The Rescue of Captain Phillips

Warship USS Bainbridge

Warship USS Bainbridge

Thank goodness for the Navy snipers who were able to take out three of the four Somali pirates holding Captain Richard Phillips hostage. Credit also goes to the crew of Phillips’ ship, the Maersk Alabama, who fought back when the pirates tried to take control of their vessel.

At No Quarter, Larry Johnson, who obviously knows infinitely more than I do about the inner workings of the government, praises Obama for his willingness to step aside and allow the experts to handle the crisis and following the advice of those who know what they are doing.

This AP story says that President Obama twice approved the use of force to rescue Phillips.

The Defense Department twice asked Obama for permission to use military force to rescue Capt. Richard Phillips from a lifeboat off the Somali coast. Obama first gave permission around 8 p.m. Friday, and upgraded it at 9:20 a.m. Saturday. Officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations said the second order was to encompass more military personnel and equipment that arrived in the Indian Ocean to engage the pirates.

It is clear from the story that Obama didn’t give permission for force to be used until Friday night. Yet the warship pictured above, the USS Bainbridge was in position by Thursday, according this story at Huffpo.

Now I admit that it is difficult for me to give Obama credit for anything. Quite frankly I dislike the man intensely and much as I want him to rise to the occasion and become another FDR, I don’t have much faith that it will happen.

I don’t necessarily think it took that much courage to issue these orders, but I do admit that Obama would have been roundly criticized if something had gone wrong. On the other hand, Friday afternoon, he was already being attacked by right wing talk show and even liberals like me for not using force. So there might have been even more poltical risk if he had decided not to use force.

I just have a couple of questions.

1. Why did Obama wait five days before issuing the order to use force? Why wasn’t there a standing order all along so that the Navy and FBI personnel at the scene could use their best judgment?

2. Why did Obama wait until this afternoon to call Phillips’ family? Couldn’t he have called them sooner just to say that he was doing everything in his power to rescue their relative?

From my observations, Obama’s decisions are always about politics and about what is best for him.
I suspect that Obama had originally given a “no shoot” order in order to avoid the risk of a huge political embarrassment if Phillips were killed or injured in a rescue attempt.

On Friday, Phillips himself tried to escape from his captors and was recaptured by the pirates without any effort by Navy snipers to back up his attempt. After that the political calculus changed. It had been three days, and nothing was happening other than FBI negotiations. After the failed escape attempt, there was more criticism in the media and on-line. At this point, I think Obama faced a greater risk of political damage if he didn’t give permission for the Navy to use force than if he did.

Call me a complete and utter cynic–I don’t mind. But that is how I think it went down. I still give Obama credit for listening to his advisors and allowing the rescue to take place. However, I don’t see the justification for the crowing that is going on at the Cheeto blogs right now. See here and here (WARNING! Don’t click those links unless you want to be transported to Cheetoland).

Next question: how can we make it more politically risky for Obama to keep funneling all our money to the banksters than for him to do the right thing?

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115 Responses

  1. I will give Obama credit for approving the use of force, okay? I’m not going to praise him to the skies unless he restores habeas corpus, gets us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, bans torture and rendition for real, guarantees the integrity of social security, and institutes universal health care. Yeah, I’m a bitch. Wanna make something of it?

    • One bitch to another, I am in complete agreement with with what you said. And I give him credit for being a divisive figure, after all he pitted Democrat against Democrat,and in my case family member against family member. Not exactly the kind of thing I would be happy getting credit for. Personally there is not too much he could do to make me happy, other than resign and let the true POTHUS TAKE OVER HER ADMINISTRATION!!!

    • Even a broken clock …

  2. OT but, looks like Obama is not having much luck placing Caroline Kennedy.

    Vatican blocks Caroline Kennedy appointment as US ambassador

    I’m thinking of all B0′s associates, Rick Warren is a better pick for this spot.

  3. Obama listened and acted, eventually.

    I’m glad the captain is safe and Obama’s hesitation will be noted, I’m sure.

    Today, on Meet The Press, the subject was “What should Obama do?” Top military advisers advised exactly this course of action, during the discussion.

    Why does the DVD Bush’s staff made for him about Katrina pop into my head?

    Now, will Obama focus on working to prevent this kind of incident from occuring in the future? Magic 8 ball says: Not likely.

  4. No rear area executive should be micromanaging people in the field, but it’s especially true in the case of the military and police.

    The incident was basically a robbery gone bad and with a hostage taken. We have hostage stand-offs practically every day in this country., and the White House doesn’t get involved.

    I don’t know what the officlal policy says these days but when I was an MP the regulations were very strict on the use of non-defensive force. With everything going on in this case I can’t blame the commander for requesting written authorization/orders.

    • The stories are very vague about the requests for a standing order. Not micromanaging would mean a standing order throughout the hostage crisis. No such order was given until Friday night at 8PM.

      The stories don’t say if previous requests for the C-in-C’s permision to use force were turned down. If there had been a standing order earlier than Friday, we would be told about it.

      That’s why I’m assuming that previous to Friday there was a “no force” order. According to Larry Johnson, the President’s permission is required for force to be used.

    • “The incident was basically a robbery gone bad and with a hostage taken. We have hostage stand-offs practically every day in this country”

      In this case more pirate ships were converging carrying more hostages — 200 total I’ve heard. Sfaik they are still there, still in danger.

      This doesn’t happen very often in US robberies.

      Obama should have ordered the Navy to take action to finish the situation before those other ships got involved. His delay may end up getting a hundred or so European hostages killed or injured.

  5. Bb, I have serious questions about how this was handled. I heard this morning that the navy had absolutely refused to consider granting the pirates safe passage. Making that decision and announcing it publicly would have seemed to exponentially increase the danger to the captain. At that point, obama should have intervened. Thank god it worked out, but the subsequent operation was extremely risky and could have gone horribly wrong. I have family members who work on ships and travel in the area sometimes, and I don’t take this lightly, I feel like the man’s life was put in unnecessary risk.

    • The cops are trained to make arrests. The military is trained to kill people.

      Ironically, Obama gets praise from some PUMA types because he shut up and did nothing

      I hope he does that more often.

      • I know the military is trained to kill people. But even obot dad (a vet) that that could have gone horribly wrong. Once the safe passage was refused, the pirates were probably going to kill the captain, and it would have been better not to let it get to that point than to hope for the best with a risky maneuver with only one chance to work.

        • We’ll never know for sure what really happened unless someone who was there talks. That probably won’t happen.

    • Seriously,

      Larry Johnson claims he heard something in the public statement that gave him a clue as to what happened. Is it possible that they made this public statement in order to precipitate a situation in which they could justifiably shoot the pirates?

      Now that this is over, I think the western governments need to deal with this situation of nuclear dumping going on in those waters. They won’t deal with it, but they should. And something needs to be done about Somalia having no central government.

      If they aren’t going to deal with these problems, then it seems like the only solution is to have the Navy accompanying cargo ships and shooting all pirates on sight. Plus, some in the ships’ crews need to be armed.

      • As far as I know, there are other waterways with even more active pirates. We need to pay more attention to worldwide piracy.

    • ” I heard this morning that the navy had absolutely refused to consider granting the pirates safe passage. Making that decision and announcing it publicly would have seemed to exponentially increase the danger to the captain. ”

      It certainly would — which makes me doubt the story came from our side. I did see some claims like that — all given by ‘Somali elders’.

  6. Once the captain went in the water did the Navy need authorization?

    • Great question.

    • Good question. I don’t know the answer obviously, but if the President had ordered them not to shoot, they couldn’t, right?

      • I can’t imagine the president risking not approving the request. It just seems to me that once it’s determined that the captain was in imminent danger, it didn’t much matter who said what.

        • Then why didn’t they shoot the guy who swam after Phillips when he escaped on Friday? That’s what I don’t understand. And why are they making such a big deal about Obama approving force on Friday night?

          • From what I read, the shooters weren’t in position and the captain’s move took them by surprise. Maybe knowing his tendency to act, and that he was subject to try it again, helped save his life.

          • You could very well be right. I’m just asking questions. I just can’t believe that in five days there was never another opportunity to do something. But obviously I admit I could be wrong.

          • Because they were out of shooting range to avoid being shot at. That’s what I read.

    • No – from a marine friend of the family. Once he jumped the second time they could shoot to preserve his life. It’s in the regulations.

      • I read that Phillips was tied up when the pirates were shot and that Navy Seals went to the lifeboat to rescue him. From the NYT.

        Two of the captors had poked their heads out of a rear hatch of the lifeboat, exposing themselves to clear shots, and the third could be seen through a window in the bow, pointing an automatic rifle at the captain, who was tied up inside the 18-foot lifeboat, senior Navy officials said.

  7. I respect Larry Johnson and I agree Obama was right to keep quiet instead of bumbling and gaffeing his way through. But he doesn’t deserve the sort of credit that some people want to give him.

    “It is clear from the story that Obama didn’t give permission for force to be used until Friday night. Yet the warship pictured above, the USS Bainbridge was in position by Thursday, according this story at Huffpo.”

    If that’s true, then Obama is to be criticized for waiting too long to allow the on site commanders to make their own decisions.

    Here’s another view:

    blackfive.net/main/2009/04/how-the-rescue-happened.html
    The lifeboat was approx. 25 m behind the Bainbridge when snipers on the fantail observed one of the pirates in the pilot house of the lifeboat pointing an AK-47 at the back of a tied up Phillips and the other two pirates on board were visible (at least shoulders and heads). The standing authority gave them clearance to engage the pirates if the life of the captain was in imminent danger. The on scene commander deemed this to be true and gave the order to fire. [....]
    This was not a rescue attempt ordered by National Command Authority i.e. the President. It was a reaction by the on scene commander under standard authority to safeguard the life of a hostage.
    The AP is reporting that President Obama gave the order to use military force to rescue the hostage, that is misleading.

    • CNN reported that it was a standing order from 8PM on Friday night. The order was renewed at about 9:30 this morning. The AP story implies that no one in the DOD asked for permission to use force until Friday night–4 days into the standoff. I just do not believe that it true. Why wouldn’t they have asked to use force as soon as the warships were in place on Thursday?

  8. Author of book on pirates writes at his blog that the US did the right thing and he doubts that the pirates will really retaliate as they threatened–because you can’t get ransom for a dead body.

    http://piratebook.blogspot.com/2009/04/maersk-alabama-captain-freed-will.html

  9. I question our absolute authority to act in this manner. The Law of the Sea seems very convoluted. Won’t we have to turn the pirate over to Kenya? If not, what court will try him?

    To me there is an aspect of cowboy behavior to our actions. I know the merchant ship was flying the U.S. flag but was it under U.S. authority/sponsorship?

    The shipping industry has spent many decades avoiding “nation based” regulations and status. Ironic that the merchants now want tax payer funded (military) help as they have always worked hard to avoid helping pay for it. They also avoid employment regulations by pretending that ships are a world unto itself.

    BTW – when ransom is paid (as is usually the case) it is paid by the insurance carrier – not the owner. Think AIG. In other words, this is how some of our taxpaper dollars will be spent going forward and part of the reason AIG is in trouble.

  10. I question our absolute authority to act in this manner. The Law of the Sea seems very convoluted. Won’t we have to turn the pirate over to Kenya? If not, what court will try him?

    Since he’s a Somali I doubt it’ll be Kenya.

    I heard earlier the attacks were on a U.S.-flagged vessel, thus an attack on U.S. territory and he will be tried in a U.S. court.

    That was much earlier in the day. I spent time with the Momster today and this…above was from the afternoon.

  11. Going to call it a nite.

    We’ve had nasty rain, lightening/thunder and now there’s a warning for high winds. There’s a gravity wave moving this way and wx is saying it’s enough to topple trees, down power lines, etc.

    I have my handy Coleman 8-cell lantern with me. 8)

    Gravity waves: (no I don’t understand!)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_wave

    • How’s momster doing?

      • Ahhh…not so well. Lights were off and on during the night due to those winds. At some point they went to check on her and found her on the floor; she was trying to get dressed for the doc’s appt. today. She’s okay but…

        I was looking over a printout of her meds there at that skf (skilled nursing facility) and they have her taking double the dose of b.p. med she was on before plus adding in an additional one!! I had her transported to the doc’s office because it’s just easier. When I saw her there she looked just washed out.
        Later this afternoon an “incident nurse” called me and I mentioned the bp meds. She said that was a lot and her lower b/p number was extremely low and that she’d call the doc.

        We have a progress meeting tomorrow and I’m bringing her bottle of bp meds along with the printout. I want to know what medical reason they have for doubling the dose.

  12. This military blog post that fsteele linked to above is interesting.

    According to this military writer, the AP story is “misleading.”

    “The AP is making it sound like there was an active rescue ordered by the President. It was not, there was an imminent threat and the local commander gave the order to fire. Good on Obama for ensuring their authorization was clear, but let’s also be clear that he did not authorize or order an active rescue attempt.

    [,,,,]

    if there was a second communication with the President it nay have been because his first order actually restricted them from taking action i.e. why nothing happened when Phillips made his escape attempt. Regardless, Obama did not order a rescue and I kinda doubt he would have.”

    All Obama had to do was order the military operation and set the rules of engagement. The commander at the scene should have had free rein to make a decision. If there was a special request for approval of force by the President on Friday and again on Saturday, that suggests that there were previously limitations set on what the commander at the scene could do. It seems like this guy agrees with me.

    • That’s definitely interesting and, as a military veteran, I think it sounds closer to the actual truth. I will give credit to Obama for remaining silent, especially during the negotiation phase. His involvement would have significantly “upped the ante.”

      But the real credit goes to the Navy. The SEALS simply pulled off a flawless operation.

      • I agree that Obama should get credit for avoiding any public statements. I think when the press asked him directly, he could have said something like, “We are dealing with the situation and I’d rather not go into detail at this time.” I also think he could have called the family to express concern.

      • bless them.and the captain is free..thank the good Lord..

    • that’s what i thought when i heard that the orders had been given twice. it makes no sense unless the first order did not approve force, or prohibited the commander from acting on his own.

      of course, we will never hear about this.

      • We also don’t know how many times the DOD asked for Obama to sign off on using force. He didn’t do it until Friday night, and it appears there was still the limitation that they could only act if Phillips’ life was in danger. I think it might have been better to just leave the decision up to the experts at the scene, but what do I know?

  13. Back again:

    Dee-this looks like off the Somali coast. The ship did continue on to Kenya where it’s docked now.

    http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Somali-Pirates/ss/events/wl/093008somaliapirates

  14. Now I do have to go.

  15. Saw Italian tv on it this morning. The young and pretty news announcer made a special point of underlying Obama’s successful intervention (it was almost as if she had been told to underline his role).

    The strange thing was that her next clip was on the Italian tug boat hostages, and their captain saying that because of the risk to their lives, for the authorities to NOT contemplate the use of force.

    • it was almost as if she had been told to underline his role

      That’s how most of the newscasters sound in the Scandinavian media, that I follow – though voluntarily. They are on an eternal high, it seems.

      And that goes not only for the news. B0 is mentioned and praised in virtually ev-e-ry con-text i-ma-ge-nab-ly!

      The new dog took up a good portion of last nights news.

      I have also noticed, that it is not i.e. “USA and Europe (or whatever)”anymore, it is now “Obama … and Europe”.

      • Thanks for the insight. I listen to BBC and hear “the praise” often. Heard it during the primary too. We’re fortunate not to have been “poisoned.” It still causes my jaw to drop a bit, when I witness the adoration for someone who still has accomplished so little.

      • “Obama and Europe.”

        Wow! Was it that way with Bush too? It sounds like there is going to be a lot of dissillusionment in Europe when they figure out that Obama isn’t the messiah.

        • “Was it that way with Bush too?

          I had to ask myself that too, and can’t really say.

          I guess it’s just that Obama is so everpresent, in a way I don’t remember any US President – or anybody for that matter – ever was.

  16. I saw this video the other day -entitled “Hillary laughs at Somali Piracy”-the title is off putting but it shows Hillary to be working on it, and having previous experience (in Marocco).

    http://www.maniacworld.com/Hillary-Laughs-at-Somali-Piracy.html

  17. I’m happy for the Captain and his family, and I’m happy for all you here who are proud of this rescue act.

    But I for one – not being an American – feel a little like Pippi Longstocking up against Rambo.

    • what do you mean?

      • I was quite taken aback by many of the remarks on the previous Hijack threads. People that I have come to highly respect, said things to the effect of: “Just shoot the M@therf@ckers already! We can do it! They are not American, so who gives a sh!t!”.

        That’s how I read it, and it saddened me.

        It also stressed the fact, that I am not and never will be one of you :( .

        (But I still like being here!)

        • Someone here said that? I don’t think it’s about what nationality the pirates are. Someone who takes a hostage while trying to commit a robbery, and then threatens to kill the hostage if they don’t get a huge ransom, that is a pretty serious crime.

          When there is hostage situation and a standoff here in the US, law enforcement usually tries to negotiate. If that doesn’t work, sometimes the criminal pays a price for the crime. Is it different in Denmark? I thought 3 days of negotiations was enough. It stretched to 5 days.

          I’m sorry anyone had to die, and I hope this forces western governments to do something about the horrible situation in Somalia.

          • Please go back and read my comments and follow the links, I have provided in the previous threads.

            The rest of the World doesn’t always see things the way you (as in Americans) do.

            This situation has existed for years, and other governments have for years been trying to get the Americans to get involved in trying to find a common solution.

        • I just went through the entire Saturday open thread.

          I did not see a single comment made that suggested the pirates should be killed because They are not American, so who gives a sh!t!”.

          If there is a comment to that effect, show it to me.

          And if no such comment exists, then your comment needs to be retracted.

          • “… said things to the effect of …”

            “That’s how I read it …”

          • Quotes from earlier threads:

            “… why Navy SEALs weren’t in the area to grab Phillips when he escaped and then kill the pirates …”

            “Give em the damned money, save the captain, and then let the guns can “blaze”…”

            “I don’t advocate the nuclear option but let’s face it, when we bombed Japan (we flexed our true muscle), the game was over.”

            “It crossed my mind about possibly mining the ports in Somalia …”

            “… give them the 2 million ransom (such a puny sum in comparison to what he spends on himself) and then blow them out of the water …”

            “… pirate vessels should be shot on sight… okay, give them a warning first so they can exit their boat, then blast it the h3ll out of the water …”

            “We need to grow a pair and deal with them.”

  18. By “take out” do you mean kill? Do you mean kill three human beings whose names and backgrounds we don’t know, except that they weren’t white and judeo christian (I assume) like us? I am not proud of my culture for being so hard-assed and cocky about killing other people. I am ashamed of any flag-waving, brutish celebration of death. And how typical of a christian nation to celebrate the bringing of death at Easter. Way to go, oh ye faithful. Slaughter everyone else.

    • People who don’t want to get shot shouldn’t be pirates.

      It’s an occupational hazard.

      • but myiq, we didn’t know them!

        maybe they were nice pirates!

        maybe we should have asked them questions about their backgrounds first.

        mean, evil americans, tsk tsk-for shame!

        • Maybe Captain Phillips’ life should have been sacrified so the pirates live and go on to highjack more ships and take more hostages? I’m confused…..

    • Briar,

      I see that when writing this post at around midnight last night I did use the words “take out” to mean “taking action to prevent four pirates from killing Captain Phillips with machine guns.” What should I have said, in your opinion.

      I didn’t say anything about what color the skin of the pirates is or what their religion is. I was applauding the rescue of a hostage. You seem to be offended by that. That’s OK.

      You also seem to be assuming that you know my ethnic heritage and that I am a Christian. I can’t imagine how you could know that. As it happens, I don’t participate in any organized religion and I don’t celebrate Easter.

    • Pips: I remember some of those comments because they were posted by people I had never seen here before (eg: the nuclear option). Those are not typical Conflucian attitudes, and with all due respect, I think you’re projecting some of your feelings about Americans on to all of us. We love having people from other countries on the blog. Also, the comments about “letting the guns blaze” etc. are directed at criminals–people who were provoking attack–not specifically against non-Americans.

      • By reading your (always insightful and respectful) comments, I have come to respect you deeply fif, so your opinion means a lot to me.

        Could you please direct me to the comment/s by me, that bring you to think, that I am “projecting some of your feelings about Americans on to all of us”?! I really don’t see it.

        I’m still on a learning curve re commenting, and appreciate honest feed back and constructive critic. Thanks in advance.

        • Sorry, but I have to call bullshit.

          Nobody wants honest feedback – when we ask “How do I look?” we expect people to lie, and we want them to be convincing too!

          We’ll tolerate honest feedback, but only if it’s not too honest or too frequent.

          BTW -Conflucians are skilled at reading between the lines, We use a special software to help us – if you look closely at the screen between the rows of words in your comments you will see your innermost thoughts projected there.

          If you can’t see it you may need the new Firefox upgrade.

  19. >>Next question: how can we make it more politically risky for Obama to keep funneling all our money to the banksters than for him to do the right thing?

    You have hit the nail on the head, boomer. That’s exactly what we had to do when Obama was my senator. He never acted in any controversial way until we pressured him.

    That’s why the “praise Obama or you’re a racist” crowd is doing such harm to liberal issues and to the country as a whole. We have to stay on the guy’s ass if we want to save the country.

    Carolyn Kay
    MakeThemAccountable.com

    • Thanks, Carolyn. I could be way off base in my post, but I have noticed that Obama acts only when pushed to by political considerations. I don’t believe he has the capacity for empathy, unfortunately.

  20. I tend to agree with Bostonboomer’s assessment.

    I am happy that Mr. Obama finally saw the light, and started acting like a president…. albeit on day five.

    Iwish I had more faith in the man…. but I simply do not. This is the first act of bravery I have ever seen to issue forth from him. And, I can’t tell if he actually meant it… or his hand was forced.

    Time will tell.

    • I don’t understand how this was exactly a brave act on behalf of Obama. The security of US citizens should be paramount in any situation. They were delivering aid to Kenya for cripes sakes. Obama did what he should have done as President, nothing more nothing less. When Obama does something truly remarkable then I will praise him or consider it brave.

      Sorry, but I’m getting tired of when Obama does actions he is supposed to take (for any other president would be considered part of the job), for Obama it is some kind of heroic act. Are our expectations of our leaders really that low?

  21. If I’m understanding correctly, the President would have had to give an order for an active rescue operation, and whether or not he so remains unclear. The Navy did not mount an active rescue operation, but reacted to what the Commander on the scene perceived as an imminent threat to Captain Phillip’s life. He did not need a direct order from the President in order to do that. Correct?

    I suspect the Commander was looking for an opportunity to act, and when the pointed gun and the exposed heads and shoulders of the prates presented themselves, he took that opportunity. Good on him for doing so.

    Forgive me for saying so, but I’ve got this picture in my mind of Obama’s glee at being able to wield such power–like a kid with toy battleships.

  22. “whether or not he DID so…” and “shoulders of the PIRATES…”

    Still on first cup of coffee. Gotta get to work. Have a good day, all!

  23. OMFG! My dad served on the Bainbridge when I was a kid. This can’t be the same Bainbridge can it? That sucker must be ancient. It has to be a new ship renamed the Bainbridge.
    Small world.

    • I think that this is a new one commissioned in 2005.

      • I think it has to be new. My memory says the older Bainbridge was a much larger ship. Of course, it could be that I was only 7 years old. Still, the sucker always looked really big to me and the one in the picture is not the same class at all.

    • Wow, that is an amazing coincidence.

  24. The guy was obviously supposed to be rescued in time for him to be THE topic of dinner conversation for Easter Sunday. Apart from the bank bailouts, I wonder what else this conversation was replacing.

    • I love your tin-foil Easter Bonnet. :wink: Sad state of affairs when we think that way about our president.

  25. “By “take out” do you mean kill? Do you mean kill three human beings whose names and backgrounds we don’t know, except that they weren’t white and judeo christian (I assume) like us? I am not proud of my culture for being so hard-assed and cocky about killing other people. I am ashamed of any flag-waving, brutish celebration of death. And how typical of a christian nation to celebrate the bringing of death at Easter. Way to go, oh ye faithful. Slaughter everyone else.”
    Briar, Im assuming you have never been a victim of a vicious crime at anytime in your life. I take offense in your take on this entire situation. No one was celebrating the killings, they were celebrating the rescue. I will wave my flag proudly any day of the week
    and dont need this type of sermon either.

  26. Pips, on April 13th, 2009 at 10:08 am Said:
    “… said things to the effect of …”

    “That’s how I read it …”
    _______________

    In other words, no such comment exists.

    That is some serious moral high ground you’ve got there.

    Do you take issue with American foreign policy, or Americans themselves, or both?

    • Eh, I’m not sure that’s fair. While Pips’s interpretation of the comments is perhaps a bit too personal it’s not totally unreasonable. But, this part of his/her comment about American foreign policy is true.

      “This situation has existed for years, and other governments have for years been trying to get the Americans to get involved in trying to find a common solution.”

      The situation has existed for years and we, in terms of policy and interest have, at best, cared litte. Now when our fellow Americans involved, we want to “bomb Mogadishu”. Part of that is understandble comraderie but it also speaks to our generally myopic outlook vis a vi the rest of the world.

      • You know, when I said that about “bombing Mogadishu” in my previous post on this subject, I didn’t mean it literally. It was intended as hyperbole. I guess I need to be aware that some readers take every word very literally and then add their own “read between the lines” interpretations. I don’t think I’ll alter my tendency to sometimes exaggerate for effect, but it is good to be aware that I’ll be assumed to be a bloodthirsty freak who believes in American exceptionalism–and that all evidence to the contrary in my previous writings will be ignored.

        • Though your response is a little precious, I knew your previous statement was hyperbole and exaggeration. Now, if some of your readers did take it more literally than you intended, that’s not their fault, it’s yours.

          I mean, if you ask if it’s too bloodthirsty to bomb Mogadishu in response to the pirate kidnapping, you shouldn’t assume that everybody knows you’re just playing. It wouldn’t be all that surprising if someone were to believe you were indeed a “bloodthirstly freak”…. (nice exaggreation btw)…despite what you have written in the past though I don’t think you are and I don’t think most people here do either.

          • To be absolutely clear this time, ks, I do not believe the US should bomb any country. I think we should get our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, shut down a lot of our military bases around the world, and focus on domestic issues. I don’t believe in empire building.

            I don’t assume everyone knows I’m using hyperbole (not playing). I’d be pretty stupid if I thought that considering the thousands of troll comments I’ve had to delete over the past year at TC.

            I’m very glad you don’t think I’m bloodthirsty.

      • the full comment:
        ___________________________
        Pips, on April 13th, 2009 at 9:33 am Said:

        I was quite taken aback by many of the remarks on the previous Hijack threads. People that I have come to highly respect, said things to the effect of: “Just shoot the M@therf@ckers already! We can do it! They are not American, so who gives a sh!t!”.

        That’s how I read it, and it saddened me.

        It also stressed the fact, that I am not and never will be one of you :( .
        _________________________

        It’s typical anti-American sentiment, with sugar on top.

        Not agreeing with comments and saying so is one thing.

        Painting all Americans with the “evil” brush is entirely another.

        (And how do any of us even know who’s American and who isn’t? Some of those comments pasted by pips
        were made my people I’ve never seen here before.)

        American bashing is American bashing, and it sucks.

        Don’t even get me started on the expectations placed on the US to police Africa. That’s a whole separate thread.

        • Some of the pasted comments were also objected to by regular commenters. {sigh}

          • I asked Pips how hostage situations are handled in Denmark. I’d love to get an answer. What is the right decision when there is choice between the hostage being killed vs. the hostage takers being killed? Should the hostage die?

            BTW, I have close family members who are from Denmark. Most “Americans” are mixtures of other cultures and ethnicities.

          • Here you go bb. As I mentioned uptread I posted this on an earlier thread.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combined_Task_Force_150

            And I am truly sorry to cause so much anger.

            The song I posted a link to, was ment as some sort of “I wish I was one of you”.

            No I am not a typical – or in any other way – anti-American. Far from

          • I don’t think anyone is angry, Pips. I know I’m not. Thanks for that link. I noticed that there does seem to be some involvement by the U.S. Maybe Obama will get us more involved. I heard he made a statement that he would be taking action to deal with the situation. I’m also pleased to hear that he opened up some travel to Cuba. I haven’t read the details of that yet.

        • “American bashing is American bashing, and it sucks.”

          C’mon now, I get that it’s a defense against knee jerk anti-Americanism, but overall, it’s too broad. Sometimes we do things that suck and deserve to be bashed as a country (individual exceptions apply).

          “Don’t even get me started on the expectations placed on the US to police Africa. That’s a whole separate thread.”

          I’d like to see that thread because I think your premise is very suspect and exaggerated. I don’t think there are any “expectations placed on the US” to “police Africa” (whatever that means) but if there are, we’re certainly not doing it.

      • Thank you ks.

  27. Of course Obama is going to be praised for sneezing, but I just can’t get excited about the fact that he actually gave his approval to save the man’s life. What else was he supposed to do, when he was surrounded by defense and military experts telling him exactly where to sign his name, refuse? Big deal. I am not impressed.

    However, I am very impressed with the SEALS and the Captain, who obviously has a lot of courage. He not only sacrificed himself to save his crew, but attempted escape twice. THAT is a man of decisiveness and courage. With O, there is no perspective: when he does something wrong, it is ignored or justified; when he does something right, it is exaggerated beyond all reason.

    • Absolutely agree.

    • 100% agree with you fif !

      Obama did what he was supposed to do. Just like W who apologized when the US violated airspace — I doubt so many thought it was a courageous act! Is this exaggerated characterization of Obama’s actions the result of our lowered expectations and/or the culture of it? I truly don’t get it.

  28. I think Obama authorized force because by Friday night he and his bunch of politicians saw which way the wind was blowing and that it would be politically worse to not do anything. I quite honestly believe that every decision this guy makes is based on politics.

    Captain Phillips can be glad that his rescue was the best of two political choices.

    Funny old world isn’t it. Jimmy Carter authorizes a rescue of hostages and it fails and he’s forever more pictured as a wussy failure. A Navy Vet wussy failure at that.

    While Obama rolls the dice, it works well and he’s a “hero”. Pardon me if I don’t see it that way. The SEALS are heroes. Captain Phillips is a hero.

    And pardon me if I don’t mourn the death of kidnappers holding an innocent man hostage and threatening to kill him, The color of their skin, their ethnicity or their country of origin mean nothing to me.

    Kidnappers holding people hostage that are caught in the act need to be taken care of so that others who would be thinking of this as a way to making a living change their minds. I will not mourn 3 dead kidnappers. And I wouldn’t’ if their came from Cleveland either.

    • I’ve seen one entry from a reliable person (wbboei) saying that a Navy Seal went on CNN (anonymously) and shamed Obama into supporting action.

      Blackfive.net’s take seems very likely: standing orders permitted shooting the captors when the hostage was in ‘imminent danger’. This occurred, with a clear shot at all the pirates, on Sunday morning, so the snipers took action. “This was not a rescue attempt ordered by National Command Authority i.e. the President. It was a reaction by the on scene commander under standard authority to safeguard the life of a hostage.”

      Larry Johnson at noquarterusa.net has good info about teh standard operating procedure, what authorizations are required by what agencies, etc. Aiui, there are several stages of SOP and the President has to sign more than one of them. — Johnson praised Obama for keeping quiet publically and privately signing what the military put in front of him, but sfaik it didn’t add up to Obama being really supportive or encouraging on actual action.

    • Correct.
      The SEALS and Captain Phillips are the heros.
      George Lucas (Luvvie/Obot-Hollywood) would see that only Obama is the “hero” here because his kind are blindly in love with Mr. Obama.

  29. Oops!

  30. I’m thrilled the captain is safe….but I never heard of pirates being so bad at trying someone up and watching them so that they can escape the same way twice ….lucky for the captain they were

    • Do you have a link for that? I haven’t seen any stories saying that Phillips jumped into the water again. I linked the NYT piece above that says he was tied up and had to be untied by Navy Seals. I have read that elsewhere too.

      • When he was saved, I read he had jumped in again and this time the Navy was ready for that opportunity to take out the pirates, ….looking at the web now , there is another story of the Seals untying him.

        If one googles” captain jumped in twice?” you’ll see what I mean about the two stories . Whatever, I’m glad he’s free

        • I think the story about him jumping in the water again was a rumor, because I haven’t seen it in any of the most recent stories.

  31. Pips:

    My position is that if the pirates don’t want to die they should stay the fuck away from our ships and our people.

    If you want to articulate the pro-pirate position then go right ahead.

    • I will, if you can direct me to where I expressed “pro-pirate position”s.

      My position is pro-hostages. If that hasn’t been clear, I guess I must have been inarticulate. My bad.

      I also – like you – think, that the pirates should “stay the fuck away from our ships and our people”, so I would welcome some sort of international agreements to how to handle this years-old problem in the future?

      • Pips,

        We agree with you. Deal with it. You really don’t have to convince us that something needs to be done about the piracy problem. But you did use comments from people most of us don’t know to paint all of us as bloodthirsty warmongers. That’s not what we are. Really.

        Why don’t we just forget about this and start over?

        Peace.

        • We’re more of the prissy spree killer type.

        • Thanks bb. And Peace!

          It’s just that it really, really sucks to unjustly be accused of being anti American. Like with accusations of r-cism, it’s almost impossibel to defend yourself.

          Like asking a husbond, if he has stopped beating his wife.

          And I’m truly sorry, if my comments were perceived as directed towards Americans as a people, when my intention actually was to express a sadness about the Rambo-like sentiment from some, a few, commenters.

          I’m relieved there are no bad feelings – from you anyway :-).

          • No, of course not. You have to realize that I put up this post after midnight my time. I was a little punchy, and that is why I put that in there about bombing Somalia. I didn’t think anyone would take me seriously. It was just a rant. For you, it was a completely different time of day. Sometime we get a a little silly late at night.

            As soon as I posted it it went onto google. When it’s a big story like this was, we sometimes get new commenters who are googling to find blog posts. Most us of here are pretty liberal and not into Rambo-type behavior. If you keep commenting you’ll start to see the difference between the regular commenters and the drop ins.

          • If you picked out a few comments at random from any blog it would be hit or miss as to whether they represented that blog’s consensus of opinion.

            The comments may not even accurately reflect the commentor’s usual opinion.

  32. Does it disturb anyone else that some overseas press are replacing Obama for the US when referring to us? I find this somewhat creepy. Is this to help prepare us for Obama as president for life?

  33. Obama has stated he will now work to end piracy in the area. Oh yeah? Just like he stated he will take public financing and then didn’t. Just like he said he is against spying on Americans. And now is. Just like he promised to end the war in Iraq in 90 days but didn’t. I don’t think Obama wants to offend the pirates who probably are muslims, do you? When Obama says something, I have gotten to the point of realizing that he intends on doing just the opposite.

    This was a great rescue, but applauds go to the navy and navy seals, and the captain himself, who managed to get the rest of the crew out of harms way.

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