Failure to Act

Off the horn of Africa, a drama has taken place which I am afraid will turn out to be an example of what Americans will learn to expect from the Obama administration.  Last night Captain Richard Phillips of the Maersk cargo ship Alabama (the ship that had been taken by pirates only to be freed after he heroically offered to accompany the pirates as a hostage) leapt from the boat in a bid to save himself

It is important to note, that these pirates and their hostage are currently in a lifeboat with their hostage.  It is out of fuel, and simply floating in the Indian Ocean.  So, what happened when the captain tried to escape in the night by attempting to swim to a U.S. Navy destroyer?  The pirates caught him and brought him back on board.  The U.S. Navy reported that it happened so quickly they could not provide assistance.

Translation: The Navy was not ready and in position to act when they had the opportunity to save the captain, they did not have the authorization to use deadly force against the pirates if they had been in position to do so.

I talked to a friend about this yesterday.  I told him that I believed that these pirates would eventually surrender, and that for the first time in history, we would do nothing to them, and they would eventually be released.  Historically, piracy has been one of the most punitively punished crimes in the world.  In fact, the first time the U.S. fought a war abroad, it involved piracy and the attempt to end it in the Mediterranean Sea.  Pirates are hung, shot, downed and keel-hauled (the Alabama has a big-assed keel), and rightfully so.

When this happened to a U.S. ship, Navy Seals should have been immediately provided to the destroyer overseeing the situation.  They should have been deployed in the small support boats from the destroyer to surround and curtail the movements of the pirates, and given the right to use deadly force.  Once it was realized that the pirates were adrift in a boat with a hostage, it should have only been a matter of time.

After the pirate boat was surrounded, the seals with appropriate Barrett M107 .50 Caliber sniper rifles should have simply waited until they all had a shot that did not include Captain Phillips.  This would definitely include any time he was not on the boat, especially an escape attempt in which he was in the water and swimming.  In fact, that may have been a good time to employ a weapon that involved an area of effect (one that goes ‘Boom!’) on the pirate boat.

My point is, I suspect that the Navy did not act because it was not prepared to do so.  The only reason that makes any sense to me is that they had not received the authorization to use deadly force at that time.  This would be the same authorization that would be expected to be given to any local police force in the U.S. in a similar hostage situation.

This inaction, and the attitude that kept the Navy from being able to do what was right and necessary at the time will be a hallmark of our foreign policy for the next four to eight years.

My thoughts and prayers are with the captain and his family.  I just hope action is taken to save his life soon.

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5 Responses

  1. military might of the US? What a pathetic joke

  2. To elaine:
    Of course. I see. You are one of several things.
    -You are a cowardly pirate or support them. In which case, you are some of the lowest scum of the earth, and I hope the might of the military sends you to hell where you belong.
    -You are a foreigner who despises the greatness U.S. military because you are from a weak country that does not have a competent, effective and capable millitary like the U.S. does. If you are from a country that is an ally of the U.S. , I encourage you not to be so much of an ingrate. If you are from a country that is an enemy of the U.S., see the previous note on pirates.
    -You are a U.S. citizen that is so stupid that you do not respect our millitary or the things it has done and provided for you. In that case, I suggest you unsuscribe, and continue to get your information from the other idiots who are as myopic as yourself. Feel free to unsuscribe your citizenship as well. No one will miss you.
    As for your comment in general, I find it hard to believe that you do not see the rightness of using our police, or in this case our millitary forces to protect our innocent citizens against unprovoked attacked by cimminal organizations that would harm them.
    The disregard that you show for the wellfare of Captain Phillips in your comment is shamefull.

  3. First off; my heart and prayers goes out to the captain being held captive by the pirates off the coast of Somolia. It’s rather ironic that his cargo was humanitarian food supplies bound for Aficra. I would also mention that there are seventeen other ships and crews being held captive and they even now are getting little or no coverage by the news.

    As a retired Navy man I would like nothing better than the Navy boarding, seizing the pirates and returning the captain safely to his ship and escorting it out of harm’s way. While I believe that the French has the appropiate response to piracy I am not on the navy ship or in the area or responsible for making those descisions.

    I hope the the current US leadership does show some backbone and actively participate in ending the piracy.

    I would question where the United Nations is in this whole mess and why they have put no effort into ending the piracy and lawlessness in Somolia.

  4. To ‘Stand To’:
    I appreciate your comments on this subject, and I want to say that the things that I said were in no way meant to be a slight against the Navy. I have no doubt that they would be able to take care of this problem given the authorization and the opportunity. I am simply affraid that they have not been given the authoriztion.

  5. Duhhhhhhhh

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