Pirate tale

Well, that was quite a swashbuckling saga with Captain Phillips giving himself up to the Somali pirates to save his crew; the crew refusing to surrender their ship and overpowering one of the pirates; the U.S. Navy coming to the rescue; the SEALS sharpshooters on the ship viewing the three pirates threatening the captain through windows on the covered lifeboat and shooting them all dead. Gutsy captain, gutsy crew, gutsy sailors, gutsy SEALS. Everyone acquitted themselves well, with self-sacrificial action in service to neighbor, making this a good example of vocation. (Being a pirate, if I need to say so, is NOT a vocation from God, since they make a living by harming their neighbors rather than serving them.)

President Obama authorized the action, so he acquitted himself well too, bearing the sword in defense of his citizen. I hope this is the beginning of a concerted effort against the pirates, like Thomas Jefferson did with the Barbary pirates in our nation’s infancy.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ptmccain ptmccain

    Amen, I think anyone who has spent any time with a firearm, on a shooting range, will share my sense of wonder at the thought of the Seals' marksmanship, at 30 yards or more away, on a rolling sea, shooting through the small windows of the lifeboat in which the pirate were holding the captain. Amazing!

    I really don't understand why we don't send in a destroyer squadron and wipe the pirates out.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ptmccain ptmccain

    Amen, I think anyone who has spent any time with a firearm, on a shooting range, will share my sense of wonder at the thought of the Seals' marksmanship, at 30 yards or more away, on a rolling sea, shooting through the small windows of the lifeboat in which the pirate were holding the captain. Amazing!

    I really don't understand why we don't send in a destroyer squadron and wipe the pirates out.

  • Manxman

    I wonder if Jimmy Buffet is in mourning today

  • Manxman

    I wonder if Jimmy Buffet is in mourning today

  • Carl Vehse

    Expect the U.S.'s fifth column MSM to do a sympathetic story on the pirates' widows and orphans, and how our Navy is forcing the remaining pirates against their will to abandon their kind-hearted ways.

  • Carl Vehse

    Expect the U.S.'s fifth column MSM to do a sympathetic story on the pirates' widows and orphans, and how our Navy is forcing the remaining pirates against their will to abandon their kind-hearted ways.

  • Carl Vehse

    "I really don't understand why we don't send in a destroyer squadron and wipe the pirates out."

    It's too big an ocean to sneak up on each of the muslim pirates whenever some of them attack a freighter or some other ship.

    To be effective would require a politically incorrect amount of force applied to not only the Somali muslim pirates but also the destruction of their muslim villages and other supporters and enablers. This may also require assassinations of some foreign leaders who have also help the Somali muslim pirates.

  • Carl Vehse

    "I really don't understand why we don't send in a destroyer squadron and wipe the pirates out."

    It's too big an ocean to sneak up on each of the muslim pirates whenever some of them attack a freighter or some other ship.

    To be effective would require a politically incorrect amount of force applied to not only the Somali muslim pirates but also the destruction of their muslim villages and other supporters and enablers. This may also require assassinations of some foreign leaders who have also help the Somali muslim pirates.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Truly amazing rescue. That was gutsy shooting.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Truly amazing rescue. That was gutsy shooting.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    The answer to the problem here, is to finish the job Clinton should have finished when our nose was bloodied there in the 90s. Systematically take out the war lords. Put a new government in place. Or at a minimum stop intervening when Somalia's neighbors invade. Was it Kenya or Ethiopia that did that a year or two ago? Should have let them stay.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    The answer to the problem here, is to finish the job Clinton should have finished when our nose was bloodied there in the 90s. Systematically take out the war lords. Put a new government in place. Or at a minimum stop intervening when Somalia's neighbors invade. Was it Kenya or Ethiopia that did that a year or two ago? Should have let them stay.

  • subcutaneous

    This has the makings of a good made-for-TV movie, but somehow I don't see it as more than a high-stakes mugging on the high seas,
    From the coverage I have seen these "pirates" are basically teen-age hoodlums who happen to have some pretty lethal weapons at their disposal. I think the "negotiator" who was on the Bainbridge at the time of the shooting was all of 16 years old.
    Talk about unconventional warfare!

  • subcutaneous

    This has the makings of a good made-for-TV movie, but somehow I don't see it as more than a high-stakes mugging on the high seas,
    From the coverage I have seen these "pirates" are basically teen-age hoodlums who happen to have some pretty lethal weapons at their disposal. I think the "negotiator" who was on the Bainbridge at the time of the shooting was all of 16 years old.
    Talk about unconventional warfare!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    Bror, I know you well enough that you don't mean that quite as cavalierly as it sounded, but still!

    Just go in and take out the warlords and then put in a new (presumably stable) government! Is that all? Pfft! Obama can put that on the to-do list for May! Safe shipping by June! (I know, that was snarky and you didn't mean it that way, but that's how it sounded.)

    Nation-building is one of those things that need to have a LOT of circumstances right to be successful, and Somalia has virtually zero of those things present.

    While I don't think it's a likely happening, I think the most effective practice would be to put some relatively heavy weapons on shipping. There are lots and lots of issues with maintenance, training, use, dangers, etc, which make me think that method won't be regularly implemented (with some understandble reasons) but I think that would be the way to go, nonetheless. Not going to happen, but I think that would be the way to go.

    A Mk 19 would probably do the job. (belt-fed grenade launcher with a 1.5 km effective range) I would think shipping companies that use a higher quality of sailors would be able to implement it more easily (relatively).

  • Carl Vehse

    There are a variety of reasons (some good and some bad) why arming freighter crews would be problemmatical.

    The U.S security firm XE (formerly Blackwater) has offered to protect freighter, but has had no takers.

    For the ship owners (or insurance companies), it's a better business decision to pay the ransom (or, if necessary, life insurance benefits) than lose a ship.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    Agreed, those are reasons that I don't think arms on ships will be implemented, however, I don't think there are other realistic ways to stop the piracy. The forces and weapons on the ships would need to be well trained and well equipped which translates to "very expensive".

    Not going to happen until the piracy gets really, really bad. The more likely happening is the entrance of various military fleets into the area to suppress the pirates. The efficacy of this is suspect.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/CharlesLehmann CharlesLehmann

    I see absolutely no problem with Congress issuing letters of marque and reprisal.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    Bror, I know you well enough that you don't mean that quite as cavalierly as it sounded, but still!

    Just go in and take out the warlords and then put in a new (presumably stable) government! Is that all? Pfft! Obama can put that on the to-do list for May! Safe shipping by June! (I know, that was snarky and you didn't mean it that way, but that's how it sounded.)

    Nation-building is one of those things that need to have a LOT of circumstances right to be successful, and Somalia has virtually zero of those things present.

    While I don't think it's a likely happening, I think the most effective practice would be to put some relatively heavy weapons on shipping. There are lots and lots of issues with maintenance, training, use, dangers, etc, which make me think that method won't be regularly implemented (with some understandble reasons) but I think that would be the way to go, nonetheless. Not going to happen, but I think that would be the way to go.

    A Mk 19 would probably do the job. (belt-fed grenade launcher with a 1.5 km effective range) I would think shipping companies that use a higher quality of sailors would be able to implement it more easily (relatively).

  • Carl Vehse

    There are a variety of reasons (some good and some bad) why arming freighter crews would be problemmatical.

    The U.S security firm XE (formerly Blackwater) has offered to protect freighter, but has had no takers.

    For the ship owners (or insurance companies), it's a better business decision to pay the ransom (or, if necessary, life insurance benefits) than lose a ship.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    Agreed, those are reasons that I don't think arms on ships will be implemented, however, I don't think there are other realistic ways to stop the piracy. The forces and weapons on the ships would need to be well trained and well equipped which translates to "very expensive".

    Not going to happen until the piracy gets really, really bad. The more likely happening is the entrance of various military fleets into the area to suppress the pirates. The efficacy of this is suspect.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/CharlesLehmann CharlesLehmann

    I see absolutely no problem with Congress issuing letters of marque and reprisal.

  • Carl Vehse

    subcutaneous,

    The hostage negotiators on the Bainbridge were actually FBI agents, who were not "all of 16 years old." If you are referring to the Navy SEALs that participated in the rescue of Captain Phillips, they would have been 18 years or older.

    As for the pirates, I've read one report noting the pirate that surrendered to the Navy was "reportedly about 16 to 20." Have you seen reports with more definitive ages of the pirates?

    And yes, an AK-47 is a pretty lethal weapon against an unarmed and tied-up captive.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    Vehse:
    "U.S. officials said a pirate who had been involved in negotiations to free Phillips but who was not on the lifeboat during the rescue was in military custody."

    That's the negotiator subcutaneous was talking about, not the FBI agents. Reading comprehension.

    Errata:
    I haven't found the ages of the other pirates, but it's most likely that they were mostly under 25. Ten years ago the pirates were pretty much just poor small-town gangs with fishing boats. These days they are organized parts of large gangs and warlord forces.

    They still use newbies on their piracy cruises with oversight by some experienced people – hence the presence of a 16 year old kid. For the most part, the hijackings are pretty "safe" for the hijackers and it's a "blooding" sort of exercise for new gang members.

    In developed nations like the US, 16 is still a kid, but especially in violent 3rd-world areas, 12 years old is a young adult, and 16 is easily a full adult. There have been a 17 year old "warlords" in some war-torn areas like Somalia. So between the fact that the "kid" is 16, between the fact that he's an adult in his own culture and he was swinging a machine gun around earlier, I'd say he ought to be treated as an adult criminal.

  • Carl Vehse

    subcutaneous,

    The hostage negotiators on the Bainbridge were actually FBI agents, who were not "all of 16 years old." If you are referring to the Navy SEALs that participated in the rescue of Captain Phillips, they would have been 18 years or older.

    As for the pirates, I've read one report noting the pirate that surrendered to the Navy was "reportedly about 16 to 20." Have you seen reports with more definitive ages of the pirates?

    And yes, an AK-47 is a pretty lethal weapon against an unarmed and tied-up captive.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    Vehse:
    "U.S. officials said a pirate who had been involved in negotiations to free Phillips but who was not on the lifeboat during the rescue was in military custody."

    That's the negotiator subcutaneous was talking about, not the FBI agents. Reading comprehension.

    Errata:
    I haven't found the ages of the other pirates, but it's most likely that they were mostly under 25. Ten years ago the pirates were pretty much just poor small-town gangs with fishing boats. These days they are organized parts of large gangs and warlord forces.

    They still use newbies on their piracy cruises with oversight by some experienced people – hence the presence of a 16 year old kid. For the most part, the hijackings are pretty "safe" for the hijackers and it's a "blooding" sort of exercise for new gang members.

    In developed nations like the US, 16 is still a kid, but especially in violent 3rd-world areas, 12 years old is a young adult, and 16 is easily a full adult. There have been a 17 year old "warlords" in some war-torn areas like Somalia. So between the fact that the "kid" is 16, between the fact that he's an adult in his own culture and he was swinging a machine gun around earlier, I'd say he ought to be treated as an adult criminal.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/wcwirla wcwirla

    (Being a pirate, if I need to say so, is NOT a vocation from God, since they make a living by harming their neighbors rather than serving them.)

    Good point. When nations do it, it is called "taxes" and "tariffs."

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/wcwirla wcwirla

    (Being a pirate, if I need to say so, is NOT a vocation from God, since they make a living by harming their neighbors rather than serving them.)

    Good point. When nations do it, it is called "taxes" and "tariffs."

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    The best solution would be to have five or six 'decoy' ships that look like regular freighters or yachts, but are armed to the teeth with a hold full of Marines or Seals. The ships would then limp through the gulf of Aden as though they were having engine trouble. Any Pirates who were tempted enough to try something would meet a sudden and violent end. A month or two of this kind of activity would make the price of being a pirate too high for most people.

  • Carl Vehse

    others have suggested this old idea of British Q-boats used in WWI and WWII. But can you imagine the clymer media today handling another "Baralong incident"?

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    The best solution would be to have five or six 'decoy' ships that look like regular freighters or yachts, but are armed to the teeth with a hold full of Marines or Seals. The ships would then limp through the gulf of Aden as though they were having engine trouble. Any Pirates who were tempted enough to try something would meet a sudden and violent end. A month or two of this kind of activity would make the price of being a pirate too high for most people.

  • Carl Vehse

    others have suggested this old idea of British Q-boats used in WWI and WWII. But can you imagine the clymer media today handling another "Baralong incident"?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    I don't know where I implied it would be easy. I said it was the solution to the problem, and I stand by that. Weren't you opposed to the arming of freighters a month or two ago? Why I agree that that should be done, it is not the best solution to the problem, as the problem is only one manifestation of a larger issue. We actually could have dealt with this problem properly in the 90's now it will have to linger. So arm the freighters till it can be dealt with properly, or let Ethiopia, and or Kenya deal with it as they see fit.
    And someone ought to reiterate that being a soldier in what ever capacity ( Navy, Army, Marine, Air Force, or Coast Guard) is a wonderful vocation sanctioned by God. These SEALS are the epitome of that profession, and should be looked upon today as the pride of our nation. Mindboggling that they could pull that off, compare that with the French attempt in which the hostages were wounded/and or killed.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    I don't know where I implied it would be easy. I said it was the solution to the problem, and I stand by that. Weren't you opposed to the arming of freighters a month or two ago? Why I agree that that should be done, it is not the best solution to the problem, as the problem is only one manifestation of a larger issue. We actually could have dealt with this problem properly in the 90's now it will have to linger. So arm the freighters till it can be dealt with properly, or let Ethiopia, and or Kenya deal with it as they see fit.
    And someone ought to reiterate that being a soldier in what ever capacity ( Navy, Army, Marine, Air Force, or Coast Guard) is a wonderful vocation sanctioned by God. These SEALS are the epitome of that profession, and should be looked upon today as the pride of our nation. Mindboggling that they could pull that off, compare that with the French attempt in which the hostages were wounded/and or killed.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    Way back when, I wasn't saying that weapons weren't a possible solution, I was saying they aren't one that will be used. They're still wildly unlikely and probably won't be used. In spite of all that, I think they are the "easiest" solution to stop piracy there, but that "easiest" is still phenomenally difficult.

    Just based on monetary costs, the sufficient arming and training of freighters combined with the remaining risk of damage to the ships FAR exceeds the monetary costs of the hijackings.

    Kyle, many thousands of ships go through there and the number of ships stopped is only 0.01% of the total ships going through that area. You'd have to spend months with those 6 ships deployed to draw out even one attack. The shipping companies don't want anything to trigger the pirates into being more aggressive, so they would scream, too.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Webmonk,
    We have the surveillance technology to make sure our decoys would be in the right place at the right time.

    Yes, this might not be an easy solution, but the option of just sitting back and appeasing these guys is not only morally repugnant, but will cause piracy to multiply exponentially when these guys realize that no one will do anything, and they can extort millions of dollars at will.

    Its the old "its better to get picked on than fight the bully, because then he'll be really mad" argument. I say shoot, blow up, sink, or burn every last one of those pirate ships. If you don't it will only get worse.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    I'm thinking that would give away the game to the pirates – having ships diverting from standard shipping patterns. The whole goal is to have the ships be indistinguishable from standard freighters which follow direct paths, straight through the waters along shipping lines.

    Having a ship loiter in an area, jump from one shipping line to another, or repeatedly cruise through an area would be a dead giveaway after the first couple surprises since the pirates would be particularly watching for things like that.

    I think it would work great for the first couple times, but countering the decoy strategy isn't prohibitively difficult for the pirates and I suspect they would work around it pretty quickly.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    Way back when, I wasn't saying that weapons weren't a possible solution, I was saying they aren't one that will be used. They're still wildly unlikely and probably won't be used. In spite of all that, I think they are the "easiest" solution to stop piracy there, but that "easiest" is still phenomenally difficult.

    Just based on monetary costs, the sufficient arming and training of freighters combined with the remaining risk of damage to the ships FAR exceeds the monetary costs of the hijackings.

    Kyle, many thousands of ships go through there and the number of ships stopped is only 0.01% of the total ships going through that area. You'd have to spend months with those 6 ships deployed to draw out even one attack. The shipping companies don't want anything to trigger the pirates into being more aggressive, so they would scream, too.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Webmonk,
    We have the surveillance technology to make sure our decoys would be in the right place at the right time.

    Yes, this might not be an easy solution, but the option of just sitting back and appeasing these guys is not only morally repugnant, but will cause piracy to multiply exponentially when these guys realize that no one will do anything, and they can extort millions of dollars at will.

    Its the old "its better to get picked on than fight the bully, because then he'll be really mad" argument. I say shoot, blow up, sink, or burn every last one of those pirate ships. If you don't it will only get worse.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    I'm thinking that would give away the game to the pirates – having ships diverting from standard shipping patterns. The whole goal is to have the ships be indistinguishable from standard freighters which follow direct paths, straight through the waters along shipping lines.

    Having a ship loiter in an area, jump from one shipping line to another, or repeatedly cruise through an area would be a dead giveaway after the first couple surprises since the pirates would be particularly watching for things like that.

    I think it would work great for the first couple times, but countering the decoy strategy isn't prohibitively difficult for the pirates and I suspect they would work around it pretty quickly.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/wcwirla wcwirla

    The French were never terribly good shots.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    True enough. We can now commence with the French jokes. Why do the French plant trees along their roads? …. Germans like marching in the shade.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    ROTFLOL! I hadn't heard that one! Excellent! I'll have to mention that one to a couple friends.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/wcwirla wcwirla

    The French were never terribly good shots.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    True enough. We can now commence with the French jokes. Why do the French plant trees along their roads? …. Germans like marching in the shade.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    ROTFLOL! I hadn't heard that one! Excellent! I'll have to mention that one to a couple friends.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/CharlesLehmann CharlesLehmann

    The question, which is a happy one to ask, is "Where does the heroism stop in this story?" It's truly heartwarming. Good and holy work done by the captain, his crew, the SEALS, and the President of the United States.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/CharlesLehmann CharlesLehmann

    The question, which is a happy one to ask, is "Where does the heroism stop in this story?" It's truly heartwarming. Good and holy work done by the captain, his crew, the SEALS, and the President of the United States.

  • Carl Vehse

    In the context of the Maersk Alabama confrontation with pirates and the subsequent events, the applicable definition of "hero" is "A person who willingly risks or sacrifices his or her life for the benefit of another or for a noble purpose.".

    With that definition, the freighter crew and most certainly Captain Phillips qualify.

  • Carl Vehse

    In the context of the Maersk Alabama confrontation with pirates and the subsequent events, the applicable definition of "hero" is "A person who willingly risks or sacrifices his or her life for the benefit of another or for a noble purpose.".

    With that definition, the freighter crew and most certainly Captain Phillips qualify.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/CharlesLehmann CharlesLehmann

    So do the SEALs.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/CharlesLehmann CharlesLehmann

    So do the SEALs.

  • Carl Vehse

    One thing that could help reduce or eliminate the Somali muslim pirate problem is for Congress (as it is authorized under the Constitution) to begin granting letters of marquis and reprisal.

    And just think of all the resulting American privateer stories that could be made into good old-fashion action movies. I know some Blackwater folks who could probably play themselves.

  • Carl Vehse

    One thing that could help reduce or eliminate the Somali muslim pirate problem is for Congress (as it is authorized under the Constitution) to begin granting letters of marquis and reprisal.

    And just think of all the resulting American privateer stories that could be made into good old-fashion action movies. I know some Blackwater folks who could probably play themselves.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Not to forget the French commando's who just had their third successful rescue. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/12/frenc… for some footage.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Not to forget the French commando's who just had their third successful rescue. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/12/frenc… for some footage.

  • Carl Vehse

    "President Obama authorized the action, so he acquitted himself well too"

    That has yet to be determined. According to Joseph Farah's article, How Obama actually delayed pirate rescue: SEAL team deployment stalled 36 hours, hampered by limited rules of engagement:

    "While Barack Obama is basking in praise for his 'decisive' handling of the Somali pirate attack on a merchant ship in the India Ocean, reliable military sources close to the scene are painting a much different picture of the incident – accusing the president of employing restrictive rules of engagement that actually hampered the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips and extended the drama at sea for days."

    Whether this constitutes "aid and comfort to the enemy" and whether the restrictive "rules of engagement" originated from 0bama or from someone in the Pentagon will need to be determined.

    Disgustingly, I saw in Iraq that similar restrictive rules of engagement limited U.S. soldiers' response and endangered American lives.

  • Carl Vehse

    "President Obama authorized the action, so he acquitted himself well too"

    That has yet to be determined. According to Joseph Farah's article, How Obama actually delayed pirate rescue: SEAL team deployment stalled 36 hours, hampered by limited rules of engagement:

    "While Barack Obama is basking in praise for his 'decisive' handling of the Somali pirate attack on a merchant ship in the India Ocean, reliable military sources close to the scene are painting a much different picture of the incident – accusing the president of employing restrictive rules of engagement that actually hampered the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips and extended the drama at sea for days."

    Whether this constitutes "aid and comfort to the enemy" and whether the restrictive "rules of engagement" originated from 0bama or from someone in the Pentagon will need to be determined.

    Disgustingly, I saw in Iraq that similar restrictive rules of engagement limited U.S. soldiers' response and endangered American lives.

  • Pinon Coffee

    “Gutsy captain, gutsy crew, gutsy sailors, gutsy SEALS. Everyone acquitted themselves well, with self-sacrificial action in service to neighbor, making this a good example of vocation.”

    “Elizabeth’s safe, just like I promised. She is going to marry Captain Norrington, just like she promised. And you get to die for her just like you promised. So we’re all men of our word, really, except for Elizabeth, who is, in fact, a woman.”

    It _is_ very satisfying that everyone acquitted themselves well in this story except the pirates.

  • Pinon Coffee

    “Gutsy captain, gutsy crew, gutsy sailors, gutsy SEALS. Everyone acquitted themselves well, with self-sacrificial action in service to neighbor, making this a good example of vocation.”

    “Elizabeth’s safe, just like I promised. She is going to marry Captain Norrington, just like she promised. And you get to die for her just like you promised. So we’re all men of our word, really, except for Elizabeth, who is, in fact, a woman.”

    It _is_ very satisfying that everyone acquitted themselves well in this story except the pirates.