Before now poetry has taken notice
Of wars, and what are wars but politics
Transformed from chronic to acute and bloody?
from "Build Soil"
Robert Frost

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Plank Walked

Three times, anyway. Courageous captain is safe.


Question: did these guys know they were pirating a US-flagged ship?
I keep hearing about how canny and technologically-advanced these pirates are- how they identify ships before they depart port, targeting those with valuable (read: worth a ransom) cargo. If all that is true... did they really expect hitting an American ship to end well for them?

I'm just glad this immediate situation is over. Now I don't have to listen to every pants-on-head retard suddenly turned hyperventilating armchair admiral blather on about how the Navy should have been ready to snipe those pirates and scoop the heroic captain from the water.

I'm not a expert on naval affairs, but I don't think I'm out of line saying that sniper teams are not part of the modern equipment issue on guided missile destroyers. Tomahawk cruise missiles? Sure. Sharpshooters in the topsails? Pretty sure those went out with the feather-plumed tri-corners.

Update: Those guided missile destroyers may not have snipers in the rigging anymore, but those amphibious assault ships have them in the holds. Sounds like the good captain bailed a second time, at which point a SEAL team promptly ventilated the pirates. I'm sure this means at least one or two armchair admirals will find it a good idea to tie up a SEAL team on every anti-piracy patrol boat.

Also worth mentioning: piracy was the immediate threat in this instance, and by nature demanded a response. The long view in Somalia must address the terrorist haven it is becoming. In the short term, sinking a few boats or something will satisfy the American people (just as bombing a couple afghan al-qaeda camps used to). Cathartic? I suppose so, if you take comfort in decisive battle. Effective? No. We also can't forget that we just rescued our guy- there are still hundreds of captives of other nationalities still in the hands of pirates, and any "anti-pirate" activities must consider the well being of those prisoners.

7 comments:

  1. Well, it's nice to hear you so passionate about something. ;) As a former seaman myself, I can say that Capt. Phillips is my kind of guy. I heard that his ship had food and supplies for east African countries including Somalia. As a civilian without shooting skills...I have to say, AWESOME markmanship on the part of the sharpshooters. Do you HAVE any idea how small those lifeboats are? I agree that something needs to be done about Somalia being a haven for terrorists, pirates, etc.

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  2. "Well it's One!, Two! Three! strikes your out, at the ol' ball game!"

    ;-)

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  3. I've quoted you and linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms2.blogspot.com/2009/04/re-plank-walked.html

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  4. I too wondered if these guys really thought that they could target an American ship and have it end any other way than it did.

    I agree with you that we can't forget about the hundreds of other hostages, but it seems to me that the American Military is stretched to the limit right now and it's about time the countries of origin of those ships in question stopped paying ransoms and start taking action.

    Is there a diplomatic role that does not include acute politics? I don't know. I doubt it. There is no legitimate government agency to discuss the issue with. But you are correct when you speak of a terrorist haven growing in Somalia. Then again, we have a terrorist haven in Afghanistan that is about to go viral if we don't implement a cohesive, compreheinsive plan.

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  5. I think we need an aircraft carrier in the aera and when one of their small boats approach a ship of any flag, we blow them out of the water, this crap has to be stopped or it will spread like a cancer around the world.

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  7. Anonymous21/4/09 17:19

    Screw the damn pirates!
    ( of course that is not politically correct)

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