeah, Butter Brains? We’ll see who’s “Lucky” when they show up at your house…. surrounding your bed… in the middle of the night as you wake up screaming like the little girl we know you are.

CynicalOptimist on April 14, 2009 at 3:04 PM

I wish emails had bitch-slap sense. I would email Matthews daily, and when crap like this happens, I would serve him plenty.

What’s his angle, because his President “succeeded”. I just don’t get it!

ProudPalinFan on April 14, 2009 at 3:12 PM

In many years gone by (in the early 70’s), I was a test diver for U.S. Divers, in the recreational area, not military or commercial.
I was invited down to the U.S. Naval Training center in Point Loma, CA.
I spent a couple of days with the Seals, went over a few things with them regarding swimming techniques…but were they ever trained, intelligent, absolutely dedicated, and proud of their positions that each one earned.
The fun part was the 100 foot ascension tank, where you had to ascend from 100 ft. without air.
For years driving down to fish at Point Loma, I would drive by that tank, it was to me like the raising of the flag, a monument to great men.
I am not even sure they are training there anymore, but an experience of a lifetime…up close to real heroes, the real deal…perfectly physically and mentally fit, absolutely fearless.

right2bright on April 14, 2009 at 3:18 PM

What a moron. The standard line from the military has been “the taxpayers pay good money to train these guys to perform that well.”

I’d much rather have a trained sniper aiming at the guy next to me than some guy who’s “lucky”.

Of course, Chris probably believes that the AIG credit-default guys can be replaced by the staff at your local McDonald’s. After all, the rich and successful are only rich and successful by CHANCE, right?

hawksruleva on April 14, 2009 at 3:30 PM

Its funny how the domestic enemies of our Republic have tipped their hands of late, not that it wasnt obvious before but they seem to be emboldened by Obambi’s presence in the big seat.

Viper1 on April 14, 2009 at 3:34 PM

No such thing as luck. It is called being prepared for a situation when it arises.

Wade on April 14, 2009 at 3:35 PM

I am not and was not a SEAL, but I operated with them in the Mekong Delta. Chris Matthews isn’t fit to be classified as being in of the same gender as a Navy SEAL and never has been.

Star20 on April 14, 2009 at 2:39 PM


AZfederalist on April 14, 2009 at 3:35 PM

General “Chrissimo”. Anything he has in life is do to “luck”, since he has no talent, common sense, looks, etc. He should interview Biden and BO, that would be really entertaining dialogue.
Thanks to all who served and continue to try and keep us safe. Even IDIOTS like this.

hillbilly on April 14, 2009 at 3:37 PM

Yeah, but remember that he and the other Communists are actually Patriots like the rest of us…uh, because they say so.

Dr. ZhivBlago on April 14, 2009 at 3:46 PM

The only luck involved in this was the three terrorists presenting themselves as targets simultaneously.

Other then that, it was all training, the right orders, and being there.

Keith_Indy on April 14, 2009 at 3:55 PM

Matthews desperately needs gay marriage to get a foothold. Yet, ‘luck’ is a stranger to Chrissy Mat. He longs for the gentle touch of his companion in legal matrimony and holds our country to blame for his longing. That’s why he’s such a crabby grouch, anyway.

Griz on April 14, 2009 at 4:02 PM

Guess this was lucky shooting also?

Not for the faint of heart….video is of a sniper team in Afghanistan. The spotter is also using a video camera to record the shots.

SPIFF1669 on April 14, 2009 at 4:11 PM

Mathews hates the military because the military is comprised of 99% conservative men and women.

I’ve “only” been in the service 23 years and am on “only” my 12th assignment, but I can assure you, 99% of the military is NOT conservative. I’ve found in my time pretty much an equal balance, perhaps a bit more on the conservative side, but still closer to 50/50. (Even my liberal military friends are 2nd amendment supporters.)

As for the “luck” of the Seals, let’s face it: they did get lucky. The difference between what I mean and what CM means is this: For those of us who work day in and day out training for combat, the amount of luck you need decreases as the hours of your training increase. In the end, all these three gents needed was the “luck” of three Somali pirates exposing their vital noggins at the same instant.

To paraphrase some dead famous guy: How do you get to the sniper position on the USS Bainbridge? Practice, practice, practice.

mjtyson on April 14, 2009 at 4:37 PM

I didnt watch the link, and there’s no question that Matthews is a goofball, but I think it’s worth mentioning that there’s *some* degree of luck involved here. I have no doubt that the SEALs are incredibly well-trained and we couldnt have possibly asked for better results from them. But in a choppy sea, surely something could have gone wrong. There was luck involved as well, as there is in just about anything.

orange on April 14, 2009 at 5:02 PM

Hmm, should have read above. mjtyson makes the point perfectly well.

orange on April 14, 2009 at 5:03 PM

We can all thank Ronald Reagan for restoring the military.

And W Bush for recognizing the importance of, and funding (SOF).

americaslaststand on April 14, 2009 at 5:38 PM

“Carter didn’t have that option, but by that time he’d been President for over three years, and the hostages had been held for several months”

Perhaps he’s saying it was “lucky” this time cuz Obama’s ONLY been president for a few months.

Had this situation happened, say, 3 years from now, it might have turned out much like “Desert One”

Why Chris Matthews, President Carter’s speechwriter wanted to highlight this is a little strange.

Is he now trying to spin Carter as “un-lucky” vice “incompetent”?

Is he trying to set a future tone for Obama as “un-lucky” vice “incompetent”?

Is it possible that Tingles could actually think that far into the future?

Or is this some sort of Freudian slip?

DSchoen on April 14, 2009 at 5:51 PM

Ed – why do you post this crap from Matthews?

No one watches his show and we all know he couldnt pass a drug test if he studied for it.

He is clearly a whackjob that no one takes seriously.

Spare us

iam7545 on April 14, 2009 at 5:52 PM

So it’s just bad luck that Matthews typically comes in last against FOX and CNN I guess.

Hum you could have a point here.

On my cable

Fox is channel 37 and

MSNBC is channel 39

Opps won’t work

CNN is channel 31

DSchoen on April 14, 2009 at 6:09 PM

First quit giving Mathews ink. Second, Luck is when opportunity and preparation combine.

pgrossjr on April 14, 2009 at 6:09 PM

Chris Matthews is an example of when opportunity turns becomes an accident.

americaslaststand on April 14, 2009 at 6:20 PM

opportunity turns becomes an accident.
dang click submit too fast

americaslaststand on April 14, 2009 at 6:21 PM

“Lucky” would be if idiot gasbag Matthews were silenced.

As in the entire country.

NoDonkey on April 14, 2009 at 6:43 PM

It is far more feasible to chalk Matthew’s entire career up to luck.

DrMagnolias on April 14, 2009 at 6:45 PM

Venturing into Bill Mahr territory.

ThePrez on April 14, 2009 at 6:45 PM

Video: Matthews says SEALs “got lucky”

Hey pissy Crissy, the tingling feeling, was a one time sensation, of up their legs, right to their heads. YOU BLITHERING IDIOT!

byteshredder on April 14, 2009 at 8:33 PM

Matthews is a freaking idiot. Something is wrong with that guy. Everyone on that network, basically. Check that, everyone on cable news.

therightwinger on April 14, 2009 at 9:04 PM

Luck had nothing to do with it. Talent, training, and patience did. There was nothing random to it.

darktood on April 14, 2009 at 9:10 PM

Men who jumped into a night time ocean, practiced their markmanship for days, months, had the most rigourous training and not least have dedicated their lives to protect US and this mouth calls them lucky?……I call them HEROS!

Herb on April 14, 2009 at 10:22 PM

What do you expect from a “man” who gets a thrill up his leg from Obama. Navy SEALs, job well done!!

ice princess on April 14, 2009 at 10:45 PM

What an idiot! One shot one kill is NOT just a bumper sticker dumbass.

faol on April 15, 2009 at 8:52 AM

This is the mindset of deranged liberal who does not understand the reasons wars are fought – to win.

There is no luck involved. I am sure if Mr. Matthews were in Capt. Perry’s position would not even thank those who were lucky enough to save his posterior.

MSGTAS on April 15, 2009 at 9:25 AM

My apologies to Capt. Phillips. I am sorry, my association with his name beginning in a ‘P’ I made the improper association with Capt (Adm.) Perry of Japanese History.

Welcome home. Believe U.S. you are a leader many will follow and you will surly make good use of your leadership traits in the future.

MSGTAS on April 15, 2009 at 9:45 AM

Luck? Matthews is stupider than anyone will acknowledge. Has he ever learned anything in his career?

Jaibones on April 15, 2009 at 12:10 PM