Sunday, April 12, 2009

Captain Phillips has been rescued 

The Wall Street Journal sent me an alert seconds ago that said that Captain Richard Phillips has been rescued in a U.S. Navy operation and that we killed three of the bad guys in the process, and took another pirate into custody. Fox is reporting the same thing, so is the A.P., and CNN (blog round-up here).

Great news, and -- yes, I'll say it -- tip o' the hat to President Obama for signing off on the mission. Now I have two questions. What will we do with the prisoner? Do we believe that this action is sufficient to restore deterrence against piracy?

The entire country should be proud of the performance of the Americans on the Maersk Alabama's crew, including especially their captain. The spirit of United 93 remains alive and well, which I believe is the single most important factor in our defense against the jihad and other dirtbags around the world. My admiration for these men who took back their ship is without limit.

By the way, Captain Phillips is now resting on the U.S.S. Bainbridge, named for Commodore William Bainbridge. Not only was Commodore Bainbridge born right here in Princeton, New Jersey, but he fought the Barbary Pirates and was imprisoned by them for 2 1/2 years until freed after William Eaton's expedition to "the shores of Tripoli."

MORE: Easter Seals!


By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sun Apr 12, 02:29:00 PM:

Find a yard arm and some rope.

Unless, of course, he was turned against his fellows by some sort of US bribe or ploy, in which case we should follow through on whatever promise was made. (to encourage such sellouts in the future)  

By Blogger Escort81, at Sun Apr 12, 02:33:00 PM:

Nothing official yet in any of the reports, but the rescue operations sure sounds like it involved U.S. Navy Seals. If that is in fact the case, I wonder if the rescue team is upset with itself that one of the pirates actually survived, or if their level of precision and aim is so good that they intentionally only wounded him. Does anyone know what the current ROEs for Special Operations forces are in such a scenario?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Apr 12, 02:41:00 PM:


By Blogger Escort81, at Sun Apr 12, 02:52:00 PM:

So, DF82, are you saying that the surviving pirate does not need to be Mirandized? Heh.

Maybe we should further violate his civil rights by forcing him to wear the Puffy Shirt from the famous Seinfeld episode.

In the short run, the surviving pirate is likely either in the sickbay or brig of the Bainbridge, and I think the Navy will retain custody of him. He may even end up stateside in a brig and stand trial in a military court.

Maybe Maersk will sue him in civil court as well! Then comes the book deal and the appearance on Oprah (presumably via remote).

This action by itself is not "sufficient to restore deterrence against piracy," although it is a good start.

Kudos to President Obama for giving the green light. He really does not want to be another Jimmy Carter, and is a savvy enough politician to understand that the situation could not go on for many more news cycles without some damage to his administration.  

By Blogger Ray, at Sun Apr 12, 02:57:00 PM:

Greatest admiration for the captain. It's not clear anything would've happened if he hadn't jumped overboard and cleared the line of fire.  

By Blogger davemartin7777, at Sun Apr 12, 02:59:00 PM:

In case you haven't noticed, The Wall Street Journal and Fox News are run by the same company.

Maybe you can find news sources that are outside of Rupert Murdock's sphere of influence, yes?

Talk about an echo chamber, Fox News and The Wall Street Journal are like conjoined Siamese twins.

Just saying.  

By Blogger Diogenes, at Sun Apr 12, 03:01:00 PM:

This action by itself is not "sufficient to restore deterrence against piracy," although it is a good start.

I agree.

To paraphrase: One baby step for Obama, one giant leap for humankind.

Thank God for Navy seals.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sun Apr 12, 03:11:00 PM:

Davemartin: Then by logical extension any organization which is touched by, say, George Soros is a tainted one which is not to be trusted?

Just trying to figure out the rules, here.

Not to imply that your bizarre little tangent had anything to do with the topic at hand, of course.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Apr 12, 03:14:00 PM:

re davemartin7777; who gives a crap to what you know.  

By Anonymous Brian O'Connor, at Sun Apr 12, 03:14:00 PM:

What will be done with the pirate they captured? Why, he'll be turned over to the fictitious Somali government!

He'll be imprisoned and escape after a decent interval of a week or two.

That will keep all kinds of questions from arising.  

By Blogger D.E. Cloutier, at Sun Apr 12, 03:15:00 PM:

To davemartin777

1. Re: "Maybe you can find news sources that are outside of Rupert Murdock's sphere of influence ..."

TH also included AP and CNN.

2. Re: "Just saying." I'm happy you learned how to press the letters on your keyboard. Now work on your thinking and your reading comprehension.  

By Blogger Tully, at Sun Apr 12, 03:15:00 PM:

Too many pirates, not enough yardarms.

Unless the surviving pirate cooperates fully--including identifying his home base and shore compatriots--he should meet that yardarm.

And if he identifies his base and compatriots, we have another operation we need to perform. Scorched earth.

From the sketchy info available, sounds like the Navy suckered them in close to "negotiate" and then tipped Phillips to jump clear, at which point the lifeboat was stitched up by SEALs. The big problem with doing it from a distance is that things move at sea--on land snipers would have settled this days ago.  

By Blogger Moneyrunner, at Sun Apr 12, 03:28:00 PM:

I am shocked by the belligerent attitude expressed by those on this thread. These so-call “pirates” have the right to live too. The very idea of not treating them with compassion, to seek the root cause of piracy and to address those root causes is the obvious answer.

And now to kill them. We must have broken virtually every international law in the books by these actions.

Some crazy talk is going on about arming crews with the potential loss of life that could result from gunfire by untrained people is just crazy. Do you people want the “Wild West” shootouts on the high seas? Do you realize that ships’ crews are not trained in the use of firearms? The potential liability is staggering. They would end up shooting each other, if not on board ship, then in port while drunk.

There have been suggestions of capturing and hanging these freedom fighters. I’m glad that the US congress has finally seen the light and most of the Neanderthals have been replaced by people with real compassion for the downtrodden and dispossessed. Congress will stand up for these people and demand a fair trial followed by release in the United States once acquitted since their rights have been violated by the bloody butchers who use force to re-take the ship.

Our new non-political attorney general, Eric Holder, has declined to say whether the kidnappers of the American captain will be “brought to justice” by the U.S. “I’m not sure exactly what would happen next,” he declares, yet some people want to take the law into their own hands. I thought we were a better people than that; that we had outgrown out atavistic impulses with the election of President Obama.

One of the reasons that the British Navy has declined to intervene is that under the European Human Rights Act, any so-called “pirate” taken into custody would be entitled to claim refugee status in the United Kingdom and if be able to apply for government assistance during his stay. We should take a leaf from the pages of the Europeans and calm down. These people are merely Somali nationalists fighting against the aggression of a foreign occupying power. They can’t be evil, they’re a minority.

This is all a distraction from the really important needs of this country: health care, housing, education, income redistribution. Leave the President alone.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Apr 12, 03:33:00 PM:

What will we do with the prisoner?

Summary execution and gibbeting sounds good to me. Examples need to be made.  

By Blogger Eric, at Sun Apr 12, 03:36:00 PM:

Moneyrunner's troll-fu is pretty good.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Apr 12, 03:41:00 PM:

The captain himself initiated the rescue, not the Navy nor the Administration. The Navy DID get it right on this, the second try by Phillips, so they must be given credit for that.

Without Phillip's own actions, the other parties would have let this go on for months. And whatever the outcome then, the pirates would have been emboldened.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Apr 12, 03:51:00 PM:

Moneyrunner, you are doing parody right?  

By Blogger Escort81, at Sun Apr 12, 03:58:00 PM:

As more information has become available, apparently the surviving pirate was not onboard the lifeboat when the rescue transpired, but was involved in a negotiation of some sort (a "parlez?"), so my first question above is moot. Datatroll may be correct that the captain jumping out of the lifeboat for a second time in three days could have initiated the rescue sequence, or the (presumably) SEALS tipped him somehow when to jump, but either way the team had to be there and in place for the thing to work. Even if President Obama did not "green light" the operation to start as it did, at the very least he permitted (as a result of good advice, I would guess) the SEALS to be in close proximity to take advantage of whatever opening they had. That's more than Jimmy Carter would have done in this situation.

Either way, Captain Phillips has a pair.  

By Blogger Tex the Pontificator, at Sun Apr 12, 04:02:00 PM:

In the past when piracy was a problem, my understanding is that such trial as captured pirates may have gotten was a tribunal on the capturing ship, after which they were hanged. It worked before. It should work again.  

By Anonymous Chuck Roast, at Sun Apr 12, 04:11:00 PM:

re: davemartin7777- So.... do you prefer your hard news from Disney or from Warner Bros.?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Apr 12, 04:24:00 PM:

I read somewhere that the tug was being towed by the navy and the pirates came out to cut the line when they were taken out. Go SEALS!

a moderate  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Apr 12, 04:26:00 PM:

It must be "Bizarre Comment Sunday" because Dave is doing his best to take top honors. Just saying.

While the Wall Street Journal and Fox might be owned by the same company, I seriously doubt they are produced from the same newsroom by the same people.

In any event, this line is just bizarre.

"Maybe you can find news sources that are outside of Rupert Murdock's sphere of influence, yes?"

It seems Dave doesn't even know what news is any more. In his world, there is no such thing as a fact that's independently verifiable. There's just opinion. And since he doesn't like Fox he doesn't want to hear their "opinion". Even though they are reporting real news based on real facts, which should be good enough for anybody. So the answer to his question ("Maybe you can find news sources...") is "Why?", when the facts are clear already.  

By Anonymous DRJ, at Sun Apr 12, 04:32:00 PM:

Tip of the hat to the Pentagon or Navy official who convinced Obama to let them help Captain Phillips if he got a second chance to jump overboard ... because as far as I can tell, that's the only "operation" Obama authorized.  

By Blogger D.E. Cloutier, at Sun Apr 12, 04:40:00 PM:

Meanwhile, the New York Times this weekend has an article about the Barbary corsairs.

"But any effort to wipe out Somali pirate dens like Xarardheere or Eyl immediately conjures up the ghost of 'Black Hawk Down,' the episode in 1993 when clan militiamen in flip-flops killed 18 American soldiers. Until America can get over that, and until the world can put Somalia together as a nation, another solution suggests itself: just steer clear — way clear, like 500 miles plus — of Somalia’s seas," Jeffrey Gettleman wrote in the article.

The suggestion is absurd.

The Gulf of Aden is less than 200 miles at its widest point. In the case of international shipping, avoiding "Somalia's Seas" would mean avoiding the Suez Canal. Without the international income from the canal, Egypt (population 83 million) would become an economic basket case.

Once again a Times writer has forgetten the first lesson of life: Actions have consequences.

Times link:

By Blogger D.E. Cloutier, at Sun Apr 12, 04:43:00 PM:

P.S. Make that "forgotten," not "forgetten."  

By Blogger Ron Russell, at Sun Apr 12, 05:40:00 PM:

Great, the Captain is free. And now come the questions. Did Obama give the green light or did the Navy simply get tired of waiting on him. What will he do about the coastal bases these pirates operate from. Two major questions needing clear and transparent answers.  

By Blogger Unknown, at Sun Apr 12, 05:48:00 PM:

Ron Russell said..."Great, the Captain is free."

Yes, a true hero, an incredibly brave and selfless man.

"And now come the questions. Did Obama give the green light or did the Navy simply get tired of waiting on him. What will he do about the coastal bases these pirates operate from. Two major questions needing clear and transparent answers."

Since piracy has been a big and ongoing problem in that region since 2005, let's hope he does something different from the Bush administration.  

By Blogger JAL, at Sun Apr 12, 05:48:00 PM:

I'm still catching up on what happened, but my thought was the FIRST time Phillips jumped out (and the pirates fired) gave the Bainbridge the right to instantly blow the lifeboat out of the water at that precise moment. Alas, they were not ready -- or had not been given permission to ...

The story will unfold, and while Obama is due a nod, [insert nod to the POTUS] my guess is the US Navy saved his skin on this one.

Voting "present" will not work, and situations like this cannot be over his pay grade.

Send the pirate to Bagram.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Apr 12, 05:55:00 PM:

Dec, The reporting has been that the Somali Pirates are working in the open Indian Ocean (where this incident occured}, because the Gulf is unsafe for them. Therefore the suggestion of steering 500 miles clear of Somalia is not absurd but prudent.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Sun Apr 12, 05:58:00 PM:

Since piracy has been a big and ongoing problem in that region since 2005, let's hope he does something different from the Bush administration.

It is not, in theory, our job to prevent all piracy. Whether or not it has been on-going, this was the first attack on an American flag. That might well have been chance -- there are not that many American-flagged vessels, although there may be more of them after this incident. It may also have been because the pirates had previously been worried that "cowboy Bush" would hit back very hard, and thought that, er, not-cowboy Obama might respond with more restraint. We do not know yet whether the pirates reasoned their way to some such position, but we do know this: Our deterrence failed. We still need to know why, and we need to make sure it is restored.  

By Blogger Chuck Pelto, at Sun Apr 12, 06:02:00 PM:

TO: Tigerhawk, et al.
RE: As If....

"....tip o’ the hat to President Obama for signing off on the mission." -- Tigerhawk....e.g., 'dork'.

....the commander on the scene needed 'permission' from echelons above God to do this?

Get a grip....

....preferably on reality.

You're talking about/supporting the sort of micro-mismanagement that has lead to all kinds of disasters.


[Read THIS book—This Kind of War: A Study in Unpreparedness. -- Every general officer who came to address the assembled classes of infantry officers at Benning School for Boys while I was there for IOAC.]  

By Blogger ogre714, at Sun Apr 12, 06:08:00 PM:

To all who have to politicize everything right and left shut up for once. The system worked, the chain of command worked and 200 American's including one extremely brave Captain and a band of brave Navy seals are safe. God Bless America. Happy Easter.  

By Blogger Squidly, at Sun Apr 12, 06:15:00 PM:

What will we do with the prisoner? I think the only civilized thing to do is to take him 30-40 miles out and let him swim home.  

By Blogger AmPowerBlog, at Sun Apr 12, 06:36:00 PM:

American Power tracked back, with a link to Think Progress' anti-American attack on the rescue, claiming that piracy is justified: "Captain Phillips is a Hero".  

By Anonymous Bob McCarty, at Sun Apr 12, 06:43:00 PM:

Captain Phillips is likely to go down in the history books as the last ship captain to be kidnapped by pirates. After all, a group of liberals are going to end piracy by staging a series of 12 benefit concerts for the Somali pirates, beginning July 13, 2009, and ending July 13, 2010 -- the 25th anniversary of the first LIVE AID concert to benefit Ethiopian famine relief efforts. It's about time!  

By Blogger D.E. Cloutier, at Sun Apr 12, 06:58:00 PM:

Anonymous at 5:55 p.m. "The reporting has been that the Somali Pirates are working in the open Indian Ocean (where this incident occured}, because the Gulf is unsafe for them. Therefore the suggestion of steering 500 miles clear of Somalia is not absurd but prudent."

Pirates seized a Greek-owned ship in the Gulf of Aden around Feb. 22.

If you are an international shipper (Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean), you can't stay 500 miles away from the coast of Somalia and use the Suez Canal. That's the bottom line. Look at a map.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sun Apr 12, 07:06:00 PM:

Reports now that Obama first gave permission to use force at 8 pm Friday night.

Naval assets, including SEALs, were in place Thursday night/Friday morning. 8 pm strikes me as tardy.

Also, this quotation seems a little odd...

"the second order was to encompass more military personnel and equipment"

Why wasn't the first order good enough for any rescue operation?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Apr 12, 08:42:00 PM:

Good question, Dawkfire82. We may never know such details, but I'm sure that won't stop Chuck(le) from speculating while telling us all about his own illustrious military experience...  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sun Apr 12, 08:50:00 PM:

If Obama "owned" this operation, I find it incomprehensible that he did not publicly announce the defeat of the Pirates and the rescue of Capt. Phillips.

Perhaps he was concerned about offending the "Pirate Street".

In all likelihood, it took two days for the field commanders to place enough pressure on the POTUS to act....and he only acted when it became clear that it was adverse politically NOT to do so.

As it stands, the only public announcement from the White House today was the breathless details of the final decision on the Obama's choice of a housepet.

Let me trump the White House in expressing my pride in our military...who once again have risen to the occasion and saved the day.

I can say that stuff...I don't owe anybody on the Daily Kos ANYTHING (but contempt...).  

By Blogger D.E. Cloutier, at Sun Apr 12, 09:10:00 PM:

Here is the story from the American Forces Press Service (DOD), 12 Apr 09:


The captain of the Maersk-Alabama cargo ship held hostage by pirates off the coast of Somalia was in “imminent danger” when U.S. military snipers shot and killed his three pirate captors, a U.S. Navy commander said today.

Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, provided preliminary details of the rescue mission that freed Capt. Richard Phillips today during a news conference.

Off the Somali coast, U.S. special operations snipers held positions at the rear of the USS Bainbridge, which was towing an 18-foot lifeboat that held Phillips and three pirates some 25-30 meters away.

“The snipers positioned on the fantail of the Bainbridge observed one of the pirates in the pilot house -- and two pirates with their head and shoulders exposed -- and one of the pirates had the AK47 (assault rifle) leveled at the captain’s back,” Gortney said.

Gortney said the White House had given military operators "very clear guidance and authority" if Phillips' life was in danger.

“The on-scene commander took it as the captain was in imminent danger and then made that decision (to shoot), and he had the authorities to make that decision, and he had seconds to make that decision,” he said.

End Quote.

Full article:


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Apr 13, 08:34:00 AM:

The group Veterans United to Save America (V-USA) is calling Obama's deliberate inaction exactly what it was: treason.


Impeach "The One"!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Apr 13, 12:29:00 PM:

I thought you clowns were supposed to be ex-military. You ARE familiar with the concept of "Commander in Chief" yes?

In other words, the Navy doesn't take a crap without Obama's okay. I particularly enjoy how this was all Obama's fault right up to the point where everything turned out okay, then he had nothing to do with it.

Hallucinate much?  

Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?