Thursday, April 09, 2009
Kidnapped, by PIRATES!
Well, well, well.

It seems President Obama has a major test on his hands in the form of an American-flagged cargo ship that has been hijacked by Somali pirates. Those pesky Somali pirates! I imagine the Obamabots would tell you that they are just "misunderstood."

I call bullshit.

These are thieves, kidnappers, terrorists on the high seas. They have been interfering with global commerce for far too long. Other countries and companies have coddled the pirates, played along, paid "tributes" and "ransoms."

Did none of these people go to grade school? Don't they know what happens when you let a bully steal your lunch money? He comes back for it again tomorrow! This isn't brain surgery, folks.

Currently, the American crew has managed to retake the Alabama. The pirates are adrift on a speedboat, with no fuel, water, or food. They do have one thing, however: a hostage. They are currently holding the ship's captain, Capt. Richard Phillips, on their little speed boat.

I was speaking with someone about this prior to the release of updated information and I shared what I would do were I sitting in the Oval Office.

It might be overkill, but I'd send two battlegroups to the site. I'd have twenty or so (each of the US Naval ships present) to fire individual, single warning shots just off the bow of the pirate vessel. I would show them the precision with which we can deliver hellfire. I would then proceed to inform them that they have exactly five minutes to release their hostage, unharmed, or the next volley of fire will not be warning shots. Then, I'd broadcast the ticking of a clock.

Overkill? Maybe, but those Navy boys deserve to have a little fun now and then. The fact of the matter is, these pirates are in a lousy bargaining position. They have one hostage. One. The are out of fuel, so escape is out of the question unless they give up their hostage, and we are unlikely to refuel them if he comes to any harm. They also don't have time on their side as they are out of both food and water. You can live several days without food, but without water, you're screwed. And, I suspect, before long the pirate leader is going to be facing mutiny from within the ranks.

There is another aspect to this, however, and it is why my response would be so forceful. I wouldn't aim my response for the pirates, they would be secondary recipients of my message. I would send a message of force, an emphatic "Don't Fuck with The Americans", if you will, mostly to Iran. Iran has been screwing with our ships too, feigning attacks like that that took out sailors on the USS Cole. To date, we've sort of put up with their antics. But the pirate thing offers an opportunity for the US Navy to show what we can do. Let's scare the crap out of the pirates and give Mahmoud Ahmadinejhad a moment's pause. We don't need permission from the UN to protect American sailors at sea or American shipments of humanitarian aid. We don't need a coalition to kill a speedboat full of Somali pirates. What we need to do is show the world that American Might has not been diminished.

The rest of the world may be willing to ransom their citizens and ships in a perpetual market of terror, but the United States should stand firm. We don't negotiate with terrorists on land, at sea, or in the air. There needs to be no doubt of the consequences if you fuck with us. Don't pick a fight with us, or we'll be scraping what's left of you off of the foredeck.

President Obama, busy kowtowing and bowing to Saudis and telling the world how bad American arrogance is, is unlikely to take this approach. Hell, everybody knows Hillary Clinton has more balls than Obama, so I'm not optimistic.

I still think a strong show of force would be a good idea though. And, I believe, Thomas Jefferson would approve. It was he who dealt with the Barbary pirates in much the same way. For far too long, American ships had done the same as French and British ships when traveling through The Med: they paid tributes to the Barbary pirates to protect against the enslavement of the crews. Jefferson sent in the Marines, fearing that paying any further tributes or ransoms would only embolden the pirates and bring about more attacks on American ships.

Here's an ironic twist for you: the US Naval ship on site at the current Somali issue is the USS Bainbridge. During Jefferson's presidency, the USS Philadelphia, captained by William Bainbridge, ran aground while patrolling Tripoli harbor and came under attack and was eventually taken and turned against the Americans. A year later, Lt. Commander Stephen Decatur lead the first American Marines in a spectacular raid on Tripoli harbor. They destroyed the Philadelphia and her crew remained enslaved, but it set off a sequence of events that ultimately resolved in 1815 with the ending of any tributes. The Algerians, Moroccans, and Tripolitans had finally been convinced we meant business.

Fighting was the right thing to do then and it is the right thing to do now.

And, lest you think I'm just some warmongering Conservative, I'll have you know my solution was at least measured and gave the pirates an opportunity to give up in the face of overwhelming odds. My dad suggested we just bomb the hell out of Somalia until the pirates realized that unless they acted, there'd be nothing to go home to.

Me? I think that's too much work. I think 20-well aimed warning shots fired from a fleet of Naval vessels and a five minute ticking clock will do the trick.

What will President Obama do?

Wring his hands and hope for the best? "Hope" for "change"?

The world is watching, President Obama, and so am I.

(Incidentally, the title of this post is from a very very very old comedy skit I saw once about a baby duck hand puppet that was kidnapped by pirates. It was hilarious, but I can 't tell you more than that. That was back in the days when She-Ra had her own cartoon.)
posted by Phoenix | 9:00 AM


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