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Hurray for the President and our Armed Forces!

Captain Richard Phillips jumped overboard, and was rescued by US Navy SEALS. Three pirates dead, the other one in custody. Details here.

Anonymouse:
This is incredible news and a great morale-booster in these times. Plus, this is most liely a legitimate heroic story, unlike a lot of other famous rescues (ahem, Jessica Lynch, maybe even some others) that were probably somewhat exaggerated.
4.12.2009 2:39pm
DennisN (mail):
Three good pirates and one in custody. Now we should burn the villages they come from and execute the elders.

Pour encourager les autres.
4.12.2009 2:41pm
33yearprof:
Good fire discipline by the SEALs.

Leaving one alive shows the pirates that there is continuing value is keeping the hostages living. Each of the pirates has to calculate that he might be the one pirate the SEALs leave alive.

If the hostage is dead, there is no reason not to blast the pirate vessel to smithereens (and, of course, kill every one of the pirates -- mere "collateral" damage).

OBTW, don't modern navel vessels have yardarms? I'm sure the Navy League would be happy to run a raffle to provide the rope.
4.12.2009 2:43pm
TerrencePhilip:
So Richard Phillips (a) volunteers to be a hostage to save his crew, (b) jumps overboard and gets shot at, then (c) bides his time till he can do it again?

The real wonder here is that this guy can float in water without his giant brass balls pulling him to the bottom.
4.12.2009 2:52pm
Zed:
It's really disappointing that the Navy SEALs have no respect for the rules of international law. In terms of laws of "proportionality," the Navy SEALs killed three pirates, while the pirates killed no Americans. The casualty ratio, in other words, is infinity to one. Sure, some of those killed were militants, but that is of no consequence.

The NAvy SEALs should have waited until more Americans were dead before responding with such unacceptably disproportionate force. I hope that Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International will come out with fact-finding reports on their websites soon.
/sarcasm
4.12.2009 2:53pm
gwinje:
33yearprof:

The fourth pirate was on an American ship negotiating at the time and was arrested after the rescue.
4.12.2009 2:56pm
Dave N (mail):
I congratulate the Navy Seals and the armed forces on a job well done, but I am a bit confused as to why this rates a "Hurray for the President!"

This not a partisan attack. If the same event had occurred a year ago with the same chronology, I doubt anyone would have said, "Hurray for President Bush."
4.12.2009 3:05pm
Federal Dog:
I am confused too: The article doesn't even mention Obama. What has he done that would entitle him to share in credit properly given to people who acually took action to end the crisis?
4.12.2009 3:09pm
frankcross (mail):
I wouldn't give Obama much credit, but since he was receiving considerable criticism on the Internet for failing to solve the problem, it seems a little one-sided not to provide him any credit for the solution. IIRC, past presidents including Reagan have gotten credit for successful military operations.
4.12.2009 3:21pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
What has [Obama] done that would entitle him to share in credit properly given to people who acually took action to end the crisis?

He took the shackles off and let the Navy do it's job? You know how the left and trans-nationalists will howl about this. Zed had it perfectly (and thank you Zed for the sarcasm tag - you might have had me otherwise).
4.12.2009 3:22pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
I was wondering why Navy Seals didn't attempt a rescue. Now I know-- they were. It's an absolutely obvious maneuver. I imagine that the Navy was able to communicate with the Seals while underwater and gave them the "Go" signal when conditions on the boat where just right.

As for Obama, at least he had to good sense to shut up and let the military do its job, and I commend him for that. Of course this is nothing like the Iran hostage situation that Carter faced. He is in an impossible situation that he created for himself.
4.12.2009 3:25pm
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
The shippers need to arm their ships that ply those waters, require a nightwatch for approaching vessels, and fire on any that get too close. If that doesn't work, navies need to sink all Somali boats in or near the shipping lanes and bombard their base villages. Piracy needs to be made unprofitable. It's time to resume hanging pirates.
4.12.2009 3:30pm
33yearprof:
The fourth pirate was on an American ship negotiating at the time and was arrested after the rescue.


Even better. Three shots, three kills.

Puts a premium on being the negotiator, doesn't it?
4.12.2009 3:34pm
Tully (mail):
We need more yardarms.

The SEALS were waiting to get the boat in nice and close. Long range snipers aren't of great use at sea--things move. Bringing the pirates in close brings things back into feasibility.
4.12.2009 3:42pm
Mark Jones (mail):
I'm pleased that the American crew are all alive and unharmed. I'm even more pleased that three of the four pirates are dead and the fourth is alive to be questioned.

I'm also surprised--pleasantly so, I add--that Obama actually allowed the Navy to act. Very surprised. I didn't think he had it in him.
4.12.2009 3:45pm
Malvolio:
I congratulate the Navy Seals and the armed forces on a job well done, but I am a bit confused as to why this rates a "Hurray for the President!"
The President is the Commander-in-Chief. Responsibility floats up.

And, Obama almost certainly had to be the one to give the go-ahead.
If the same event had occurred a year ago with the same chronology, I doubt anyone would have said, "Hurray for President Bush."
I would have but that isn't the point. The fact that other people act like jerks or have acted like jerks in the past or even if I myself was the one acting like a jerk is no excuse to act like one today.

Congratulations to all involved in this rescue, starting with the SEALS (and the brave civilian captain) in the water and all the way up the chain of command.
4.12.2009 3:53pm
Spiked:
Most likely several snipers were trained on these guys from nearby RHIBs or the larger ships. Very nice shooting from a bobbing platform. I wouldn't be surprised if they prompted Phillips to jump using either some signal or even a broadcast in English.
4.12.2009 3:54pm
Jeffersonian22 (mail):
Hats off to the CiC and the Navy for a successful conclusion to this situation. I'd have preferred this happened sooner, but I'm not about to let the perfect be the enemy of the very, very good. A hell of a shot in the arm to the US.

Now it's time to shell the land bases of these miscreants.
4.12.2009 3:55pm
flashman (mail):
Like everyone else, I agree this is great news. My hat's off to the great military (and federal law enforcement) men and women that resolved this situation in such a decisive manner.

But don't credit Obama. He's the President and must be involved in the formulation of strategy with some influence on operational design. He's not, nor should he be, involved in tactics, techniques, and procedures (which prevailed here). Giving Obama credit for this successful outcome is like giving Bush credit (or blame) for the successful (or unsuccessful) outcome of an individual and small-unit engagement in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Certainly, there are examples where Presidents can receive credit for a tactical victory. SUch an argument could be made for the battle of Mine Creek, where approximately 2,500 carbine-armed Union soldiers routed a significantly larger Confederate force. Why? In part because of President Lincoln's insistence, over the advice of his Army logistics generals, to army at least some Union soldiers with the new and innovative repeating rifle. Obama hasn't been in office long enough to make a change of this type, and given the current complexities of military procurement it's doubtful that Obama could or would ever be in a position to make a similar decision.

It may well have been that the Obama's failure to say anything during this particular hostage crisis was a decision born of political opportunism. Frankly, I think it was more of a political maneuver than sound leadership from a commander in chief who has little or no inkling of what our US military can and should (vice cannot and should not) do. Why political? By saying nothing and things going well (which they did) he gets credit from the mass of the uninformed about military affairs. By saying nothing and things go drastically wrong, he distances himself from those that made the decisions on the ground (or water, in this case). It's smart politics, but not decisive military leadership. But again, at least he was smart enough by not making this worse. I guess that's a step in the right direction.
4.12.2009 4:02pm
Arturito:
It seems (but the story may change again) that the Captain jumped in the water and the Seals seized the opportunity. If so, Captain Phillips is to be congratulated for his own rescue. It's the second time he tried this, and the second was the charmer. Yay for him and the Merchant Navy!

Earlier on two crew members apparently took a gun toting pirate hostage with a simple knife. Men like these would end piracy in a month if they were allowed to carry.
4.12.2009 4:02pm
ArthurKirkland:
I retract my "kill 'em all." If the Navy decided to let one live, I will not second-guess.
4.12.2009 4:08pm
Arturito:
If Obama had the balls he would announce that seamen sailing under the American flag will be allowed from now on to carry guns for self defense in defiance of international law. This would boost his approval rating and dramatically increase the number of vessels sailing under the stars and stripes overnight.

Carpe diem, man!
4.12.2009 4:09pm
Ariel:
While I'm definitely happy about the outcome, it seems a little sketchy to me to capture the negotiator. I would have had no problem with him being killed if he was in the boat with the others. But I am somewhat queasy about us capturing someone who is negotiating with us. It sets bad precedent for future negotiations - they might not trust us enough to talk to us, if they think they will be captured. Getting the captain off of the boat might have been easier with one fewer pirate, so I would want to encourage them to get off an negotiate. The negotiator should be let go.
4.12.2009 4:16pm
Dennis Nicholls (mail):
Defiance of International Law? I see several non sequiturs there.

During WWII we armed our merchantmen with AAA guns and (IIRC) depth charges.
4.12.2009 4:17pm
MizGabby:
These are actions that cowboy bush might have taken. And he would have been criticized for causing needless death.

I thought this president was supposed to be about change (and hope).

Why didn't he talk to the pirates?

Why should we praise him? Did anyone ever praise Bush for taking action when needed?
4.12.2009 4:20pm
Oren:

Leaving one alive shows the pirates that there is continuing value is keeping the hostages living. Each of the pirates has to calculate that he might be the one pirate the SEALs leave alive.

Actually, he surrendered way before shots were fired.


If Obama had the balls he would announce that seamen sailing under the American flag will be allowed from now on to carry guns for self defense in defiance of international law.

International law does not forbid merchantmen from being armed. Many merchant vessels do indeed carry armed personnel.
4.12.2009 4:21pm
Dennis Nicholls (mail):
For those of whom missed the irony of the rescue by the USS Bainbridge....

Capt. Bainbridge commanded the Essex, the Philadelphia, the President, and the Constitution during the early part of our republic. He screwed up and let the Philadelphia get captured by the Barbary Pirates but later redeamed himself by defeating the British ship Java in the War of 1812.
4.12.2009 4:26pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
Now I hope some REMF doesn't get the bright idea to torture the guy captured for "actionable intelligence." The route seems to be to transfer them to Kenyan courts for prosecution.

As to the three kills, hooray! Nothing in international humanitarian law prevents those three kills as all three are military objectives in this setting. From what I have learned of proportionality, the proportionality seems to have been complied with. I do believe that hostage takers have been killed in police actions domestically. You pick up a gun breaking the law and taking hostages, if you do not give up, you can get shot.

Best,
Ben
4.12.2009 4:40pm
billywags (mail):
I was once sitting at an expat bar in Shanghai with some guy from Africa. We were talking amiably, and he said that although he disliked most US policy, he did admire that the US was serious about protecting its people. It was a while ago, but he said something like, "If terrorists took over this bar and the Chinese didn't seem like they were doing anything to help, you know the Italian or French government wouldn't do anything. But you can count on US soldiers being sent to kill them all to get you out."
4.12.2009 4:41pm
mariner:
Oren,

"Many merchant vessels"? Whence your information?

I've been sailing for over twenty years, and the ONLY vessel with armed personnel I've sailed in was carrying military equipment for the U.S. Dept. of Defense.

In a way I'd love it if we did [carry armed personnel]. It really sucks going completely unarmed into dangerous situations.
4.12.2009 4:42pm
D.R.M.:
Obama gets credit for having our negotiators demand that the Somalis not go free, but face justice, even when the result was an end to the negotiations. Obama could have overridden that on a "secure the safety of the hostage at all costs" basis. Instead, he authorized the use of force for the rescue rather than allow the pirates to escape justice.

Certainly, he'd have been criticized for letting the pirates go . . . but not nearly as much as he would have if the rescue had gone bad. He took a personal-level political risk in order to maintain the credibility of the United States, and that is worth crediting.

Obama doesn't get credit for making the operation work . . . but he does get it for risking the operation's failure.
4.12.2009 4:44pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"But don't credit Obama. He's the President and must be involved in the formulation of strategy with some influence on operational design. He's not, nor should he be, involved in tactics, techniques, and procedures (which prevailed here)."


Obama Approved Special Forces Team

A senior US official tells me that President Barack Obama approved a recommendation by Defense Secretary Bob Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen to dispatch special forces to the US scene on Friday.

These special forces were authorized to take action "in extremis" against the Somali pirates holding Maersk Captain Richard Phillips, 53, hostage on a motorized lifeboat off the coast of Somalia.

4.12.2009 4:45pm
Anononymous314:
I prefer Lew's take on this. To wit, "a cost of many millions...was imposed on the American taxpayers so that the federal navy could posture as the protector of mankind."
4.12.2009 4:46pm
Humble Law Student (mail) (www):
This is utterly ridiculous. The United States navy acted in utter disregard for these poor sailors. Was it really necessary to kill three of them? I hardly think so.

Any proportionality calculation is irrelevant, because military force is only allowed a last resort. And, such a conclusion is hardly forgone here.

I am contacting all of the law firms that represent Guantanamo Bay detainees. Surely, any number of them would be willing to represent the families of these poor soldiers in suits against the United States for this lawless, brutal murder.
4.12.2009 4:47pm
Ben S. (mail):
Did I call it, or did I call it? People think "Navy" and assume its all destroyers and cruisers. But our Navy has the most highly trained naval commandos in the world.


While I'm definitely happy about the outcome, it seems a little sketchy to me to capture the negotiator. I would have had no problem with him being killed if he was in the boat with the others. But I am somewhat queasy about us capturing someone who is negotiating with us. It sets bad precedent for future negotiations - they might not trust us enough to talk to us, if they think they will be captured. Getting the captain off of the boat might have been easier with one fewer pirate, so I would want to encourage them to get off an negotiate. The negotiator should be let go.


Your sentiment is right, but your solution is wrong. Everything is relative. The other pirates died; the negotiator lives. That, not freedom, is his reward.

Suppose four bank robbers stormed a bank and took hostages, and that SWAT killed three of the gunmen in a shootout and arrested the fourth who was busy negotiating w/ the cops. Are you suggesting that the negotiator in that context should be released without any charges? I didn't think so.
4.12.2009 4:47pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
I have to say Obama was smart to personally approve this operation. I give him credit for that. Nice work by our Seals, who are some bad mother[shut your mouth].


It's really disappointing that the Navy SEALs have no respect for the rules of international law. In terms of laws of "proportionality," the Navy SEALs killed three pirates, while the pirates killed no Americans. The casualty ratio, in other words, is infinity to one. Sure, some of those killed were militants, but that is of no consequence.

The NAvy SEALs should have waited until more Americans were dead before responding with such unacceptably disproportionate force. I hope that Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International will come out with fact-finding reports on their websites soon.
[/sarcasm]


Sadly, there are many, many people who would have agreed with every word except the last.
4.12.2009 4:47pm
Ben S. (mail):

I prefer Lew's take on this. To wit, "a cost of many millions...was imposed on the American taxpayers so that the federal navy could posture as the protector of mankind."


As opposed to the millions spent as ransom?
4.12.2009 4:52pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"Sadly, there are many, many people who would have agreed with every word except the last."


Like who? Can you identify a single such person?
4.12.2009 4:52pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Certainly this has deterrent value. It will help prevent American shipping from coming under such attacks. But it hardly prevents such attacks on global shipping in the future nor does it prevent American money going to pay ransoms when a foreign ship carrying American cargo gets ransomed. The question is whether we adopt a policy of "American people is what counts. No ransom money for Americans." Or whether in the long run we adopt for a full solution, which really means establishing law and order in Southern Somalia.

Obviously deterrence is a good thing at least for now, but I think the impact of it may be somewhat overrated.
4.12.2009 4:54pm
Dave N (mail):
If the President approved the Seals being dispatched, then I will give him credit there.

On another note, I can't imagine why we would follow Ben Davis' suggestion and transfer them to Kenyan courts. The pirates broke American law by attacking an American flagged vessel and the surviving pirate can happily spend the rest of his life in Colorado, Kansas, or Georgia as far as I am concerned.

As for Navy Seals, the only (former) one I knew personally was in my law school class. I didn't know him well but I will say he is the most intense person I have ever met in my life.
4.12.2009 4:55pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

but later redeamed himself by defeating the British ship Java in the War of 1812.

Did he ever. The action reports from that one are a hellacious read.

It's worth pausing to appreciate the dedication and skill of the many people in our military who, like the Navy SEALs here, stand between us and the bad people. Every one of our folks is a volunteer.

Every time I hear some old fart grousing about the "ungrateful selfish youth of today," I point out that this is, instead, indisputably one of the greatest generations of Americans.
4.12.2009 4:58pm
Daryl Herbert (www):
I am contacting all of the law firms that represent Guantanamo Bay detainees. Surely, any number of them would be willing to represent the families of these poor soldiers in suits against the United States for this lawless, brutal murder.

Sorry, they're not interested. The prisoners in Gitmo are Muslim extremist Arabs. By representing them, the big law firms curry favor with rich Arab clients.

What's the benefit to be derived from representing some poor black pirate? Even if he is a Muslim, he isn't an Arab, which means that the rich Arab clients look at him as subhuman.

No, this poor bastard is going to have to rely on hate-America hippies to provide his defense. Or he'll have to get free lawyers from Uncle Sam. Corporate America isn't coming to rescue him.
4.12.2009 5:05pm
sputnik (mail):
and they accept such an idiots like humble student into the law schools now?
4.12.2009 5:07pm
DavidN (mail):
Come on guys, Obama is going to own every failure; you gotta give him credit for the successes too.
4.12.2009 5:08pm
sputnik (mail):
DavidN
This was a test for Obama. Right up to the minute the captain was rescued.
At that point the standoff became a crisis that had absolutely nothing to do with Obama.
4.12.2009 5:10pm
DangerMouse:
Gee, libs want to celebrate this? I thought that they believed that the killing of pirates would only encourage more pirating.

What happened to Obama's vaunted diplomacy? Why couldn't he just use his Super Double-Action Messiah power and talk them into surrendering?

Where are the Euro-lib weenies? Why don't they want to prosecute Obama for war crimes? Those pirates weren't read their miranda rights!

In all seriousness, that it took this long is embarrassing. Those pirates should've been gunned down as soon as the SEALs were on the scene. This negotiating crap is so stupid.
4.12.2009 5:14pm
Dave N (mail):
To clarify for everyone, DavidN and I are two separate posters--and as far as I know, neither of us is David M. Nieporent.
4.12.2009 5:16pm
BTB:
sputnik:

Without presidential authorization, the moment of crisis would have passed without the use of force. To quote another poster:

"Obama doesn't get credit for making the operation work . . . but he does get it for risking the operation's failure."
4.12.2009 5:17pm
jb9054 (mail):
I'll give Dear Leader credit for not interfering.
Current reports, always subject to revision, are that the on-site commander had authority to take any action necessary if there was an indication that the Captain's life was imperiled. He thought so and took action.
The corollary is that if there were no immediate threat to the Captain, the Pirates could have taken him to their mothership, and then to mainland.
Then it would be Tehran hostage situation redux.
What would Jimmy O. do then?
All's well that ends well.
4.12.2009 5:20pm
Ariel:
Ben S.,

Good point. He probably should be kept captured. Maybe the capturing vs. killing is enough of an incentive.
4.12.2009 5:21pm
Johnathan Reale (mail) (www):
Few people have more against our President than I, and it's certainly fair game to consider what policies got us into this situation, how things could have been handled better, etc.. But right now, at this hour, three cheers for Captain Phillips, the Seals, and to everyone who made the mission happen, including the President of my country!
4.12.2009 5:22pm
ChrisIowa (mail):

I prefer Lew's take on this. To wit, "a cost of many millions...was imposed on the American taxpayers so that the federal navy could posture as the protector of mankind."

Don't forget the value of the future-incidents-discouraged when you do your cost-benefit analysis.
4.12.2009 5:30pm
RPT (mail):
"Dave N:

I congratulate the Navy Seals and the armed forces on a job well done, but I am a bit confused as to why this rates a "Hurray for the President!""

All partisan, all the time. You assume that Bush/Cheney would have made the same decisions. The fact is that Obama allowed skillful people to do their job as they were trained. Furthermore, several days ago, our new ODS champion Hans Bader attributed the blame for this very incident to Obama. The fact that former president Dennis Haysbert may have taken the Unit to solve the problem is just icing on the cake, along with another excellent performance by the union members of the ship's crew.
4.12.2009 5:35pm
Libertarian1 (mail):
Sputnik wrote: and they accept such an idiots like humble student into the law schools now?



I read humble student's comment as sarcasm (just not with a label). Maybe you also are being sarcastic, if so I missed it and apologize.
4.12.2009 5:36pm
Humble Law Student (mail):

I read humble student's comment as sarcasm (just not with a label). Maybe you also are being sarcastic, if so I missed it and apologize.


The sad thing is that my sarcastic comment is all too believable.
4.12.2009 5:45pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"The sad thing is that my sarcastic comment is all too believable."


Really? Who is saying any such thing?
4.12.2009 5:47pm
DennisN (mail):
@ Dennis Nicholls

During WWII we armed our merchantmen with AAA guns and (IIRC) depth charges.


That was a different time. Besides, we were at war, and anyone who wanted our ships (mainly the Brits and the Russians) were on our side.
4.12.2009 5:48pm
GeorgeW (mail):

"The real wonder here is that this guy can float in water without his giant brass balls pulling him to the bottom."

LOL! Too funny!

"Plus, this is most liely a legitimate heroic story, unlike a lot of other famous rescues (ahem, Jessica Lynch, maybe even some others) that were probably somewhat exaggerated."

The Jessica Lynch story distortions did not come from the Pentagon; they came from the Washington Post. See here.
4.12.2009 5:49pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
I'm willing to bet cash money that neither the Guantanamo law firms, nor the ACLU, nor Human Rights Watch will criticize an action that resulted in the deaths of pirates in flagrante delicto. I would say no one will except I don't want to take responsibility for Ward Churchill. Any takers?

I doubt it.

There are a few possible explanations for that: maybe all the liberal groups are in the tank for Obama and will hold their fire. Or maybe there's a big difference between an operation against armed pirates and waterboarding goatherds we collected for ransom in secret prisons, that most people see, except the acolytes of our paranoid former VPOTUS.
4.12.2009 5:54pm
ChrisIowa (mail):
From commenter http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

but later redeamed himself by defeating the British ship Java in the War of 1812.

Did he ever. The action reports from that one are a hellacious read.

Did the sailing ships deliberately fire to hit the masts or were they trying to shred their opponent's sails and maybe get lucky? It would seem that the masts would be a rather small target.
4.12.2009 5:56pm
Vermando (mail) (www):
Why does everyone here think that international law wouldn't allow you to wreck these people in a hostage situation? I know the jurisdictional issues if they retreat, but how could what we did even be seen as a violation of international law?
4.12.2009 5:57pm
Joe Carl (mail) (www):
Ariel said in regards to the capture of the negotiating pirate:

It sets bad precedent for future negotiations - they might not trust us enough to talk to us...."

These are the same pirates that had agreed to a prisoner swap for Captain Phillips and reneged...and you're worried about them trusting us?
4.12.2009 5:59pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"Or maybe there's a big difference between an operation against armed pirates and waterboarding goatherds we collected for ransom in secret prisons, that most people see, except the acolytes of our paranoid former VPOTUS."


Adding that the salient distinction, in my view, is how to treat an adversary who is [i]already in custody[/i], versus one who is not in custody and holding a hostage.

I imagine that if the government were to kill or torture the fourth pirate, who is currently in custody, that would be a more apt analogy.
4.12.2009 6:00pm
Ariel:
Andrew J. Lazarus,

Or maybe there's a big difference between an operation against armed pirates and waterboarding goatherds we collected for ransom in secret prisons, that most people see, except the acolytes of our paranoid former VPOTUS.

A whopping three people were waterboarded. KSM was one, 9/11 mastermind. Abu Zubaydah was two, AQ operative tied to 9/11. And Abd al Rahim al Nashiri was three, AQ guy potentially involved in the Cole bombing. Source: http://articles.latimes.com/2008/feb/06/nation/na-terror6

While reasonable people might disagree about whether even these folks should be waterboarded, I wonder where the goatherd accusation comes from. Perhaps KSM is a goatherd and a terrorist mastermind? If so, the latter might have been more relevant, no?

This doesn't even get to the full compound of
* waterboarding
* goatherds, i.e., innocents
* collected for ransom
* in secret prisons
4.12.2009 6:10pm
Ariel:
Joe Carl,

I wasn't aware of that.
4.12.2009 6:11pm
MnZ (mail):
We are already starting to hear the howls of protest about this action from some circles. Apparently, the idea that piracy should be dangerous for the pirate is totally unacceptable.
4.12.2009 6:12pm
Steve P. (mail):
We are already starting to hear the howls of protest about this action from some circles.

I assume you have a link for these 'howls of protest'? Because I'm not hearing any around here.
4.12.2009 6:16pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
MnZ, the offer to make a cash bet on whether these circles include the ACLU, HRW, etc. stands. They seem to exist mostly in your own mind.

Ariel, to be honest, I don't see the Director of the CIA as an honest source about crimes committed by the CIA.
4.12.2009 6:17pm
RPT (mail):
"GeorgeW:


The Jessica Lynch story distortions did not come from the Pentagon; they came from the Washington Post. See here."

Citing exlusively to Powerline is not sufficient. There is a long record otherwise, that is, the pressure, as with Tillman, came from the White House.
4.12.2009 6:17pm
JAL (mail):
As for who is objectingto taking out the pirates -- some commenters have noted some objections over at Althouse.

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2009/04/pirates-defeated.html

Just FYI
4.12.2009 6:17pm
MnZ (mail):
Andrew and Steve, I was referring to the local Somali response.* It reminds me of when Israeli commandos killed Palestinian hijackers in the 1970s and 1980s. Many Palestinians (and their supporters) would seethe in genuine rage over the Israeli action. It was bizarre to see people unable to understand that hijacking was dangerous to the hijacker.

*-The usual suspects have yet to weigh in.
4.12.2009 6:36pm
Le Messurier (mail):

Did the sailing ships deliberately fire to hit the masts or were they trying to shred their opponent's sails and maybe get lucky? It would seem that the masts would be a rather small target.

The masts and rigging were indeed targeted; not with just ball, but with grape shot (like a shotgun), and chain which would whirl around like a scythe. Hitting the rigging was very effective in unmasting a ship.

What's more these battles were usually fought in close quarters. Who ever could get the most shots off would more than likely win all else being equal. You couldn't miss. A very deadly form of combat.
4.12.2009 6:49pm
Bartemis (mail):
Am I really supposed to praise the administration merely for doing what they should have done, kind of like the overeffusive praise you give a child when they doody in the potty instead of their pants?
4.12.2009 6:58pm
Ariel:
Andrew J. Lazarus,

I'm sure you have a source that identifies:
* Waterboarded
* Goatherds
* Collected for ransom
* In secret prisons.

I look forward to reading it.
4.12.2009 7:05pm
lonetown (mail):
As no fan, I'm amazed, relieved and even encouraged by the administrations response.

They gave the OK to take action if the hostage was threatened. Did not rely on lawyers in Washington to make the call. That would have been expected and a disaster.

And they consulted with elders and gave them a shot at doing the right thing, which they rejected. Maybe next time they will think give a generous offer some regard.

Congrats to all!
4.12.2009 7:07pm
Displaced Midwesterner:
Obama did authorize the use of force -- and had also authorized it the day before. So he does get some credit for this. But the real heroes are of course the SEALs and the captain. It is a good day. Nothing quite like hearing about a fight with some pirates.

As an aside to all the sarcasm about international law, this is all perfectly legitimate under international law (an arguably the proportionality analysis is largely irrelevant when the targets are fighters, since killing them is not collateral damage, but the fulfillment of military objectives).
4.12.2009 7:15pm
RPT (mail):
Bartemis:

Am I really supposed to praise the administration merely for doing what they should have done, kind of like the overeffusive praise you give a child when they doody in the potty instead of their pants?"

After eight years of people who could never seem to do what they should have done, and never seemed to find the toilet, yes, I think that praise would be appropriate.
4.12.2009 7:35pm
Dave N (mail):
RPT,

Projecting much? First, I noted in a later comment that the President did deserve credit for dispatching the Seals.

Second, in your BDS, you seem to assume the confrontation would have been handled differently by President Bush This despite the fact that that virtually the entire chain-of-command is the same from the SecDef down. (I note you sneeringly referred to the prior administration as Buch/Cheney, do you commonly refer to the current one as Obama/Biden?)
4.12.2009 7:42pm
Tim McDonald:
Oh yeah, hell yeah, kudos to Pres Obama. I have been pissed off at him for three days now, ever since the first night went by without letting the dogs loose.

He stood up and authorized the Navy to do what was necessary. That is exactly how a President should act. And he got about the best possible result, three dead pirates and one living hostage.

So, he looks less like President Carter than I was afraid of. And I am REALLY glad to see it, and everyone else should be too. Otherwise, it was going to be a damned long 3 1/2 years of a crippled President.
4.12.2009 7:43pm
Kevin P. (mail):
Congratulations to our Navy, our President and most of all, Captain Phillips.
4.12.2009 7:47pm
DangerMouse:
Honestly, if Obama biggest achievement to date is to claim credit for defeating 4 pirates, then that's pretty pathetic.

I mean, if the leader of the world's only remaining superpower can't deal with 4 pirates in a dingy, then something is pretty messed up. The strange thing is, since so many are "relieved" that Obama ok'd military action, it's clear that the operating assumption is that Obama couldn't deal with them.

Although, it remains to be seen how much credit there is for saying "Gates, deal with this."
4.12.2009 7:51pm
ArthurKirkland:
The United States acquitted itself handily in this episode. A round of Hop Devil and rye for everyone involved. Maybe two.

Those attempting to invoke Guantanamo (and slur the lawyers who represented prisoners at Guantanamo) are bringing no glory on themselves. If the United States had responded to this piracy by rounding hundreds of the wrong people, warehousing them immorally for years, botching any worthwhile prosecutions, and torturing some of the prisoners, I could understand the comparison. If those held at Guantanamo were dangerous and radical extremists, those who released them should be tried for treason.

The lawyers who represented Guantanamo prisoners did far more to bring credit to the United States than did those who were directing American policy.
4.12.2009 8:01pm
RPT (mail):
Dave N:

BDS=Living through the last eight years. We do have a record of what was done and how incompetently it was done, from the pre-9.11 perod, through the aftermath of the Iraq invasion (run mostly by Heritage Foundation interns), through Katrina, and so on. "Bush/Cheney" is an accurate summary of how decisions were made; no national security decisions of any magnitude were made by Bush alone. It is entirely possible that they would have taken different steps in this instance. Re chain of command, there is now no Rice, Rumsfeld, Feith, Wolfowitz, Haynes, Bolton, et al, anywhere in the vicinity.
4.12.2009 8:03pm
Dave N (mail):
RPT,

Nice to know where your blinders are. Discussing the past 8 years with you would be beyond pointless because your BDS is self-evident.
4.12.2009 8:14pm
Dave N (mail):
RPT,

Since you are blindingly partisan, my original post said "a year ago". One year ago, the chain of command was:

POTUS
SecDef Robert Gates
SecNavy Donald Winter

Chairman, JCS, Admiral Michal Mullen
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead
Commander U.S. Cental Command, General David Petreaus

Currently:

POTUS
SecDef Robert Gates
Acting SecNavy B.J. Penn

Chairman, JCS, Admiral Michael Mullen
Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Gary Roughead
Commander, U.S. Central Command, General David Petreaus

The only names different are the President and the Secretary of the Navy. The same key players would have handled things exactly the same way if this had happened a year ago, your BDS notwithstanding.
4.12.2009 8:28pm
flashman (mail):
Again, I'm not convinced Obama should get much of the credit for this. Instead, the kudos must go to Phillips and those on-scene that made the decision to shoot. I doubt very much that there was a transmission to the White House asking for permission to take the shot.

Authorizing a SEAL team deployment into the area (which is probably a standard operating procedure anyway) and letting the commanders on the ground make the decision is fine and dandy, but it hardly rates the kudos many want to give. The President needs to deal with strategy, and though the SEALs (and other Special Operations forces) are strategic assets, putting them at the scene is hardly a decision worthy of such overweening praise.

If you believe this was the expected "test" of the President's commander-in-chief credentials, then you certainly live in a different world than the one I've seen.

He has yet to make any specific and coherent policy statement defining our strategic vital interests vis-a-vis the pirates and the on-going threat they pose in the area. He may have wanted to wait until after the captain was released / rescued in order to not antagonize the criminals that took him hostage. OK, but I'd now expect something a bit more decisive than a call for a world end to piracy.

If we plan to measure this President's national security policy successes and potential on this once incident, then we're taking a short-sighted tactical approach with only rhetoric (position) underpinning our strategic interests. Such an approach will make any operational planning meaningless.
4.12.2009 8:29pm
ReaderY:
Congratulations to all
4.12.2009 8:38pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"Authorizing a SEAL team deployment into the area (which is probably a standard operating procedure anyway) and letting the commanders on the ground make the decision is fine and dandy, but it hardly rates the kudos many want to give. The President needs to deal with strategy, and though the SEALs (and other Special Operations forces) are strategic assets, putting them at the scene is hardly a decision worthy of such overweening praise."


Personally, I think he should put on an oversized codpiece, and have somebody fly him onto the deck of a carrier with a giant banner pronouncing his success.
4.12.2009 8:48pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):
I am amazed, no, disgusted, that some here and elsewhere are taking an action with the best possible outcome, the hostage being rescued, and instead of cheering are using it instead to take political swipes at the President. Shame on you.
4.12.2009 8:59pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
At least we can all agree that Capt. Phillips behaved courageously, and the Navy Seals behaved both courageously and expertly, and that Obama didn't get in the way.

DangerMouse, it certainly would have been easy to take out the 4 pirates. To take them out, and rescue their sole hostage unharmed, given the close quarters in which he was held, is a skillful achievement. Just ask the French, whose special forces were not as successful in saving their hostages unharmed.
4.12.2009 9:04pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
How did the pirates know where the Maersk was?
WOuldn't it be nice if the surviving skinny told us about the mothership?
As to his defense, has Lynne Stewart been disbarred yet? Ramsey Clark?
4.12.2009 9:11pm
sputnik (mail):
Nope, no sarcasm, that humble student is a typical RW idiot, and thanks to those brainwashed ones the Democrats will be in power for a long long time
4.12.2009 9:15pm
DangerMouse:
DangerMouse, it certainly would have been easy to take out the 4 pirates. To take them out, and rescue their sole hostage unharmed, given the close quarters in which he was held, is a skillful achievement. Just ask the French, whose special forces were not as successful in saving their hostages unharmed.

The SEALs deserve our thanks. But if anyone thinks this is a major test of the leader of the world's sole remaining superpower, then the bar has indeed been set low. What's next? Obama invades a middle east power and turns in into a democracy? Oops, that was President Bush.
4.12.2009 9:15pm
Kenno (mail):
These guys' concern for the poor little Guantanamo terrorists is admirable. Too bad they don't have the same concern for Lautenberg Amendment victims.
4.12.2009 9:22pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Dave N:
<blockquote>
To clarify for everyone, DavidN and I are two separate posters--and as far as I know, neither of us is David M. Nieporent.
</blockquote>
So you say.
4.12.2009 9:29pm
Dave N (mail):
Leo Marvin,

On the other hand, I have it on good authority that you and "LM" are one and the same.
4.12.2009 9:39pm
ArthurKirkland:

These guys' concern for the poor little Guantanamo terrorists is admirable


Which "terrorists" are those? The ones the United States released? Or the ones whose prosecutions were botched? I won't ask about the ones demonstrated to be dangerous terrorists, because among illusory character, today is the Easter Bunny's day.
4.12.2009 9:43pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Dave N:

[...] Acting SecNavy B.J. Penn

I thought the current secretary was Georges Rush St-Pierre.

On the other hand, I have it on good authority that you and "LM" are one and the same.

If the author of that comment is your idea of "good authority," I'll be taking what you say with a big grain of salt.
4.12.2009 10:01pm
mls (www):
I agree that this does not seem like a situation that calls for a particular shout-out to the President. However, since Professor Kopel is not an Obama acolyte, I take it that he is being generous of spirit. I think we can overlook that fault, as it is unlikely to spread widely on the internet.
4.12.2009 10:02pm
TerrencePhilip:
I was listening to FoxNews this afternoon on satellite radio and it was stunning-- they kept asking their various experts/foils, paraphrasing, (1) "how significant is it that the Somali government is now praising the US" (answer: meaningless, their 'government' doesn't even meet in Somalia for safety reasons and has no authority), (2) "doesn't this show the UN is basically useless, they've done NOTHING in this entire ordeal", and relatedly, (3) "don't these UN treaties and resolutions basically guarantee piracy, by forbidding ships to arm, and only allowing member states to attack while pirates are boarding? Hey, do you think the UN will now condemn the US for acting, since we violated UN rules on engaging pirates?"

and other absurdities, meant to cater to the ignorant prejudices of many viewers. Couldn't they have made the tiniest effort at informing themselves of the facts over these last few days? Just, wow.
4.12.2009 10:07pm
Kenno (mail):
You're right, how stupid of me to believe that people captured in al Qaeda camps firing guns at Americans were terrorists.
4.12.2009 10:08pm
Dave N (mail):
Leo Marvin,

I can see why you were confused. Actually, President Obama has nominated former Mississippi Governor Ray Mabus to be Secretary of the Navy.
If the author of that comment is your idea of "good authority"
From your lips to God's ears.
4.12.2009 10:13pm
ArthurKirkland:
If they were terrorists, how stupid of the United States government to have released most of them.
4.12.2009 10:18pm
Vermando (mail) (www):

You're right, how stupid of me to believe that people captured in al Qaeda camps firing guns at Americans were terrorists.

Well if that's how we caught them all then we won't have any problems at the habeas hearings, now will we?

And one more time for the news of the day - U-S-A U-S-A U-S-A! I'm really amped that the guy is free and everything's resolved in our favor, so good for the national psyche.
4.12.2009 10:19pm
EPluribusMoney (mail):
Is anyone thinking about the families of the three dead pirates? For all we know each may have had 2 or 3 wives and a dozen children. One of those children might have come to America some day and fathered a future president with a co-ed.
4.12.2009 10:26pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
From the NYT, tucked away near the end:

The Defense Department twice asked Mr. Obama for permission to use military force to rescue Captain Phillips, most recently late on Friday night, senior defense officials said. On Saturday morning, the president agreed to permit action, they said, but only if it appeared that the captain's life was in imminent danger.


Then tell me: When, exactly, during this entire episode was Captain Phillips' life not in imminent danger? Why did Barack Obama have to sleep on the decision whether to permit our military commanders on the scene to use their own judgment as to whether to kill pirates who had attacked an American vessel and were holding its captain hostage? If this paragraph from the NYT is correct, then even if our forces had clear shots at all of the pirates simultaneously prior to Saturday morning, they lacked Obama's permission to take them.

Please don't paint this as a presidential profile in courage. He could have been more pathetic, but only by refusing to ever give clearance.
4.12.2009 10:34pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
kenno:

how stupid of me to believe that people captured in al Qaeda camps firing guns at Americans were terrorists.


How stupid of you to think that most of our prisoners were "people captured in al Qaeda camps firing guns at Americans." Most of the people in Gitmo were not "firing guns at Americans." That's explained here:

Denbeaux, who has worked with Seton Hall University's Law School in studying the Guantanamo detainees' cases, said that 55 percent have never been accused of committing a hostile act against the United States or its allies and that 60 percent were neither fighters for the Taliban nor for al-Qaeda.


Those claims are well-documented (pdf).

More proof that we locked up innocent people is here.
4.12.2009 10:49pm
RPT (mail):
Dave N:

Thanks for agreeing to engage on the merits of this or related issues. Your BDS citation is an excuse for having nothing to say on the facts and evidence.

In any event, did both Limbaugh (Friday) and Gingrich (today) opine that the union crew, Obama and the Navy would fail to bring this matter to a good ending? Something about hoping for failure?
4.12.2009 10:57pm
zuch (mail) (www):
The shippers need to arm their ships that ply those waters, require a nightwatch for approaching vessels, and fire on any that get too close.....

And what do we do? We're going to circumnavigate in the next couple years, and there's a couple places in the world well worth avoiding (Colombia, Straits of Malacca and the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden. We'll have radar, but not a lot of speed (15 knots absolute max, probably). And we'll be just 2, with very limited defence (even firearms are tough in most places, clearing customs, much less automatic weapons).

I note that the cheese-eating surrender monkeys (the French) mounted an assault recently on a yacht that had been hijacked, killing the pirates but unfortunately with one of the hostages killed as well. Which does happen even with the best laid plans in hostage situations.


What needs to be done is that the nations of the world need to work to eliminate piracy ... and this is perhaps one step on that path, but there's many others that need to be taken: When your only hope of survival is piracy, death (such as the three pirates suffered) is no deterrent.

Cheers,
4.12.2009 10:58pm
My Middle Name Is Ralph:

I am amazed, no, disgusted, that some here and elsewhere are taking an action with the best possible outcome, the hostage being rescued, and instead of cheering are using it instead to take political swipes at the President. Shame on you.


You're obviously new around here. ODS runs strong in these parts.
4.12.2009 11:02pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Arturito:
If Obama had the balls he would announce that seamen sailing under the American flag will be allowed from now on to carry guns for self defense in defiance of international law. This would boost his approval rating and dramatically increase the number of vessels sailing under the stars and stripes overnight.
Won't help. You need to clear customs in the ports of call, and thats's the problem with carrying arms. I have no idea what "international law" you say prohibits arms on board; it's the laws of the host nation when you enter port. If people start carrying arms, they'll just have hassles on entering port, and nothing that Obama does would change that....

Cheers,
4.12.2009 11:06pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Arturito:
If Obama had the balls he would announce that seamen sailing under the American flag will be allowed from now on to carry guns for self defense in defiance of international law. This would boost his approval rating and dramatically increase the number of vessels sailing under the stars and stripes overnight.
Won't help. You need to clear customs in the ports of call, and thats's the problem with carrying arms. I have no idea what "international law" you say prohibits arms on board; it's the laws of the host nation when you enter port. If people start carrying arms, they'll just have hassles on entering port, and nothing that Obama does would change that....

Cheers,
4.12.2009 11:06pm
zuch (mail) (www):
billywags:
I was once sitting at an expat bar in Shanghai with some guy from Africa. We were talking amiably, and he said that although he disliked most US policy, he did admire that the US was serious about protecting its people. It was a while ago, but he said something like, "If terrorists took over this bar and the Chinese didn't seem like they were doing anything to help, you know the Italian or French government wouldn't do anything. But you can count on US soldiers being sent to kill them all to get you out."
See my comment about the French above; before this latest development, they staged an attack on a pirated small sailing yacht and captured or killed teh pirates, although one of the hostages was killed as well. The French have not been push-overs in these matters. Would the U.S. do the same for a private U.S.-flagged sailing yacht? Perhaps ... perhaps not. Really, I think an apology from you is in order....

Cheers,
4.12.2009 11:17pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Humble Law Student:I am contacting all of the law firms that represent Guantanamo Bay detainees. Surely, any number of them would be willing to represent the families of these poor soldiers in suits against the United States for this lawless, brutal murder.In case you didn't notice, the Guantánamo detainees don't have AK47s and aren't holding hostages and threatening to kill them. Can you please stick to the subject? And get real? Thanks in advance.

Cheers,
4.12.2009 11:23pm
Right-Wing-Extremist (www):
This is great news and just more proof that our SEALs are the best of the best. While I'm not a supporter of Obama, he definitely deserves our respect and gratitude for making the right call on this one.
4.12.2009 11:23pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
georgew:

The Jessica Lynch story distortions did not come from the Pentagon; they came from the Washington Post.


Wrong. WP was just feeding us baloney they got from the Pentagon. Among other things, "the Pentagon claimed that Lynch had stab and bullet wounds" (link). That was false.

And after the WP story came out, Rumfeld was asked about it. Why didn't he tell us it was wrong? He didn't.
4.12.2009 11:30pm
zuch (mail) (www):
DangerMouse:
Gee, libs want to celebrate this? I thought that they believed that the killing of pirates would only encourage more pirating.
No. But it may make it harder to negotiate in the future ... for better or for worse. So far, almost all of the hostages (AFAIK) have been released. They may now start to use a "shoot one, and keep doing it until you get the ransom" approach.

There is no easy (or bullet-proof, "works all the time") solution to hostage situations. To think so is to be uninformed; each situation is different.

That being said, I don't think it was the wrong thing to attack the pirates here. I think that the policy of always paying off the ransom was not working.

Cheers,
4.12.2009 11:31pm
How_About:
How about a new service (Blackwater maybe?) where they put some well trained humans with guns on the vessel after it is at sea, and take them back off before entering port. I'm sure they can find one port where they can pay the proper "fees" to port with an "armed" ship... or even, they could unload all their own weapons to another of their own ships at sea, before making a port call.
4.12.2009 11:32pm
zuch (mail) (www):
HLS:
The sad thing is that my sarcastic comment is all too believable.
You misunderestimate yourself.

Cheers,
4.12.2009 11:34pm
Angus:
Then tell me: When, exactly, during this entire episode was Captain Phillips' life not in imminent danger? Because, so far as I can tell, Somali pirates have thus far killed zero hostages. The only hostages I have read about being killed were those killed during military "rescue" operations.

We can either spend $100 million per year paying off ransoms and avoiding fatalities, or we can spend a couple hundred billion dollars and dozens or hundreds of American lives in military action in Somalia proper. Sure, the first option is embarrassing. However, it also saves both lives and money. Pragmatism.
4.12.2009 11:36pm
Skyler (mail) (www):

No. But it may make it harder to negotiate in the future ... for better or for worse. So far, almost all of the hostages (AFAIK) have been released. They may now start to use a "shoot one, and keep doing it until you get the ransom" approach.



Oh, so just keep losing multiple millions of dollars at a time because the pirates are polite? Yeah, that's a winning plan. That's what kept the Barbary pirates in business for a couple centuries.

Wait. Weren't the Barbary pirates also muslims? Coincidence?

The sooner we eradicate this religion and culture from our planet, the better.
4.12.2009 11:40pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
It took a few hundred years, but the Romans were able to eradiate the Carthaginian culture and religion. Maybe we should start reading up on Scipio Africanus.
4.12.2009 11:41pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Skyler:

Wait. Weren't the Barbary pirates also muslims? Coincidence?

The sooner we eradicate this religion and culture from our planet, the better.

I apologize (to everyone except you) for saying this, but you're a real jerk.
4.12.2009 11:50pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
ChrisIowa:


Don't forget the value of the future-incidents-discouraged when you do your cost-benefit analysis.


I agree, however as I have noted, I don't think the discouragement is particularly great. It just means a small number of ships are less desirable and other ships are more desirable. Since US-owned cargo may ship on boats from any nationality and run by any crew, it doesn't really impact anything more than ships owned and registered in the US.

It is a small and expensive victory and a bandaid on a festering wound. At some point the world will have to address this situation for real, and the solution won't look likt his. I support this action, but I also think its impact small enough to be nearly meaningless in the larger scheme except as regards some crews on a small percentage of ships.
4.12.2009 11:51pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Skyler:

Wait. Weren't the Barbary pirates also muslims? Coincidence?

The sooner we eradicate this religion and culture from our planet, the better.


Wasn't the Inquisition run by Christians? Coincidence?

The sooner we eradicate this religion and culture from our planet, the better.

I have no love for Islam but your show by your comments that you are a thoughtless jerk.
4.12.2009 11:53pm
King Mob (mail):
The sooner we eradicate this religion and culture from our planet, the better.

Genocide is the answer? Seriously?
4.12.2009 11:57pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
Hey, if the Christians start up again, I'm all for eradicating that religion too. Fortunately, they've been generally peaceful, with exceptions in recent years.

And a big difference is that when one sect or small groups of Christians starts acting up, generally most of the others denounce them. Hasn't happened yet with muslims. The leaders of all the different sects of islam pretty much agree that they should end terrorism when it is used against other muslims, but don't object to killing nonmuslims per se. Yeah, religion of peace, my eye.
4.13.2009 12:00am
Skyler (mail) (www):
Eradicating a culture and religion doesn't require genocide. It simply means eradicating a culture. And a religion. Note that it takes a few hundred years, at least when the Romans did it.

I suspect if the worst of the muslim terrorists (oh it's so hard to decide which ones are worst, in the Philipines? Malaysia? North Africa? Persia? Chechnya? Or maybe Somalia? But then, the ones in Saudi Arabia are bad too. So many to choose from.) are sufficiently punished for their behavior, eventually the others will learn to behave better. Then we open up McDonalds and they learn the joys of capitalism and the Age of Reason and forsake their religion of death. They can call it Islam, so long as they stop killing people.
4.13.2009 12:04am
Skyler (mail) (www):
No one worships Ba'al anymore. Or sacrifices their children for him. The Punic Wars were when, about 260BC or so? The last indications of Ba'al worship, were probably done very secretly up to about 300AD. We've got a long way to go.
4.13.2009 12:08am
MarkField (mail):

Maybe we should start reading up on Scipio Africanus.


Africanus strongly opposed the complete destruction of Carthage. Maybe you mean Cato the Elder.


The Punic Wars were when, about 260BC or so?


264-241 b.c.e.; 218-201 b.c.e.: and 149-146 b.c.e.
4.13.2009 12:13am
John Moore (www):
So Obama has shown he has at least one testicle, although there is no evidence it has descended yet.

This after doing nothing while:

The Iranians kidnap another American

The Norks kidnap two Americans

The Norks launch an ICBM test in violation of the usual toothless UN sanctions

The Iranians brag that they have now mastered all aspects of Uranium enrichment.

The Russians cheer when Obama wants to get rid of all nukes (the Ruskies will keep theirs, somewhere, of course).

POTUS apologizes to the feckless Europeans for America being America.

etc.

Kudos to the SEALS, and to the Captain who was rescued.
4.13.2009 12:16am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Angus (4.12.2009 11:36pm): The news reports say that the pirates fired at Captain Phillips when he first tried to escape by jumping overboard. Then they beat him. He was kept at gunpoint, and the pirates had fired upon a US Navy boat earlier in the same day.

Certainly it's true that as a hostage, his value collapsed to zero if he was killed.

But it is illogical -- and ridiculous, bordering on disingenuous -- to argue that he was not in imminent and mortal danger throughout this entire episode.
4.13.2009 12:21am
Skyler (mail) (www):

Africanus strongly opposed the complete destruction of Carthage. Maybe you mean Cato the Elder.


Nope, I meant Scipio. He's the one that defeated them. Destroying the culture was a political effort after he did the military defeat. Cato is also apt. But I was thinking of Scipio.
4.13.2009 12:24am
Dave N (mail):
RPT,

In any event, did both Limbaugh (Friday) and Gingrich (today) opine that the union crew, Obama and the Navy would fail to bring this matter to a good ending? Something about hoping for failure?
I have no idea. But do you have a link or just a Kos talking point? Just wondering.
4.13.2009 12:31am
John Moore (www):
So now the question is: do we try this pirate in US courts?

If so, which one? What rules of evidence? Was he properly Mirandized?
4.13.2009 12:39am
Thoughtful (mail):
Zuchs, responding to Arturo's suggestion of arming the merchant ships:

"Won't help. You need to clear customs in the ports of call, and thats's the problem with carrying arms. I have no idea what "international law" you say prohibits arms on board; it's the laws of the host nation when you enter port. If people start carrying arms, they'll just have hassles on entering port, and nothing that Obama does would change that.... "

I've heard this before, but it doesn't make sense. To avoid this problem simply requires a tugboat or other small vessel to meet the ships just in international waters, 3 miles out or so, and store the weapons while the now-disarmed ship goes to port, unloads, comes back out and re-arms in international waters. Efficient? No. But surely less costly than the $2 million ransom requested, or calling out the Navy for every picayune incident.
4.13.2009 12:42am
Skyler (mail) (www):
Yes, the fourth pirate is tried in US court. We have extraterritorial jurisdiction.

We can claim jurisdiction using the "Passive Personality" principle because the defendant's conduct violates our laws, the victim is a citizen of the US, and it doesnt matter where the conduct occurs. The Passive Personality principle has a comon sense limitation that if the crime occurs where it can be responsibly settled by local government, then it should be. You can't have US jurisdiction just because an American gets mugged in London. But since this is on the high seas, there is no other nation claiming territorial jurisdiction. Some authorities don't like this theory of jurisdiction.

Beyond that, customary international law dating from the time of the Treaty of Westphalia held that


. . . there is one type of individual who was able to operate on the "international" level: the pirate. Individual perpetrators of this crime were clearly subjects of international law. They could be prosecuted in the courts of any nation, for violating the law of nations prohibiting piracy.
William R. Slomanson, Fundamental Perspectives on International Law

So the US has jurisdiction. It probably used to be a lot simpler, but what with all the insane habeus cases going on lately where prisoners in a war are said to have habeas rights, it's best to simply haul him off to some admiralty court in the US.
4.13.2009 12:59am
Dave N (mail):
John Moore,

I doubt Miranda will be much of an issue. As for the Court, I am guessing that venue will be just about wherever the Justice Department wants it to be. Then the pirate can spend the rest of his life as our guest--Florence, Colorado seems to have a pretty nice place for him to take up occupancy.
4.13.2009 1:05am
Mahan Atma (mail):
So now the question is: do we try this pirate in US courts?


Yes.

If so, which one?


My guess: In whatever district they bring him to. Probably E.D.Va.

What rules of evidence?


The Federal Rules of Evidence.

Was he properly Mirandized?


You do understand Miranda only bars the use of statements made in custody, right? Something tells me they'll be able to prosecute him successfully without using post-custody statements...
4.13.2009 1:19am
Malvolio:
We can either spend $100 million per year paying off ransoms and avoiding fatalities, or we can spend a couple hundred billion dollars and dozens or hundreds of American lives in military action in Somalia proper. Sure, the first option is embarrassing. However, it also saves both lives and money. Pragmatism.
Stupidity.

You pay people to commit piracy, you get more pirates. What country would be dumb enough to not host pirates when the US and other countries are funding them?

"Millions for defense, not one cent for tribute."
4.13.2009 2:02am
Kirk:
ChrisIowa,

Both reports mention opening fire at 1/2 mile, i.e. either 880 or a little over 1000 yards (don't know what flavor of mile they're using here.) That's within ordinary current-day sniper range, and presumably the ships moved closer after than (even though not as close as Capt Bainbridge wanted.)

Then later, Bainbridge writes, "The Enemies Jib boom got foul of our Mizen Rigging" which makes the vessels seem to be in very close proximity.

Hopefully a real naval historian will come along soon and straighten out the mistakes in what I'm saying here...


If people start carrying arms, they'll just have hassles on entering port, and nothing that Obama does would change that....
He could do plenty to change it, but I doubt he will.
4.13.2009 2:03am
James Gibson (mail):
142 comments in just 12 hours, I think this one sets a record.

Obama deserves credit for showing he's not just Jimmy Carter part two. Carter cancelled the rescue mission when he realized there would be casualties. Barrack has shown he can push the button which I am sure Collin Powell will say he knew about months ago.

As to what the activist groups will say, its too early to tell. Some of them are still in shock so I say give them a day to find the words. Code Pink is already taking Barrack to task for not withdrawing our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. One leftwing group on Fox the other night seems about ready to charge him with war crimes.

And as for what will happen to our surviving Pirate; well, like the Gitmo detainees, Barrack will have to decide how to proceed. And he will make that decision within the confines of his earlier statement that we can protect America without violating our principles. Of course he has strayed from many of his campaign promises of late.
4.13.2009 3:09am
Angus:
James Gibson,
Carter cancelled the rescue mission not because he realized there would be casualties, but because there were too many already. They lost 2 of the 8 helicopters to mechanical problems, then a third was failing due to sand. At that point, there would not have been enough room to transport the hostages out and the commander on the ground asked to abort.
4.13.2009 5:10am
Angus:
As much as I understand the emotional reaction to the issue of Somalian piracy (Hang 'em all, no matter the cost!), the rational part of me keeps interjecting. From what I can tell, the only way to truly stop the piracy would be an invasion and long occupation/rebuilding of Somalia similar to Iraq. So, the two most probable options:

A: Continue to pay a nuisance level of bribes, nobody (or at most a very few) dies. Piracy continues.

B: Invade/occupy/rebuild Somalia at a cost similar to the Iraq War in dollars and American lives. Piracy ends.

While ending piracy is preferable to letting it continue, is the astronomically higher cost worth it?
4.13.2009 5:17am
Bob The Lawyer:
Angus, isn't there an option C: make piracy sufficiently dangerous to the pirates, and bribes sufficiently rare, that the risk/reward equation changes?
4.13.2009 6:53am
Cost Analysis (mail):
Angus:

Apart from the principle of paying any amount: what is a "nuisance level" bribe? Is it anything that we are willing to pay? If we pay "nuisance level" bribes, is it more or less likely that pirates will subsequently increase the price they ask? Will this increase in price not continue to rise if we continue to pay it? Two million is not a small reward for a pirate, unless they know they can get more. These pirates not only did not receive 2 million, they were made substantially worse off. For good or for worse, that result is something they will take into consideration in future analyses (asking for less money hoping we will pay it on the assumption that this whole series of actions isn't about the principle of paying even one cent, shooting one hostage immediately and asking for more money, etc.).

Personally, I don't think Somalia can be "rebuilt" by us and I suspect we fundamentally misunderstood//misunderstand the way the country works. That doesn't mean we can't be involved in stopping its slide into a [even more] failed state, but I doubt military intervention is prudent for many reasons. I also don't think it would end piracy.
4.13.2009 6:55am
zuch (mail) (www):
Skyler:
[DangerMouse]: Gee, libs want to celebrate this? I thought that they believed that the killing of pirates would only encourage more pirating.

[zuch]: No. But it may make it harder to negotiate in the future ... for better or for worse. So far, almost all of the hostages (AFAIK) have been released. They may now start to use a "shoot one, and keep doing it until you get the ransom" approach.

[skyler]: Oh, so just keep losing multiple millions of dollars at a time because the pirates are polite? Yeah, that's a winning plan. That's what kept the Barbary pirates in business for a couple centuries.
Please read for understanding. I made no such claim ... or even suggestion. I simply pointed out that this type of approach is not totally without drawbacks, even if it may well be the best way to go overall. As I pointed out in another comments, the French lost one hostage in one of their three rescue attempts, and may well have lost him because the pirates killed him when attacked (the article doesn't say).

Being in a position to (hopefully) soon be sailing the deep blue sea ... and be subject to pirate attacks ... I can understand both why some people might want their gummint (or somebody) to bail them out at any cost if held hostage for ransom ... and also why gummints would be best off not doing such for policy reasons. I would prefer that the gummint(s) attack and prosecute (or disable and kill) any pirates that grab me rather than accede to ransom ... but I don't think they'll ask us how we feel about such before they grab our boat. But I'm just saying that now; perhaps I'd change my mind if the real situation did occur. But I don't think we'll really know how you would react to such a hostage situation until it occurred to you either. How would you react to an armed robbery? Would you refuse to turn over your money and jewelry on principle, because doing so simply encourages more armed robbery?

Cheers,
4.13.2009 7:50am
zuch (mail) (www):
Skyler:
And a big difference is that when one sect or small groups of Christians starts acting up, generally most of the others denounce them.
I'll keep that in mind the next time some wingnut mentions Waco (... and Clinton). April 19th was both "Waco day" and "OKC day". Coincidence? I think not.

Of course, there are those that think that the Davidians worshiped guns more than they worshiped Jesus, and that in fact this was the big "crime" for which they were persecuted....

Cheers,
4.13.2009 7:56am
zuch (mail) (www):
John Moore:
So Obama has shown he has at least one testicle, although there is no evidence it has descended yet.

This after doing nothing while:

[1)]: The Iranians kidnap another American

[2)]: The Norks kidnap two Americans

[3)]: The Norks launch an ICBM test in violation of the usual toothless UN sanctions

[4]: The Iranians brag that they have now mastered all aspects of Uranium enrichment.

[5)]: The Russians cheer when Obama wants to get rid of all nukes (the Ruskies will keep theirs, somewhere, of course).
Can't let a good deed go unpunished, eh?

1) and 2). You don't know what's being done here. You might wait until it plays out. I'd note that Dubya apologised for the EP-3, and Reagan didn't go in with guns blazing to get the Lebanese hostages released; he gave the Iranians arms in a trade.

3). The launch of a ballistic missile (which this may have been) may be counter to U.N. Security Council resolution, but the resolution provided for no automatic armed response should NK do so.

4). The Iranian "bragging" was WRT completing the 'fuel manufacturing cycle' (that is, pelletizing and cladding the LE product, making it suitable for HW reactors). Which is what they claim as their purpose.

5). Why do you say the Russians will keep nukes?

Cheers,
4.13.2009 8:12am
zuch (mail) (www):
Thoughtful:Zuchs, responding to Arturo's suggestion of arming the merchant ships:

[zuch]: "Won't help. You need to clear customs in the ports of call, and thats's the problem with carrying arms. I have no idea what "international law" you say prohibits arms on board; it's the laws of the host nation when you enter port. If people start carrying arms, they'll just have hassles on entering port, and nothing that Obama does would change that.... "

I've heard this before, but it doesn't make sense. To avoid this problem simply requires a tugboat or other small vessel to meet the ships just in international waters, 3 miles out or so, and store the weapons while the now-disarmed ship goes to port, unloads, comes back out and re-arms in international waters. Efficient? No. But surely less costly than the $2 million ransom requested, or calling out the Navy for every picayune incident.
I was thinking more of
4.13.2009 8:15am
zuch (mail) (www):
Thoughtful:
Zuchs, responding to Arturo's suggestion of arming the merchant ships:

[zuch]: "Won't help. You need to clear customs in the ports of call, and thats's the problem with carrying arms. I have no idea what "international law" you say prohibits arms on board; it's the laws of the host nation when you enter port. If people start carrying arms, they'll just have hassles on entering port, and nothing that Obama does would change that.... "

I've heard this before, but it doesn't make sense. To avoid this problem simply requires a tugboat or other small vessel to meet the ships just in international waters, 3 miles out or so, and store the weapons while the now-disarmed ship goes to port, unloads, comes back out and re-arms in international waters. Efficient? No. But surely less costly than the $2 million ransom requested, or calling out the Navy for every picayune incident.
I was thinking more of the problem of private sailors, who can't really afford to have some tugboats standing on call at every port of entry to hold their guns while they are in port. It is a legitimate (and difficult question): What do you do to arm yourself if you're sailing? We've talked about it amongst ourselves, and read up on what others have done. If you're carrying weapons, in many cases you need to turn them in on entry, and you may have a hard time getting them back (or only at a price). And some countries will simply confiscate. So do you secret them somewhere, and hope customs inspection doesn't find them? If so, are they readily available if you do see suspicious blips at night? And are weapons really any good considering the pirates may have automatic ones and/or RPGs? The best solution is care and avoidance, of course, but that may not always be practical. As it stands, Type As that we are, I think we'll round the Cape of Good Hope rather than the Suez (and stay off shore of Nigeria too). There's thrill-seeking ... and idiocy.

But back to the question: Commercial traffic has many more options for such arms, including prior arrangements with the host country for stowage and return of such arms. I don't think that tenders offshore are needed. It's the small boats that have a real problem ... but for the most part, small boats are not the favourite targets of the pirates.

Cheers,
4.13.2009 8:26am
Harry Eagar (mail):
So, the Navy manages to defeat 4 nearly unarmed pirates, and we are treated to the most disproportionate outburst of crowing since the Lion of Grenada, Reagan, managed (just barely) to conquer 600 construction workers.

It would be funny if it weren't pathetic.
4.13.2009 9:06am
TerrencePhilip:
Harry Eagar,

what a disingenuous criticism. "Defeat" would be a better word if the pirates had engaged the Navy directly without a hostage. This was not a direct sea battle; it was a delicate hostage situation, perfectly handled all around by the commander on scene and the incredibly trained SEALS. (Hell, just the way they made their way to the boat is amazing, and more than most people could ever do.) The American hostage is a very brave man, and Americans are rightly overjoyed that this ended so well.

Sorry you couldn't see it.
4.13.2009 9:49am
Oren:
Harry, hostage situations are not easy for those that give a fig about what happens if the hostage dies.
4.13.2009 9:58am
Skyler (mail) (www):
I couldn't help but notice an innocent statement by one of the crewmembers. He said the SEAL's were just like a SWAT team.

Sheesh, has our country really changed that much that we expect better military skills from our police than from our military?
4.13.2009 9:59am
Guest12345:

Hell, just the way they made their way to the boat is amazing, and more than most people could ever do.


Eh? They shot the pirates from the Bainbridge while they were towing the lifeboat with an 82 foot line. Then they shimmied down the line to untie the captain.
4.13.2009 10:01am
Oren:

Being in a position to (hopefully) soon be sailing the deep blue sea ... and be subject to pirate attacks ... I can understand both why some people might want their gummint (or somebody) to bail them out at any cost if held hostage for ransom

And interview with the ship's captain indicated they were insured, so they already made perfectly good arrangements to be bailed out in case of piracy.

Insurance: the correct way to be bailed out.
4.13.2009 10:05am
PubliusFL:
zuch: How would you react to an armed robbery? Would you refuse to turn over your money and jewelry on principle, because doing so simply encourages more armed robbery?

Sure, if I was reasonably confident that I could successfully refuse to turn over my valuables. Otherwise, ineffective resistance does little to discourage armed robbery.
4.13.2009 10:14am
PeterWimsey (mail):
Like everyone else, I am very happy that this situation ended the way it did - hostage situations are very tricky, but the military response seems to have been just about perfect.

I am also going to give O. some credit for doing his part well sending FBI negotiators, talking to Somali elders about the pirates' arrest *and* authorizing the use of force were all appropriate responses. But still, most of the credit goes to the military, who were able to perform flawlessly, as well as to the captain and crew, who were able to retake their own ship.

But, unfortunately, this situation was pretty unusual when compared to other piracies in the region - there were only 4 pirates, and they were chased off of the ship they tried to take and ended up adrift in a lifeboat. A more common scenario would have been an attack by 10-20 pirates, resulting in them having command of the ship and 10-20 hostages. Under these circumstances, an effective military response would have been much more difficult.

And I think will be more difficult in the future, although I suspect that pirates will think twice about capturing a US flagged ship. (They may still do it, but at least they'll think about it.)
4.13.2009 10:50am
CDR D (mail):
Africanus strongly opposed the complete destruction of Carthage. Maybe you mean Cato the Elder.



Nope, I meant Scipio. He's the one that defeated them. Destroying the culture was a political effort after he did the military defeat. Cato is also apt. But I was thinking of Scipio.



Scipio Africanus was the victor in the Second Punic (Hannibalic) War. Carthage was destroyed after the Third Punic War. Scipio Aemilianus was the Roman General. I believe he was the adopted son of Africanus.
4.13.2009 11:06am
David Schwartz (mail):
The rescue of the Captain seems largely to have succeeded despite the President. The President refused to authorize the use of force for many hours and finally essentially gave orders that let the pirates choose when force would be used. The rescue succeeded despite these decisions.
4.13.2009 11:19am
zuch (mail) (www):
TerrencePhilip:
This was not a direct sea battle; it was a delicate hostage situation, perfectly handled all around by the commander on scene and the incredibly trained SEALS. (Hell, just the way they made their way to the boat is amazing, and more than most people could ever do.)
I was under the impression the snipers were on the Bainbridge fantail. The French attack seems to have involved RIBs. I don't think either attack involved divers sneaking up (Dirk Pitt was indisposed or unavailable, I guess).

Cheers,
4.13.2009 11:26am
MarkField (mail):

Nope, I meant Scipio. He's the one that defeated them. Destroying the culture was a political effort after he did the military defeat. Cato is also apt. But I was thinking of Scipio.


Just to add to what CDR D said, Africanus was long dead by the time Carthage was destroyed in 146 b.c.e.
4.13.2009 11:39am
zuch (mail) (www):
As might be expected, (some) pirates have now declared that they woud use harsher methods with U.S. or French sailors. Unlike many hostage situations, with a lone group who are rendered powerless when overcome, the Somali pirates have not all been captured or killed, and retaliation of some kind is no unexpected. Now that we have taken a stronger position, we are to some extent committed to such a position in future incidents ... or required to take other measures to eliminate the rest of the pirates.

Cheers,
4.13.2009 11:50am
Seamus (mail):

Obama deserves credit for showing he's not just Jimmy Carter part two. Carter cancelled the rescue mission when he realized there would be casualties.



No, Carther cancelled the mission when he and the commander on the scene, Col. Beckworth, realized that, as a result of the unexpected sandstorm, there weren't enough helicopters available to be sure of carrying out the mission successfully.
4.13.2009 11:57am
zuch (mail) (www):
Skyler:
I couldn't help but notice an innocent statement by one of the crewmembers. He said the SEAL's were just like a SWAT team.

Sheesh, has our country really changed that much that we expect better military skills from our police than from our military?
I think you misunderstood. The military is primarily trained for combat, not for hostage situations. Albeit SF forces undoubtedly have extensive training in "extractions" and similar situations, which may well (and should) include rescuing hostages, whether fellow soldiers/marines/sailors, or other personnel. Why you should find insult in such a remark (or read into it your gratuitous interpretation above as to what "we expect") is beyond me.

Cheers,
4.13.2009 11:58am
Kenno (mail):
Of course, there are those that think that the Davidians worshiped guns more than they worshiped Jesus, and that in fact this was the big "crime" for which they were persecuted....

Oh, I see. So worshipping guns is a serious enough crime to warrant you and your children being incinerated. Good to know where you're coming from.

It's just like the claim that guns are substitute penises for men who are overcompensating. Even supposing it to be true, since when was a small member grounds for violating someone's civil rights?

I realize you guys consider rape-porn king Larry Flynt as a constitutional hero, but don't you think it's taking it a little far to say the Bill of Rights doesn't apply to underendowed men?
4.13.2009 12:12pm
zuch (mail) (www):
PubliusFL:
[zuch]: How would you react to an armed robbery? Would you refuse to turn over your money and jewelry on principle, because doing so simply encourages more armed robbery?

Sure, if I was reasonably confident that I could successfully refuse to turn over my valuables. Otherwise, ineffective resistance does little to discourage armed robbery.
OK, let's say that you think you could thwart the aims of the robbery, but at some (perhaps 100%) of your own demise. Say, by shouting and running, sufficient to raise an alarm and perhaps dissuade the robber from completing the robbery because of the attention, but risking a bullet for your actions. What then? Would you take a bullet for the greater good (of thwarting or at least making more difficult the armed robbery, or other such robberies in the future)? This would be like saying: "Don't pay the ransom. Attack and try to free me instead, even if I have some chance of dying (as did the skipper on the French sailing yacht, unfortunately)in the rescue attempt" ? The pirates would almost assuredly pay (and this would dissuade other pirates), but at a potential price of the lives of hostages. Some hostages might be willing to do this; others may think their own life more important than the "greater good", independent of the ransom cost or who pays it....

Cheers,
4.13.2009 12:18pm
David Schwartz (mail):
The hostages always want you to pay the ransom. The families of the hostages always want you to pay the ransom. It does not follow that because every individual would want the ransom to be paid were they the hostage it is rational to pay the ransom.

Not paying the ransom certainly increases the risk to the hostage. But it decreases the risk to future potential hostages.
4.13.2009 12:29pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Our wiser solons chime in:[David Schwartz:The rescue of the Captain seems largely to have succeeded despite the President. The President refused to authorize the use of force for many hours and finally essentially gave orders that let the pirates choose when force would be used. The rescue succeeded despite these decisions.Mr. Schwartz of course knows better that the FBI, the military and NSC, not to mention our Kenyan-born president Obama, how to handle these things. I'm quite sure that Mr. Schwartz would have done a much better job of it, had he been asked. Too bad we didn't ask him. Had we charged in with guns blazing at the first opportunity, our interests in showing the world who's boss would have been amply served, along with the subsidiary task of actually rescuing the hostage and disabling or capturing the pirates. This would have done much to encourage just the type of submissive behaviour amongst other potential pirates and those that might influence them, as noted above in my link.

Cheers,
4.13.2009 12:30pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"No, Carther [sic] cancelled the mission when he and the commander on the scene, Col. Beckworth, realized that, as a result of the unexpected sandstorm, there weren't enough helicopters available to be sure of carrying out the mission successfully."

It was more than just a sandstorm. The helicopters were not properly outfitted for the environment they had to operate in. Did not have properly trained pilots, and fundamentally there were not enough of them. Some details are here. But I think I can add something. As I recall the helicopters were unable to operate in a dusty environment. I think they had the wrong kind of filter in the air intakes.

The important point is that the failure of that mission was not simply bad luck. It was poorly planned and poorly executed.
4.13.2009 12:36pm
ChrisTS (mail):
EPluribusMoney (mail):
Is anyone thinking about the families of the three dead pirates? For all we know each may have had 2 or 3 wives and a dozen children. One of those children might have come to America some day and fathered a future president with a co-ed.


Skyler
Wait. Weren't the Barbary pirates also muslims? Coincidence? The sooner we eradicate this religion and culture from our planet, the better.


UGH. Just when I was feeling good about our nation and our government.
Thanks for fouling the water.
4.13.2009 12:37pm
zuch (mail) (www):
[zuch]: Of course, there are those that think that the Davidians worshiped guns more than they worshiped Jesus, and that in fact this was the big "crime" for which they were persecuted....

{Kenno]: Oh, I see. So worshipping guns is a serious enough crime to warrant you and your children being incinerated. Good to know where you're coming from.

It's just like the claim that guns are substitute penises for men who are overcompensating. Even supposing it to be true, since when was a small member grounds for violating someone's civil rights?

I realize you guys consider rape-porn king Larry Flynt as a constitutional hero, but don't you think it's taking it a little far to say the Bill of Rights doesn't apply to underendowed men?
I got one! Reeling him in....

Cheers,

P.S.: A Republican-headed inquiry concluded (correctly) that the Davidians torched themselves (conspiracy theorists notwithstanding. The outcome was a disaster, but let's put the blame for the conflagration and mass deaths where it should lie.

Interesting, on a "hostage" thread, that someone pops up to defend the rights of some group defying legally constituted authority....
4.13.2009 12:38pm
zuch (mail) (www):
David Schwartz:
The hostages always want you to pay the ransom. The families of the hostages always want you to pay the ransom. It does not follow that because every individual would want the ransom to be paid were they the hostage it is rational to pay the ransom.

Not paying the ransom certainly increases the risk to the hostage. But it decreases the risk to future potential hostages.


Are you presuming to speak for others? Do you know that Capt. Phillips would have asked that the ransom be paid? If so, how so?

As for future risk. not quite so clear (albeit I'm inclined to support not paying ransom for philosophical and moral reasons, even if not prudential ones). The Israelis have (or had, perhaps) generally managed a "no ransom" policy, and that worked well in at least some cases. But recently, they have indeed traded hostages as well; are they getting soft? Or just pragmatic...

Cheers,
4.13.2009 12:45pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
The news reports indicate that BHO orders were to shoot only if the hostage's life was in imminent danger. I'm not sure that was the best order. Another possible order: shoot at the first opportunity of a reasonably sure kill. Leave the "sure" to the judgment of the snipers. Shooting and missing would have serious consequences, so the "imminent danger" directive might really have been the best choice. It's hard to judge without having been there to observe the conditions. Snipers can get a kill at a mile, but they were shooting at a bobbing target. On the other hand, they might have had motion compensation equipment to handle that situation.
4.13.2009 12:51pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
ChrisTS:

"UGH. Just when I was feeling good about our nation and our government."

There is much to feel good about in an immediate sense. I'm happy for the captain. I'm happy the Navy had the competence to complete a successful mission-- compare and contrast to Jimmy Carter. I'm happy that BHO didn't somehow manage to screw things up. But let's face it. The capture of an American crew was predictable. The whole piracy problem has been neglected by the whole world. We had to wait until something bad happened. Now we will do the things we should have done years ago. In that sense I don't feel good about our government.
4.13.2009 12:59pm
karl m (mail):
According to international law, any country capturing a pirate has jurisdiction and the duty to put to trial them. They can be prosecuted in the USA acording to treaties
4.13.2009 1:02pm
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
zuch:

A Republican-headed inquiry concluded (correctly) that the Davidians torched themselves

How would you know? Were you in the building when it happened? No, the evidence is inconclusive. The only real evidence the government offered in support for that was a voice recording that they had to "enhance" to make comprehensible, and even then what was alleged to have been said could be interpreted in many ways that do not indicate instigation. On the other hand we have strong evidence that the government injected toxic and flammable gas into the building and also fired incendiary rounds into it, because some were found at the scene that had failed to go off. To add to the plausibility of the theory that the government caused the fire we have a historical pattern of them starting fires to burn out dissidents in other incidents, suggesting it is standard operating procedure.

I have spoken to congressional staffers about this. There seems to be general acceptance that it was a government atrocity but also a determination to sweep it under the rug, because it implicates leaders of both parties. That happens a lot inside the Beltway.
4.13.2009 1:22pm
Kenno (mail):
Jon Roland: that would make sense, since the Ruby Ridge atrocity took place during the Bush I administration.
4.13.2009 1:31pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Zarkov is correct about the Iran raid. If it depended for success on every single helicopter's performing flawlessly, then it should never have been tried. Carter got suckered by the incompetents in Special Forces. No surprise to those of us old enough to remember their performance in S. Vietnam.

If I were a Somali pirate, the lesson I would take away from this week's episode is: We captured a ship right under the noses of the US Navy, and it didn't even make a gesture to stop us.

This was a defeat of 4 pirates (or 3, depending upon how you count the 'negotiator'). It was not the defeat of Somali piracy. Not even the beginning of one.

And recall, in the negotiations, we offered to return the 4 to Puntland for trial. Yeah, that'll put the fear into other pirates.

Tiny tactical victory, severe strategic defeat.
4.13.2009 1:31pm
John Moore (www):
zuch

5). Why do you say the Russians will keep nukes?


You're kidding, right?
4.13.2009 1:41pm
zuch (mail) (www):
John Moore:

No. Can you answer the question?

Cheers,
4.13.2009 1:46pm
John Moore (www):

Zarkov is correct about the Iran raid. If it depended for success on every single helicopter's performing flawlessly, then it should never have been tried. Carter got suckered by the incompetents in Special Forces. No surprise to those of us old enough to remember their performance in S. Vietnam.


Actually, for political reasons, Delta Force (under Beckwith) was forced to use non-SF Navy choppers when he wanted to use SF army choppers. The result was catastrophe.
4.13.2009 1:48pm
Kenno (mail):
Danforth report asks wrong questions about Waco
by Phyllis Schlafly

Every lawyer knows that if he can control the questions, he can get the answers he wants. The problem with the Danforth interim report on the Waco tragedy was not the answers but the questions. It is clear from Special Counsel John C. Danforth's report that he defined his mission not as gathering all the facts to explain how the fiery disaster happened but as restoring American citizens' confidence in our government. His biggest worry was that "61 percent of the people" believe the government was at fault in the Waco tragedy and that this imperils "the very basis of government." In fact, it is the cover-up of government mistakes and bad judgment that imperils the very basis of government. The public correctly believes that the government has not fully acknowledged its wrongdoing in the Waco tragedy, and the Danforth report only adds fuel to the fire. In a misguided attempt to dispel public opinion that the government was at fault, Danforth deliberately restricted his investigation to the events of April 19, 1993. Danforth boasted in his news conference that he did not look into whether government agents "exercised bad judgment." But the very bad judgment of the government's attack on the Branch Davidians is a key part of the case! Why did the Clinton administration attack a small and pitiful religious group, suspected of relatively trivial offenses, with two U.S. Army tanks, U.S. Air Force aircraft and helicopters, mine detectors, machine guns, 700 men and the secret, highly trained U.S. Delta military force created for use against dangerous terrorists? The picture of the U.S. Army tank ramming the Branch Davidians' buildings will go into history as a pictorial legacy of the Clinton administration, along with the famous photograph of the grabbing of Elian Gonzalez with a pointed machine gun. Those powerful images illustrate law enforcement under Bill Clinton. Danforth declared "with 100 percent certainty" that government agents "did not unlawfully employ the armed forces of the United States." Even if it is true that this large-scale military offensive was within the letter of the law (and it appears to be a gray area), that shouldn't end the analysis. We want to know who gave the order to use military force against civilians who were not terrorists or any threat to others. And if what the government did and didn't do at Waco was all within the law, then the law ought to be changed or, at the very least, heads should roll for such extraordinary bad judgment. To the question, "Did federal agents start the fire?" Danforth answered no. But the FBI spent six hours pouring into the Davidians' wooden structure the poison gas known as CS, which is banned for use in war by the Chemical Weapons Treaty. Even if the Davidians were to blame for the fire, that doesn't excuse the government's actions because both sides could be at fault. Why didn't the government have fire hoses ready to save the children? Danforth didn't ask any questions about why the government conducted a 51-day siege of the Branch Davidians' compound. Nor did he ask why the government cut off the Davidians' water and electricity and tormented them with recordings of animal screams played at a deafeningly high pitch. Danforth reported that the government "did not engage in a massive conspiracy and cover-up." The weasel word is massive. He had to admit that FBI agents and lawyers did conceal information about the pyrotechnic devices the FBI fired, about the videotape proving that an FBI agent authorized the explosive rounds and about the evidence of fired rounds collected at the scene. Danforth also admitted that these FBI concealments "contributed to the public perception of a cover-up and permitted a false impression to persist." If there wasn't a cover-up, why did the FBI, on the day of the final assault, keep newsmen and television cameras on the side of the building where they couldn't see or photograph the military offensive? The Danforth report blames the public for believing that the government was at fault and for ignoring "the contrary evidence that the FBI waited for 51 days without firing a shot." But he didn't ask why the FBI didn't wait 51 weeks rather than initiating an attack that resulted in the incineration of more than 80 people including at least 20 children, most of them younger than age 10. So many questions were excluded from the Danforth investigation because it was limited to events on April 19. For example, why didn't the government arrest Koresh on one of the many days when he went jogging outside the compound? The Danforth report appears to be designed to restore public confidence in our government rather than to discover what happened and why. Unfortunately, this report looks like government people closing ranks to protect each other, and that does not restore our confidence.


Yeah, I know Townhall does a lousy job of paragraphing the article. Oh well.

But at least we can be reassured that it was only "gun worshippers" that died, not people. You know, real people, who experience a full, rich life by sipping latte in Manhattan cafes.
4.13.2009 1:49pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Warning: OT

[Jon Roland]: How would you know? Were you in the building when it happened? No, the evidence is inconclusive.
They say the same about the WTC. Were you there? If not, can you really say for sure whether the Dubya administration didn't use explosives to bring down the towers? You know, I can find a thousand sites on teh Intertoobz that say Dubya did it....

Cheers,
4.13.2009 1:50pm
John Moore (www):

No. Can you answer the question?


Yes. Russia's conventional forces are pathetic, yet Russia faces China, which has a huge, modern, well-trained army. Furthermore, Russia knows that much of its influence in the world (such as its ability to meddle in Iran) is because of its huge strategic and tactical nuclear force.

They (like us) would be utter fools to get rid of their nukes.

A far more rational approach to dealing with the problem would be negotiating a solution to our current launch on warning situation.

As I write this, US and Russian launch officers are in a position where they will launch their retaliatory strikes if their sensors detect what the leaders think is a first strike. Several times, this has almost led to way - last time under Yeltsin, where the Russian "nuclear football" had been activated and he had three minutes in which to decide.

Most Americans don't appreciate that the chances of nuclear war with Russia are not that much diminished than they were in the Reagan era - that accidental war is the greatest threat. I don't know if it is still true, but until recently, the Russian early warning satellite system (which detects launch heat signatures) was missing a crucial satellite, greatly reducing their ability to detect a launch and hence heightening the probability that they would launch based purely on a radar incoming detect.

In the Yeltsin incident, a scientific sounding rocket, launched in the arctic, was mistaken for a sub-launched decapitation attack. The radar signature was consistent. The Norwegian were supposed to provide notice of the launch, but the Russian bureaucracy simply lost the notice. Hence Yeltsin's information was that radar had detected a missile trajectory consistent with a sub launch, and that there had been no prior notification.

oops.

Trying to negotiate away nukes is a fools errand, so it is not surprising that BHO is doing it. Negotiating us away from a launch on warning status (which would also probably require spending a bunch of money to replace MIRV'ed missiles with single warhead missiles) is a critically needed thing to do, so of course we are not doing it.
4.13.2009 2:00pm
John Moore (www):

P.S.: A Republican-headed inquiry concluded (correctly) that the Davidians torched themselves (conspiracy theorists notwithstanding. The outcome was a disaster, but let's put the blame for the conflagration and mass deaths where it should lie.


Almost all the fault is that of the feds, under both GHWB and BC. When confronted with a paranoid cult, Janet Reno, using a "save the children" rationale, ordered an attack. They could have waited out the cult and the disaster would not have happened. And, of course, ATF should never have raided them in the first place. The Branch Dividians did not have illegal weapons, and Koresh was easy to capture since he regularly went into town (sometimes to have coffee with the Sheriff).
4.13.2009 2:05pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Harry Eagar: You can't have it both ways. Given (and I agree with this part) that the SF of the Carter Era were incompetent, why shouldn't we celebrate the evidence that they have gotten their acts together? And the rest of the government, too—tell me FEMA would have done as badly with Katrina under Obama as under the cloWn.

What I took away from the Carter rescue debacle is that since every service wanted to be in on the glory, the teams were left with radios that didn't even operate on the same frequencies.
4.13.2009 2:09pm
wfjag:

John Moore:
zuch

5). Why do you say the Russians will keep nukes?

You're kidding, right?

zuch:
John Moore:

No. Can you answer the question?

Cheers,


Dear Zuch:

Why trust the Russians to be any more trustworthy in eliminating nukes than they were in eliminating Bio weapons?

See, e.g., www.icrc.org/Web/Eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/57JNPA

30-06-1997 International Review of the Red Cross no 318, p.251-265 by Jozef Goldblat
The Biological Weapons Convention - An overview


The Sverdlovsk case

In March 1980, the United States accused the Soviet Union of maintaining an offensive biological weapons programme which included production, weaponization and stockpiling of biological warfare agents. The accusation was based on the suspected airborne release of anthrax spores from a Soviet biological facility, which caused an outbreak of anthrax in the city of Sverdlovsk in April and May 1979 [27]. The Soviet Union confirmed that there had been an outbreak of anthrax in the Sverdlovsk region, but attributed this occurrence to the sale of anthrax-contaminated meat in violation of veterinary regulations [28]. It provided little additional information. The issue was the subject of bilateral US/Soviet consultations, and various groups of scientists met to evaluate the Soviet account of the incident [29], but the US government maintained its accusation [30]. In 1992, the Russian authorities admitted that a breach of the BW Convention had been committed. They undertook, under a decree issued by the President of the Russian Federation, to open secret military research centres to international inspection and convert them to civilian use [31].


Cheers to you, too!
4.13.2009 2:33pm
John Moore (www):
Note also that under the great peacemaker, Gorbachev, worshiped by the modern transnational left, the USSR greatly increased its biological weapons program and created inventories of many tons of agents such as smallpox and Anthrax.

Also, some of the IRBM's that they agreed to do away with in return for Reagan removing the Pershings were found in an airbase in Poland after the Poles took over.

Trust the Russians as much as they would trust you. That is the safest way. BTW, the Russians trust no one.
4.13.2009 2:55pm
zuch (mail) (www):
John Moore:
Almost all the fault is that of the feds, under both GHWB and BC. When confronted with a paranoid cult, Janet Reno, using a "save the children" rationale, ordered an attack. They could have waited out the cult and the disaster would not have happened....
I won't disagree that the gummint policy was bad here ... nutzo cults can react in rather strange ways, as we have (repeatedly) seen). But my point is that the Davidians torched themselves. However, I'd point out that the gummint showed a remarkable restraint concerning people that had killed gummint agents. That tends to get the gummint riled. Try it if you don't believe me.
... And, of course, ATF should never have raided them in the first place.
So you say, but others disagree. I think this issue is best left at that.

Cheers,
4.13.2009 2:57pm
zuch (mail) (www):
wfjag:
Dear Zuch:

Why trust the Russians to be any more trustworthy in eliminating nukes than they were in eliminating Bio weapons?

See, e.g., www.icrc.org/Web/Eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/57JNPA

30-06-1997 International Review of the Red Cross no 318, p.251-265 by Jozef Goldblat
The Biological Weapons Convention - An overview
The Sverdlovsk case

In March 1980, the United States accused the Soviet Union of maintaining an offensive biological weapons programme which included production, weaponization and stockpiling of biological warfare agents....
I don't disagree that Sverdlovsk was a major SNAFU, and undoubtedly due to illegal BWR. I remember accounts of this at the time, and analysis in Science magazine. But do you think the U.S. wasn't doing BWR?!?!?

But this is a different Soviet Uni... -- ummmm, Russia. ;-) And Brezhnev is quite dead. Not to mention, we don't have to trust them; we can insist on intrusive verification as well as a condition ... something that is always a good idea for such treaties. As you say:
In 1992, the Russian authorities admitted that a breach of the BW Convention had been committed. They undertook, under a decree issued by the President of the Russian Federation, to open secret military research centres to international inspection and convert them to civilian use [31].
Cheers,
4.13.2009 3:08pm
ohwilleke:
Notably, the way it went down (waiting until the hostage is in imminent danger of being killed and there is no other practicable way to rescue the hostage), is pretty much identical to how it would have gone down in state-side civilian SWAT team operation.

No piracy specific justifications were invoked in how the incident was handled.
4.13.2009 3:08pm
John Moore (www):
zuch,
Sverdlovsk was not a result of BWR. It was a result of BW production. Did you miss my comment about the enormous BW production and deployment program under Gorby?

The US did defensive BWR as was allowed under the treaty. The USSR had a huge (50,000 employee) BW weapons production establishment. The west didn't know of it until the defection of Kenneth Alibekov, the second in command of the whole thing.

However, I'd point out that the gummint showed a remarkable restraint concerning people that had killed gummint agents. That tends to get the gummint riled.
4.13.2009 3:15pm
John Moore (www):

However, I'd point out that the gummint showed a remarkable restraint concerning people that had killed gummint agents. That tends to get the gummint riled.


Uh huh. Tell that to all those kids who burned to death.

Clever of the government to attack a paranoid cult hiding in a large wooden structure, with APC's, on a day of extreme winds, after having cut off any power so the cult would have to rely on fire to keep warm. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
4.13.2009 3:17pm
Oren:


Clever of the government to attack a paranoid cult hiding in a large wooden structure, with APC's, on a day of extreme winds, after having cut off any power so the cult would have to rely on fire to keep warm

I hear tell that if they just walked out with their hands up before the APCs got there, they would have been given a nice warm cell and 3 meals a day to boot! Oh yeah, and a trial in front of 12 jurors to see about the charges leveled.

Of course, the Davidians might not like the fact that various Federal laws prohibit them from owning some of the weapons they did but I don't like a lot of Federal laws and somehow manage to grudgingly follow them.
4.13.2009 3:57pm
Oren:

The Israelis have (or had, perhaps) generally managed a "no ransom" policy, and that worked well in at least some cases.

How's that working out for Noam Shalit?
4.13.2009 4:08pm
wfjag:
Dear zuch:

After the treaty was signed, the US destroyed all its Bio weapons. It did research allowed by the treaty -- defensive research, which was allowed since Bio is the poor man's nuke, and not every nation was a party to the treaty or the Geneva Protocals which are also directed towards eliminating Bio weapons. The Sverdlovsk incident was not a research accident, it was due to the release of weaponized anthrax.

Now that Russia has gone through another cosmetic do-over (Czarist Empire, to USSR, to Russian Federation), why should I expect a change? Reagan had the second half of dealing with the Russians right (the "but verify" part). Hiding a few hundred nuclear warheads more than the couple of thousand agreed upon is a lot easier than hiding Bio weapons facilities, and the scientists, engineers and technicians who work there. Russia is suffering from a Brain Drain, in that many of their top people are going elsewhere for more pay. It only takes one or two of those to blow the whistle on a Bio weapons program. But, when you're allowed to keep a couple thousand nuclear warheads, it takes much more to verify compliance. So, no, I'm not confident that the current proposal isn't merely a chance at unilateral disarmament in the face of a potential enemy that has broken weapons treaties in the past.
4.13.2009 4:14pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Oren:
[zuch]: The Israelis have (or had, perhaps) generally managed a "no ransom" policy, and that worked well in at least some cases.

How's that working out for Noam Shalit?
I never said there weren't some bugs in the system. And Israel has on occasion swapped prisoners for hostages in recent times; their "no negotiations" policy is no longer pristine

Cheers,
4.13.2009 4:32pm
JFred (mail):
The Maersk shipping line has a lot of US Defense Department contracts, maybe that's why the cargo was on a more-expensive US-flagged ship. Either that or it was foreign aid.

The cargo was going to Kenya, where the US is "intervening" to institute reforms. The current Prime Minister claims to be Obama's cousin. Obama's family is from Kenya and they are from the same tribe.

Was the piracy a coincidence or an attempt to forstall a US coup in Kenya? Is Obama's family involved?
4.13.2009 4:50pm
David Schwartz (mail):
Zuch:
Are you presuming to speak for others? Do you know that Capt. Phillips would have asked that the ransom be paid? If so, how so?
No, by "want" I mean "find it in their [short-term] interest". It's linguistically tricky how you apply the word "want" to a choice made by a person under coercion anyway.
4.13.2009 5:07pm
zuch (mail) (www):
John Moore:Uh huh. Tell that to all those kids who burned to death.

Clever of the government to attack a paranoid cult hiding in a large wooden structure, with APC's, on a day of extreme winds, after having cut off any power so the cult would have to rely on fire to keep warm. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
I'll say this just once more and them I'm done: How can you say that 9/11 wasn't an inside job? And just think of all those innocent civilians that the Dubya administration killed. That wasn't even carelessness; that was premeditation. </snark> I really have no desire to argue 9/11 conspiracies, but the very same applies to 'arguing' with "Waco Truthers". Capice?

Cheers,
4.13.2009 5:15pm
zuch (mail) (www):
David Schwartz:
[zuch]: Are you presuming to speak for others? Do you know that Capt. Phillips would have asked that the ransom be paid? If so, how so?

No, by "want" I mean "find it in their [short-term] interest". It's linguistically tricky how you apply the word "want" to a choice made by a person under coercion anyway.
That makes even less sense. Are you suggesting that, absent coercion, Phillips (naturally) would have wanted the ransom paid, but those eyyyvull pirates managed to bend his will and force him to not want a ransom paid?!?!?

I repeat my original complain: It seems that you said that "[t]he hostages always want you to pay the ransom", no? And since Capt. Phillips was unarguable a hostage (indeed a voluntary one, by all accounts), you said that Capt. Phillips would have wanted the ransom paid. And I questioned your knowledge on this. This is a pretty serious accusation to make of Capt. Phillips, who seems to have acted quite honourably and bravely. If you have knowledge of Capt. Phillips's thoughts here, out with it. If not, wouldn't an apology to him be in order?

Cheers,
4.13.2009 5:28pm
Skyler (mail) (www):


I wrote: Nope, I meant Scipio. He's the one that defeated them. Destroying the culture was a political effort after he did the military defeat. Cato is also apt. But I was thinking of Scipio.

Then a couple other people wrote a variation on this:
Just to add to what CDR D said, Africanus was long dead by the time Carthage was destroyed in 146 b.c.e.


Duh. Isn't that what I said. Sheesh. Sometimes the internet is nothing more than people competing to have the most nitpicky points to bring up, whether relevent or accurate.

Scipio defeated the Carthaginians. Pay attention now. Destroying the culture was a political effort. I already said that it took several centuries to do it. It stands to reason that more than one individual was involved, including the rather well known fact that Scipio was in the second Punic war and there were three punic wars. Sheesh.
4.13.2009 5:37pm
John Moore (www):

I hear tell that if they just walked out with their hands up before the APCs got there, they would have been given a nice warm cell and 3 meals a day to boot! Oh yeah, and a trial in front of 12 jurors to see about the charges leveled.


We were discussing the judgment of the government, not the confused cultists.


Of course, the Davidians might not like the fact that various Federal laws prohibit them from owning some of the weapons they did but I don't like a lot of Federal laws and somehow manage to grudgingly follow them.
4.13.2009 7:17pm
John Moore (www):
Darn, hit post comment instead of block quote above. Continuing...


Of course, the Davidians might not like the fact that various Federal laws prohibit them from owning some of the weapons they did but I don't like a lot of Federal laws and somehow manage to grudgingly follow them.


And which weapons would those be?

Again, nobody is defending any unlawful behavior of the BD's.
4.13.2009 7:19pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
Yeah, I dont' recall any illegal weapons. There were claims of such, but even those claims were of only one or two. You generally don't incinerate people for not paying a rather small tax.
4.13.2009 7:46pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I watched the congressional hearings on Waco and Ruby Ridge.
What the government stipulated to in the warmups would have been beyond the imagination of any wild-eyed conspiracy theorist.
Just to get the hors d'oeuvres out of the way.
Then they went on to the real SNAFUs.
4.13.2009 8:34pm
zuch (mail) (www):
This bears repeating (and then I'll shut up about this digression):
[Skyler]: And a big difference is that when one sect or small groups of Christians starts acting up, generally most of the others denounce them.

[zuch]: I'll keep that in mind the next time some wingnut mentions Waco (... and Clinton). April 19th was both "Waco day" and "OKC day". Coincidence? I think not.
Note what happened (here). Guess one man's "terrorist" is another man's "freedom fighter", eh? Personally, I say a pox on all their houses.

Cheers,
4.13.2009 9:06pm
John Moore (www):

Note what happened (here). Guess one man's "terrorist" is another man's "freedom fighter", eh?


Having fun erecting straw men?
4.13.2009 10:51pm
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
Richard Aubrey:

I watched the congressional hearings on Waco and Ruby Ridge.
What the government stipulated to in the warmups would have been beyond the imagination of any wild-eyed conspiracy theorist.
Just to get the hors d'oeuvres out of the way.
Then they went on to the real SNAFUs.

Part of the coverup was in getting people to think it was only cockups and not callous or deliberately malicious.

It seems the government is congenitally incapable of revisiting its atrocities without digging the hole deeper of loss of public credibility. They aren't even pretending to be believable. It is an exercise in rubbing our noses in it. "We're lying, You know we're lying. We know you know. And you know we know you know. And it doesn't make any difference because we're got the power and there's nothing you can do about it!"

Welcome to OrwellWorld, circa 1993 and continuing.
4.13.2009 11:15pm
David Schwartz (mail):
Zuch: I think it's quite obvious what I meant and I think you're persisting in a deliberate attempt to misunderstand me.
4.13.2009 11:58pm
zuch (mail) (www):
David Schwartz:
Zuch: I think it's quite obvious what I meant and I think you're persisting in a deliberate attempt to misunderstand me.
Perhaps it's obvious to you what you meant. It's not at all obvious to me. I still think it looks like you're assuming a view (note my bolded quote of yours) that is hardly a given. Do you stand by that original statement ("[T]he hostages always want you to pay the ransom")? Does that apply to Capt. Phillips? If not, isn't your statement false? If true, what evidence do you have for this defamatory claim? If none, then you simply shouldn't have said it. Just man up, David (can't hurt you too much), and admit that it's quite possible that someone who's offered himself as a hostage may not be of the mind to then demand that he be ransomed. But that was the clear message of what you'd originally claimed and if that's not what you meant, you haven't explained what it was you really did mean.

And that's the last I'll say on that.

Cheers,
4.14.2009 12:35am
David Schwartz (mail):
zuch: It is always in the short-term, best interest of the hostages that the ransom be paid, assuming that this will ensure their safe return and other choices will not.

The use of the term "want" is always ambiguous when a person is under coercion. You have to use common sense to understand what it means, and you steadfastly refuse to that.

If I point a gun at your head and say "give me all your money", there's a sense in which you want to give me all your money and a sense in which you don't. It's obvious which is which and what they mean.
4.14.2009 3:07am
zuch (mail) (www):
David Schwartz:
zuch: It is always in the short-term, best interest of the hostages that the ransom be paid, assuming that this will ensure their safe return and other choices will not.
Sez you. Get it through your head; no one cares what you think. You are imputing to others your thoughts. You shouldn't. They are allowed to think differently, regardless of the "soundness" of your position. Or perhaps I should start imputing to you things that you don't think.
The use of the term "want" is always ambiguous when a person is under coercion.
I've already pointed out that people may decide that they don't want a ransom paid, even if under coercion. Get that through your head. If the second time is not the charm here, perhaps I ought to take "firmer" measures next time to make sure you comply with my way of thinking what you should think.

Cheers,
4.14.2009 8:41am
Gray Ghost:
Q: "Then tell me: When, exactly, during this entire episode was Captain Phillips' life not in imminent danger?"

A: "Because, so far as I can tell, Somali pirates have thus far killed zero hostages. The only hostages I have read about being killed were those killed during military "rescue" operations."


Correction to A: Even if nobody has been killed by Somali pirates so far, hostage taking is an implicit threat to the hostage's life. If the threat to life was not implicit in the act of piracy / hostage taking, then the kidnapping would not be an effective way of generating ransom. Given that a threat to life is implicit in a pirate kidnapping, lethal force is justified to free the hostage.

And, news stories have stated the pirates were armed and that at the moment the SEAL team snipers fired, an AK 47 was aimed at the hostage's back. How is that not a threat of lethal force, which can be answered by lethal force?

GG
4.14.2009 2:29pm

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