Thursday, April 9, 2009


It looks as if the standoff with the Somali pirates who hijacked a U.S.-flagged cargo ship Wednesday will be short-lived. The pirates, who no doubt had a collective puckering of a certain part of their anatomies when they figured out they had captured a U.S. ship and crew, took off in a lifeboat with the ship's captain, leaving the crewmen behind. Just one problem with their escape plan: The lifeboat is out of gas and bobbing helplessly on the high seas, and a U.S. warship is on the way. Piracy expert Roger Middleton told the AP that the pirates are not in the best of positions. Said Middleton, “They’ve got only one guy, they’ve got nowhere to hide, they’ve got no way to defend themselves effectively against the military who are on the way and they are hundreds of miles from Somalia.” Middleton said the pirates might try to connect with a mothership, a vessel that tows pirates’ speedboats to sea and resupplies them as they look for targets, but he said they’re unlikely to get away. The latest hijacking is the 66th of the year, a figure already more than halfway to the total number of such incidents off the Horn of Africa last year. What’s the answer? It’s not as simple as we might think, according to experts, who say the pirates have a fairly easy time sneaking up on and boarding massive commercial vessels. Also, fighting back can be tricky, especially if the ships’ cargo happens to be oil or munitions that could blow sky high. And killing one small group of pirates probably isn’t going to scare off the next crew. If you’re a Somali who can look forward to a steady diet of rat-tail soup in a Mogadishu slum every day for the rest of your life, getting a cut of a multimillion-dollar ransom might make the risks involved seem acceptable, especially when virtually no pirates are losing their lives. I’m no authority on maritime safety, but it seems that the best bet might be to get more nations to send warships to that area, and to have them blow out of the water anything that even resembles a pirate mothership. It might not end the problem, but it might make some would-be pirates think twice about their career choice.

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Blogger Ellipses said...

I beat you by 9 minutes :-)

I hope they make these d-bags walk the plank :-)

April 9, 2009 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Preferably after throwing buckets of chum into the ocean.

April 9, 2009 at 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pirates adrift and out of gas? Is that the Pittsburgh Pirates of the last 17 years you're talking about?

--Brad Hundt

April 9, 2009 at 1:53 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

I think it's the Braves' bullpen. Sorry, Brad, after last night's game, I couldn't resist.

April 9, 2009 at 2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh, heh...
And to think I was all set to pony up for MLB On Demand so I could watch the other 160 Braves games!
The Braves have been plagued by bullpen issues for the last 4 years or so (last year, their starters weren't that great either). There was one game late in the summer of '06, when the Braves were out of contention, where the late announcer Skip Carray casually said, "The Braves are going to the bullpen, and the fans are starting to pray." I laughed out loud when I heard that.

Optimistically, I hope they're just working out some of the kinks before the bullpen gets into shape. Hey, the Braves have won 2 games, which is more than you can say for the Yankees so far...

April 9, 2009 at 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, I posted that last comment.

--Brad Hundt

April 9, 2009 at 3:41 PM  
Blogger Mike Jones said...

If only our Pittsburgh Pirates could take Bud Selig hostage.

April 10, 2009 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

I do think Bud's kind of a boob, but all the owners bear responsibility for not having the balls to confront the players union and demand a salary cap. I'm sure the big spenders like their current position, but there should be enough owners that want some control over spending. And they should also have the nuggets to let the players strike for as long as they want and to have replacement players take the field, if necessary.

April 10, 2009 at 5:18 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Back to the Somali pirates, for a moment. I'm now reading that more pirates are heading to the scene where the captain is being held in the lifeboat, with the apparent goal of taking the stranded pirates and the hostage back to Somalia, where it would be damned near impossible to free him without an all-out invasion. It's a harsh thing to say, but now may be the time to attack, even though you'd be putting the captain's life at risk. And it also may be time to start thinking of an attack on ships in the port where these criminals congregate.

April 10, 2009 at 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hostage crisis, day 3.
Obama is Carter Jr.

April 11, 2009 at 12:36 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Daniel Pearl?

April 11, 2009 at 8:09 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

Hostage crisis? One guy held by a few yahoos in a dinghy is a hostage crisis? C'mon. Let's see how it plays out. No matter what Obama did, I'm sure you would say it was the wrong move.

April 11, 2009 at 9:07 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

What IS the proposed alternative?

I am noticing a theme here... Find the common thread-

North Korea
Somali Pirates

100% opposition from the right
0% investment in an alternative course of action

Go ahead and criticize... but at least have the courtesy to put forth a plan of your own.

And yes... bombing the chit out of everything counts... but don't expect much support of that

April 11, 2009 at 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One navy seal team and one b 52. End of hostage crisis. They could put that raft to sleep and quietly remove the Capt. This has gone on way too long.

April 11, 2009 at 12:02 PM  
Anonymous dg said...

As always in this and other Blogs, the contributors KNOW what needs to be done. However, are any of us held responsible for the outcome? Just send the SEALS in there and this will be over. Let's suppose it culminates with a dead hostage and two dead SEALS. Does that teach the pirates a lesson? Meanwhile the Blogs begin criticizing the bad decision and start discussing Wal-Mart.

April 11, 2009 at 3:10 PM  
Blogger Mike Jones said...

I am reading on other blogs that the French are being praised for launching an operation to retake a pirated yacht compared to Obama's handling of the skipper. But I find it hilarious that the French, which were ripped non-stop by conservatives in this country over the past six years (freedom fries, anyone?) now are the heroes compared to the American president. Second, an innocent hostage died in that situation. Um, if the hostage dies in this situation, then there's not really much of a reason for the rescue effort, now is there?

And you're right, Ellipses, where was Bush for Daniel Pearl? And I'll throw another name out there for you. Nick Berg. Remember when he was beheaded in Iraq in 2004? Where was President Bush in that hostage situation? ... Waiting...

April 12, 2009 at 1:28 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Thanks Mike... I couldn't come up with for anything!

I really expected there to be a concise list on the internet somewhere of executed hostages in Iraq and Afghanistan... but alas, none to be found.

That's an awesome point though... with only one hostage, you really can't afford to lose one hostage :-)

April 12, 2009 at 7:33 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

I couldn't come up with "that" (nick berg) for anything...

Hey, sometimes when you are mixing up one of them sentences, you forget a few ingredients.

April 12, 2009 at 7:45 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

Remember the guy who said Obama was Carter Jr.? I guess now you'll have to call him Reagan II.

April 12, 2009 at 7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The difference is we know exactly where this hostage is...On a freaking boat. We did not have that luxury with the two examples you provided. Its apples and oranges and you kmow it. One Seal Team...Crisis over.
God Bless America

April 12, 2009 at 8:13 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

So, you'd say that this operation was a failure because it wasn't over in one day?

The SEAL team couldn't possibly have been aided by the fact that the pirates they were attacking had been floating around for a few days on constant alert... that they (the SEALS) were fresh and their target had been adrift at sea for 5 days after a botched operation? The delay in the execution couldn't possibly have been a competitive advantage... ?

April 12, 2009 at 8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that captain quickly hires an attorney to handle all the book and movie offers that are going to come his way...

--Brad Hundt

April 13, 2009 at 4:56 PM  
Blogger Mike Jones said...

I'd like to add a couple more things now that the Navy rescued the captain. First, where is the far-right now that Obama apparently did something good? Critics ripped him for days because nothing was done, but now I hear only crickets now that the Navy pulled off a successful.

Second, it's amazing to me how quickly some wanted this operation to be launched. But have we already forgotten what happens when things go wrong? I have one word for you: Waco. I remember Bill Clinton and Janet Reno being crucified over that decision after the stuff hit the fan. Maybe Obama was weighing the positives and the minuses with this particular mission. And who can blame him for that?

April 13, 2009 at 7:27 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

"And who can blame him for that?"

What's Rush's weekly audience up to?

April 13, 2009 at 7:44 PM  
Blogger Mike Jones said...

Good point, Ellipses. Let me rephrase my question.

What reasonable person could blame him for that?

April 13, 2009 at 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apples and Oranges again, Waco? I am not even going there.
The Seals were on board for less than 24 hours and the situation was over. No one has said the operation was a failure.
You can say the same thing about Cindy Sheehan and code pink in regards to crickets.

April 13, 2009 at 8:22 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

I don't get that one... what should we expect to hear from code pink?

So, the operation wasn't a failure... as you said... so would you say that it was a rousing success? I sure would...

It certainly wasn't as simple as "the SEALS go there and it was over"---

First, we tried to get the pirates to hand him over voluntarily... which would have been great because there would be a lot less risk to the captain that way... When they (the pirates) got restless, one of them went splitsville and 3 (!) of them had to be popped by snipers.

Taking out multiple targets simultaneously with sniper fire is NEVER the first course of action because of the risk involved. If one sharpshooter misses his mark, the captain is dead.

I also would reiterate the fact that 5 days floating around with a hostage worked in our favor as far as the pirates' performance in the final minutes is concerned.

In fact, I can't imagine a better execution of this action than what occurred... Can you?

April 13, 2009 at 9:00 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

I'm on a roll with you this week! A few more agreements like this, and we can be the Steiner bros all over again!

April 13, 2009 at 9:01 PM  

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