April 9, 2009

"Our special operations people have been itching to clean them up."

"Them" = the pirates.
Retired U.S. Ambassador Robert Oakley, who was special envoy to Somalia in the 1990s, said U.S. special operations forces have drawn up detailed plans to attack piracy groups where they live on land, but are awaiting orders from the Obama national security team....

The veteran diplomat, who also was ambassador to Pakistan, said teams of Army Delta Force or Navy SEALs "could take care of the pirates in 72 hours" if given the order to strike.

"They have plans on the table but are waiting for the green light," Oakley said.
Should Obama turn them loose?

Green light?
Yes.
No.
  
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103 comments:

Hoosier Daddy said...

The veteran diplomat, who also was ambassador to Pakistan, said teams of Army Delta Force or Navy SEALs "could take care of the pirates in 72 hours" if given the order to strike.

War isn't the answer.

There. Saved the liberals time and effort in responding to this thread.

mcg said...

The Shores of Tripoli....

AllenS said...

A better question would be:

Will Obama turn them loose?

traditionalguy said...

Obama wants the poor Pirates' Love. Besides, using our military capbilities distracts from the world's growing trust in The Obama One to complete disarmament of the world's only true Bully. The world needs one Ruler, and The Obama One is in campaign mode for that job.

Pogo said...

Obama should just bow to the pirates. I mean, if he's taller than them.

AllenS said...

It wasn't a bow, he naturally bends easily at the waist because he has no spine.

rhhardin said...

Bomb their internet provider.

Issob Morocco said...

The 29th Decorative Pillow Commando Unit, supported by elements of the 8th Brigage of Sun Blocking Pollution Rangers, 33rd Battalion of Open Borders Transportation Division, and the 882nd Toxic Assets Brigade, will be ready to talk really tough, bordering on downright nasty to the mis-guided Somali Pirates.

If that doesn't work, we will issue in the next two years a U.N. statement, with real teeth, that lets those Pirates know, just how wrong they are to do what they do.

And if that doesn't persuade them, then, the One will meet personally with them to help bridge the gap, created by his predecessor, that created this problem, driven by greed, incompetence and bad policy.

Cedarford said...

I'm not liberal on these things, but I'd be against the US starting a 3rd major war unilaterally for 5 reasons.

1. So far, the piracy has involved no killings. The pirates have been careful. US coming in to kill pirates elevates the struggle to a lethal level.

2. Shipping insurers, merchant marine associations do not want this escalated into violent attacks and sinkings of their vessels and loss of crew. The US has only a tiny stake in global shipping.

3. Some of the factions that are killing Al Qaeda in Somalia and blocking the country from going radical Islamist are also the same groups funding their efforts through piracy, along with personally getting rich off it. Nothing is simple in Somalia.

4. Our allies in the joint effort to patrol 320,000 square miles of ocean oppose US-initiated "high tech heroes surgically eliminating the Evildoers" - knowing the same basic strategy has bogged the US down in an interminable war facing the same sort of amorphous groups with thousands of places to hide in Afghanistan. America has only 280 ships in our entire Navy, inadequate to patrol (especially if nations with serious shipping industries to protect abandon patrols to show they have nothing to do with US killers so don't retaliate on their ships or crews) And the guerillas that would face "the special ops high tech heroes" if they come to land "to bring them to justice" are thought to be greater than the number involved in the Iraq insurgency.

5. Others recognize there are huge holes in international law regarding piracy that have to be fixed. If the US jumps the gun, before the deficiencies in law are fixed, we will have our courts and Euroweenies and Jewish progressive human rights lawyers all demanding that the pirates all be taken to the US for years of legal wrangling for trials, along with their families who will need US welfare and housing. Then all can apply for refugee status.

AllenS said...

Good points, Cedarford. What if we were to catch some pirates, where would we put them? Guantanamo?

The Drill SGT said...

Pirates are operating ratonally. The risk reward equation makes piracy extremely profitable.

Until the costs are increased, it will continue.

Escalating Phrases like:

"Hung till dead" and

"Burn all the boats"

may deter some villages and warlords but there will always be piracy

Hoosier Daddy said...

So far, the piracy has involved no killings. The pirates have been careful. US coming in to kill pirates elevates the struggle to a lethal level

In other words as long as no one loses an eye let the kids keep throwing rocks at each other.

Shipping insurers, merchant marine associations do not want this escalated into violent attacks and sinkings of their vessels and loss of crew.

Well then we should just remove the naval patrols altogether. Why continue with the expense of patrolling the waters when we're just going to pay them off anyway?

Peter V. Bella said...

Shipping insurers, merchant marine associations do not want this escalated into violent attacks and sinkings of their vessels and loss of crew.

Then they should just stay out of those waters, stop asking civilized nations for help they do not want, or suffer the consequences. Maybe they should just pay protection money upfront.

Hey there is an idea for Obama. He could talk to the pirates, get them to sign an agreement, and they would be paid millions by the shipping companies to lay off. Those that do not pay, too bad.

Right out of Goodfellas!

Jason said...

Cedarford,

You make some good points. Then, by, blaming the Jooooooz you remind us all what a blinkered, stupid twit you are.

A twit with an animal instinct to discredit yourself and your arguments through idiotic and pathetic obsessions like a mosquito is drawn to a bug-zapper.

What's the matter? The Flat Earth Society reject your membership application on the account of your failing their entry IQ test?

Or did your Jewish mother not give you enough toys to play with when you were a baby?

SteveR said...

I was thinking Chuck Norris or Rambo and we could use the profits from the movie to pay off the "factions".

Big Mike said...

If they're ready to go today, the special ops guys were probably pretty much equally ready to go last December. Why should Barack Obama give a green light if Dubya didn't? Any reader of my comments knows I'm not at all a fan of our current President, but there's a chance that people at the SecDef and White House level know things that are counterindicative of success.

holdfast said...

If they don't want US help, then stop wasting ships and fuel describing big circles in the water. Hell, give the Russkies some $ and tell them to pretend that the pirates are really Chechens.

C4 has a point that this is not primarily a US problem, and that there are a lot of complications. I would say find the village that launched this particular attack and flatten it. Then quietly let the pirates know that they can non-lethally attack the Europussies to their heart's content, but if they attack ships from a real country, there will be consequences.

I know it seems harsh, but I would not want to morally compromise the Euros by killing anyone on their behalf.

Peter V. Bella said...

Comment Code



Forbes has several articles on the problem and possible solutions.

Cedarford, no one is talking about starting a war. What is needed is a deterrent example. "This is what happens everytime you commit an act of piracy."

Lem said...

Do they have to wake up Obama for this?

Clyde said...

SHOULD Obama turn them loose? Absolutely! WILL Obama turn them loose? Absolutely not. You'd have lawyers working pro bono for the pirates, demanding to know if their clients had been properly Mirandized or if they should be offered habeas corpus. Hey, the lawyers for Muslim terrorists picked up on the battlefield have been getting jackass judges to go for that kind of silliness. Why wouldn't lawyers for pirates manage to do the same?

Solution: Sound the Deguello: No prisoners. Dead pirates (and terrorists) have no rights. Hang the pirates from the yardarm.

But we've become too much of a milquetoast society to do anything like that. We can fantasize about it, but it won't come to anything more than that.

Lem said...

Obama is going to count to tree...

One, one and a half, one and tree quarters, one and seven eights, one and fifteen sixteenths, one …

You get the idea ;)

traditionalguy said...

The seamen who are given up by their Governments that refuse to arm them need to buy and smuggle their own arms aboard. The pirates have a full supply of arms on their ships. The will to fight is all that is lacking. My thoughts are that McCain/Palin would have ended this Hopelessness with quick actions. But they are Americans and not Europeans.

Bissage said...

The pirates won’t last long once they’ve been cut off from their supply of Purina Parrot Chow®.

Jason said...

You cannot clean up the coast of Somalia with special forces in 72 hours. Not without local allies.

Even the Barbary wars were prosecuted using substantial leverage from area mercenaries and a local ruler who wanted US assistance in recapturing his emirship.

You can create a deterrent for attacking American ships. This may best be done after the ship's captain is returned safely. There is no particular need to rush headlong into a strike. And the best countermeasure will be one organized from within Somalia.

Good thing the Clinton administration did so much to maintain our credibility there.

Oh, wait!!!!...

Fen said...

If that doesn't work, we will issue in the next two years a U.N. statement, with real teeth, that lets those Pirates know, just how wrong they are to do what they do.

* audience erupts in laughter, quickly followed by an aburpt silence from the realization that this is likely to be true *

C4: I'm not liberal on these things, but I'd be against the US starting a 3rd major war unilaterally for 5 reasons.

Good points. I'm gonna have to think on those for awhile before responding.

Its funny, but this Reagan/conservative/former Marine is relieved that Hillary is Sec State. At least there's an adult near the office.

[...]

BTW, just to focus the last few months - did we just dodge a global banking failure that might have left cities of the West in anarchy, while radical Islam is within reach of Paki nukes?

Or is that still out there?

The veteran diplomat, who also was ambassador to Pakistan, said

John said...

"1. So far, the piracy has involved no killings. The pirates have been careful. US coming in to kill pirates elevates the struggle to a lethal level."

They are driving up insurance rates and costing millions of dollars. Further, piracy is the scourge of commerce. If we give Somalia a pass, what is to stop it from spreading to other parts of the world like Indonesia? The fact that they haven't killed anyone, yet, does not excuse it.

"2. Shipping insurers, merchant marine associations do not want this escalated into violent attacks and sinkings of their vessels and loss of crew. The US has only a tiny stake in global shipping."

So what. They are only thinking short term not long term. Long term the world cannot afford a return to widespread piracy. The immeidate concerns of shippers doesn't outweigh that.

"3. Some of the factions that are killing Al Qaeda in Somalia and blocking the country from going radical Islamist are also the same groups funding their efforts through piracy, along with personally getting rich off it. Nothing is simple in Somalia."

Then let the CIA fund them and tell them to stop pirating or face death. It might be worth it to pay some of them to go after Al Quada in lieu of piracy, but the piracy has to stop.

"4. Our allies in the joint effort to patrol 320,000 square miles of ocean oppose US-initiated "high tech heroes surgically eliminating the Evildoers" - knowing the same basic strategy has bogged the US down in an interminable war facing the same sort of amorphous groups with thousands of places to hide in Afghanistan. America has only 280 ships in our entire Navy, inadequate to patrol (especially if nations with serious shipping industries to protect abandon patrols to show they have nothing to do with US killers so don't retaliate on their ships or crews) And the guerillas that would face "the special ops high tech heroes" if they come to land "to bring them to justice" are thought to be greater than the number involved in the Iraq insurgency."

Screw brining them to justice. Kill them. They are only engaging in priracy because the risk is lower than the reward. It wouldn't take all our Navy to do that. Kill the ring leaders and make examples out of a few others and they will find other pursuits. Further, by your logic when should we ever defend ourselves? If killing our enemies just makes things worse, why don't we all put on Burkas and go over and offer our bodies for their sexual pleasure. Why resist? Really you are just saying resistance if futal, which if true means we should surrender and is clearly not true anyway.

"5. Others recognize there are huge holes in international law regarding piracy that have to be fixed. If the US jumps the gun, before the deficiencies in law are fixed, we will have our courts and Euroweenies and Jewish progressive human rights lawyers all demanding that the pirates all be taken to the US for years of legal wrangling for trials, along with their families who will need US welfare and housing. Then all can apply for refugee status."

There are no holes in International Law. For 300 years we hung pirates on the high seas. There is no reason not to do it now. Fuck the euroweenies. If they want to give the prirates love and care, let them. But the message should be that if you pirate a US flagged ship, you end up dead. If the Europeans can tolerate piracy in the name of peace, that is their problem. It doesn't stop us for solving ours.

8:12 AM

The Drill SGT said...

Then quietly let the pirates know that they can non-lethally attack the Europussies to their heart's content, but if they attack ships from a real country, there will be consequences.

reminds me of the 80's when some Lebanonese were on a kidnapping for profit gig, and 1 of the Westerners they grabbed happened to turn out to be Russian dplomat. Well one infidel is as good as another... They went ahead and asked for ransoms.

apparently the Rusians weren't amused, found the kidnappers families and started sending back body parts.

End of the Russian kidnapping problem...

Tibore said...

Here's a dilemna: Many people will advocate fixing the root of the problem. The root (core, fundamental issue... whatever you want to call it) is Somalia's poverty; far, far too many people have nothing to live for. So with ships from rich nations sailing so tantilizing close, and with so many shipping companies willing to pay a relative little to prevent a lot of harm (these ships cost in the tens to hundreds of millions of dollars, and we're not even talking the cargo yet), the Somalis think they have an easy ATM at reach, and all they need to do is pick up one of the millions of firearms laying around and sail in a boat to go get it.

Now, before anyone thinks this is going to turn into a plea for "International Assistance" or some argument that we need to alleviate their poverty so they'll stop attacking, think again. It's not. My opinion: They had that chance under Bush I and Clinton, and effectively threw it away during the Battle of the Black Sea (We call it the Battle of Mogadishu aka the "Blackhawk Down" fight). Somalia had a chance to get out from under its self destructive impulses back when the US had troops there. But instead, large swaths of them decided to listen to the few radicals and rally around Mohamed Farrah Aidid for the thrill of the fight and some nebulous sense of "independence" instead (which blatantly and stupidly ignores the fact that the US wasn't trying to colonize that hole of a nation in the first place). As Mark Bowden illuminatingly stated in his book "Blackhawk Down":

"The idea used to be that terrible countries were terrible because good, decent, innocent people were being oppressed by evil, thuggish leaders. Somalia has changed all that. Here you have a country where just about everybody is caught up in hatred and fighting. You stop and old lady on the street and ask her if she wants peace, and she'll say, yes, of course, I pray for it daily. All the things you'd expect her to say. Then ask if she'd be willing for her clan to share power with another in order to have that peace, and she'll say, "With those murderers and thieves? I'd die first." People in these countries...don't want peace. They want victory. They want power. Men, women, old and young. Somalia was the experience that taught us that people in these places bear much of the responsibility for things being the way they are. The hatred and killing continues because they want it to. Or because they don't want peace enough to stop it." (pages 334 - 335.)

You try to bring the Somalians prosperity and they'll use it to gleefully kill each other. Contrast the tone of the population in then Col. Marin Stanton's "Somaila on Five Dollars a Day" with the ones in Bowden's book; the population goes from welcoming to... well, we all know the story in Bowden's book. At any rate, what people overheatedly inflate about Iraq is unfortunately dead-on accurate about Somalia: The clans there hate each other. Without delving too much into the minituae of an off-topic issue, places like Sadr City and Fallujah illustrate that security comes well before any attempt to ameliorate poverty. And that's why the US, Europe, Asian shipping nations, and the rest shouldn't make the mistake of thinking that "economic relief" will have any effect in Somalia. In Iraq - a problem orders of magnitude less problematic in spite of being far larger - very large elements of force and much dedication of time and resources have been necessary to get things to the point where the peaceful elements of society felt reasonably safe enough to live their daily lives; that work is still ongoing (other Iraq stories at this site - Michael Totten's blog - are highly illuminating. Ditto Michael Yon's site, although he's for some time now been off topic to Iraq, as he's been discussing Afghanistan lately). But it has a chance because Iraq's general population has been used to the absence of civil war until Saddam was toppled (note that I don't call that "peace"; the absence of infighting was accomplished through fear by Saddam's machinery. But I digress...). The point is in Iraq, where much force was needed to subdue terror groups that only ever constituted a fraction of the population, this work has been difficult and time consuming.

Now consider Somalia. It's the opposite. The entire infrastructure was destroyed decades ago. An entire generation has grown up knowing nothing but destruction and clan fighting. Entire clans show up for fights. Read Blackhawk down and books from many participants in the fight where they retail stories about family members acting as human shields for clan fighters, or hauled them ammunition and other items, secure in the knowledge that the US forces would not deliberately target them (at first; this stopped during the Mogadishu fight). And then understand that Somalia isn't a case where international effort to prop the country up needs to occur. In Iraq, it's bumpy as all hell, but by and large has been slowly succeeding. In Somalia, you can see that it is where previous attempts at such effort have failed. Somailia is where the general population told the rest of the world to f*** off and leave them to their in-fighting. They have demonstrated with clarity that there's nothing more important to them than their inter-clan struggles.

So should we (the World, not just the US) attempt to accomplish in Somalia what we've (the US) been doing in Iraq? No. Write them off. Forget aid; they threw that chance away over a decade ago. And for good reason too; Mark Bowden stated it best:

"The larger world has forgotten Somalia. The great ship of international goodwill has sailed. The bloody twists and turns of Somali clan politics no longer concern us.... Rightly or wrongly, they stand as an enduring symbol of Third World ingratitude and intractability, of the futility of trying to resolve local animosity with international muscle. They've effectively written themselves off the map." (Bowden, "Blackhawk Down", pages 333 - 334)

Professor Althouse's question was this: Should Obama turn them (Special Forces) loose? Within limited parameters, yes. Let the military go after and kill the pirates. Once they demonstrate their intent, stomp them. If they want to gain from piracy, they need to be shown that there are consequences to doing so. But go no further. No need to try to "convert" a villiage to alternate means of support, like what the US is trying to do in Afghanistan with the poppy farmers, and alternately what the Philippines is doing with ex-Abu Sayyaf guerrilas. Somalia has written itself off the map. Until the descendents of the nihlist violence perpetrators demonstrate that they want something other than violence, and are willing to change their ways, there's no need to do anything but set a boundary. Stay within it, you don't get touched. Step over it by attacking shipping, you get hunted and killed. That's the immediate answer to this problem. And that's all the west can do, until Somalia unf*cks itself.

Further reading on piracy: "Dangerous Waters: Modern Piracy and Terror on the High Seas" (Excellent book covering topics I haven't, including shipping companies attitudes towards piracy, effective countermeasures, the unrealized prevalence of piracy (it's more than just off the coast of Somalia), etc.)

Tibore said...

Mother of GOD... I wrote all that?? Sorry folks. I just went stream-of-consciousness there and didn't stop and think about how long it was.

Should hit Preview and let things stew before actually posting next time.

David said...

""The larger world has forgotten Somalia. The great ship of international goodwill has sailed. The bloody twists and turns of Somali clan politics no longer concern us.... Rightly or wrongly, they stand as an enduring symbol of Third World ingratitude and intractability, of the futility of trying to resolve local animosity with international muscle. They've effectively written themselves off the map." (Bowden, "Blackhawk Down", pages 333 - 334)"

Problem is, the mass of the people in Somalia have nothing to do with this. They are trying to survive in the midst of an unholy political mess. We should not dismiss the humanitarian needs of millions of people. One of our goals should remain humanitarian--to improve the prospects of the people of Somalia. (Easier said than done, I know.)

The idea of taking care of pirates in 72 hours is silly. I suppose we could kill them, but pretty soon there would just be some new pirates. The barriers to entry for piracy in Somalia are very low.

Killing a few won't have a gigantic effect. The risk reward is still strong in favor of reward if you are a Somali, even if death is part of the risk. In fact death is already part of the risk--but from other rival pirates. They protect their turf harshly from each other.

If we want to do something--and I think we should--we will need a sustained presence of a fairly large and fast moving naval force that can keep the pirates from getting to the ships in the first place. If this means destroying their boats every time they leave shore, so be it. But though they may have an occasional role, this is not a job for special forces on a sustained basis. It will require more ships that are better suited to the task than the ones we are using now.

Somalia is an important place. Piracy thrives there because of its strategic location, and the worst thing that could happen would be a more hostile presence there. (How would you like a Chinese naval base in Somalia?)

AllenS said...

Tibore said... "Step over it by attacking shipping, you get hunted and killed."

Great. Now answer this, who do you expect to do the killing. USofA? Not unless there is a definitive Yes from the POTUS, and the possibilities of that happening is zero. One more question, is killing pirates worse than waterboarding?

Kirk Parker said...

What, no "Why haven't we done this already???" option?

Omigosh, Cedarford just forgets himself, and lends huge new credence to my "C4 is a leftist mole" theory. Have you ever read such silly hand-wringing?

Kirby Olson said...

I saw a neat bio on Pablo Escobar, the drug kingpin whose Medellin Cartel held Colombia down for a decade. The law could do nothing at all. Then, A small group of paramilitary called Los Pepes started shooting his friends and family, and he was gone in a twinkling.

PatCA said...

Oakley should have kept his thoughts to himself. The left will now oblige Obama to vote present on this and let the poor sailors fend for themselves.

Joan said...

C4: The US has only a tiny stake in global shipping.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

How do you think all of the goods manufactured in China get here? What about all the oil that's pumped in the ME and South America? American companies may not build many ships or own or operate many ships but vast swathes of our economy rely on international shipping, and if you think we can just ignore threats to it, you are wrong.

While it's true that the majority of cargo ships are not threatened by Somali pirates, the fact that any of them are weakens the entire system. It raises costs for everyone on literally everything that's shipped, and as others have mentioned, if Somali pirates are allowed to flourish, what's to stop others from following their example?

We need to do something about this. I agree with those who say we should disrupt the piracy operations as thoroughly as possible without getting involved in Somalia's other domestic problems.

Kylos said...

Tibore, no apology needed. That was an excellent read.

Tibore said...

"The larger world has forgotten Somalia. The great ship of international goodwill has sailed. The bloody twists and turns of Somali clan politics no longer concern us.... Rightly or wrongly, they stand as an enduring symbol of Third World ingratitude and intractability, of the futility of trying to resolve local animosity with international muscle. They've effectively written themselves off the map." (Bowden, "Blackhawk Down", pages 333 - 334)"

Problem is, the mass of the people in Somalia have nothing to do with this. They are trying to survive in the midst of an unholy political mess. We should not dismiss the humanitarian needs of millions of people. One of our goals should remain humanitarian--to improve the prospects of the people of Somalia. (Easier said than done, I know.)"


I would've agreed with this right up till the time I read Bowden's book, and read followup works from other people. It's their turn to step up to the plate and demonstrate that they'll do something positive with humanitarian effort. Like Bowden said and I transcribed:

"The idea used to be that terrible countries were terrible because good, decent, innocent people were being oppressed by evil, thuggish leaders. Somalia has changed all that. Here you have a country where just about everybody is caught up in hatred and fighting. You stop and old lady on the street and ask her if she wants peace, and she'll say, yes, of course, I pray for it daily. All the things you'd expect her to say. Then ask if she'd be willing for her clan to share power with another in order to have that peace, and she'll say, "With those murderers and thieves? I'd die first." People in these countries...don't want peace. They want victory. They want power. Men, women, old and young. Somalia was the experience that taught us that people in these places bear much of the responsibility for things being the way they are. The hatred and killing continues because they want it to. Or because they don't want peace enough to stop it."

It's their turn to demonstrate they want to work towards making outside humanitarian efforts succeed. Until then, I'd rather this country not lift a finger. The US already lost good soldiers trying the first time.


"The idea of taking care of pirates in 72 hours is silly. I suppose we could kill them, but pretty soon there would just be some new pirates. The barriers to entry for piracy in Somalia are very low."


I'm not advocating a single 72 hour operation; where did that figure come from? I definitely wasn't talking about just some one-time deal. I was proposing a policy: If they commit acts of piracy, they get pursued and killed. If they keep doing it, they keep getting pursued and killed.


"Killing a few won't have a gigantic effect. The risk reward is still strong in favor of reward if you are a Somali, even if death is part of the risk. In fact death is already part of the risk--but from other rival pirates. They protect their turf harshly from each other."


Killing a few isn't meant to have any gigantic effect. It's meant to change the risk/reward ratio to an unfavorable one. My whole point is that we've already tried the humanitarian effort, and they killed US Army Rangers and Special Forces over it, so it's now time to quarantine the problem. Keep the violence within their own borders, and if they try to export it over into shipping, they get killed by US Forces.

"If we want to do something--and I think we should--we will need a sustained presence of a fairly large and fast moving naval force that can keep the pirates from getting to the ships in the first place. If this means destroying their boats every time they leave shore, so be it. But though they may have an occasional role, this is not a job for special forces on a sustained basis. It will require more ships that are better suited to the task than the ones we are using now."

This I agree with. Don't conflate my advocacy of the use of SoF in the particular case (this detained freighter captain) and the use of SoF overall. A reading of many military history books clearly shows that Special Operations type forces are not suitable for sustained operations. That's what the conventional forces are for. SoF has a role, but it shouldn't be completely on their shoulders.

I'm heartened by the fact that the US Navy Littoral Combat Ship has been prioritized, in spite of military cutbacks. The LCS is one of many elements needed in order to fight the specific issue of piracy; bluewater ships can't cut it.


"Somalia is an important place. Piracy thrives there because of its strategic location, and the worst thing that could happen would be a more hostile presence there. (How would you like a Chinese naval base in Somalia?)"

I wouldn't. That's why I advocate drawing a line and telling Somalians to not step over it. Implicit in that is the duty to patrol that line. My whole rant up above was to avoid humanitarian effort i.e. the type of mission HW Bush started in Somalia years ago. It's time to line that border with Naval forces and kill anything that tries to pirate another ship.

Peter V. Bella said...

…apparently the Rusians weren't amused, found the kidnappers families and started sending back body parts.

End of the Russian kidnapping problem...


If Jeremy were awake he would say that is un-American.

In all seriousness, an example must be set. The pirates must learn that piracy is hazardous to their health. There is a larger problem though, as Forbes points out; they are backed by people with money; the ones on shore who do not take the risks. The pirates are the pawns who capture the vessels. They do not share in the bulk of the ransoms. The guys with the cell phones and Mercedes on shore are the real trouble here. Which is why the shore towns that harbor the pirates must be shelled every time a ship is seized; this sets a strong example, does not require ground troops, and can be done from afar. It is also cost efficient.

…he was gone in a twinkling.

If DTL was awake, he would call you a homophobe.

Tibore said...

"AllenS said...
Tibore said... "Step over it by attacking shipping, you get hunted and killed."

Great. Now answer this, who do you expect to do the killing. USofA? Not unless there is a definitive Yes from the POTUS, and the possibilities of that happening is zero.
"

I don't think the probability is "zero" - if something spectacular happens, even an administration like this will be forced to act. What I do despair over is the likelyhood that the issue will be treated with kid gloves. That's why I wrote that whole rant: Because I forsee the likelyhood of someone in this administration thinking it's a good idea to attempt to repeat HW Bush's well-intentioned but ultimately doomed attempt (yes, I know that Clinton extended things, but my whole point is that the majority cause of the failure was ultimately the fault of the Somalis themselves. Yes, I know that sounds horrible and unforgiving, but again, I point at the references and reasoning above).

"One more question, is killing pirates worse than waterboarding?"

I fear some people will think that it's so. They need to read the references I provided. I hate writing off any segment of humanity, but the line has to be drawn when the other guy is the one who brings the weapons to bear first. And the Somali pirates have definitely done that.

Beth said...

Jason, what you said. It's like he has some sort of Tourettes-like problem that forces him to derail a ny fairly interesting, reasonable comment with an "Oh, yeah, and the JOOOOS will ruin everything for all of us."

I swear, he can't be sitting in a box on a streetcorner somewhere, with a wireless laptop, can he?

zedzded said...

If we killed them all then their poverty would be a non-issue. How is that for dealing with root causes. I, for one, like it.

madawaskan said...

We have limited resources and this would be a bit like letting the news events dictate strategy.

I read Tibore's comments which the "mother of---" being LOL funny, and all I could think was mission creep.

I think in the grand scheme of things this is a relatively small problem-the recent news coverage just has the effect of magnifying it for now.

You still have to consider unforeseen events and triage in a way.

Yemen is looking "interesting"-I'd take a hard look at that.

Rich B said...

Fellas, we're talking about housing.

traditionalguy said...

Capturing hostages and trading them back for something is the oldest tribal foreign/ military policy known. The Jimmy Carter instincts of Obama have been exposed here. We cannot fight them because it would be shameful to win in Carter/Obama's eyes. The more noble thing to those guys is to love America's enemies. But Carter and Obama never put themselves at any risk, just us rubes who are not noble enough to understand their pacifism principles. IMO the President's first role is to Protect Americans. The Democrat's new regime can all convert to the Quaker religion and love the world after they have done their first job.

Freder Frederson said...

apparently the Rusians weren't amused, found the kidnappers families and started sending back body parts.

End of the Russian kidnapping problem...


I always love it when someone trots out the argument, "you know what, we should be more like the Russians were in the good old days of the Soviet Union, now they knew how to run the world."

If that's the best you can come up with, you have pretty much lost.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Mother of GOD... I wrote all that?? Sorry folks. I just went stream-of-consciousness there and didn't stop and think about how long it was.

No apologies. Quite enlightening if not depressing.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I always love it when someone trots out the argument, "you know what, we should be more like the Russians were in the good old days of the Soviet Union, now they knew how to run the world."

As usual you miss the point, which is, the Russian gave a direct if not brutal response which had results in no more kidnapped Russians. We on the other hand tied yellow ribbons and lit candles which resulted in well, more Americans kidnapped which I am sure made your heart warm and at ease but did nothing to console the kidnapped victim or his family.

But those kind of innocents don't matter much in your world.

Hoosier Daddy said...

It's like he has some sort of Tourettes-like problem that forces him to derail a ny fairly interesting, reasonable comment with an "Oh, yeah, and the JOOOOS will ruin everything for all of us."

Beth I hope you and others will consider that C4's views on the Joooos are pretty mild when compared to the feelings of the Muslim world toward them yet our President certainly went out of his way to kiss thier ass on his world tour.

So keep in this in mind when Mamoud Armageddjad is all smiles and charm and how he is so ready to have reasonable talks with Obama and lesson tensions with the USA. Because this is the guy who has said things like Israel and the Jews are parasites who need to be vomited from the Middle East.

Freder Frederson said...

As usual you miss the point, which is, the Russian gave a direct if not brutal response which had results in no more kidnapped Russians.

No, as usual, you miss the point. In your world there is no moral standard. Individual survival is the only factor that matters. As long as you survive, you can justify any action against your enemy.

You are disgusting.

John Lynch said...

The pirates are a leak in the dam of civilization. It's minor, but it will get worse. Trade has to flow for the modern world to exist.

It's the first few Goths over the Rhine.

Peter V. Bella said...

In your world there is no moral standard. Individual survival is the only factor that matters. As long as you survive, you can justify any action against your enemy.

You are disgusting.


Sooooooooooo. If you get kidnapped, beheaded, or tortured slowly to death, you would request that we all join hands with your murderers and sing a good old rousing chorus of Kumbayah in your remembrance.

Hoosier Daddy said...

No, as usual, you miss the point. In your world there is no moral standard. Individual survival is the only factor that matters. As long as you survive, you can justify any action against your enemy.

That's right Freder, my and my loved ones survival is the only factor. If I found someone who had kidnapped my kid I would forthrightly and without hesitation torture that motherfucker to get her back. Why? Gee lets see, cause my daughter is an innocent person and the enemy is a bad guy? My moral standard is the golden rule and if you need an explantion, that is do unto others as they do unto you. When you come into my world to me evil then don't be surprised when I respond in kind and hell comes following behind me. Evidently your moral standard is to simply lie back and think of England.

You are disgusting.

No you're disgusting because you think the rights of these pirating scumbags and terrorists is the equivalent of innocent people trying to go about thier lives.

In any event I'm happy to meet your standards.

Synova said...

The ship that was/is captured was carrying humanitarian relief. Do we know what it was? Food? Medicines?

How many people are hungry and how many sick or even dead because the ship is delayed? For a few days... maybe not that many. If the ship is taken and the process of paying ransom is undertaken... it may be that a significant number of innocent people will suffer. The crew isn't the only lives at stake and the fact that the pirates probably won't kill them doesn't mean that the pirates are not killing people who do not deserve to die.

The Somali pirates have done this many times, and other than capturing an Iranian ship full of radio active sand, do they face any real risks?

The merchant ships and crews are not armed. There will be no retaliation.

Looking at incentives... only an idiot would make some choice other than piracy. It's not *rational* to do anything different.

Freder Frederson said...

My moral standard is the golden rule and if you need an explantion, that is do unto others as they do unto you.

I think you have seriously misinterpreted the Golden Rule.

mariner said...

Where to start?

Tibore, thanks for that long but excellent rant.

Cedarford, if you'd just managed to leave out the "Jewish progressive" snark I'd have said "excellent post". Alas, you just can't help yourself can you?

John said, "If we give Somalia a pass, what is to stop it from spreading to other parts of the world like Indonesia?"

Here's a news flash for you John: this crap won't "spread to Indonesia" -- it's been happening there for decades. Part of the reason it's happening today in Somalia is that it already gets a pass in Indonesia and many other places.

One of the more stress-filled nights of my life was in a container ship passing through the Strait of Malacca, wondering if we'd be hijacked. That was in 1999.

In 1993 I was in a ship anchored off Luanda, Angola close enough to hear the automatic weapons fire ashore. The captain of another ship anchored in the harbor warned us to get underway every night and stand well offshore, because pirates were active at night, and they routinely killed mariners.

Our captain finally listened to reason, and we did as suggested.

Piracy has been a problem for a long time, and no country has been willing to do what it would take to stop it.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I think you have seriously misinterpreted the Golden Rule.

And you have clearly demonstrated you don't know what it means. Here let me help you out again.

Behave toward others as you would like to have them behave toward you. That is the world I live in which means I leave you in peace because I wish for your to leave me in peace. Do evil to me and expect it in return.

I know you prefer the 'resistance is futile' response to evil which I find disgusting but that is your choice and I'm all for free choice.

mariner said...

madawaskan,

It's heartening to hear that you're so concerned for our lives and safety.

Pirates kill HUNDREDS of seamen every year and have been for decades.

It's time the civilized world said, "NO MORE!" (and made it stick).

Peter V. Bella said...

Piracy has been a problem for a long time, and no country has been willing to do what it would take to stop it.

Mariner, what is the difference between this piracy and the criminal acts in international waters perpetrated by Greenpeace?

Is there a double standard at work?

Peter V. Bella said...

HD,
Some years back a Karate instructor in New Orleans kidnapped a pre-teen student and took him across state lines for sexual pleasure. He agreed to bring the lad back and turn him over to law enforcement at the NOLA airport. There were TV cameras there and they were filming the whole thing. The guy was walking through the terminal with the kid, the cops were approaching from the opposite end. As the guy and the kid walked passed a bank of phone booths, a man hung up a phone, pulled a pistol, and shot the predator in the head. He was the boy’s father.

The cops arrested him. When I saw that video, I cheered for the dad. The dad was taken to jail to await indictment and charges. The elected prosecutor was informed by an irate populace that if he brought charges against the father, that prosecutor would never ever hold pubic office again.

Even though I was a cop, I think that dad was a hero.

I think there is a message in there someplace.

John Lynch said...

Greenpeace doesn't kill people. It doesn't kidnap seamen and hold their ships for ransom. That's not a fair comparison.

Pogo said...

As long as the pirates aren't sending nude photos of their victims by phone, they should be okay with the Obama administration.

mariner said...

John Lynch put his finger on it.

Greenpeace are criminals who should be prosecuted for their illegal actions and sued into oblivion for the damage they cause, but they're not pirates.

Peter V. Bella said...

Greenpeace doesn't kill people. It doesn't kidnap seamen and hold their ships for ransom. That's not a fair comparison.

They interfere with ships in international waters- in violation of maritime laws and rules- trying to or actually preventing them from carrying out perfectly legal- under international maritime activities.

Piracy is more than just kidnapping and murder.

Synova said...

What sort of morality is it, Freder, to fail to oppose evil out of fear of getting your hands dirty?

The theory now is that liberals emphasize two areas of morality... "harm/care" and "fairness/reciprocity."

You seem very concerned that some of the rest of us seem so willing to do disproportionate harm to the pirates, and that would seem to violate both of those moralities. But does it?

Failing to act, to cause harm to the pirates and probably a non-trivial amount of collateral damage, is causing harm because it leaves pirates free and may even encourage them. As Mariner relates in a vital way, piracy in the waters off Somalia and Indonesia is a significant threat. They are violent criminals. Doing violence to them is causing harm, and it won't just be to the "bad guys" even if care is taken... but failing to do something decisive *also* causes harm.

If you can come up with a single effective way of stopping piracy that doesn't involve violence I'd love to hear it. No laws are anything other than excuses to pay politicians too much money to piss around writing them up if there is not enforcement. Enforcement is, and is ONLY, force.

And stopping criminals means using MORE force than they are able to use.

Does destroying boats and burning a village seem disproportionate to you? Does it seem unfair? Do you think that it is wrong to cause hardship for those who supply a community that supports and enables the criminals, the pirates, to operate? To give them safe haven, who benefit from the inflow of funds into the economy?

Does being a "good guy" require that greater power, bigger guns, and decisive destruction not be used because it's not fair?

Not even on those two "liberal" moralities, do I think that the arguments against acting violently and decisively to stop criminals are logical. Harm is caused by not doing it.

As a conservative I do care about causing harm... it's just that I include the harm caused by inaction. And while I care about fairness, I don't think that we should be "fair" to pirates or criminals or murderers.

madawaskan said...

dude...

Let's see how to I put this to you?

Google Hurlburt Field and start working backwards from there.

Sorry it's not me that doesn't give a shit.

It's the American public.

They essentially when they voted for Obama ran their collective underwear up the surrender flag pole.

The Khobar Towers, USS Cole do those ring a bell with ya?

What happened then when Americans voted Democrats into the Executive?

Ya sorry but I gave a shit about the Marines in the barracks of Beirut, the 33rd Fighter Wing guys that died at Khobar...

The people that died on the USS Cole -hell the State Department people that died in Kenya and Tanzania...

Anyways long story short-you should have fought this before Obama was elected.

Robert Gates is in there as the Fall guy and yes eventually he'll have to fall on his sword.

Unfortunately he's going to have to pick and choose when he goes down and this ain't it.

Life's a bitch isn't it.

Welcome to the meat grinder.

Again it's the American public that doesn't want to wake up.

Frankly I'm a lot of expletives tired of my people doing the dirty work and in the midsts of it Liberals getting an attack of conscience and wringing their CLEAN hands about the morality of it all.

Synova said...

Googling Hurlburt Field doesn't help.

I was stationed there. AFSOC (Special Operations) is based there.

What happened?

The Exalted said...

Kirby Olson said...
I saw a neat bio on Pablo Escobar, the drug kingpin whose Medellin Cartel held Colombia down for a decade. The law could do nothing at all. Then, A small group of paramilitary called Los Pepes started shooting his friends and family, and he was gone in a twinkling.



pretty sure he was gunned down on a roof by government forces. but nice try.

madawaskan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

I vote "no". The pirates aren't a significant threat to Americans or American interests. No reason to stage a mini-invasion of Somalia to deal with them, especially since (economic realities being what they are) they'll come back soon after.

We should, however, capture and execute the pirates on the ship in question, just to encourage the pirates to confine their raids to other nations' ships.

dryad4 said...

I think this issue is complicated by the fact that many Somalian pirates are for all intents and purposes the Somalian Volunteer Coast Guard who are trying to defend their country against (1) nuclear waste being dumped off their coastline by industrialized European countries with hundreds of Somalians dead already from radiation poisoning and (2) the illegal theft of fish from Somalian waters by, again, industrialized European countries who have already overexploited their own fish supply.

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-you-are-being-lied-to-about-pirates-1225817.html

madawaskan said...

Just to add:

Over at National Review they are wondering why we don't have marshalls on the ships.

My understanding is that they have their own security forces-and it was put to me bluntly-

How the hell do you think they took back control of the ship?

And if you want to get really cold blooded about it ...

Shit nevermind.

Synova said...

I didn't realize that those killed at the Khobar towers were from Eglin.

I was at Hurlburt in '91 and '92 in communications. I don't think that my old squadron exists anymore.

Synova said...

dryad...

If the "coast guard" is capturing vessels and holding them for ransom, then the "coast guard" is pirates.

It's not *complicated*.

dryad4 said...

If the "coast guard" is capturing vessels and holding them for ransom, then the "coast guard" is pirates.

It's not *complicated*.


Which is why I said *many* Somalian pirates . . . If you had clicked the link, you'd see that the article discusses how people are lumping together two types of groups into the stereotype term "pirates" -- and this complicates any discussion of policy toward "pirates" in general. I didn't say (and didn't mean to imply) that the individuals who are holding this captain for ransom are included in the volunteer coastguard, just that the issue of "what to do about pirates" is more nuanced than the MSM would have you believe.

Beth said...

Hoosier, I'm not sharing a discussion with Muslim terrorists. I'm sharing this space with C4, and I'll make my judgments accordingly. That argument is lame: the Muslim bad guys are bad, so don't worry about anything else? What's that even mean?

Fen said...

Freder: No, as usual, you miss the point. In your world there is no moral standard. Individual survival is the only factor that matters. As long as you survive, you can justify any action against your enemy.

You are disgusting.


And you are the walking dead. shrug. Freder, we know you would sacrifice your life rather than break your moral standard [geneva convention, etc]. How many lives not your own do you demand also meet your standard? All of them?

I would think you would have trouble carrying the weight of all that, assuming of course you're not just saying that to feel good. Then you'd have this self-righteous glean to you...

You are disgusting.

And now we all understand liberal projection a bit better. Thanks for that.

madawaskan said...

Synova-

I deleted my comment for grammar I was doing the where/were thing-gawd I hate when I do that.
Anyways ya twelve of them from the 33rd Fighter Group.

Here is a link-

Twelve Oaks

madawaskan said...

Fen

That &^%* "freder" is from Sweden...

or that was what he was claiming on one thread-we'll leave it at that.

The Drill SGT said...

dryad4 said...
I think this issue is complicated by the fact that many Somalian pirates are for all intents and purposes the Somalian Volunteer Coast Guard who are trying to defend their country against (1) nuclear waste being dumped off their coastline by industrialized European countries...

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. When I asked Mr Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: "Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention."


That doesn't bypass the giggle test. I can't believe that fcatories are shipping waste thousands of miles, then dumping them in shallow water. If and only IF they were dumping waste, it would be in deep water so that the barrels could not be ID'd.

Civilis said...

Drill Sgt: ...and Al Quaeda would be having a field day with a ready made source for a radiological or chemical weapon. And any major progressive NGO or paper would have a top-tier scoop on their hands to raise donations or sell papers.

No, this doesn't pass my giggle test.

Peter V. Bella said...

I was listening to Hillary's press conference today. She was asked about the Somali pirates. During her response, she busted out laughing. Either she thinks that the piracy situation is very very funny or it hit her that the Somali Pirates may just be a baseball team.

Either way, we are in deep trouble folks.

Cedarford said...

There are about 300 powerful Leftist Front Groups in America, dedicated to matters like terrorist rights, open borders, Somali pirates rights. About 60% of them were started by "progressive Jewish Lawyers", most are still headed by them. Name a group. Human Rights Watch, ACLU, Soros Group, CCR, Lawyers Guild, ANSWER, Code Pink, Socialist Worker's Party, Immigrants Rights Project (represented Jose Padilla and Hamdin) - look at who runs them.

And their greatest strength is that it was established that as "Greatest Victims Ever!" that they are immune from criticism in many people's eyes.

Imagine that Muslims had the power of such an immunity amulet from criticism. And that self annoited watchdogs instantly jumped down the throats of any pointing out that the pernicious leadership of 98% of terrorist groups just happened to be radical Muslim. If screaming "Islamophobia" had the desired effect of intimidation...and others habituated to believe that any criticism of Muslims was indeed morally unacceptable - "because Muslims have been victimized for centuries by Islamophobia".
(Actually, the Muslims have followed the Jewish example in lobbying several countries to make Islamophobia as forbidden as "anti-SEmitism")

That's where we are today. Imagine the exponential leap in power Muslim groups would have in America to subvert or alter our civilization and laws to their liking if they managed to convince well-meaning people that bringing up the "Islam" connection was bigoted and totally unacceptable.

That is the great feat of progressive Jews. After a period when Jewish communists and spy rings were purged, they realized the Holocaust and guilt of others about "noble victimhood" could be employed as a useful political tool - and leave them free to grow new Front Groups and Action Networks without challenge.

It is somewhat amusing. At Althouse, you can hammer away at Muslims, Chinese, short-wearers, Euroweenies, violent illegals, right wing whites, powerful Religious Right figures, powerful Cuban exiles who control our Caribbean foreign policy, Catholics, progressive Jews, black dysfunctionalism, feminists, CEOs, MOrmon polygamists, Arabs.....

....and the response will be completely predictable. 4 or 5 commentors will immediately point out that in the middle of criticizing various groups like in the paragraph above - Jews were added to groups criticized. And their sense of "decency" is that all groups are allowed to be criticized, especially powerful groups causing major effects - but that an exception exists for any faction of Jews involved in anything.
That is tremendous power. And though that Jewish power to stifle criticism of their activism, heavy involvement in forcing change though lawsuits, economic/media power, communism, socialism, zionism has waned severely in most countries, including Israel, it is still enormously strong in America. And is perpetuated not so much by Jews alone, but by eager, well-indoctrinated goyim supporters who are religiously or morally convinced that Jews alone are above criticism amongst factions driven to wield power.

Peter V. Bella said...

I really do not understand the angst, anger, chubby hand slamming, etc. over shelling the havens of the pirates. Somalia is no longer a country, it has no effective government or governance. By shelling the havens the pirates have no refuge, no place to run to, and if we are lucky we may kill all or most of them. Where is the problem.

No invasion is necessary. Just lob some shells from Naval vessels. Wam, bam, thnak you maam.

If they start up again, well, just shell them again. Eventually they get the message.

Or is it better that we wait until an innocent seaman is killed?

PatCA said...

Apparently this is the first time in over 200 years that pirates have taken an American hostage. Happenstance, or are we in for another Tehran embassy hostage debacle?

Tibore said...

"madawaskan said...
We have limited resources and this would be a bit like letting the news events dictate strategy...

...I think in the grand scheme of things this is a relatively small problem-the recent news coverage just has the effect of magnifying it for now."


I don't know... the International Maritime Bureau has published that there are on the order of 100 to 200+ attacks per year, and that it causes losses on the order of $13 to $16 billion dollars a year. That's a lot on the surface, but in terms of the entire world, it's actually considered tolerable (no, I'm not being sarcastic).

On the other hand, if that number were airline accidents worldwide, I think people would be up in arms about it.

But regardless, I don't think of piracy as some "issue of the year" that's come to the surface because it's an "In" topic for the news media at the moment. Rather, I have another worry. And it can be summed up in the Nagasaki Spirit and the Dewi Madrim incidents:

The Nagasaki Spirit was an oil tanker that in 1992 was hijacked, the pilot removed, the crew locked up, and the ship set on a course at full speed without anybody at the helm. And for good measure, it was set on fire. It rammed another ship (the Ocean Blessing), set it on fire, and caused damage and death, but my point in bringing it up has nothing to do with the Ocean Blessing, and everything to do with the fact that, given the location of this event (The Strait of Malacca), seaports were close by. Had the ship not been accidentally stopped, Nagasaki Spirit could have rammed a port while aflame.

Now, imagine if some terrorist had deliberately set a course towards a crowded seaport.

The fire burned for 6 days as it was. And that was out at sea, with only the tanker and the other container ship as fuel. If it had rammed and exploded in a busy port... just stop and imagine that.

The Dewi Madrim was a small tanker (only around 3000 gross tons; compare that to a "supertanker" (a VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) or ULCC (Ultra-Large...) by contrast is in the hundreds of thousands of tons)) that was hijacked in the Malaccan Straight in 2003. The significance of that incident was that no cargo was stolen and no ransom was demanded. Instead, the ships manuals were taken, and the pirates were apparently practicing how to handle the tanker:

"Later, says (Surahmat Johar, Dewi Madrim's captain) the pirates escorted him to the bridge. "Up there I realized that they were completely familiar with all the equipment. Someone was expertly steering the vessel, reading the radar very well. I remember thinking: 'My God, he can handle the ship better than I can.' I'd thought pirates were just a bunch of petty robbers who jumped onto a ship, robbed the crew, then disappeared. But these pirates were totally beyond my imagination. They were professionals."

Says Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister and national security czar Tony Tan:
""The Dewi Madrim pirates had fast boats, vhf radios, machine guns. They disabled the ship's radio, took over the helm, and steered the ship for an hour before their escape." All of which, Tan concludes, point toward the possibility that the episode was a dry run for a terrorist attack.
My bolding. Source for both quotes: Time Magazine, Nov. 29, 2004 issue

In summary: I'm simply not too concerned with any given individual act of piracy. After all, the shipping companies themselves have adjusted, have figured out how to handle the problems without government intervention, and aren't agitating for anything more than increased western naval presences to discourage such acts. Instead, I'm concerned with the potential for such a lawless activity to be used as training runs. A full-to-the-brim ULCC set to explode - or worse yet, a container ship with a nuke inside - is a nightmare scenario, and US ports are simply poorly equipped to handle the inspections necessary to ensure that someone's not going to try a 9/11 Redux, except with tankers or freighters this time. But it's not just the US; Cebu City and Manila in the Philippines are a personal worry to me. They're both port cities, they're not too far from hot spots for piracy, and I have relatives in both places. My overall point is that the potential threat is worldwide: San Francisco, LA, New York, Rotterdam, Southampton, Tokyo... any place with a busy commercial port is a potential target. And in letting pirates run free, we're giving them free rein to get a good, running start to hit us ("Us" being the rest of the world not involved in piracy) before we can do anything to stop it. Again, the Nagasaki Spirit wasn't stopped until it had hit another ship. It certainly wasn't stopped by the Malaysian or Indonesian navy. And nobody seems to be taking this as a warning that this nightmare scenario can not only happen, but may in fact be something that's actively being planned for.

Bob said...

"The US has only a tiny stake in global shipping."

Perhaps Cedarford might look at a map to see that two large bodies of water to east and west. US imports and exports tremendous amount of goods via ship. Try flying a thousand tons of grain.

Now I'm all for us killing pirates when they operate against US flagged ships. Send in SpecOps to rescue this Captain. The Romans provided a good model - screw with us and you suffer. As for non-US shipping, let the UN or NATO deal with this. Let those navies patrol Somali waters.

We need to master the "dodge". Talk about shared responsibilities while waiting for someone else to pony up to the hard work. Emulate Germany in Afghanistan. Talk a good game but let someone else do the hard work.

As for a 72 hour operation, think again. Bombing and then mining the few ports eliminates this problem for 6 to 12 months but looks bad on TV. So its not going to get done. We don't need to get the little dingies; we need to eliminate the mother ships. No mother ships then pirates are constrained to a couple dozen miles from shoreline.

madawaskan said...

Tibore-

Basically there are two huge limiting factors-

1) Obama-he and/or his team can't even handle protocol with friendlies.

2) The Electorate-Obama's base.

There were lot of things that Obama may have tap danced around but about the only thing he stayed consistent on-was a message of retreat and isolation.

A return to spending on butter over guns.


Which-hell would probably give us limiting factor -

#3.

Obama has already spent two trillion or committed to that in less than two months and he hasn't even approached the Defense Budget yet...

[Just for younger readers-a trillion is a million million...Obama has done that twice over already]

Conclusion-I don't think Obama has ever demonstrated the political will to do much against some potentially bigger threats...

My feeling is this gets swept under the rug.

madawaskan said...

looks bad on TV

What Bob says here is huge.

It has changed the way almost everything can be conducted.

The American public willfully voted to quit.

They couldn't even "handle" watching it on their television sets.

Back to Mogadishu-

CNN shows an unidentified American being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu in an US uniform everyone sees that as their guy-

It was quite demoralizing and extremely effective propaganda for the enemy.

CNN did that for our enemies- for free.

Peter V. Bella said...

I am waiting for the administratio to blame it on the captain. You know, what was he doing in those waters, he should have known better, was anyone smoking on board; the usual.

This absolves them from taking action and offending the pirates, the new NGOs of the world.

Hye, maybe they could invite some of the pirates to the White House. Spend the night in the Lincoln bedroom; I would bet that wouldteach them a lesson or two.

Fen said...

am waiting for the administratio to blame it on the captain.

But wait. We have the celebrity Apologizer in Chief as our leader. Maybe he could apologize to America for the Somoli Pirates and we could all get along.

former law student said...

As a proponent of International Law, I must point out that pirates are enemies of all of humanity, they violate ius cogens, and every state has jurisdiction to stop them.

Let's (U.S.) stop the pirates now.

Cedarford said...

It's 8:40 now. Last comments on Althouse, but if anyone is still reading this thread, Bob is dead wrong.
The US is involved in less than 0.5% of global shipping. Our own trade is virtually unaffected by Somali piracy, which hits the Euros, Far East, Saudis, and Europe-Africa trade instead of us.

Bob's argument appears to be a noblisse oblige to spend our money and raise our taxes to defend the economic interests of others. Because he confuses 99.5% of US trade in routes outside the Somali pirates, our vital Gulf, Euro-America, Latin-US, Asia Trans-Pacific routes.

Bob - Perhaps Cedarford might look at a map to see that two large bodies of water to east and west. US imports and exports tremendous amount of goods via ship. Try flying a thousand tons of grain.

Perhaps Bob should look at a map himself and see the diagrams of what percent of the US exports and imports passes within 500 miles of Somalia. It is negligable.

But that is all besides the point because we have a faction in the USA that declares in addition to two hugely expensive ongiong wars, these "never-served" armchair generals declare it "WIMPY!!" "Appeasement!!" if we do not do three things - lower taxes, oppose the Draft as non-neocons are called cowards and craven moderates, and add 8-10 new wars they want us to start.

Save the Freedom lovers of Georgia.
Rescue the Burmese.
Spec Ops to the Darfur cakewalk!
Spec Ops to the Congo cakewalk!
Spec Ops to "surgically" take out Iran.
Spec Ops to wipe out Somali threat.
Take out Syria in a cakewalk.
Invade Bekka, for "Our Special Friend"
High Tech miracle wonder weapons to "surgically take out N Korea" with no casualties on our side.
Invade and stabilize Mexico.



From the WaPo 4/10 article:

Putting armed guards on ships could trigger an array of legal and financial trouble for shipping companies. They might not be granted access to certain ports, for instance, and arms on a ship sharply escalate the cost of insurance. Paying ransom -- a total of about $150 million for shipping companies last year -- is still cheaper than insuring a heavily armed ship.

"For now, this is a sustainable business for the pirates," Menkhaus said. "Everyone's doing a cost-benefit analysis."


The commanding admiral of the 6th Fleet said it would take 61 naval vessels to simply patrol N Somalia's coast and another 40 that could rotate in. The east coast requires nearly 200 naval vessels and another 150 in standby for rotation.
Asked how many vessels the US Navy could field, given our other global commitments and how minimally Somali piracy affects America vs. other nations.."perhaps 20, with 15 available as reserve to swap out" was the answer.

Bob said...

Cedarford, today's pirate issue is occurring off the coast of Somolia. But tommorrow it may well be in the far east. But yes we don't have much of our traffic pass by Somolia. So that would seem to support the US just worrying about US flagged ships and allowing the rest of world to deal with this mess. How do you think that will work out?

If you had read my post I was in favor of our protecting US flagged ships and letting Europe and others take care of their own. I am not for "assuming yet another mission for the team". Of course I also didn't suggest mystical SpecOps strikes. I suggested a nice heavy bombing and mining of the very ports where the pirate motherships dock. Because that makes the problem far more limited. But its gonna generate ugly images on TV of innocents and so its not gonna happen.

Peter V. Bella said...

Let's (U.S.) stop the pirates now.

FLS,
You are out of the loop. We are a kinder and gentler nation now. Even Hillary Clinton laughed about the situation. I would bet that the administration is putting together a stimulus package to aid Somalia in an effort to stem this man made contingency.

Also, Frederson may cry if a single pirate is harmed. Can’t have that can we? And Jeremy would call you Un-American and Un-Patriotic. Be careful there. :)

Peter V. Bella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter V. Bella said...

Okay, Cedarford, enough of your raging, ranting, illogical bullshit!
What does it cost to just lob a few well placed shells on the Somali coast everyday until they decide that the toll is too high?

BTW, an American is being held hostage. One of us. If they kill him, then what? We all join hands and sing Kumbayah with the pirates?

I'll tell you what. It is a good thing that the ship was not Israeli. They would have done something and fast. The port town that harbors those criminals and terrorists would have been obliterated tuit fuckin suite.

Oh, and a few shells here and there is less costly than the life of one American. So I say man the fucking guns and shell those skinnies back to the stone age. Oh, they already live in the stone age; then back to creation!

srfwotb said...

Hell yes.

Revenant said...

We should not help deal with pirates that attack non-US ships unless either (a) a treaty obligates us to or (b) the country whose ship it is makes it worth our while.

Right now, most cargo ships operate other non-US flags because they don't want to deal with the downsides of being US flagged. Well, why should they enjoy the advantages? If they want our protection they can change their registration, right?

mark said...

The reasons you treat small problems rather than wait until they grow into big ones is that it's easier and more efficient to do so. In the absence of penalties, this problem will escalate and spread. Preventing that is why action needs to be taken now.

It seems that tracing the mother ships back to port and taking them out would be pretty effective.

As for the guys on the cell phones giving orders, a few GPS-guided missiles homing in on those cell phones would quickly raise the cost of the calls to prohibitive levels.

If you don't want them to take an arm, don't let them take a finger.

AllenS said...

Now is not the time to panic. Help is on the way.

John Kerry (fool, MA): "I plan to hold hearings to further examine the growing threat of piracy and all the policy options that need to be on the table before the next fire drill becomes an international incident with big implications.”

There, feel better now?

Skyler said...

The track record of special forces is not so good. Raids are effective for accomplishing very limited goals, such as distracting the enemy so you can fight the right way in another place, or doing a hostage rescue where there is an extremely limited scope of the raid with no residual threat remaining afterwards.

But a raid to control piracy is absurd. Sure, they could get in, kill a bunch of people who desparately deserve getting killed, and get out again, but then what? Piracy is too profitable and widespread for one or two geographically and time limited raids.

Special forces can't win wars. We proved this by trying it with the Cheney/Rumsfeldian way of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. To control a population you need more than fear (the Billy Mitchell/Douhet air force solution) or Green Berets attempting to influence host nation militias (the Rumsfeld solution). It takes a lot of people on the ground, or a lot of ships at sea to have a long term effect.

Raids on pirates will not be effective. They would have a very temporary effect.

Brad V said...

Stephen Decatur.

Bob said...

"Special forces can't win wars."

Afghanistan, 2001. Yeah Skyler, we won that one. We have muddled the reconstruction though because no one wants to venture into a neighbor with nucs.

Phillipines, 2002. Actually a good model of what we could accomplish.

Special Ops can certainly handle the critical tasks of gathering intel. Then naval air delivers some ordanance on target. It doesn't completely fix the problem. The goal is to make the problem become a nuisance.