Thursday, April 09, 2009

What Happened to the Yardarm?

Unbelievable. The greatest superpower on Earth is being held at bay by four Jack Sparrow Wannabes in a dead-in-the-water lifeboat. I'm sure that's improving our image with the rest of the world.

From the Yahoo! news article:

The U.S. brought in FBI hostage negotiators to work with the military in
trying to secure the release of Capt. Richard Phillips of Underhill, Vt. An
official said the bandits were in talks with the Navy about resolving the
standoff peacefully.

How about, "Let him go and we let you live -- THIS time". Even that's a bit generous in my book, but for the sake of the captain's life, it may be necessary. But just like Terrorists, You don't negotiate with pirates -- ESPECIALLY not from a position of weakness. This isn't new territory -- our first foreign war was against African pirates associated with militant Islam.

Gen. David Petraeus, head of the U.S. Central Command, said more ships
would be sent to the area because "we want to ensure that we have all the
capability that might be needed over the course of the coming days." U.S.
officials said the guided-missile frigate USS Haliburton was among the ships en

The additional ships will serve as a show of force following an
increase in the number of attacks and the first one on a U.S.-flagged ship. The
vessels would give the U.S. military more eyes on the threatened area and make
the pirates think twice before trying to seize another ship, but it was not
enough to mount a blockade, according to a senior U.S. defense official who
spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss
operational matters.

We don't need more EYES on the threatened area, we need more FISTS. The pirates aren't going to think twice about JACK just because they know we're watching -- they'll only think twice if we make it demonstrably and patently clear that we're watching, and ready and willing to lower the boom on them if they act up.

"These people are nothing more than criminals and we are bringing to bear a
number of our assets, including naval and FBI, in order to resolve the hostage
situation and bring the pirates to justice," said Secretary of State Hillary
Rodham Clinton.

Nothing more? They're something far LESS than criminals, Madame Secretary. While historically captured pirates were given criminal trials, they often never made it to trial due to being sunk at sea, and they were often treated the same as spies and non-uniformed combatants in wartime: summary execution was often the norm.

I'm not necessarily advocating summary execution, but I also believe that while pirates are under arms, they are not merely civilian criminals -- they are enemy combatants, and the appropriate response to their violent force is superior violent force.

President Barack Obama was getting regular updates on the situation, said
spokesman Robert Gibbs. Attorney General Eric Holder says the United States will
take whatever steps are needed to protect U.S. shipping interests against

Sink them. destroy their vessels, shoot them dead, bomb their docks. Follow Jefferson and Decaturs example -- make vigorous, enthusiastic war on them. Make them understand that the end of piracy is death, and that the only hope of survival lies in lowering their flag, laying down their arms, or better yet, never take them up in the first place.

Update (5:46 PM Saturday):

An American
skipper held hostage by pirates tried to swim to freedom Friday but was
recaptured seconds later when the bandits opened fire within view of a U.S.

According to the article:

He was in the water only a matter of seconds — not enough time for sailors
aboard the Bainbridge to do much to help him, the defense officials said.
Because both the lifeboat and the Bainbridge are moving, no swimmers or divers
could have been standing by in the water, the officials said.

No swimmers or divers -- but what about GUNNERS? Why the HELL didn't they have small arms trained on these guys so that the instant he was in the water, they were taken under fire? *sigh*