April 13, 2009

Obama's military victory.

Small, but nice.
[A] dramatic and successful rescue operation by U.S. Special Operations forces... left Obama with an early victory that could help build confidence in his ability to direct military actions abroad.

Throughout the past four days, White House officials played down Obama's role in the hostage drama. Until yesterday, he made no public statements about the pirates.

In fact, aides said yesterday, Obama had been briefed 17 times since he returned from his trip abroad, including several times from the White House Situation Room. And without giving too many details, senior White House officials made it clear that Obama had provided the authority for the rescue.

"The president's focus was on saving and protecting the life of the captain," one adviser said. Friday evening, after a National Security Council telephone update, Obama granted U.S. forces what aides called "the authority to use appropriate force to save the life of the captain." On Saturday at 9:20 a.m., Obama went further, giving authority to an "additional set of U.S. forces to engage in potential emergency actions."
Thanks to President Obama for the military victory and for giving us and himself confidence in his ability and willingness to use the military.
The operation pales in scope and complexity to the wars underway in Iraq and Afghanistan. And Obama's adversaries are unlikely to be mollified by his performance in a four-day hostage drama.
Hey, I'm mollified. (Or does that make me not an Obama adversary? I did vote for him, but I'm always dogging him for one thing or another.) Mollify me some more, Obama. Build on this victory.
Nonetheless, it may help to quell criticism leveled at Obama that he came to office as a Democratic antiwar candidate who could prove unwilling or unable to harness military might when necessary.
I'm quelled. I'm quelled. I'm mollified and I'm quelled. Now, more of the same, please.

180 comments:

Fen said...

Not so much. Obama voted "present":

"The standing authority gave them clearance to engage the pirates if the life of the captain was in imminent danger. The on scene commander deemed this to be true and gave the order to fire. This was not a rescue attempt ordered by National Command Authority i.e. the President. It was a reaction by the on scene commander under standard authority to safeguard the life of a hostage.

He did affirm the military's authorization to use force if the captain's life was in danger, but they already would have had that authorization as part of their standard rules of engagement. If there are innocents about to be slaughtered the same reasoning that authorizes self defense also covers an imminent execution unless the ROE specifically forbid it.

The AP is making it sound like there was an active rescue ordered by the President. It was not, there was an imminent threat and the local commander gave the order to fire. Good on Obama for ensuring their authorization was clear, but let's also be clear that he did not authorize or order an active rescue attempt."

http://www.blackfive.net/main/2009/04/how-the-rescue-happened.html

jdeeripper said...

When you are President of the United States AND you've been photographed wearing the traditional clothing of a Somali you better dam well be prepared to let the White men in the US military kick the shit out of Somali pirates.

Just shut up, get out of the way and let your buddies in the media and the bloggosphere praise your actions.

Walt said...

Military victory? you got to be kidding. Things must be getting pretty dire to call saving a man in a lifeboat a military victory.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Friday evening, after a National Security Council telephone update, Obama granted U.S. forces what aides called "the authority to use appropriate force to save the life of the captain."

Friday evening was a day after Phillips' first escape attempt. there may have been a good reason to wait that long, but I'd be interested to hear it.

Robt C said...

Yeh, I'm with Fen on this one. It was an absolute no-brainer. Bad guys had our guy, we had guys with guns, duh. I don't see how it could have played out any differently, so why any mollification about the size of Obama's huevos?

MadisonMan said...

I don't really think of it as Obama's military victory. Sure, Obama is Commander in Chief and all that, but all he did was tell the people on the ship to do what they thought was best to keep the kidnapped Captain alive.

I am glad he had confidence in the commanders on board to do the right thing based on their training. That's the hallmark of a good manager, to trust that your people do what they're trained to do. And this time it worked.

ElcubanitoKC said...

The movie is coming out in six months top...

Whether he directly ordered it or not, it will reflect on him. Good, he needed that, and we needed that. I was afraid we would start negotiating with that lot.

What's ANSWER and Code Pink's reaction? I would like to know.

TMink said...

I am pleased to have the captain and crewmen safe and three dead terrorists.

President Obama gets the praise for this, that is the way things should work. Thank you Mr. President.

Now about this insane deficit spending you have fallen in love with . . .

Trey

garage mahal said...

Eat shit wingnuts. This one didn't quite turn out as you had hoped, i.e. the Captain dying and America embarrassed. Maybe next time.

rhhardin said...

Now's the time to encourage Obama. Give him credit. Let him see how it feels. Maybe he'll avoid being another Jimmy Carter in foreign affairs.

Meade said...

"...he did not authorize or order an active rescue attempt."

If we're lucky, he will apply the same benign neglect to the military strategies in place in Iraq and Pakistan/Afghanistan.

rhhardin said...

Imus correctly voices the worry that we'll have another Sully Sullenberger on our hands, mediawise, though.

MadisonMan said...

By the way, I have every confidence that the people not giving any credit at all to Obama for this (like Fen, for example), would not by any means be blaming him, either, if the Captain had been killed.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Hm, garage, not enough coffee yet?

Did you read anyone here wishing death on an innocent American civilian?

Did you read anyone wishing the rescue effort failed?

Sweetie, hangovers can be a bitch. I recommend more water :)

Jason said...

As far as I can tell, Obama's performance here was next to incompetent.

The guidance he gave to the commander on the scene was vague and useless. He wound up simply muddying up the rules of engagement. No doubt his staff was haranguing the Navy for constant updates.

Obama positives: He did offer up an FBI hostage negotiation team. Unlike a lot of military conservatives, I don't see anything wrong with that. Navy commanders aren't trained in these techniques... and the negotiations played a role in eventually getting the lifeboat within 30 yards of the Bainbridge.

But giving Obama credit for this one? This is stuff on-scene municipal police guys do all the time. Except way easier.

Giving Obama credit for this operation is like giving the rooster credit for the sunrise.

Bissage said...

President Obama did not lead.

He did not follow.

But he did get out of the way.

That is an encouraging sign.

garage mahal said...

C'mon Elcubanito, how many right wingers were hoping and praying this would turn out horribly. You know it's true.

Michael Hasenstab said...

Fen has it right. I will congratulate Obama, however, for not screwing this up a la Jimmy Carter.

It's amusing to watch the Obama sycophants in the media trying to hang the "Mission Accomplished" banner.

Salamandyr said...

On the one hand, this really has very little to do with the President, any more than a hostage crisis in a city has to do with the mayor. That being said, I think Obama deserves at least some credit for not actively impeding the ability of the military to do their jobs, in the vein of some of his predecessors (and in accordance with right-wing fears).

On the other hand; this kind of small, yet decisive military victory looks very good for the new President, and burnishes his credentials (and reputation for willingness to kill) with all the right people, ie our enemies. If for no other reason, I'm glad of this. Early in Bush's administration we had the situation of the Chinese forcing down our plane. The apology required to get our people back made us look week in the wrong eyes, and between that and the Cole, may have been the signal to Al Quaida that we would sit still for 9-11.

And Garage Mahal, no one here deserves that in the least, except maybe you for thinking it.

SteveR said...

Let those bad asses do their job, keep your mouth shut and they can make you look good.

Maguro said...

President Obama did not lead.

He did not follow.

But he did get out of the way.

That is an encouraging sign.


Well put. Hopefully he makes this a habit.

Palladian said...

"C'mon Elcubanito, how many right wingers were hoping and praying this would turn out horribly. You know it's true."

About the same as the number of left wingers who hoped and prayed that Iraq would continue to turn out horribly: not that many, but enough to gross every normal, well-adjusted person out.

Meade said...

"Giving Obama credit for this operation is like giving the rooster credit for the sunrise."

Me to rooster: Now that you cockle-doodle-doo-ed the sun up, how about arming all the hens with anti-fox weapons.

Palladian said...

Maybe it will turn out that one of the snipers was Barack Obama himself!

Freeman Hunt said...

Well, at least he didn't preclude force. Not like that would have been out of the realm given his other disastrous decisions.

So, yay! Go, Captain! Go, Navy! Go, Obama! In that order. Great outcome to a very bad situation.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Hahaha, Palladian, Hollywood can make anything happen.

Anton said...

The lifeboat was being towed 25-30 yards behind the Bainbridge. I could've picked of the skinnies at that distance with my hunting rifle (nighttime or not, bobbing boat or not).

No disrespect to the SEAL snipers, but military victory?

rdkraus said...

As one who already has Obama Derangement Syndrome, where everytime I hear the guy's name, or see his picture, I cringe, let me say - I think this was handled perfectly.

He did not insert himself into the headline. He stayed in the background and let his military people do exactly the right thing. If there was a way to get the captain back with no loss of life, that would have been perfect (as long as the bad guys did not escape). Here, the captain got away and, protecting him, the military killed the bad guys.

That is a happy ending. I salute my President for the first time since he took office. This is the first time I've been proud to be an American since he was elected (and frankly since way before).

If ANYTHING had gone wrong, his enemies (probably including me) would have blamed him. Since it went perfectly, let's give him the courtesy of acknowledging OUR victory with him as President.

Tomorrow I can go back to hating his guts for the damage he is doing to this country.

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quayle said...

Obama’s next tactical step should be to give TARP money to the pirates so that he gains total and final control over them, and ultimately sinks them under the full weight of the federal bureaucracy.

MadisonMan said...

Michael H, when the Bainbridge returns to its home port at some point in the future (I'm not sure where that port is), I think having Obama arrive from the air (if possible) with a big ol' Mission Accomplished banner in the background would be outstanding symbolism and a great job PR-wise.

Alas, this is a Democratic President. Democrats just don't understand symbolism like that.

downtownlad said...

This is blown way out of proportion. I would hate to think that if the captain had died, because of some mistake by the Navy, that we would now be declaring Obama's defense policy a disaster.

It was an easy call, one that any President would have made, but the outcome was not an automatic victory - and it really says nothing about Obama's skills.

dbp said...

I am as right-wing as they come and while I am not a praying man, this hostage situation came out very well.

It was a good day for the United States, if it makes Obama look good that is fine.

We should count our lucky stars: Had Carter been in charge, a ransom would have been payed, the hostage killed and the pirates all escaped. Oh yes, and he'd of figured out some way to have had us loose a ship too.

Original Mike said...

It took me forever to figure out what the hell garage was talking about. Little bit of projection there, or what?

Beth said...

not that many, but enough to gross every normal, well-adjusted person out.

And a disproportionate number of them are found commenting, on the internet.

Edmund said...

It's been reported that Obama has had an ops plan sitting on his desk that will wipe out the pirate bases in 24 hours or less. It's not that hard. We know where they are based, we know who they are paying "taxes" to in the area, and the special ops teams have worked up a plan to take them out.

However, it would probably result in some dead non-combatants and it does involve violating the "sovereignty" of the Somali government. But lookup "failed state" in a PoliSci dictionary and there is map of Somalia in the entry, so the latter is not much of a consideration.

I'd guess that most of the EU would not jump on us - they have warships in the area as part of the $300 million/year anti-piracy patrols. And, in typical EU fashion, they have stupid RoE. The UK Navy has been told that rather than stringing the pirates up at the yardarm, they would be able to claim refugee status and would be settled in the UK.

Michael Hasenstab said...

Michael H, when the Bainbridge returns to its home port at some point in the future (I'm not sure where that port is), I think having Obama arrive from the air (if possible) with a big ol' Mission Accomplished banner in the background would be outstanding symbolism and a great job PR-wise.

Sure, if you want.

But isn't that sort of like giving the mayor credit for the police department ending a hostage situation? I mean, they (the Navy) did their job, and at best Obama didn't say "no".

Hoosier Daddy said...

Eat shit wingnuts. This one didn't quite turn out as you had hoped, i.e. the Captain dying and America embarrassed. Maybe next time.

Wow garage. That's more than a bit disappointing coming from you. I'm honestly hoping that Michael/Jeremy stole your moniker.

zedzded said...

I hope that Obama's teleprompter will give a speech about this great military victory. Biden can plagarize Lincoln and it will be awesome - something along the lines of "the world will little note, nor long remember" and so on.

All Hail our new Caesar!

Yachira said...

Edmund says, "It's been reported that Obama has had an ops plan sitting on his desk that will wipe out the pirate bases in 24 hours or less. It's not that hard. We know where they are based, we know who they are paying "taxes" to in the area, and the special ops teams have worked up a plan to take them out."

Yes, but that plan is all over the major media now. Do you really think there are tons of "pirates" milling about in those camps?

Invisible Man said...

If ANYTHING had gone wrong, his enemies (probably including me) would have blamed him. Since it went perfectly, let's give him the courtesy of acknowledging OUR victory with him as President.

Ah, a statement many of us can agree with. Personally, I didn't think of this as some "TEST" for Obama, but many obviously did. It wasn't as if he was Harrison Ford in "Air Force One" taking down Gary Oldman single handidly, but he didn't screw the pooch either. If you are one of the partisans who would have killed him if this would have gone wrong, then sack up and give him a tiny, miniscule bit of credit. That would be the fair thing to do.

The Drill SGT said...

Fen had it about right, a couple of adds:

"The Commander is responsible for everything his unit achieves and fails to do"

Good job O.

On the other hand, I note that the WH PR weenies took a hands off approach until the hostage was released and then want to squeeze Obama in the frame between the Seals.

I also note the FBI is off taking fingerprints and statements on the container ship. Wrong msg. Reeve a halyard over the yardarm and let the 4th pirate dance. j/k :)

As for ROE, we need much looser ones than they normally have had in place out there.

Original Mike said...

When Obama sends in the Seals to confront all of the pirates, I'll be impressed. This rescue was welcome, but the problem remains.

Beta Conservative said...

I don't know anyone on the right who isn't happy about this outcome.

If, the next time this happens conservatives declare our war with the pirates "lost", and insist we remove our ships form those waters, garage et al will know we've taken a page from the lefty play book.

Congratulations to our CIC and the Navy Seals.

Big Mike said...

This was very well played by Obama and his team, politically as well as militarily. If the rescue failed, he had plausible deniability, and if it succeeded, as it did, then he certainly gets, and deserves, the credit. I predict that he will continue to play it well, by inviting the on scene commander and the Maersk Alabama captain to the White House to express the thanks of the nation.

@Anton, destroyers do a lot of pitching and rolling, and a lifeboat will be even worse. It's not a shot I'd be happy to take unless there was no alternative. Of course I'm sure the SEALs are better shots than I am, but even so there was a great deal of risk involved.

@Invisible Man, I don't much like the man, but if the rescue had failed -- and Obama accepted whatever share of the blame was rightfully his -- then I would have respected him.

Now if only he was smart enough to understand economists like Hayek.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Obama granted U.S. forces what aides called "the authority to use appropriate force to save the life of the captain."

I'm not sure I'm all that heartened that our military needs authorization from the CinC to do what should be a given.

Jim Howard said...

I agree 100% with rdkraus. I am a confirmed Obama hater, but when I heard about the rescue I twittered a congratulatory note to the President at once.

Maybe this incident will reduce a little of the damage done by Obama's weak and ineffectual posturing about North Korea.

When Obama was ducking questions about the pirates I was hoping he was doing so for the right reasons, not wanting to risk giving anything away. I think I was correct.

Thankfully, someone stopped Bidden from blabbing about it. Hopefully Bidden was not even read in on whatever planning was being done. Bidden's picture is on the 'lose lips sink ships' poster after all.

I hope that the Presidents staffers won't run to the press and spill a lot of operational details as to exactly how the rescue occurred. I'm intensely curious, but its none of our damn business.

Lastly, this event will give Obama a lot of encouragement to continue to act more and more like President Bush on military and GWOT issues.

The Eurotrash and the left will give Obama a pass to do much more in the way military action than they ever would for President Bush.

Obama's clearly out to wreck the economy for decades, but maybe we can get through his administration and still remain the big dogs on the block on the military side.

Hoosier Daddy said...

If you are one of the partisans who would have killed him if this would have gone wrong, then sack up and give him a tiny, miniscule bit of credit.

It would have gone wrong had we paid the pirates off.

traditionalguy said...

This was all a plus for Obama's image as a Good President. Like our presiding blogger said, More...More, please. The role of President boils down to authorizing military comanders on the scene. The Fact that Obama DID NOT intentionally screw up the military's options here says it all. He is a on our side, so far. Now we want him to NOT disarm the military. If there is one destructive tendency of the Left/Progressive ideas that has been their implementation of a mandatory removal of the rights of self defense by the righteous citizens, and replacing it with a phony Government Agency to be our only protection. Their Politically correct speech rules, together with their rules pushed everywhere to outlaw personal protection by carry of guns, work together to forbid self defense by free citizens... Why would any government be so intentionally arrogant? Is that not just more re-distribution by the method of opening the door to successful robbery/pirate attacks against us? So Obama has done a great thing over the weekend, and he has reassured us that he is on our side, so far.

garage mahal said...

If, the next time this happens conservatives declare our war with the pirates "lost", and insist we remove our ships form those waters, garage et al will know we've taken a page from the lefty play book.

Conservatives did declare the standoff with the pirates was "lost". The internet was ablaze for 4 days - perhaps you remember it wasn't that long ago. It was that or they were betting on 4 Somali pirates in a rowboat to win against the full might of our Navy.

Fen said...

MM: By the way, I have every confidence that the people not giving any credit at all to Obama for this (like Fen, for example), would not by any means be blaming him, either, if the Captain had been killed.


I blame him for being passive, for being "present" during all this. So I would ahve blamed him had the captain been killed.

Maybe its a Marine Corps thing. We had an LAV-25 roll in 29 Palms. Plt Sgt was cross-training scouts as drivers. One of the gunners was crushed. Company commander was relieved of duty, even though he had no foreknowledge of the Sgts intentions and was back in the rear.

Father Martin Fox said...

The way these threads devolve is an amusing thing that sociologists and/or anthropologists should write about--I'd be interested to read their conclusions.

Yay for the U.S. Navy--I was thinking a few days ago that this is what they'd do, and I am glad they got it done.

Yay for the President--I was fearful he'd impede the Navy from handling this appropriately, and he didn't.

No doubt there will be stories or rumors that the military pressed him to his stance. Maybe so, but this seems an easy call for the President; if you wish to view it cynically, then this was an almost perfect opportunity for him to burnish his "I'm tough" credentials.

Yay for the President for keeping a low profile. I agree, this is no great military victory, just a reminder of what is good about our nation and our military: they have their heads screwed on straight and have sound values.

Boo for all those hand-wringers (thus far on another thread that has nearly devolved into a Somalia-like state of anarchy) who just can't allow themselves or anyone else to feel good about our military simply doing it right, and striking a blow for sanity and civilization.

Too bad for all those whose mantra is, "oh, it's all so complicated, there really is no solution. Gee, the Navy swiftly uncomplicated it; I suspect our military could rapidly address the piracy problem, which the Royal and U.S. Navies, lacking our sophistication, seemed well able to address in their time.

And, yes, to the hand-wringers, sure I'm sorry anyone is dead. They should have surrendered. God have mercy on them.

The Drill SGT said...

Now we want him to NOT disarm the military. If there is one destructive tendency of the Left/Progressive ideas that has been their implementation of a mandatory removal of the rights of self defense by the righteous citizens, and replacing it with a phony Government Agency to be our only protection.

You left off the desire to use the military as a social engineering laboratory.

Ultimately military effectiveness and its handmaiden: Morale, must be the only criteria for determining Military HR policies.

Fen said...

garage: It was that or they were betting on 4 Somali pirates in a rowboat to win against the full might of our Navy

Quit projecting. Your side was the one cheering troops deaths in Iraq, hoping for a quaqmire.

At least your need to spin equivalence reveals you have some shame over that.

David said...

I'm not mollified.

Seventeen briefings? He can't be leading with seventeen briefings. This is micromanagement.

An early news story in NYT had a "senior defense department official" saying that Obama was given three formal requests to apply force. The implication was that he denied the first two. On the third request he said force could be used if the Captain was in "imminent danger." (This explains why the commanding officer on the scene has emphasized that phrase.)

Now the news stories emphasize that Obama "twice" authorized force. Assume this is true, and that the earlier story is now "inoperative." Why did he have to authorize it twice? Sounds like more micromanagement to me.

Wasn't the Captain already in imminent danger? If Michelle were taken hostage, would he wait until she had a gun at her head with the safety off to authorize force?

There's some spinning going on here. Who is doing the spinning and who is being spun is unclear. But it sure sounds like there was a behind the scenes struggle for more authority, and that Obama's role might have been touted differently if things had turned out badly.

What is our policy on dealing with piracy? Could anyone describe it? Certainly the pirates don't know, and it would be a good idea to tell them.

The fact that this turned out well does not mean that Obama performed well in his first test. (A small one, for all but the people directly involved.) He may have done a fine job. Maybe not. We will probably never find out for sure.

The military always does a stringent after action review of an incident like this. Do you suppose that the White House will?

Fen said...

Fen has it right

Thanks, but the anaylsis and quotes are from Jim over at Blackfive. All I did was cut & paste. Here it is again:

http://www.blackfive.net/main/2009/04/how-the-rescue-happened.html

TosaGuy said...

Obama is Commander in Chief so he gets the credit for this tactical success.

This tactical success occurred because of an underlying strategic and diplomatic problem of the increase in piracy. Obama saying YES or NO to a tactical mission is an important function of being Commander & Chief, but his true success or failure as Commander & Chief will come as a result of how he moves forward in dealing with this problem.

The media now needs to ask Obama, "what will you do to protect American shipping in this region so this situation doesn't happen again?"

The Drill SGT said...

Maybe its a Marine Corps thing. We had an LAV-25 roll in 29 Palms. Plt Sgt was cross-training scouts as drivers. One of the gunners was crushed. Company commander was relieved of duty, even though he had no foreknowledge of the Sgts intentions and was back in the rear.

Was the acident investigation team made up of REMF's from Division HQ?

When I was an LT, one of my tank commanders backed an M-60 into a rock quarry at night. the tank landed on top of him.

I have vivid memories of extracting his body from the hatch while the tank was suspended above us on two M-88 drag lines.

My other memory is of my REMF investigators fixated on whether the driver was wearing the glasses his license mandated. my CO and I just could not get through to them, that he followed voice commands from the TC and the there was 60 tons of steel blocking his view, whether or not his glasses were on.

TosaGuy said...

Sorry, I meant Commander IN Chief, not C AND C. Long weekend!

Fen said...

"give him the courtesy of acknowledging OUR victory with him as President."

Ah, a statement many of us can agree with.

Echo. I'm just saying don't use this as an indicator of future performance by our CINC. He was merely "present".

Jon said...

Palladian said: "About the same as the number of left wingers who hoped and prayed that Iraq would continue to turn out horribly: not that many, but enough to gross every normal, well-adjusted person out."

There was a poll done by Pew which found that a *majority* of Democrats hoped the surge would fail. Not thought it would, hoped it would.

garage mahal said...

There was a poll done by Pew which found that a *majority* of Democrats hoped the surge would fail. Not thought it would, hoped it would.

No cite huh?

junyo said...

I will point out that the USS Bainbridge is part of the Combined Task Force 151, which was formed and dispatched by the last President. So great job, pat O on the back, but keep in mind, all he really did was allow the trigger pullers that were already on station to do their job.

It's also curious that Navy SEALs did the shooting, since CTF-151 has an attached Marine Scout Sniper platoon.

Fen said...

from typing "pew poll fail Democrats"

http://patterico.com/2009/03/08/democrats-have-no-right-to-be-snooty-about-rush-not-wanting-the-president-to-succeed/

Idiot.

Hoosier Daddy said...

There was a poll done by Pew which found that a *majority* of Democrats hoped the surge would fail. Not thought it would, hoped it would.

No cite huh?


You're right garage, I remember clearly now all the Democrats who were on board with the surge and hoping for victory. It seems like almost yesterday that Harry Reid was congratulating Bush that the war in Iraq was won.

Paul said...

Yay Obama. Wow he really stepped up on this (rolls eyes).

He's like the special olympics president. Seventeen briefings? Do you think Dubya would have had any trouble deciding the right course of action? Do you think the average man on the street would have for that matter?

Jeez, talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Don't worry. He'll have a chance to prove his mettle with a REAL hard national security choice eventually.

I predict disaster.

garage mahal said...

I predict disaster.

USA! USA!

madawaskan said...

What's scary is the way this is getting blown up out of proportion.

It was four pirates in a boat for cripes sakes.

Obama admirers if you think this is-

THE Test.

Guess again.

MnMark said...

What would have happened if the pirates had not fired a tracer shot, which put the military folks on alert and prompted the decision to shoot? The order was not "shoot them if you can get a clear shot", it was "shoot only if the captain's life is in imminent danger." If the pirates had not appeared to be ready to kill the captain, there's no reason to think the captain wouldn't still be sitting in the boat. It's not unreasonable to think that Obama would have been happy to find a negotiated solution that allowed the pirates to go free if the captain was released unharmed. All that happened here was that it looked like the captain was about to be killed, so the military had authorization to act. Big deal - that is the absolute minimum of action that could have been taken.

Plus, the crew of the hijacked ship said they had been under attack by the pirates for A WEEK before that. Where was support for the crew then? The military response was "we can't be everywhere". Even when an American ship is being attacked - for a WEEK? They couldn't manage to get a plane or helicopter or ship over there to help them out?

So this is no great accomplishment by Obama. He was willing to negotiate, he held off as long as he could, and only when it appeared the pirates were about to execute the captain did he take action.


Crewmembers afterwards said they had been under

madawaskan said...

What Meade said.

If we're lucky, he will apply the same benign neglect to the military strategies in place in Iraq and Pakistan/Afghanistan

Plus show 'em the money.

I remember when Liberals supposedly cared that the guys in theater weren't getting the properly armed up Humvees and flak jackets.

So until Obama actually pulls them out-you had better damn well-

FUND them.

Invisible Man said...

Plus, the crew of the hijacked ship said they had been under attack by the pirates for A WEEK before that. Where was support for the crew then? The military response was "we can't be everywhere". Even when an American ship is being attacked - for a WEEK? They couldn't manage to get a plane or helicopter or ship over there to help them out?



You really can't be this ignorant. Have any of you ever been to the ocean. It's kind of a big place. This isn't exactly like having a local policeman dispatched to your block because you suspect a burgler (and even that might take a day or two).

First, the problem with Somalia really began in 2005, and quite frankly while I blame Bush for alot of his screw-ups, even I'm not stupid enough to make the piracy of a few ships into some GIANT failure of his watch. It's a big fricking ocean. When you travel on the big fricking ocean, bad shit can happen. Let's not turn this into a detente with Stalin for god's sake. Or I guess we can spend a trillion dollars, escorting every shrimp boat with it's own personal submarine so nothing bad ever happens. Really, turn off the Glen Beck.

jayne_cobb said...

I find it rather entertaining that the only people really attacking the handling of this situation are those on the left (check out HuffPo, Kos, DU).

The current line is that the Somali pirates are actually eco warriors getting revenge for international pollution, and that piracy is just a means of levying a tax.

Trooper York said...

I for one want to be fair. I congratulate the Navy and President Obama on a successful outcome. We should not pick nits when he did what had to be done. He gave the green light and trusted that the people on ground would do the right thing. I salute him. Good job.

Paul said...

garage you're an idiot. Our CIC is a Marxist tranzi with all the wrong instincts. Of course when the real test comes he'll fail. But it's not like you were cheer leading the last CIC is it you little hypocrite? He actually loved this country and believed in American exceptionalism unlike the current "god damn America-white peoples greed runs a world in need" traitor.

The Drill SGT said...

IM said...First, the problem with Somalia really began in 2005, and quite frankly while I blame Bush for alot of his screw-ups, even I'm not stupid enough to make the piracy of a few ships into some GIANT failure of his watch. It's a big fricking ocean

agree with the big ocean theory, however, you left off Bill Clinton's revocation of the Powell Dotrine and the insertion of underequipped US forces in 92-93.

Our withdrawal from Somalia emboldened AQ in the run up to 9/11

Pogo said...

A good job all around, by the President and our military.

Nothing more need be said for now.

What happens next, après la petite guerre, is no less important.

garage mahal said...

garage you're an idiot. Our CIC is a Marxist tranzi with all the wrong instincts. Of course when the real test comes he'll fail. But it's not like you were cheer leading the last CIC is it you little hypocrite?

Shouldn't you be on some Somali blog rooting for pirates instead of here? There's plenty more hostages out there -- maybe you and the rest of the Hate America crowd can hop in some rowboats and help out your fellow brethren and sign up with the enemy.

Hoosier Daddy said...

First, the problem with Somalia really began in 2005

Actually it began when the government was overthrown 20 years ago and the country turned into Mad Max.

Paul said...

Like i said garage, you're an idiot. I love America, that's why I am so disturbed that it has fallen into the hands of those who don't.

I don't equate criticizing the administration with hating the country, but the fact that YOU do is testament to your hatred of America under GWB. And if you only love the country when it's run by Democrats then you don't love the country, just the Democrats.

Freder Frederson said...

Well except for the fact that it wasn't a military victory, and piracy isn't terrorism, it was a good job, well handled all around.

ricpic said...

Obama at his news conference: "We are resolved to halt the rise of privacy." The truth will out.

Kylos said...

Early reporting had indicated there were negotiations with the pirates and that we had agreed to pay a ransom (up to $2mil). That reporting, though it now appears to be inaccurate, didn't do Obama any favors as the events unfolded.

Joe said...

The pirates should have been killed when the captain dove overboard. Now we learn there were 17! briefings with the president. This means there were standing orders to NOT use force and the local commander violated those orders for which Obama is now taking credit.

Joe said...

One other thing; while there's much focus on the piracy off the horn of Africa, realize that there is more piracy in the South Pacific, specifically the Straight of Malacca.

Trooper York said...

I don't think Obama should try to do something about the Pirates. I mean they suck but the Washington Nationals are much worse and are right there in DC. Do something about them why don't ya. Then I would be really impressed.

Kirk Parker said...

"Now, more of the same, please."

Time for an "Althouse is like Ledeen" tag? :-)

Hoosier Daddy said...

Freder saidWell except for the fact that it wasn't a military victory, and piracy isn't terrorism, it was a good job, well handled all around.

Very funny. Now give Freder his body back.

Frodo Potter said...

I’m with Bissage, Maguro, and Pogo. Props to all involved, and that includes the President. I don’t think Obama was brilliant in this case, but he was solidly competent and he had the good sense to stand back and let the experts run this.

Let’s also heed Pogo’s closing thought: “What happens next, après la petite guerre, is no less important.” There are still a lot of pirates out there, especially, as Joe points out, in the Straits of Malacca.

Kirk Parker said...

"If there was a way to get the captain back with no loss of life, that would have been perfect (as long as the bad guys did not escape)."

I disagree, the way it worked out was far better: (a) the pirates deserved killing, and (b) we now have 75% less opportunity for post-rescue media circus over the pirates.


dtl,

"I would hate to think that if the captain had died, because of some mistake by the Navy, that we would now be declaring Obama's defense policy a disaster."

Complete nonsense; a vigorous response is to be desired for lots of reasons, and as for innocent casualties, well, I'm certainly not unhappy about the French rescuing their captives and doing an almost-perfect job at it.


And overall, I think Reagan's line applies here: "There's no end to the good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit." I'm perfectly happy for President Obama to get lots and lots of credit here, especially since it may encourage him to more of the same in the future.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Paul said: I love America

Oh yeah? Prove it!

You don't truly love America unless you can prove it, with evidence, of your love. I want proof.

garage mahal said...

Paul says..
Like i said garage, you're an idiot. I love America, that's why I am so disturbed that it has fallen into the hands of those who don't.

Then goes on to say my love for America is conditional upon who is running it. Jesus.

Paul said...

ZPS

I'm straining really, really, hard to imagine anything less important to me than the need to prove my patriotism to a left wing Anti-American like you who no doubt thrilled to an erection every time the American casualty numbers hit each 1000 benchmark during OIF.

Paul said...

garage you are even stupider than I thought. Once more I do not equate criticizing the administration with hating the country. I love America. I despise the traitors in the White House and Congress. That may be a too subtle distinction for a simpleton like yourself for which enlightenment is not an option, but it's clear to anyone with an IQ equal at least to that of our nearest primate relatives.

William said...

There were an awful lot of moving parts in this operation, and it could just as easily have gone wrong. With all due respect to the training and skill of our people, this was not a sure thing. Luck played a part....When you're in charge you take the blame for the stupidity of your subordinates. It seems only fair for Obama to take a bow for their mastery.....The world is filled with politicians of more experience, skill, and wisdom than Obama, but he became President. His ascent has been a series of fortuitous accdents. I really believe in luck. Some people have it. Obama certainly does. Maybe his luck will rub off on America.....In any event, there is no down side to this story, and I hope Obama continues on a roll.

garage mahal said...

Paul
I'm sure Timothy McVeigh and Ted Kaczynski thought they loved their country dearly as you do, but just wished traitors weren't running it.

buster said...

I mostly agree with David at 9:45 a.m. Obama should get credit for the outcome under the general principle that the man in charge receives praise for success and blame for failure whether or not he is personally responsible for the result. But the incident does not resolve doubts about his leadership ability. The totality of the evidence so far argues against him. But a few more successes may begin to change that.

Clyde said...

I'm no fan of Obama, but give the man his props: He did the right thing, not that there should have been any doubt that he would.

The message that should go out to the world is this: "Piracy against U.S. flagged vessels: 75% fatal, 100% BAD IDEA!"

Or, to be more blunt, "Don't fuck with us! You'll regret it if you do."

The power of the U.S. government should loom menacingly over those who would kidnap or murder Americans anywhere in the world.

mariner said...

God bless the U.S. Navy Seals.

I was relieved and delighted to see the good news on the Net yesterday.

As for Obama, at least he didn't vote "absent".

MadisonMan said...

So suddenly we don't have to prove our love for America, is that what you say Paul? A refreshing change from the past.

But the incident does not resolve doubts about his leadership ability. The totality of the evidence so far argues against him. But a few more successes may begin to change that.

Well, for some it won't. As with GWB, some lives are too defined by the religion of hating the President. A Belief such as that cannot change even in the face of facts.

Revenant said...

If the summary Fen cited is accurate, I have to say that I remain unimpressed by how Obama handled this.

Kudos to the US military, though. :)

TMink said...

Anton, the shots were not as easy as you might think. I am good from 25 to 30 yards myself. Not so good at night, and worse when I am shooting from a moving platform at a moving platform with an innocent American aboard. The terrorists were complaining about the high seas.

These dead terrorists are the gift of some excellent marksmen. Nice shots men.

Trey

Original Mike said...

If they were shooting from a rolling boat at a bobbing target (as was apparently the case), I am dumbfounded.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If I were the owner of any of these merchant shipping firms, I would hire armed vicious mercenaries to blow the heads off of any of these pirates when they got within shooting range.

Period.

Invisible Man said...

If I were the owner of any of these merchant shipping firms, I would hire armed vicious mercenaries to blow the heads off of any of these pirates when they got within shooting range.

Personally, I think Jedi's would be more effective.

ricpic said...

Obama kill three brothers to look good for The Man? Obama Uncle Tom!

Pogo said...

In ancient Assyria, such miscreants were gibbeted, or impaled between the legs, on the sharp top of a pole planted upright in the ground, their screams heard for miles as their own body weight slowly drove the stake into them until they died.

That was a pretty bad way to go, I think.

Big Mike said...

@Invisible Man, Jedis were a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

But FWIW, mercenaries wouldn't be very useful if they weren't disciplined, very calm and professional in a crisis situation, and practiced steadily.

vnjagvet said...

I voted for GHW and GW Bush in all of their elections. I voted for W in 2000 because I thought Gore was a whiner and an effete fellow who had no reason to be effete. In 2004, I thought the anti-war Kerry was the more genuine than the Kerry I saw "reporting for duty" so I voted accordingly.

I supported the Iraq war from the beginning because I thought Iraq under Saddam was a genuine threat, and that Iraq was an important strategic buffer in the ME, with the possibility of isolating Iran. I also supported the surge.

The point of all of this background is that I have consistently opposed our current President's foreign policy positions, believing strongly that he would be more like Gore and Kerry than like Bush in the war against those portions of Islam which have embraced terror, piracy and general lawlessness.

I hope I was wrong in this assessment, and the President's handling (or not handling) of the Somali Pirate caper seems to me to indicate that I may have been too hasty in my judgment.

While the incident in a way is, as posters above have said, no more significant than a bank robbery with hostages (the Dog Day Afternoon scenario), it is also symbolic because it occurred on the high seas, and because a brave American captain, in the best traditions of the maritime profession, traded himself for his crew. It therefore got the world's attention and US actions were under a microscope.

The outcome shows that this President is willing to use appropriate offensive weapons in the US arsenal to rescue a brave American, and to deter future pirate conduct.

Mr. President, I salute you and the men under your command that achieved this thoroughly satisfactory result.

Jeremy said...

And then of course, we have George's response to the same kind of situation:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
Wed Nov 19, 2008 3:36pm EST

U.S. President George W. Bush has been briefed about increasing attacks by Somali pirates off east Africa, and the United States is consulting with other U.N. Security Council members on ways to combat the threat, the White House said on Wednesday.

Calling it a "a very complicated issue," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino gave no hint of what, if any, action the United States might take following the hijacking earlier this week of a Saudi supertanker with a $100 million oil cargo.

But she told reporters, "The goal would be to try to help get this ship to safety, secure the crew and then work with our international partners to try to alleviate the piracy problem, full stop."

Jeremy said...

Dust Bunny Queen said..."If I were the owner of any of these merchant shipping firms, I would hire armed vicious mercenaries to blow the heads off of any of these pirates when they got within shooting range.
Period."

WOW what a spectacular IDEA!!!

And when the "vicious mercenaries" find someone who pays even more...to blow the heads off the crews of the shipping firm's ships...they hire even more expensive mercenaries to...

...oh, never mind, it was ridiculous in the first place.

Jeremy said...

Obama got this ball rolling right away:

U.S. Navy Apprehends Somali Pirates for the First Time

February 11, 2009 3:07 PM

RadiaABC News' Kirit Radia reports: A U.S. Navy ship working as part of a multinational team called Combined Task Force 151, apprehended a group of seven Somali pirates today, the first time the task force has picked up Somali pirates.

The apprehension appears to be in response to what U.S. officials tell ABC News was an order from the Pentagon issued last Thursday to pursue pirates off the Somali coast.

According to U.S. officials who spoke to ABC News on the condition of anonymity, last Thursday the Joint Chiefs of Staff last week issued a Counter Piracy Execute Order that charged the military with pursuing and apprehending pirates who threaten commercial ships in the Horn of Africa region off the coast of Somalia.

Officials say the order creates an operating zone to go after pirates about 500 nautical miles out to sea and spans from the Gulf of Aden near Yemen down to the borders with Kenya and Tanzania.

In other words, it is now open season for the U.S. Navy to go after Somali pirates that have haunted one of the world's vital shipping lanes.

And you know where those "Counter Piracy Execute Orders" come from: Our new and improved President.

zedzded said...

Jeremy is fixated on balls.

jayne_cobb said...

Jeremy,

You mean that our fearsome navy is going after those poor misunderstood environmentalists?

But who will protect the fish if we sink those eco-warriors?

Freeman Hunt said...

Yes, I thought that in the other thread Jeremy was telling us about how the poor, benighted pirates were suffering from heavy metal poisoning and lack of Omega 3's due to European malfeasance. Thus, it was understandable that they'd victimize Americans.

...

mdulakthomson said...

No, see, that was Jeremy's line yesterday. You're not supposed to remember that.

John Lynch said...

Free captain, dead pirates. Obama did fine. Since everyone was ready to stick him with the blame if things went bad, let's give him the credit for things going well.

If he really was like Jimmy Carter he could have supplanted the standing orders with a "negotiate no matter what."

Jeremy said...

Freeman Hunt said..."...the poor, benighted pirates were suffering from heavy metal poisoning and lack of Omega 3's due to European malfeasance. Thus, it was understandable that they'd victimize Americans."

Nice try, even for a dolt.

My point was and still is this: If you allow countries to do what they have been doing to spoil the waters, food source and fish where they shouldn't fish...we'll continue to see things like this happen.

A better course would be to try to help the Somalians and others in the same situation to create jobs and protect their source of staying alive...instead of ignoring the problem.

And, as for killing the "pirates," I said it before and will repeat it for the dummies here: They abducted someone, threatened their life and deserved exactly what they got...whether it was an American or not.

I realize most here could give a flying fuck about anybody but themselves, but it appears Bush knew about this and did nothing.

If anybody was spoiling our waters, beaches and food source we would far more than the Somalians...and everybody here knows it too.

You're just to hard-headed and partisan to admit it.

Obama has taken the proper action, and I know it's driving the local wingnuts crazy to have to acknowledge the fact that he did something your "hero" evidently did not think that important.

Jeremy said...

John Lynch said..."Free captain, dead pirates. Obama did fine. Since everyone was ready to stick him with the blame if things went bad, let's give him the credit for things going well."

Wow.

You got that right.

Finally...someone with the integrity to give credit where credit is due.

*The Carter thing was a tad snarky, but I'll take what I can get.

Jeremy said...

mdulakthomson said..."No, see, that was Jeremy's line yesterday. You're not supposed to remember that."

I said the same thing today that I said yesterday.

You just aren't bright or honest enough to understand.

Freeman Hunt said...

If anybody was spoiling our waters, beaches and food source we would far more [aggressive?] than the Somalians...and everybody here knows it too.

Yes! Though probably toward the people who were actually doing the spoiling...

Is that a whiff of the soft bigotry of low expectations coming off your posts?

Pogo said...

Jeremy' here again.
Thread's over.
Again.

Jeremy said...

Freeman - "Yes! Though probably toward the people who were actually doing the spoiling..."

True, and they paid the price for dicking around with us didn't they?

My point is that, if possible, we and other countries should explore ways to avoid any such conflict. With the worldwide economy in trouble, any disruption to shipping, etc. is not good for anybody.

I realize that's a bit over your head, but maybe if you took the time away from sucking up to your friends here, and thought about how much better things would be for everybody...it might sink in.

The standard among many here is to shoot or bomb first...then think.
(A day or so ago all I heard here was how Israel should just bomb or invade, "take out," Iran because that would take care of everything...right.)

Obama appears to be handling things differently.

Jeremy said...

Pogo, I hate to make you have to actually think (what a crazy notion) before thumping on your little keyboard, but give it a shot.

Freeman Hunt said...

True, and they paid the price for dicking around with us didn't they?

Yes, and so their European induced anger is, perhaps, not at all germane to our defeating them.

David said...

Blogger Zachary Paul Sire said...

Paul said: I love America

Oh yeah? Prove it!

You don't truly love America unless you can prove it, with evidence, of your love. I want proof.


I had a girl friend--a lawyer no less--who, when in a fit of passion I would say "I love you" or "I want you" would fix me with a gaze and say two words: "Prove it."

A little intimidating but highly motivating.

Jeremy said...

Freeman - "Yes, and so their European induced anger is, perhaps, not at all germane to our defeating them."

It is if it never would have happened but for the situation created via the exploitation of the area by outsiders.

You probably don't know this (why would you?), but right now there are 100's of hostages being held by "pirates," at least 12 ships...and some for over a year.

Doesn't it seem like someone (America?) could step into the fray and try to get things under control? (Worldwide economy and all...eefects us, right?)

If the Captain had died you and all the other wingnuts here would be spewing who-knows-what kind of garbage at Obama.

That's something you do know.

Jeremy said...

David - I thought you were going to say; "I happen to have a contract right here..."

The Drill SGT said...

Jeremy said...
Wow.

You got that right.

Finally...someone with the integrity to give credit where credit is due.


Jeremy,

Those of us who have a bit of experience with things martial would be much happier if the WH had released statement that said:

"The President was of course kept updated periodicly on the course of events, but the necessary rules of engagemen have been in place for this sort of forseeable event. Commanders on the scene executed those orders, and we congratulate our forces on a very successful rescue."

my concerns? in a nutshell, that DoD came requesting permission to use deadly force three times.
- rules were not in place
- had to ask 3 times over 4-5 days
- the permission was limitd to a case where the hostage faced imminent death

perhaps General Jones managed to talk them into it. eventually

The Drill SGT said...

It is if it never would have happened but for the situation created via the exploitation of the area by outsiders.

perhaps if the pirates were as smart as you are Jeremy, they could tell the difference beteen those nasty slow fishing boats stealing frm them and cargo ships passing hundreds of miles off their coast, clearly not poaching. but no, actually stopping these hypothetical tresspassing boats (from other African nations?) would have an impact on the fish stealing, but would not generate million dollar ransoms.

Jeremy said...

Drill Sgt - "...cargo ships passing hundreds of miles off their coast, clearly not poaching."

I see, as usual, you've read little if anything about the problems.

"Poaching" is only one of the problems.

Johann Hari, Independent.com/uk

In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country's food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: "Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it." Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to "dispose" of cheaply.

Jeremy said...

Drill - The Pentagon released a statement saying Obama approved the action on Friday.

What is it with you people whining about literally everything Obama does...good or bad?

You're like small children.

Jeremy said...

Drill -

ABC/AP/Pentagon
Washington 4/12:

The Pentagon twice asked Obama for permission to use military force when it thought the captain was in danger and both times received it.

The White House says Obama received regular updates throughout the ordeal. And shortly after receiving word the captain had been rescued, he released a statement praising Phillips' "selfless concern for his crew." Obama says, "His courage is a model for all Americans."

The Drill SGT said...

yeah Jeremy, I read that BS the last 2 times you posted it. so tell me how you connect the dots from some ship that is claimed dumped material in shallow waters, with one cruising 2 hundred miles off the coast in very deep water.

I don't believe the toxic duming story, but even if it were true, it would have to occur in shallow coastal waters.

1. why dump in shallow water where you leave evidence?

2. why sail European waste that far?

3. if dumping were happening, it coud not be a container ship several hundred miles off the coast.

Pogo said...

Michael/Lucky/Jeremy

Threadkill.

Lawgiver said...

Michael says,

If you allow countries to do what they have been doing to spoil the waters, food source and fish where they shouldn't fish...we'll continue to see things like this happen.What an idiot. Now Michael wants us to be the world eco/fishing policy.

Michael is batshit stupid.

Lawgiver said...

police*

Jeremy said...

Lawgiver - You think the world's corporate fishing enterprises can fish anywhere they want?

Even YOU can't be this stupid. (But I bet you are.)

There are all kinds of areas, specifically related to the distance from the shore where these massive companies are forbidden.

Why?

Well, so the local fishing companies and residents of the areas can survive.

There are areas of the world where, if the fishing disappears, the people disappear.

Not that you give a flying fuck about anybody but yourself.

Jeremy said...

Pogo - Brain dead.

Quit whining you little baby.

If you have something of substance to say...say it.

Pogo said...

Res ipsa loquitur.
Lucky/Michael/Jeremy, colitis of the intertubes.

JSF said...

Herr Michael/Luckeyoldson/jeremy wants no one to deviate from President-for-Life Obama and the Thousand year democratic party Reich!

Herr Michael/Lucky/Jeremy vill Brook no dissent!

Her Michael/Lucky/Jeremy believes all who do not follow President Obama should be shot!

Seig Jeremy!
Seig Jeremy!
Seig Jeremy!

zedzded said...

No, Jeremy, we are adults, and we are armed. Unlike you, we are willing and able to defend ourselves. Now back to eating your paste, little fellow, mommy will want her computer back soon.

The Drill SGT said...

congrats Jeremy,


You've made my very short DNR list

(do not respond)

DTL
Michael
Lucky
Freder
Cedarford
Jeremy
Titus

Good Bye now

mdulakthomson said...

Jeremy,

But, see, the pirates don't seem terribly interested in shutting down fishing operations, even though you'd think it'd be rather easier than chasing huge ships a couple hundred miles offshore.

Nor, for that matter, do they seem to have apprehended anyone dumping nuclear waste, heavy metals, what have you. If the problem is as large as Hari says it is, it ought to be fairly easy to catch the dumpers redhanded — capture one of those ships and you have the evidence and the perpetrators both in hand, and can make what anyone would call a good case against the nation(s) in question.

Strangely, though, the pirates haven't done either of these obvious things, but have concentrated on hijacking large container ships that no one pretends have been poaching or dumping. Downright peculiar, that is.

Unless they're less an informal Coast Guard than, well, a band of extortionists?

Jeremy, you said in the other thread that these pirates were acting under "duress." Do you still believe that? And do you think it's right to shoot people acting under duress? You seem pleased about Obama's order giving the Navy expansive powers against pirates. I am, too; but I really don't understand why you should be.

Revenant said...

Here's a question I'd like to see answered. We're being told that after the Somali government fell, Europeans started (a) poisoning the sea with radioactive and industrial waste and (b) hoovering up all the fish from Somali fishing grounds.

Okay.

So... where are the reports of people being poisoned by the aforementioned fish? You can't pull fresh fish out of a toxic ocean; it isn't possible. And while we're on the subject, why the heck would criminals sail all the way to Somali waters to illegally dump waste when they could just dump it in international waters instead?

Trooper York said...

I blame the Catholics.

Trooper York said...

After all it was just Lent and there is no meat on Fridays. They must of stole all that fish.

Theo Boehm said...

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

Ralph said...

How long before we hear Obama enjoyed a celebratory Kool on the Truman balcony with Gen. Jones?

I prefer Ford's response in 1975, though it was costly.

mdulakthomson said...

Revenant,

If you go to Johann Hari's article (Google "hari pirates" and you'll find it), he has a postscript responding to the many readers who asked that very question. The response is basically that there's a lot of Somali coastline, and the poaching and the dumping were happening in different places.

What he actually says is "Imagine how easy it would be - without any coastguard or army - to steal fish from Florida and dump nuclear waste on California, and you get the idea." Well, I do get the idea, except for the bit about Florida and California bordering on totally different oceans, but that's the argument.

Ralph said...

Trooper York said... They must of stole

OMG, Trooper is Titus!

Trooper York said...

Sorry Ralph just in a rush to snark. I suck at spelling too.

But thanks for the thought. Titus is his own man. No one could possibly post as much as we do and be the same person.

Trooper York said...

Besides, Althouse already admitted that she is Titus.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

Theo, spit it out man.

Ok I admit Titus might have said that. But still!

Theo Boehm said...

Pirates aren't all that bad. Some of them love the finer sentiments, as evidenced by the following:

Although our dark career
Sometimes involves the crime of stealing,
We rather think that we’re
Not altogether void of feeling.
Although we live by strife,
We’re always sorry to begin it,
For what, we ask, is life
Without a touch of Poetry in it?
All. (kneeling):

Hail, Poetry, thou heav’n-born maid!
Thou gildest e’en the pirate’s trade.
Hail, flowing fount of sentiment!
All hail! All hail! Divine emollient!
(All rise.)

Pirate King:

You may go, for you’re at liberty,
our pirate rules protect you,
And honorary members of our band
we do elect you!
See! Prate on about them enough, and you, too, can become an honorary pirate!

But, watch out! If the pirates are frustrated on the billowy waves, they can turn to other, more nefarious crimes:

A rollicking band of pirates we,
Who, tired of tossing on the sea,
Are trying their hand at a burglaree,
With weapons grim and gory.
And just what is President Obama going to do about THAT??

Theo Boehm said...

Trooper, I'm trying!! Damn italics, etc. I've got a new MacBook, and they tell me I SHOULD love the new trackpad, which basically is kind of a built-in case of stuttering. Effing thing is TERRIBLE at selecting text!
Grumble. Grumble.

Theo Boehm said...

Damn! It's still effed up!

Oh well, folks, just pretend the non-italic text is on separate lines.

Next time, I'm using a mouse.

Theo Boehm said...

You know, what with everything that's gone on above, this might be the time to fill the comments to the magic 200 mark with stream-of-consciousness, and/or obscure pop culture quotes.

Trooper?? Still printing those tax forms. Help us out here! This thread has SUCKED!

Lem?? You're the best stream-of-consciousness poster I know. Go to it!!

Me? I'm going home and eat dinner and start preparing my excuses for tomorrow's R&D meeting.

I'll be back later to see how things have worked out. Remember, the goal is a content-free 200 comments!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Congratulation to all involved. Except the pirates.

zedzded said...

Well, the first 160 are content-free.

Here's another.

How about that Jeremy, eh? He's a peach.

Anyone miss Titus? Miss Titus?

Yeah, me neither.

Eli Blake said...

Speaking of partisanship,

fivethirtyeight has an interesting take on it:

Last year Ben Bernanke, part of a then-Republican administration was approved of by a majority of Republicans and disapproved of by a majority of Democrats. This year the same guy, part of a Democratic administration (mainly because the chairman of the Fed is appointed to a staggered term so the new President has to work with the incoming chairman), and with pretty much the exact same policy positions as last year, is approved of by a majority of Democrats and disapproved of by a majority of Republicans.

Now one can certainly make the case that his positions (mainly in favor of bailing out banks) may be less popular with Republicans who think the banks should be allowed to fail than with Democrats who think the policy is starting to work, but I suspect that there is some blind partisanship in play there as well.

Eli Blake said...

And the President showed exactly under what conditions he is willing to authorize force.

He authorized the commanders on the scene to exercise their judgement and to use force if the hostage was in imminent danger.

Which is appropriate-- a President can't make a call like that from the Oval office as well as the commanders on the scene can.

MadisonMan said...

I miss Titus. But not enough to add 37 posts to this thread saying as much.

Meade said...

I'm with MadMan. So that makes only 36 needed.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Eli, I do not wish to oversimplify, but a reasonable answer to your conundrum can be found at 0:45 in this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zl0WwC9OcOI

AlphaLiberal said...

Amen.

“I would hope that they’re feeling a little silly today,” said the expert, Andrew Exum, a fellow at the Center for National Security Studies. “It’s bad form. You don’t make this a partisan issue until an operation has been assessed. It’s fair game ex post facto. But during the emergency, I think that our elected leaders deserve our respect.”"If Glenn Beck loves his country as much as he alleges, he should hold his tongue when elected leaders on the ground are dealing with a very difficult situation."

Theo Boehm said...

Oh, where is Titus's loaf when we need it??

There're steaming piles all over this thread, but none with that Titus je ne sais quoi.Ah, Titus! Where are you when we need you??

Bob said...

Too bad that sound advice was not followed while Bush was in office...

Theo Boehm said...

Pirate King:

Oh, better far to live and die
Under the brave black flag I fly,
Than play a sanctimonious part,
With a pirate head and a pirate heart.
Away to the cheating world go you,
Where pirates all are well-to-do;
But I’ll be true to the song I sing,
And live and die a Pirate King.

For I am a Pirate King!
And it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King!

For I am a Pirate King!
Chorus:

You are!
Hurrah for our Pirate King!
King:

And it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King.
Chorus:

It is!
Hurrah for our Pirate King!

King & Chorus:

Hurrah for the/our Pirate King!
When I sally forth to seek my prey
I help myself in a royal way.
I sink a few more ships, it’s true,
Than a well-bred monarch ought to do;
But many a king on a first-class throne,
If he wants to call his crown his own,
Must manage somehow to get through
More dirty work than ever I do,

For I am a Pirate King!
And it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King!

For I am a Pirate King!
Chorus:

You are!
Hurrah for the Pirate King!
King:

And it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King.
Chorus:

It is!
Hurrah for our Pirate King!
King & Chorus:

Hurrah for the/our Pirate King!

jayne_cobb said...

I for one welcome all these former pacifists.

Right now you're promoting the use of lethal force when dealing with piracy and hostage crises. Pretty soon you'll be pushing for the bombing of Iranian reactors and and the assassination of the terrorists.

Theo Boehm said...

Pirates (very loud):

With cat-like tread,
Upon our prey we steal;
In silence dread,
Our cautious way we feel.
No sound at all,
We never speak a word,
A fly’s foot-fall
Would be distinctly heard –
Police (pianissimo):

Tarantara, tarantara!
Pirates.
So stealthily the pirate creeps,
While all the household soundly sleeps
.

Theo Boehm said...

Pirates & Police:

We/You triumph now, for well we trow
Your/Our mortal career’s cut short;
No pirate band will take its stand
At the Central Criminal Court.
Sergeant:

To gain a brief advantage you’ve contrived,
But your proud triumph will not be long-lived.
Pirate King:

Don’t say you are orphans, for we know that game.Sergeant:

On your allegiance we’ve a stronger claim –
We charge you yield, we charge you yield,
In Queen Victoria’s name!
Pirate King (baffled):

You do?Police:

We do!
We charge you yield,
In Queen Victoria’s name!

Pirates kneel, Police stand over them triumphantly.

Pirate King:

We yield at once, with humbled mien,
Because, with all our faults, we love our Queen.
Police:

Yes, yes, with all their faults, they love their Queen.All:

Yes, yes, with all their faults, they love their Queen.Police, holding Pirates by the collar, take out handkerchiefs and weep.

Theo Boehm said...

Hey! If Trooper can quote pop culture, I can do it with G&S!

Trooper, don't fret: It's not QUITE opera.

Theo Boehm said...

I'm STILL having trouble with line feeds. Sorry. Something is really screwy in MacBook land. Maybe it's nutz in Bloggerland, too.

Why, oh why, are line feeds disappearing??

Reminds me of my 401(k).

Theo Boehm said...

Whew! 175 comments! Help us get to 200 with no further alleged content!

If Titus can no longer pinch a loaf, maybe YOU can contribute a little something.

Reminds me of one of the scientific experiments in Gulliver's Travels, where a natural philosopher was regularly delivered a barrel of human odure, with the object of turning it back into food.

What do you think of the possibility of turning some of the comments on this thread back into sensible ideas?

Lyle said...

Yep... keep killing them pirates and Taliban Obama. Swing that big stick you got.

JAL said...

How about a tag for Titus since he has hijacked this thread in his absence.

There. 178.

Meade said...

President Obama enlists thousands of Flippers.The suspected pirates ships stopped and then turned away. The pirates could only lament their littleness befor the vast number of dolphins. The spectacular scene continued for a while.

Ann Althouse said...

Hi, Meade. I blogged that independently and extracted the same quote before I read this. We must be on the same wave length. A wave full of dolphins. Adorable dophins. And ponies. Mmmmmm.