February 28, 2011

"Well, it's pretty embarrassing when you can't even handle pirates."

Instapunditry on the reason for the "muted outcry in Washington" after pirates kill 4 Americans:
President Obama did not issue a statement on the tragedy. White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the administration was "obviously outraged by the actions of the pirates."

"And the president, as you know, I believe, has expressed his sincere condolences to the families of the victims," Carney said at a press briefing. "But beyond that, I don't want to get into details."
Obviously... What counts as "obvious" these days? Apparently nothing more that the assumption that he must feel bad about it, even when he says nothing.

141 comments:

madAsHell said...

He's voting PRESENT!

Tim said...

Hope, change, blah, blah, blah. Most inexperienced man elected to the presidency - what did anyone expect beyond rank incompetence?

ricpic said...

In his heart, ha ha, Hussein is felaheen.The pirates are felaheen. A brother never calls out a brother.

Hoosier Daddy said...

There is something seriously wrong when 6-7 guys in a skiff armed with AK-47s and a couple of RPGs can take over cargo ships, collect tens of millions of dollars in ransom and despite knowing exactly where these pirate ports are, the combined naval strength of the developed world does....nothing.

Jim said...

Good to see we're sticking to "continued international cooperation." For a minute there, I feared the WH was going to kinetic, roll out the big guns and deem this "unacceptable," or really escalate into scorched earth mode and "most strongly condemn" the pirates. This would be nothing short of a rhetorical declaration of war, and the last thing we need is yet another unwinnable war, even if it is purely rhetorical. I'm sure the pirates are breathing a sigh of relief at having avoiding this escalation and recalibrating their messaging strategies with carefully constituted focus groups even as we speak.

rick said...

What Obama was embarrassed about was the navy seals killing the pirates in the last attempt. Remember that? Obama couldn't grovel fast enough when that occurred.

DADvocate said...

We should know by now that he feels our pain and our joy. He's within us at all times. He's omnipresent. Trust in Obama.

The Drill SGT said...

I bet McCain would have had some ideas about how to handle pirates. His trade school would have provided him with the basic fundamentals, Columbia, not so much:

Course: HH104
Title: AMERICAN NAVAL HISTORY
Credits: 3-0-3
Description: This course examines the antecedents, origins and development of the United States Navy and Marine Corps within the framework of America's growth as a continental and, eventually, global power, with particular emphasis on the development of naval and maritime strategy.
Offered: Spring 2010-2011, Fall 2011-2012
Requisites: Prereq: None.
Course: HH372
Title: THE GOLDEN AGE OF PIRACY
Credits: 3-0-3
Description: The Golden Age of Piracy explores the figure of the pirate from the sixteenth century to today. Students learn about the differences between the "mythical pirate" familiar to today's public and the "historical" pirate of the early-modern era, and determine how and why this "real" pirate has become distorted over time. Students also learn about contemporary piracy and the role of the US Navy in dealing with this growing problem. Students augment their knowledge of historiography and social scientific theory; work with early-modern primary source materials; engage in case-studies in asymmetric, irregular, and unconventional warfare; study the evolution of privateering and naval warfare; and refine their analytical skills.
Course: HH382
Title: WARFARE IN THE AGE OF SAIL, 1500-1815
Credits: 3-0-3
Description: This course examines the theory, practice, and nature of warfare on sea and land, both in Europe and European colonies, from about 1500 through the era of Napoleon. Tactical, logistical, technological, and professional developments of Western navies and armies are studied in their political, economic, social, and cultural contexts. The course particularly explores the fundamental questions: What role did Western weapons and warfare, particularly warfare at sea, play in the development of Europe's various empires and Europe's eventual global dominance? Important topics include the rise of gunpowder weapons, the "Military Revolution," the rise of national armies and navies, maritime empires, and the lives of sailors and soldiers.

Shanna said...

There is something seriously wrong when 6-7 guys in a skiff armed with AK-47s and a couple of RPGs can take over cargo ships, collect tens of millions of dollars in ransom and despite knowing exactly where these pirate ports are, the combined naval strength of the developed world does....nothing.

Seriously. We got rid of pirates before. We know how, we just have to have the stomach to do it.

traditionalguy said...

I suspect that we see the non-Muslim Obama still playing his "I respect Islam" card to his vast middle eastern audience. These four who seemed to us to be murdered for no reason at all, were actually within the To Be Killed On Sight category to faithful Muslims: they had spent their lives taking loads of Bibles into the Muslim governed world. The Muslims see that activity like we see terrorists carrying nuclear bombs

Paddy O said...

When a president wants his opinions on issues to be obvious, the world will know about it.

Bush I was "obviously outraged" by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Jefferson was "obviously outraged" by the Barbary pirates.

I think it's probably safe to say that Obama was obviously piqued, or obviously annoyed, or something which suggests a more minor form of emotional response, but not big enough to do anything in response.

Outrage implies response, after all. And I don't see the outrage. It's more like someone typed "pirate" into the Authentic Human Emotional Response computer and "obvious outrage" was on the little card it printed.

What was the last time we saw Obama obviously outraged?

Harry said...

How did it come to be accepted that we can invade and occupy countries like Iraq or Afghanistan, and accept a certain inevitable level of civilian casualties, yet the prospect of blowing pirates out of the water on sight is somehow beyond the pale?

Never did there seem to be an international problem that could be more easily solved. How many pirates would we need to kill before the cost/benefit analysis is no longer going their way?

Also, as far as the pirates we took to the US and put in prison--outside of the cultural dislocation, won't they be enjoying a vastly improved standard of living in our penal system than they would in Somalia?

I notice that NPR hearts still bleed for the pirates, newscasters stressing their poverty and the lack of opportunity in their homeland, and one describing them as "ruthless but rational businessmen."

Murph said...

Now, according to the latest news, the pirates have seized a private yacht with a eight on board - including three children.

Crank up the Enola Gay.

Cato Renasci said...

The only effective way to deal with pirates has been to exterminate pirates wherever and whenever they are found. Pompey did it in the 1st century BC and made the Mediterranean a Roman lake.

There should be no fancy trials for pirates taken in the act, and no jail: a drum head court martial and hanging from the nearest yardarm!

Kevin said...

Seriously. We got rid of pirates before. We know how, we just have to have the stomach to do it.

If the international community doesn't have the stomach, hire the Russian Navy to do the patrols. The Russians kill the pirates they capture - they have a stronger grasp of the relevant international law than we do these days.

AJ Lynch said...

I gotta be fair here. It's a big frigging world and we can't protect every damn American from every potential danger. This is not Obama's fault any more than 911was Bush's fault or Okla City was Clinton's fault.

Triangle Man said...

The Russians kill the pirates they capture - they have a stronger grasp of the relevant international law than we do these days.

They don't have the best record with getting hostages out alive though.

Pogo said...

Not "outrage" but "outgrabe"; something between bellowing and whistling, with a kind of sneeze in the middle.

And "obviously" meant only "Of course, who wouldn't be?" without actually doing a damned thing about it.

rdkraus said...

It's my job to be outraged.

It's the President's job to take effective action and solve problems.

Kevin said...

The Russians kill the pirates they capture - they have a stronger grasp of the relevant international law than we do these days.

They don't have the best record with getting hostages out alive though.

If you make a practice of killing pirates on sight, soon there isn't a hostage problem.

TosaGuy said...

I would try Kenosha, Green Bay, and Chippewa Falls; places where there are three very vulnerable Democrat senators. Find out what their constituents are thinking.

roesch-voltaire said...

If you read the printable details, it seems the FBI agent in charge made some serious mistakes, but it would not be right for Obama to call that out, nor is Obama totally responsible for what is affecting many counties beside the US.

Phil 3:14 said...

I was wondering when this would come up. We talk about Med East unrest as a cause of rising oil prices. Can we quantify the impact of piracy on oil prices?

Michael K said...

What was the last time we saw Obama obviously outraged?

When his pal Skip was arrested by a policeman for being an a**hole and refusing to identify himself when found breaking into his own house.

Pirates are easy to deal with. When a skiff with 10 Somalis is found 1000 miles off Somalia in the shipping lanes, the skiff is confiscated and they are allowed to get back to Somalia on their own.

Swimming.

rdkraus said...

Of course he's not "totally responsible."

But what exactly is he doing about it besides being outraged?

As I said, I'll handle that part.

traditionalguy said...

A J... Of course it is not Obama's fault that pirates capture ships, kill the passengers and sell the ships and cargoes. What we are commenting on is what level of threats to avenge such acts can we expect from a Commander-in-chief of the U S Navy. Obama seems to have begun a new USN motto: "I have only begun to surrender". He sure is not a Grizzly protecting its cubs, unless you count his suicidal assault upon USA energy usage to thwart harmless CO2.

Marshal said...

"I think it's probably safe to say that Obama was obviously piqued, or obviously annoyed, or something which suggests a more minor form of emotional response, but not big enough to do anything in response."

It's obvious Obama has no interest in foreign policy or events. He gives international events as low a profile as possible so they don't distract from his goal of taxing people who work to give to his voters.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)




IMHO, the problem is the excessive legalism of the today’s Democratic Party…”What is the International LAW, on Piracy? Where shall we try them, under what statutes, what are the evidentiary requirements?” Thinking that way, about the LAW, rather than PRINCIPLES is hamstringing the Law Review President.

That being said, Piracy is tough to deal with. TRADITIONAL Piracy requires action against the Pirate’s “Fence’s.” Pirates are a dime a dozen…Seriously, I could recruit pirate crews in my home state quite easily, no joke. You need poverty-stricken folks, promise them a decent wage and a share of the booty, plus hre a few competent former Naval NCO’s to crew and navigate and you can put a crew together every week. It’s finding the people who will take the stolen goods that is the problem and they are the key to eradicating pirates…no money no pirates.

BUT, if these are pirates who are robbing people just to eat…no fences, to speak of, just guyz on boats pulling penny ante thefts THEN eradicating this kind of piracy is going to be tough. Because they are functionally street gangs of hoodlums, and in that desperate, well-armed area, street gangs are even cheaper than your usual lot of prates….

Bottom-Line: Piracy is tough to beat…and given today’s legal climate it’s tougher to beat…and given an Administration full of lawyers who may care about the LAW, it becomes even more difficult to combat.

Triangle Man said...

If you make a practice of killing pirates on sight, soon there isn't a hostage problem.

Target using satellite imagery that detects eye patches? Parrots on shoulders? I see some operational complexity.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)


Can we quantify the impact of piracy on oil prices?

Fairly low, most super-tankers don’t transit the Red Sea or Indian Ocean, they transit around the Horn of Africa, being unable to use the Suez Canal. It’s still cheaper to pay the pirates or just “eat” the costs, for shipping companies than to arm ships or push for greater action against the pirates.

TWM said...

"If you read the printable details, it seems the FBI agent in charge made some serious mistakes, but it would not be right for Obama to call that out, nor is Obama totally responsible for what is affecting many counties beside the US."

Why is the FBI even involved in negotiating/killing pirates on the high seas?

The senior naval commander should be making the decisions and the SEALS should be carrying them out.

David said...

The blog Information Dissemination comments on the United States Navy and its operations. There are several contributors, all of whom are retired naval officers with expertise and experience. They have written extensively on anti piracy activities. Their main point is that we lack any clear and useful objectives in the effort, which is requiring considerable American force.

The blog is fact oriented and not given to inflammatory language. However, one of their contributors said this after the recent murder of the four Americans.

In my view, this is a complete, total, and absolute failure by the current Commander in Chief who appears to be incapable of setting objectives with Somali piracy, and anyone who lacks the gonads to say exactly that needs to have a damn good argument why the United States Navy is otherwise incapable of dealing with men carrying AK-47s and RPGs in little skiffs. The media and the think tank community is made up of chicken shit cowards who refuse to ask why the US Navy sails circles around the Gulf of Aden while piracy gets worse, and under no circumstances will anyone criticize the Obama administration for an aimless, endless perpetual violence policy in the Indian Ocean. What is the point of continuous military operations without objectives?

Can someone explain why the US Navy is sailing $2 billion destroyers around the Indian Ocean not fighting pirates while all the governments on the North African coast are imploding, and the US Navy can manage only a single destroyer in the entire Mediterranean Sea right now?


Information Dissemination. A blog worth reading.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)


Target using satellite imagery that detects eye patches? Parrots on shoulders? I see some operational complexity.

The Royal Navy, in the 1820/40’s offered a 5 Pound reward for every “piratical person” killed or captured…an suspiciously large number of dead Chinese began to turn up in British Naval Ports in the Far East…were they Malay/Chinese pirates or just some unlucky fisherman? As Long John Silver would proudly declaim, “Dead men tell no tales!”

JP said...

Pheww, it's a Danish yacht, Obama.

The WORLD created this problem by not acting forcefully the very first time this occurred.

Well, in modern times. I seem to recall a line from a hymn, says something about "to the shores of Tripoli". BUT what the hell do I know..

Somali Pirates Seize Danish Yacht With 7 Aboard

Fox News..

The Crack Emcee said...

What the world looks like without us.

And we ain't here now.

dmoelling said...

Did anyone notice that while the United States chartered a ferry to evacuate < 200 US citizens from Libya the UK sent a warship. (Which was welcomed into port by local officials).

What message of weakness does this send?

MadisonMan said...

OT, but this has finally happened. Rest in Peace, Frank Buckles, you've earned it.

It's surprising to me that the last WWII veteran will likely die during my life time as well.

edutcher said...

This could be settled in a month with a company of Rangers and a Special Forces company.

But The Zero doesn't want to go all wee-wee over it.

dmoelling said...

Did anyone notice that while the United States chartered a ferry to evacuate < 200 US citizens from Libya the UK sent a warship. (Which was welcomed into port by local officials).

Hell, they sent the SAS and the SBS, the best troops Britain has. The last time Libya made them mad, Kadaffy's agents were being found in alleys with their throats laid open.

PS If The Zero's 'piqued', it hasn't gotten in the way of his partying or Michelle's luxury vacations.

JP said...

The Crack Emcee

Muatassim el-Qaddafi gave Mariah Carey $1 million to sing? Homicidal maniacs have the worst taste in music

So true. LMFAO.

Will said...

To roesch-voltaire

There is no rhyme or reason on why there should be an FBI agent on a naval warship to deal with a purely naval matter of piracy in the high seas. None,period. It was a mistake that caused 4 Americans their lives.
The only way that the American President as well as the the Western nations to deal with this problem before it becomes a global problem is this, hunt them down and execute them with their bodies left hanging at their home towns. Raid their villages and homes, burn their ships and ports. Show no mercy.

It worked well for the British Navy in the Caribbean during the 17th and 18th century. It worked for the Americans and the Western Powers against the Barbary Pirates in the 19th century and the Western navies destroyed the pirates navies in Africa, Asia and the Indian Ocean without any of the bleeding hearts moaning for their deaths.

traditionalguy said...

Obama should appoint Jamie Gorelick to be be in charge of Coordinated Paralysis of Response. She can do that job right. BP would loan her out.

Hagar said...

Thomas Jefferson (D-VA), President of a tiddler nation a month's or more sail away, straightened out "the pirates of Tripoli" even at considerable risk of getting in between the Brits and the French when they did not do the job in 1805.
Today we have Chinese Navy in the area for the first time since 1458, and Obama, "the world's most powerful man" and President of "the sole surviving superpower" with ample naval resources can only bring himself to express "concern" and "condolances to the victim's families."

peter hoh said...

Well, maybe Insta can generate some outcry.

On the other hand, maybe it's hard to generate outcry for people sailing their sailboat through waters that are known for pirate attacks.

Instead of acknowledging that, Insta wants to blame Obama.

Whatever.

The Drill SGT said...

Cato Renasci said...
The only effective way to deal with pirates has been to exterminate pirates wherever and whenever they are found. Pompey did it in the 1st century BC and made the Mediterranean a Roman lake.


Shooting pirates found at sea is a stopgap measure at best. It doesn't shift the cost benefit equation enough. What the Romans learned and the Brits relearned is that to put pirates out of business, you need to go onshore and burn out "pirate nests".

an ugly job...

kent said...

Now, according to the latest news, the pirates have seized a private yacht with a eight on board - including three children.

"Motown Night at the White House! WOOT-WOOT!!!"

William said...

There are other people besides us who have skin in the game. Let South Korea or Denmark lead a punitive expedition to Somalia to burn the fishing boats and wharves in the harbors where the pirates ship out of. Let them leave with the promise of a swift return if there is more piracy in the area. If we become involved, the issue will be our involvement and not the piracy itself.

Will said...

Return the 4 battleships back into service. Instead of being museum pieces and tourist sites, have them do what they were built for, intimidation and destruction. Imagine 4 battleships in a row firing their 9 16 inch guns on the Somali coast or any pirate hideout. Make a statement. You commit piracy, you die.

MadisonMan said...

maybe it's hard to generate outcry for people sailing their sailboat through waters that are known for pirate attacks.

True. Even though it makes me feel slightly unclean in a blame-the-victim way.

They did make a choice to go there. And the Govt is not the solution to all of life's problems. Still, having a strong Navy is supposed to mean that your countrymen can sail unharmed just about anywhere. Yet visuals from US Navy Bombardments of Pirate strongholds, with the inevitable deaths of "innocents" would be used by those who perpetually blame the USA for their troubles. The blame would not be placed at the feet of the pirates where it belongs.

peter hoh said...

One might be forgiven for assuming, based on the comments here, that Somali piracy began on January 20, 2009.

This observation does not, of course, excuse what appears to be too little action on this front by this administration.

peter hoh said...

Madison Man, I feel as sorry for these 4 as I do for the hikers who got picked up by the Iranian authorities.

David said...

edutcher said...
This could be settled in a month with a company of Rangers and a Special Forces company.


No, it can not. If it were that simple and certain of outcome, Obama would have done it. Attacking the pirates in their sanctuaries is certainly part of the solution, but that will be difficult, complex and will require persistence.

This is why obama will never do it.

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

(The Crypto Jew)


On the other hand, maybe it's hard to generate outcry for people sailing their sailboat through waters that are known for pirate attacks.

Instead of acknowledging that, Insta wants to blame.


Yeah they were only sailing about 1600 kilometres from Somalia…it was practically in the harbor of Mogadishu! And that womon, she wanted it! She did OTHERWISE why would she have been walking THERE, dressed THAT WAY?

Really that’s the best you can do, give a pass for murdering four US citizens, 1600 kilometres away from Somalia and then BLAME THE VICTIM?

Pogo said...

I am pleased to see how much Obama has improved the world's view of Americans.

How they love us so, now that BHO is in charge.

Although the places we can safely travel to seem to shrink each day, I can feel this is all because of the great affection generated for US citizens since we elected a junior Congressman from Illinois to the Executive office, with nearly 2 years of national office under his belt.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)


Madison Man, I feel as sorry for these 4 as I do for the hikers who got picked up by the Iranian authorities.

Really, so you’re saying that Oman=Somalia? It would be like saying, “Gee I know they were in BAGHDAD, but why did those people go hiking in Iraq?” What is WRONG with you? Oh I see you VOTED for Obama, and so this isn’t his fault, it must be the old white people’s fault, or something like that…..

Kevin said...

If you make a practice of killing pirates on sight, soon there isn't a hostage problem.

Target using satellite imagery that detects eye patches? Parrots on shoulders? I see some operational complexity.

Having AK-47's and RPG's on your "fishing boat" should be evidence enough. Unarmed pirates can't do very much damage.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

Political correctness is now a global disease allowing these so-called pirates to have their way.

This stupidity is embarrassing but for the left it's some kind of moral high road.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)


Having AK-47's and RPG's on your "fishing boat" should be evidence enough. Unarmed pirates can't do very much damage.

Not true, the “innocents” also have a right to arms to defend themselves…pirates are rather equal opportunity in their attacks…they’ll attack locals too. As an domestic analogy, you propose Gun Control, in a dangerous part of the city, leaving only the criminals armed….

Peter Hoh may be an awful doofus, blaming the victims, rather than admitting “His” POTUS is less qualified to solve the problem, but your’s isn’t any better a “solution.”

Christopher said...

"When was the last time we saw Obama obviously outraged?"

When they wouldn't let him finish his waffle. Practically went to DEFCON1 right there in the diner.

Hagar said...

The United States have a very strong interest in seeing that sea traffic in that area of the world, and any other area for that matter, can sail without fear of piracy, and we do not want the Chinese and Russian Navies to do the job of guaranteeing safety of the sea lanes for us.

And today, it is not necessary to go ashore to "root out the pirate nests." With satellite surveillance and a major Naval base in the area, which we do have, plus other assets due to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., it would not be that hard to make it an unacceptable risky business to commit piracy in the northern Indian Ocean. But that means treating pirates as pirates, which does not include Miranda warnings and trials in New York.

Quaestor said...

AJ lynch wrote: I gotta be fair here.

I don't think you're being fair at all. Clinton responded to the Murrah Federal Building attack effectively. McVeigh and Nichols were captured, tried and punished. Some say a larger conspiracy existed, but no evidence of that has come to light. After 9-11 Bush responded to the much more complex problem of Al-Qaeda with a degree of effectiveness -- in more than 9 years Bin Laden has been unable to strike the homeland. But under the Zero's "leadership" the pirates have only increased their strength and audacity.

Alex said...

The United States does not have any obligation to protect private citizens who choose to sail in pirate-infested waters. Those people made a bad decision and had to pay the ultimate price. The US Navy is there to protect US economic interests on the high seas. That's why we fought 2 Barbary Wars.

jr565 said...

Kevin wrote:
If you make a practice of killing pirates on sight, soon there isn't a hostage problem.

The problem is you don't necesarily know they're pirates until they're about to board. BUT, we should be doing sting operations, setting out smaller ships as decoys to lure in pirates and then have ships and submarines on hand with machine guns and missiles on hand to blow said ship out of the water as soon as it makes a move. Instead of waiting on pirates to make their move we should be aggressively policing the waters and taking the fight to them.

The Drill SGT said...

MadisonMan said...
Still, having a strong Navy is supposed to mean that your countrymen can sail unharmed just about anywhere.

Triangle Man said...
The Russians .....They don't have the best record with getting hostages out alive though.


Pax Romana. It was said that a Roman citizen could walk from one end of the empire without fear.... cause he know that if he was harmed, that the locals knew a Roman Legion would arrive next year and put the tribe out of business permanently.

Same with those Russians. They had some diplomats kidnapped in Lebanon in the late 70's, early 80's. The usual demand for ransom, and threats of harm. The KGB picked up some members of the kidnappers families and started sending back body parts. hostages released and no more taken.

sometimes you just have to send the right message....

jr565 said...

And by we I mean us and whatever country's waters we are policing. It should be shared resources. But just like England used their navy to patrol the waters for slave ships we should be doing the same for pirates. No quarter. Make it tough for a pirate to be a pirate.

former law student said...

We may infer Obama cared because he had authorized the use of military force against the pirates. From the AP:

Fifteen pirates were taken into custody – 13 aboard the yacht as well as the two who had been negotiating aboard the Sterett, Fox said. In addition, two pirates were killed in the operation, including one who was knifed by a member of the U.S. force, Fox said.

President Barack Obama, who was notified about killing of the Americans at 4:42 a.m. Washington time, had authorized the military on Saturday to use force in case of an imminent threat to the hostages, said White House spokesman Jay Carney.


When the Marines are done in Afghanistan, let them invade Somalia, as they did when the Barbary Coast pirates ruled that part of the ocean. Meanwhile, yachties and others should sail in convoys with armed escorts.

Sofa King said...

I thought it was obvious that this is one of Obama's signature policies designed to prevent global warming. Elections* have consequences, people!


* That Democrats win.

roesch-voltaire said...

FYI, in the past the FBI experts in hostage negotiation worked with the US Navy to free David Petreaeus, and so there was every reason to assume their role would be positive. As he has in the past lethal force was authorized by Obama, but left to the decision of the commanders in the field as to when to use it.

jerryofva said...

AJ and other isolationists:

For better or worse the US Navy, like the Royal Navy before it, is the guarantor of freedom of the seas. No other nation will police the world's oceans unless the USN leads the way. At the point where some other navy fulfills that role is the time when the US ceases to be a major power. For the first 125 years of our existence we hid behind the Royal Navy as it protected the world’s sea lanes. If you do not think it is the responsibility of the United States to protect the global commons then I suggest that Americans stay home and not travel or trade with the outside world that is not contiguous to the US land mass.

“I have no specific orders as to how to deal with pirates but I expect that you will know what to do with them.”

Commodore Thomas Truxtun

jerryofva said...

David:

Piracy is an economic activity not a political one. The way you end piracy is to make it unprofitable. You do this by sinking them on sight, summarily executing captured pirates as an examples and going ashore on raids to destroy both their ability to engage in the practice and destroy their accumulated wealth. Once you make it unprofitable they will find some other line of work. Counter-piracy is not nation building and does not require a permanent occupation.

David said...

former law student said...
We may infer Obama cared because he had authorized the use of military force against the pirates.


You miss the point entirely.

The fact that the Navy must clear each aggressive action directly through Obama is precisely the problem. A leader would set objectives, define flexible rules of engagement and let the Navy have at it.

A wimp would require everything to be approved by him, likely after consultation with advisors and the latest poll results.

tree hugging sister said...

Don't I recall much handwringing in the press about the poor pirate who "turned out" to be a "teenager of 16"? CHILDREN!!! PIRATING!!!

That's why we can't blow their filthy, thieving, murdering asses out of the water!

They might be children.

edutcher said...

peter hoh said...

Well, maybe Insta can generate some outcry.

On the other hand, maybe it's hard to generate outcry for people sailing their sailboat through waters that are known for pirate attacks.


The high seas version of, "She deserved it. She was walking in a bad neighborhood".

David said...
edutcher said...

This could be settled in a month with a company of Rangers and a Special Forces company.

No, it can not. If it were that simple and certain of outcome, Obama would have done it. Attacking the pirates in their sanctuaries is certainly part of the solution, but that will be difficult, complex and will require persistence.


The Zero wanted to negotiate with the last set of pirates. It was the Navy captain that didn't want to see the hostages murdered.

As to the "difficulty, complexity, and requirement of persistence", in the so-called Golden Age of Piracy, which only lasted about 20 years, the life expectancy of a pirate was roughly 1 year.

Which may account for the Golden Age being so short.

Quaestor said...

I suggest we use a tactic invented by the British in WWI as an answer to German commerce raiders, the Q-ship.

A Q-ship is a disguised man of war posing as a helpless merchant vessel. In this case I picture a US-flagged container ship leased by the Navy and fitted out with guns, anti-ship missiles, two amphibious assault vehicles, and a helicopter, all hidden under or within fake cargo containers. The ship would be crewed by USN personnel, some wearing civilian dress, a SEAL team, and a platoon of Marines.

Tactically the ship would sail near Somali waters to attract a pirate assault. The pirate boarding party would be quickly killed and their supporting boats would be sunk -- all except one which would be allowed to escape. The helo would then be launched to track the escaped boat to its port, which would then be destroyed from the air or by Marine amphibious assault, depending on the situation.

Trooper York said...

Ask him if he knows who Stephen Decatur is......I bet he will say he is just a old dead white man.

Quaestor said...

roesch-voltaire wrote: FYI, in the past the FBI experts in hostage negotiation worked with the US Navy to free David Petreaeus...

What the hell are you rambling about? The Mersk Alabama, perhaps? Her captain was Richard Phillips, and the FBI so-called hostage expert did squat.

Trooper York said...

I just doubt that he would want to interfere with his Muslim brother's rice bowl.

Those were rich dead people. The only thing that upsets him is that he can't get any more taxes out of their dead asses.

madawaskan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Don't Tread 2012 said...

@Quaestor

You have my vote.

My sense is that 1 of these 2 is true:

1. the Zero likes being embarrassed
2. the Zero likes embarrassing everyone else

Trooper York said...

You know I always thought that Barry was born in America.

But sometimes I do not think he is a loyal American.

When he shrugs off the murder of American Citizens by pirates to go on vacations and eat his fuckin' waffles....well this is one of those times.

He should be ashamed of himself.

Triangle Man said...

Set up an international bounty fund. Pay privateers for capturing pirates.

roesch-voltaire said...

Sorry yes I meant Richard Phillips of Underhill, my bad copy from the news article.

madawaskan said...

Well actually some Lefty said that it was all the Navy's fault.

Something about the Navy following the pirates too closely and forcing the pirates to fight amongst themselves and shoot the hostages.

It's some perversion of that YMCA song:

Blame the Navy!

madawaskan said...

Who the hell did that song Sully's Village Idiots?

Quaestor said...

Historically privateering didn't do much to suppress piracy in the past. Privateers were often pirates themselves who used their letters of mark to eliminate the competition.

wv: thedo - what really keeps Michelle awake at night.

DADvocate said...

We may infer Obama cared because he had authorized the use of military force against the pirates.

The same way we may infer a cold, emotionall distant, even abusive parents cares about their kids because they give them lunch money and let them sleep in their house.

former law student said...

For the first 125 years of our existence we hid behind the Royal Navy as it protected the world’s sea lanes.

W. T. F?

Do you mean the first 40 years of our existence when the Royal Navy impressed American citizens into its service, eventually seizing US merchant ships, converting ships and cargoes to their own use, and impressing their entire crews?

That kind of "protection" is indistinguishable from piracy.

It took the War of 1812 to stop the British.

madawaskan said...

Here, I've got it.

We mike up Gwyneth Paltrow to the PA system of a big ass yacht.

That'll clear the area, or-

she gets kidnapped.

win-win.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)


It took the War of 1812 to stop the British.

No, it took the end of the Napoleonic Wars to stop the British….The War of 1812, certainly didn’t. Yes, save for the period 1861-65, the USN, as much as one may respect it or not, and until about 1914 the Royal Navy WAS the “policeman of the sea” not the USN.

The Drill SGT said...

Though my plan for piracy suppression runs to phrases like, yardarm, shot on sight, set adrift, and then go back and sink all the boats....

I was struck by this paragraph in the article, and think it was a poor strategy to get the pirates to trust us.

Hoping for another successful end to a four-day standoff with American hostages, an FBI negotiator let two pirates on board the USS Sterett to talk terms for their release. But they were deemed to not be serious about negotiations and taken into custody, according to The New York Times. The pirates left on the yacht were told to send over another negotiator.

invite 2 hostages over, arrest them, invite 2 more, rinse and repeat. The pirates didnt like the way that was heading....

Trooper York said...

I don't believe that this President will do anything substantial to protect the lives of American citizens abroad.

Or more correctly he will do the absolute minimum he can get away with while he continues to curry favor with enemies of our nation. They are the people he aims to please.

His presidency remains a clear and present danger to our sacred union.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)


invite 2 hostages over, arrest them, invite 2 more, rinse and repeat. The pirates didnt like the way that was heading....

We thought they wouldn’t catch until about Pirates 8-10, rather 3 and 4…..our bad….

Quaestor said...

fls wrote: W. T. F?

Yes, you're quite right. But I don't believe Britain's policy amounted to piracy.

However, after 1815 America's merchant fleet grew apace, becoming the second largest in the world, but without any kind of effective navy to protect it. The Royal Navy secured the sea lanes for all peaceful commerce, including the competition. The USN expanded greatly during the Civil War, but was allowed to rot at anchor once the Confederacy fell. It wasn't until the 1880's that the USN began to re-equip with modern ships, but not in sufficient numbers or with any overseas bases to be a peace-keeping patrol like the RN.

E.M. Davis said...

I suggest we use a tactic invented by the British in WWI as an answer to German commerce raiders, the Q-ship.

A Q-ship is a disguised man of war posing as a helpless merchant vessel. In this case I picture a US-flagged container ship leased by the Navy and fitted out with guns, anti-ship missiles, two amphibious assault vehicles, and a helicopter, all hidden under or within fake cargo containers. The ship would be crewed by USN personnel, some wearing civilian dress, a SEAL team, and a platoon of Marines.

Tactically the ship would sail near Somali waters to attract a pirate assault. The pirate boarding party would be quickly killed and their supporting boats would be sunk -- all except one which would be allowed to escape. The helo would then be launched to track the escaped boat to its port, which would then be destroyed from the air or by Marine amphibious assault, depending on the situation.


All THAT for four Californians?

/sarc

Phil 3:14 said...

One might be forgiven for assuming, based on the comments here, that Somali piracy began on January 20, 2009.

That comment's a stretch. I haven't seen anyone suggest it hasn't been a problem for some time. I believe the question at hand is
response.

cokaygne said...

The Russians captured some pirates. Under the law they had the choice of either bringing them back to Russia for trial or letting them go. The Russians let them go . . . at sea . . . in a raft . . . with no food or water . . . they were not heard from again.

I'm not a successful person, but one thing I've learned is that successful people, if they are not lucky, have no shame. The Russian and the Chinese leaders have no shame. The pirates have no shame. Do these people care if Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch condemns them in a press release? 'Course that wouldn't happen, AI and HRW are too busy condemning the US to ever worry about what Russian or China or the Somali pirates are doing.

Wipe out their support bases and if there are collateral damages use the excuse from the Godfather "It was nothing personal, strictly business."

Liberals are nice people. I'm a nice person and a liberal. Liberals have to learn that there are people in this world who are not nice. They do not friggin care what international law says. Treat them on their own terms.

Michael said...

The piracy problem did not begin w/ the Obama administration although it has certainly escalated during it. I am not sure the administration has thought to issue warrants for the arrest of these scoundrels and then, here it comes, Bring Them To Justice. I think the trials should be held at the New York Yacht Club.

Speaking of which could there be some apathy towards this problem because the civilians taken are taken from YACHTS and thus deserve what they get?

Shanna said...

Although the places we can safely travel to seem to shrink each day, I can feel this is all because of the great affection generated for US citizens since we elected a junior Congressman from Illinois to the Executive office, with nearly 2 years of national office under his belt.

I think this is the danger in skipping Western Civ. It is better to be feared than loved, if you can’t be both. At least as far as the safety of our citizens abroad is concerned.

jerryofva said...

FLS:

Why are you lefties so ignorant? The Royal Navy only impressed American seaman for about ten years. Once the the Napoleonic Wars were over they stopped the practice.

The British felt free to impress US citizens becasue the Democrats led by Thomas Jefferson failed to build the Federalist Navy as proposed by John Adams. Has Jefferson completed the build up that Adams begun the British, occupied with Napoleon, would have not have risked angering the US by this practice.

By the way, We lost the War of 1812. The Brits pretty much kicked our ass. Jefferson admitted to Adams that he was wrong about the Navy and had he not disarmed there wouldn't have been a War of 1812. While Jefferson learned his lesson, the modern Democrats remain clueless about what makes America safe

former law student said...

Despite the British chauvinists here, the US did not need the Royal Navy's protection: in fact armed American merchantmen controlled the seas during the War of 1812:

http://www.lhaasdav.com
/learningcenter/privateers.html

Hoosier Daddy said...

On the other hand, maybe it's hard to generate outcry for people sailing their sailboat through waters that are known for pirate attacks.

Classy.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)




I think it is safe to say that the Navy behaved Stupidly, in this case. A Tea Summit, in Mogadishu might be in order…A Beer Summit, in a Muslim Nation, might be intemperate…Tea, Quat, and Braised Spare Ribs might set all aright.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)


in fact armed American merchantmen controlled the seas during the War of 1812:

Are you mad? IF Privateers controlled the seas, the British would not have invaded Mobile, burned DC, and advanced upon New Orleans…being as those are seaside cities! The US Navy and US Privateers failed, utterly to control the seas…otherwise Britain would have folded very soon, and would never have been able to transport troops to America, instead we would have been burning THEIR cities!

Thank you for contributing, though.

deborah said...

Love the Q-ship idea.

Here's good article, with slide show, about sailing aboard a container ship. Fun fact: it costs 300K for that ship to go though the Suez Canal.

Also found this while searching: what Fred Kaplan thinks we should do about pirating.

jerryofva said...

FLS:

Tell it to the people of the Chesapeake, the residents of Washington DC and the merchants of New England. The Royal Navy ruled the seas and were the scourge of the East Coast.

Privateers were the submariners of their age. They are sea denial platforms that can easily be defeated by convoying merchantmen.

cokaygne said...

Reagan did it with Grenada. In view of the recent hijacking of a Danish boat with children aboard, Obama could ensure his reelection by thoroughly bombing, not invading, the pirate nests. Clinton thought he took care of al Qaeda by bombing a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory. This is what Obama will do sometime in October 2012, bomb some hapless Somalian fishing villages.

edutcher said...

FWIW a privateer is a pirate sailing under a specific nation's flag. I don't believe their function was to suppress piracy.

Trooper York said...

I don't believe that this President will do anything substantial to protect the lives of American citizens abroad.

He always votes, "Present".

jerryofva said...

By the way, We lost the War of 1812.

As they once said in Moylan's Dragoons, "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?".

Last I looked, the Limeys sued for peace before New Orleans, having had their heads handed to them outside Baltimore and on the Great Lakes.

The Drill SGT said...

Hostis humani generis

Enemies of Humanity

Before the adoption of public international law, maritime pirates and slavers were held to be beyond legal protection, and could be dealt with as seen fit by any nation, even if that nation had not been directly attacked.

sometimes the old ways are the right ways

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)




FLS, we know you privateer claim to be false by several important points. Whilst the War of 1812 was being fought, Britain was locked in a bitter death struggle with Joseph napoleon and the French army in Spain. The campaign culminated with a Anglo-Spanish-Portuguese advance into FRANCE, WHOLLY SUPPORTED BY BRITISH SEA-BORNE LOGISTICS. Had the US truly been defeating British merchant efforts, that campaign and invasion of France would have come a cropper. Britain suffered from many things in that campaign, lack of logistical support from the sea was NOT one of them…..It helps if you place your national history within a GLOBAL context, much of the Old Testament occurs in an interregnum between Egyptian Domination of Judea/Samaria and Hellenistic Domination, an interregnum brought on by the onslaught of the Sea Peoples. It explains how a migratory bunch of Bedouin could come to occupy the area without a larger neighbor conquering them….US History, the War of 1812, is only ONE campaign that Britain waged simultaneously in its Global War against French Power 1789-1814.

jerryofva said...

eDutcher:

They defeated our invasion of Canada. Ravaged the Eastern Estuaries, Burned the Capital and throttled our commerce to such an extent that New England was ready for succession. The Battle of New Orleans was fought after the Treaty of Ghent was signed. We were lucky that we won and for the historical record we won the battle with the help of the Jewish Pirate Jean Lafitte. We won a few battles but pretty much lost the war.

BDJ said...

The pirates are probably long-lost 2nd or 3rd cousins of the Pres(id)ent

virgil xenophon said...

Look, short-term, tactically from a military perspective stopping the Pirates ain't all that hard, given the all-important political *WILL.*
As commentator Blackeagle603 noted over at the milblog "Neptunus Lex" a while back:

"...start with all the traditional pirate ROE up to and including following them home, sinking their boats at anchorage, burning down any piers and any support facilities on the beach, then working inland (given sufficient intel) to raze the leaders property. Stop at that point and reevaluate the need for glassing over larger patches of the locale."

Quaestor said...

fls wrote: In fact armed American merchantmen controlled the seas during the War of 1812

Bullshit. You're a self-admitted former law student, but you're understanding of maritime history is approximatively zilch. "Controlled the seas..." what a laugh.

You must understand something about the Internet, it isn't a reliable substitute for classroom work under a tenured academic.

jerryofva said...

Q:

You don't even have to go to school. Theodore Roosevelt's "The Naval War of 1812" and Ian Toll's "The Six Frigates" are good enough to know what happened.

Quaestor said...

The War of 1812 was a draw. We didn't conquer Canada (for which we ought to be grateful, else we'd have the responsibility for those damned Newfies) and the British didn't re-acquire their former colonies. In fact it need not have been fought at all, since the British agreed to stop their harassment of US-flagged ships and seamen if the US agreed to return RN deserters to British custody BEFORE actual warfare broke out. The Treaty of Ghent established status quo ante bellum which in essence means "sorry for all the fuss, may we be friends again?"

former law student said...

During the War of 1812, the U.S. Navy and Privateers together captured 30,000 prisoners, while the American army captured 6,000 British prisoners. Privateers captured British prizes worth almost $40,000,000.

Comparison of Navy vs Privateers during War of 1812

U.S. Navy Privateers
Total ships 23 517
Total guns on ships 556 2893
Enemy ships captured 254 1300

Quaestor said...

@ the Crypto Jew

I mostly agree with your points, but the dates of Britain's war with Revolutionary/Imperial France should be 1792 - 1815, with brief occasional pauses.

@ Jerry of Virginia

I didn't know Jean Lafitte was Jewish. I'd liked to know your source for that.

jerryofva said...

Q:

This reference, among many others, should do...


http://pratie.blogspot.com/2006/10/jean-lafitte-pirate-sephardic-jew.html

Fen said...

Its not the pirates, its the terrorists. How can Obama order them shot on sight and then demand due process for the Gitmo crowd.

edutcher said...

jerryofva said...
eDutcher:

They defeated our invasion of Canada. Ravaged the Eastern Estuaries, Burned the Capital and throttled our commerce to such an extent that New England was ready for succession. The Battle of New Orleans was fought after the Treaty of Ghent was signed. We were lucky that we won and for the historical record we won the battle with the help of the Jewish Pirate Jean Lafitte. We won a few battles but pretty much lost the war.

Last I looked, the Limeys did not get what they wanted out of the war. That's called losing.

Moreover, while they burned DC, they were stopped cold at Baltimore and forced to withdraw. This was the reason for the assault on New Orleans.

As for Canada, Montgomery, Morgan, and Arnold were repulsed also in 1775. Does that mean we lost the Revolution?

As for the attempted secession of New England, that was a political move by the Federalists to spite the Democrats that resulted in the destruction of the party.

jerryofva said...

edutcher:

Didn't get what they wanted? As Quaester pointed out the Treaty of Ghent was a return to the status quo ante, which is exactly what the British wanted. Aside from a few firebrands in the press they weren't interested in reconquering the Colonies. Like most Americans, you seem to think that we were the center of the political universe in 1812. We were a sideshow, a dangerous distraction from the war against Napoleon.

DADvocate said...

Arrr!!

craig said...

I like the suggestion of a commenter on the linked TheHill post: declare that non-oceangoing vessels in the international waters surrounding Somalia are to be presumed pirates and sunk on sight. Better still would be to host surveillance UAVs off Navy vessels in the area and follow these skiffs back to their mother ships and home ports. Apply punitive measures as necessary, rinse, repeat.

Methadras said...

Of course there is a muted outcry from Erkle. He's defending his fellow African and he doesn't want to offend his fellow pirates sensibilities. Fellow pirates as in, they are pirates of the Somalian high seas while Erkle the Pirate rapes, pillages, and plunders the US. ARGH!!!

Robin said...

Obama is the most useless, feckless waste of time in the office of Presidency in history.

He's descended below Jimmy Carter.

Firehand said...

Has anybody else noticed that the talk from the White House on both the rebellions and the pirates sounds like something from Temporary Acting Deputy Undersecretary Crodfoller in a Retief novel?

And just as useful?

peter hoh said...

Okay, Joe, you tell me why the killing of the four Americans hasn't generated more outrage among the general populace.

The Danish kids, on the other hand, are likely to generate some more calls for governments to do something about the Somali pirates.

I, for one, don't know why we don't have dummy yachts cruising the area, filled with well-armed Navy Seals, ready to sink any approaching pirates.

peter hoh said...

And $25 to the charity of your choice if you can dredge up an Insta-post that suggested that we weren't doing enough about pirates, back when Bush was president.

Quaestor said...

@ Jerry of Virginia:

I don't buy it, too many gaps in the story. That a Sephardic Jew called Lafitto is alleged to have emigrated from Reconquista Spain to Navarre is not evidence that a Santo Domingo creole born circa 1780 was aforesaid Lafitto's descendant and therefore a Jew. If your are dealing with long ancestral lines commonality of a surname is not necessarily an indication of commonality of descent, especially if you're talking about feudal France, where surnames weren't always directly inherited. And another point, if I may, Jewishness descends through the female line, so its the ancestry of Jean Lafitte's mother that is important.

Sorry. Real scholarship is harder than that.

Fen said...

I, for one, don't know why we don't have dummy yachts cruising the area, filled with well-armed Navy Seals, ready to sink any approaching pirates.

Seal ops are very expensive.

As I recall, the Seal budget is greater than that of the entire Marine Corps.

Hoosier Daddy said...

And $25 to the charity of your choice if you can dredge up an Insta-post that suggested that we weren't doing enough about pirates, back when Bush was president.

I can't recall if any Americans had been murdered at the hands of pirates when Bush was President.

Fen said...

And its not worth $25 for me to dig through Insta-archives from the Bush era. Up it to $100 and I may bite.

Quaestor said...

A yacht is too small to hide a force of more than five or six men, nor is the typical yacht (about 70 feet and 20 tons) large enough to mount the kind of weapons I think we need to do the kind of quick fatal damage to pirate boats. Somali pirates attack in large numbers, the S/V Quest was attacked by more than 30 pirates. We don't need to cede any advantage to our enemies, thus my Q-ship proposal -- a large ship with a substantial, well-armed, and hidden force aboard.

Since my first post on this idea I have reconsidered the armament of the Q-ship: Twelve M2 machine-guns in six dual mounts, two forward, two amidships, and two over the transom. Five Mk 19 40mm grenade launchers, two forward, two amidships, and one over the transom. Two BGM-71 TOW missile launchers, one on each bridge wing. Two AAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles launched from davit cranes. One Bell AH-1Z Viper helicopter launched from a forecastle heli-pad/hangar disguised as deck cargo. I've decided that my proposal for anti-ship missiles (Harpoon RGM-84) is too expensive, too difficult to install on a merchant vessel, and unlikely to be effective against the type of boats used by Somali pirates. The TOW missile gives all the firepower and range required, and can be easily installed and hidden.

Fen said...

25mm chain cannon please.

deborah said...

lol Q, make it so, Number One.

Quaestor said...

The Bell Viper has a 20mm Gatling, is that enough?

It would up the cost considerably bit, but we could loose two of the twin duces for two M242/Mk38-Mod0 mounts. Anything to kill faster and bloodier is better, I always say.

Fen said...

The Bell Viper has a 20mm Gatling, is that enough?

Naw, x3 is a waste of ammo.

25mm M242 Bushmaster is my baby.

Quaestor said...

I must admit that my choice of armaments is somewhat romantic. The M2 Browning has been in service with US armed forces for more than 87 years. It's become almost traditional. The powerful chunk-chunk-chunk of old Ma Duce doing her nasty is a trademark of American armed might, surviving Somali pirates ought to have that sound seared into their souls to haunt their nights until they draw their final breathes.

However, I am amenable to loosing two more of the dual M2 mounts for two Dillion Aero M134 Gatlings. A surviving pirate for the rest of his days won't be able to hear a chainsaw running without shitting his shorts.

Fen said...

Actually, Somolia was one of my stomping grounds with 3D LAR BN. Southwest sector is Gen Morgan's (native trained in US) territory. If he's still kicking, we should simply pay him to launch raids on pirate coastal bases.

MarkD said...

They acted stupidly. He should invite them to the White House for a beer.

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