The standoff between the United States and the merchant marine organizers from Somalia will get solved. I want to predict to you the headline. Well, maybe not the headline, but the first words in the story will be something like this: “Thanks to the cool hand of President Obama,” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
You can call me now … (to say) something about the so-called pirates. They call themselves voluntary Coast Guards in Somalia, which may be more apt. Ah, whatever your view.
Whatever your view: “merchant marine organizers” or “voluntary Coast Guards”. Weird, huh? Except I think Rush was maybe being sarcastic.
BTW, his comment on media adulation of Obama was made on Friday, before the president gave the order to shoot dead three unarmed (ammo-less, allegedly) black Muslim teenagers. Mind you, I’ve never liked Obama better. But the US media usually frowns on this sort of behavior from law enforcement officers, not least the chief one.
We gave Obama props for allowing the SEALS to put three rounds into as many heads (is the ammunition budget that tight?), but, in spite of what else you read, that’s all he did—and barely that:
Phillips’ first leap into the warm, dark water of the Indian Ocean hadn’t worked out as well. With the Bainbridge in range and a rescue by his country’s Navy possible, Phillips threw himself off of his lifeboat prison, enabling Navy shooters onboard the destroyer a clear shot at his captors — and none was taken. The guidance from National Command Authority — the president of the United States, Barack Obama — had been clear: a peaceful solution was the only acceptable outcome to this standoff unless the hostage’s life was in clear, extreme danger.
The next day, a small Navy boat approaching the floating raft was fired on by the Somali pirates — and again no fire was returned and no pirates killed. This was again due to the cautious stance assumed by Navy personnel thanks to the combination of a lack of clear guidance from Washington and a mandate from the commander in chief’s staff not to act until Obama, a man with no background of dealing with such issues and no track record of decisiveness, decided that any outcome other than a “peaceful solution” would be acceptable.
After taking fire from the Somali kidnappers again Saturday night, the on-scene commander decided he’d had enough. Keeping his authority to act in the case of a clear and present danger to the hostage’s life and having heard nothing from Washington since yet another request to mount a rescue operation had been denied the day before, the Navy officer — unnamed in all media reports to date — decided the AK-47 one captor had leveled at Phillips’ back was a threat to the hostage’s life and ordered the NSWC team to take their shots.
Three rounds downrange later, all three brigands became enemy KIA and Phillips was safe.
Despite the Obama administration’s (and its sycophants’) attempt to spin yesterday’s success as a result of bold, decisive leadership by the inexperienced president, the reality is nothing of the sort.
What should have been a standoff lasting only hours — as long as it took the USS Bainbridge and its team of NSWC operators to steam to the location — became an embarrassing four-day-and-counting standoff between a rag-tag handful of criminals with rifles and a U.S. Navy warship.
That’s not just me talking out of my backside, but a “a special operations military veteran, a columnist, [and] a pulitzer-nominated combat journalist”.
I do note that President Obama was happy to change the subject from housing this morning.
President Barack Obama issued a standing order to use force against pirates holding an American captain hostage – including giving a Navy commander the authority to act if he believed the captain’s life was in danger, two senior defense officials said Sunday night.
Navy snipers aboard the USS Bainbridge on Sunday shot and killed three of the pirates after the Bainbridge’s commander gave the order, when a pirate was spotted aboard the lifeboat pointing an AK-47 rifle at Capt. Richard Phillips, one defense official said.
Unlike you liberal weenies, I am going to … pause … while I stand and applaud President Obama for giving the orders to shot the Somali mf-ers in the head. That’s some mighty fine shootin’, boys.
However, we now return you to your previously elected president:
Obama’s involvement in the decision to authorize lethal force was legally required, officials said, because it was a hostage situation, not combat, and unrelated to the already authorized U.S. effort against al-Qaida and other terror groups, officials said.
“It’s not a combat operation so the lawyers wanted to ensure this was done right,” said a second defense official.
Not a combat operation?
They’ve got AK-47s pointed at the captain’s head, having hijacked his ship, and it’s not a combat operation? Then what the hell were combat forces doing there??
Not a combat operation, my ass. I don’t care what the lawyers say, is there a judge or jury in the nation (our nation) that would convict these heroes?
The captain of the Maersk Alabama was freed Sunday after being held captive since Wednesday by pirates off the coast of Somalia, a senior U.S. official with knowledge of the situation told CNN.
The official said Capt. Richard Phillips is uninjured and in good condition, and that three of the four pirates were killed. The fourth pirate is in custody. Phillips was taken aboard the USS Bainbridge, a nearby naval warship.
Let’s hope that CNN has the facts right.
Update: Apparently true. A lot of people criticized the Obama administration for failing to do this the first time the guy jumped, but they have been given a second chance:
The American captain of a cargo ship held hostage by pirates jumped overboard from the lifeboat where he was being held, and U.S. Navy SEALs shot and killed three of his four captors, according to a senior U.S. official with knowledge of the situation.
Capt. Richard Phillips escaped from pirates holding him in a lifeboat, a U.S. official said Sunday.
Capt. Richard Phillips was helped out of the water off the Somali coast and is uninjured and in good condition, the official said. He was taken aboard the USS Bainbridge, a nearby naval warship.
Because I couldn’t do half as well with a thesaurus, a copy of Strunk & White, and Rich Little at my disposal:
Since the pirates are still holding the captain, I have sent FBI negotiators to facilitate his safe and speedy release. I assure his friends and family that I will not stop until this man-made disaster is resolved in a peaceful, tolerant and ecologically-sound manner.
Obviously, this incident has raised many concerns among Americans. There have been calls for justice and even violence against the misguided perpetrators. But such an emotional reaction has led to the disparagement of entire groups with which we are unfamiliar. We have seen this throughout history.
For too long, America has been too dismissive of the proud culture and invaluable contributions of the Pirate Community. Whether it is their pioneering work with prosthetics, husbandry of tropical birds or fanciful fashion sense, America owes a deep debt to Pirates.
The past eight years have shown a failure to appreciate the historic role of these noble seafarers. Instead of celebrating their entreprenuerial spirit and seeking to partner with them to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.
Some of us wonder if our current Overseas Contingency Operation would even be needed had the last administration not been so quick to label Pirates as “thieves,” “terrorists” and worse. Such swashbucklaphobia can lead to tragic results, as we have seen this week.
To address this issue, I have instructed Vice President Joe Biden to create a cabinet-level Czar of Pirate Outreach and Buccaneer Interrelation. In addition, June 1-7 has been designated as Pirate Awareness Week, during which all federal buildings will fly the Jolly Roger and sponsor sensitivity training. Thankfully, my American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will fund free grog and hard tack for all attendees.
Finally, to all pirates listening to international broadcasts, shortwave services and ship-to-shore radio, let me say this:
Ahoy, me regret arr relationship has set sail in a scurvy manner. Arr people share many mutual ‘alues and concerns on t’ raging main. Perchance, could ye handsomely release the cap’n o’ the ship and I assure that no harm will come t’ ye or ye hearties. Let us smite t’ reset button and launch our seabond on a new pegleg. Savvy? Godspeed t’ ye and t’ ye beauties. Aye, me parrot concurs.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941, FDR famously called it “a date which will live in infamy”; when Al Qaeda attacked America on September 11th 2001, President Bush said:
Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.
When Somali pirates attack a US merchant marine ship for the first time in centuries, President Obama said:
The president was asked about the incident as he met with U.S. homeowners about refinancing mortgages. At the close of a Roosevelt Room event, the president was asked by a reporter if he were concerned about the piracy incident.
Obama responded: “Guys, we’re talking about housing right now.”
Reporters were then ushered out of the room as they usually are after such events.
Obama has yet to comment publicly on the incident.
The incidents are hardly analogous, I know, but an American hostage is being held by re-primitivized savages, and this man of unrivaled articulateness has nothing to say?
Even if it’s a tense negotiating time, he still has a duty to break out of the photo op, fire up the teleprompter, and say something to the public about the incident, and what it says about the world. For starters, he could apologize to the Somalis for crashing all those Black Hawk helicopters on their turf.
You don’t think this is funny? Take it up with Secretary Clinton, who can’t stop chortling over the whole issue.
These are a weird bunch of people. I mean seriously peculiar.
Biden was also asked about the pirate situation during an event to promote stimulus spending.
“We’re not going to settle that here. I think what you should do is contact Jim Jones and the White House,” he said referring journalists to the national security advisor.
“This is being worked on ‘round the clock since this happened. I’m not in a position right now to comment,” he added.
I thought “nobody messes with Joe.” It should be “nobody bothers with Joe.” To hear him uh and stutter his way even through this buck-passing answer (and you, uh, really have, uh, to hear it) is to feel cold fear at the realization that these people are in charge.
Oh my God.
And listen to Eric “Nation of Cowards” Holder:
In reference to whether the pirates may face criminal charges in the United States, the attorney general said, “it is a little early tell, at this point. There has not been an act of piracy I think against a United States vessel in hundreds of years. So ah…I’m not sure exactly what would happen.”
Criminal charges? Like the pirates are just a bunch of rowdy teenagers? I’m trying to decide which munition I want to see employed in their aerosolization. A JDAM, I think.
The American crew of a container ship hijacked off Somalia recaptured their vessel from pirates who had seized it early on Wednesday, in a dramatic encounter in the Indian Ocean.
At least one of the pirates was said to be in custody aboard the 17,000-tonne Maersk Alabama, a Pentagon official said.
An unidentified crew member said that the 20-member crew had managed to seize one pirate and then successfully negotiate their own release. He said the other three pirates were in a lifeboat, but the captain was still “hostage”.
Other sources said the remaining three were “in the water” after they had tried to flee the apparent fightback by the first Americans to be attacked by pirates in living memory.
Joe Murphy, a naval instructor at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in the US, told CNN that his son, Capt Shane Murphy, the second in command of the Maersk Alabama, had told him they had been “able to take down at least one pirate”.
He claimed that the crew was unarmed, though it is not uncommon for such ships to carry weapons in self-defence.
The Maersk Alabama, which was carrying thousands of tons of food aid, some of it destined for Somalia’s drought-struck population, was travelling from Djibouti to Mombasa. The vessel operates under a US flag because it is sometimes used to carry supplies for the Pentagon.
Mr Murphy, who teaches cadets security, said that the vessel sent out a global distress signal and spent “three to five hours” in evasive manoeuvres before the pirates finally boarded early yesterday 400 miles north-east of Mogadishu.
I chose British media coverage of this story because I was reminded of this story from almost exactly two years ago:
The greatest shock from the Middle East this year hasn’t been terrorist ruthlessness or the latest Iranian tantrum. It’s that members of Britain’s Royal Marines wimped out in a matter of days and acquiesced in propaganda broadcasts for their captors.
Jingoism aside, I can’t imagine any squad of U.S. Marines behaving in such a shabby, cowardly fashion. Our Marines would have fought to begin with. Taken captive by force, they would’ve resisted collaboration. To the last man and woman.
You could put a U.S. Marine in a dungeon and knock out his teeth, but you wouldn’t knock out his pride in his country and the Corps. “Semper fi” means something.
And our Aussie allies would be just as tough.
I understand that the sailors on the aid scow were unarmed, but had received some training in combatting piracy.
Latest wire and cable TV reports say US warships and air assets are being sent to the scene of the Maersk Alabama hijacking by Somali pirates. Captain is reportedly being held hostage on a lifeboat near the vessel.
I would say that the pirates are in for a royal butt-whuppin’, but, again, we’re American, not British, so we’ll just drop the “royal”.
I’m happy for this guy, and all, but what part of “pirates” did he not get?
Five Indian sailors who were among the crew of a Japanese-owned cargo ship hijacked by pirates and held for two months before a ransom was paid said Monday their captivity was “total desperation.”
“I wish that no one else ever has to go through this — (hijackers) are not human but rather animals,” said Alister Fernandes, one of the sailors, at a news conference in Mumbai, India.
“We were always … all 24 hours we were on gunpoint,” said Fernandes. “We were all staying on the bridge (in the) navigation area. All 22 crew members were sleeping there, eating there. Only for shower and all, only two people were allowed — two people will go, then they come up, two (more) people will go.”
I guess it was more harrowing in the original… whatever language someone named Alister Fernandes from India would speak (Hindi? English? Portuguese?).
Who do we think these guys are? Lovable rogues like Johnny Depp? Forget Pirates of the Caribbean; think Black Hawk Down.
Reprimitivization. I think I first came across the word and the concept in reading Mark Steyn. If I had to pick a spot on earth where civilization would crumble away, it would be the Horn of Africa. That the “animals” are also ostensibly Muslims doesn’t surprise me, either.
Somali militants vowed to rescue a Saudi supertanker that was hijacked by pirates a week ago, according to residents of a town where the pirates are believed to be based.
The supertanker Sirius Star is loaded with 2 million barrels of oil believed to be valued at $100 million. [valued at less every day - Aggie]
Five armored vehicles loaded with al-Shabab fighters arrived in the central Somali coastal town of Harardhere this weekend, near where pirates are holding the massive oil tanker Sirius Star, said Ahmed Mohamed, a resident of the town.
The fighters told residents they would battle the pirates because the tanker, which is loaded with 2 million barrels of oil, is owned by a Muslim country and should not have been taken, Mohamed said.
Phew! Where do we even start? Bad to steal from and terrorize Muslim countries, good to do it to everyone else? But we’re too polite to point that out. And besides, it might be BS:
Another resident, Hassan Nor, suggested that the al-Shabab fighters’ motive was to share in the multimillion-dollar ransom the pirates have demanded from the supertanker’s owner.
And does appeasement ever work?
More than $150 million has been paid to pirates around the Horn of Africa over the past 12 months, Kenya’s foreign minister said Friday.
The money is encouraging them to continue and become more brazen in their attacks, Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula told a news conference in the Kenyan capital.
Ya’ think? I am reminded of the time, too many years ago to count, when I stood at the edge of the Grand Canyon and looked across that awesome expanse. The man standing next to me said: That’s what uncontrolled erosion will get you.
We can apply the same principles to appeasement. There is a divide bigger than the Grand Canyon between those who will steal and bully and murder to get stuff and the rest of us. Appeasement makes it worse.
An Indian warship has exchanged fire with a pirate “mother vessel” off the hijacking-plagued Horn of Africa, leaving the ship ablaze in the Gulf of Aden, an official said Wednesday.
The skirmish took place Tuesday evening about 525 kilometers southwest of Oman’s Salalah port when the frigate INS Tabar spotted a suspected pirate ship with two speedboats in tow, India’s Defense Ministry reported.
“This vessel was similar in description to the ‘Mother Vessel’ mentioned in various piracy bulletins,” the ministry said in a written statement.
The battle follows a recent surge in piracy off the Horn of Africa, including the weekend hijacking of a Saudi-owned supertanker by pirates based in largely lawless Somalia.
Three other vessels have been captured since then in what a London-based maritime official called a “completely unprecedented” situation.
When the Tabar’s crew hailed the ship and demanded it stop for inspection, the pirates threatened to destroy the Indian ship, the ministry reported.
“Pirates were seen roaming on the upper deck of this vessel with guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. The vessel continued its threatening calls and subsequently fired upon INS Tabar,” the ministry said.
The Indian frigate returned fire, setting the pirate ship ablaze and setting off explosions on board, the statement said. Two speedboats in tow behind the ship fled; one was found abandoned after a pursuit by the Tabar.
Maybe the Saudi tanker was unarmed (in which case they’re stupid); maybe they didn’t want to fire upon fellow Muslims (in which case they’re stupid). But this is how you treat any unmarked boat that approaches you in these waters.