Sunday, April 12, 2009

Navy Seals Rescue American Hostage And Kill Somali Pirates


Even though a good friend is in Somalia now making a documentary on pirates-- and even though we have discussed the Somali pirates here in the past (yes, before they were so trendy)-- we've left the recent Somali pirate talk to the right wing blow-hards while we tried keeping the focus on the far more dangerous and predatory Wall Street pirates.

Now we're happy to report that Richard Phillips, the American captain of the Maersk Alabama, who was held hostage by 4 surrounded Somali pirates demanding a ransom, was freed, unharmed. Since the rightists were all blaming Obama I wonder when Fox will be congratulating him now that U.S. Navy Seals killed 3 of the pirates and locked up the 4th in a well-executed strategy that was very different from the insanity demanded by the slobbering right-wing nutcases. Despite all the worst wishes of the Republicans who would rather see America fail than Obama succeed, it looks like the president handled his first 3am call just fine-- and still managed to get his daughters a cute puppy!

I wonder why the Bush Regime never did anything about cleaning up the Somali pirates' nests along the Horn of Africa. By virtually ignoring the problem, they let it fester and grow. It was satisfying to see that President Obama moved in swiftly and surely-- and that he authorized the three AK-47 armed pirates who may have been attempting to kill Captain Phillips be shot. And thank God there's no chance of Obama strutting around an aircraft carrier with a sock in his crotch and a big "Mission Accomplished" banner in range of cameras.

UPDATE: The Blow By Blow

There's been so much misinformation, mostly spread by Fox and other rightist sources making things up, as usual, that I figured I'd mention that this was a carefully planned and sanctioned operation and that Captain Anderson had not escaped overboard again. Many of the sources are reporting variations on the story but I'm counting on this NY Times version, which is kind of like what CNN is reporting as well (from Bahrain):
Just after dark on Sunday, snipers on the U.S.S. Bainbridge saw that one of the pirates was pointing an automatic rifle at Captain Phillips, and that the captors’ heads and shoulders were exposed from the capsule-like lifeboat. President Obama had previously authorized the use of force if the commander on the scene believed the captain’s life was in danger, so they fired, Admiral Gortney said. The lifeboat was about 100 feet from the Bainbridge when the shots were fired, a little after 7 p.m. Somalia time (seven hours ahead of Eastern time). The vice admiral said he did not know Captain Phillips’s location at the time the shots were fired, but given the length of the lifeboat, he was less than 18 feet from the snipers’ targets... [T]he Navy managed to attach a line to the lifeboat and began towing it away from shore. Mr. Phillips was being held in a covered part at the back of the lifeboat, the official said, and one pirate typically stayed with him under cover. The lifeboat had gotten as close as 20 miles to shore, drifting after running out of fuel, off Gara’ad, Somalia.

...More than 250 hostages are being held by various Somalian pirate groups, including the 16 crew members of an Italian tugboat captured on Saturday.

One pirate named Ali, in Galkaiyo, Somalia, said the American Navy rescue won’t discourage other Somali pirate groups at all.

“As long as there is no just government in Somalia, we will still be the coast guard,” he said, adding: “If we get an American, we will take revenge.”

More details from this morning's Washington Post. And as JCWilmore pointed out at DailyKos last night, the Republicans, as usualy, bet against America-- and they lost when America won. All real Americans can be happy that the president passed his first security "test"-- with flying colors.

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At 4:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an awful nitpicker, I know... but I just wanted to check if you meant this to read this way?

"...congratulating him now that U.S. Navy Seals killed 3 of the hostages and locked up the 4th in a well-executed strategy..."

At 4:42 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Thanks! I must have been thinking about the French!

At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you serious. This should have been taken care of within the first few hours, it took Obama 5 days to finally pull the trigger. Bush administration could not clean up the pirates situation because people like you would try to defend them and oh ya they were a little busy with 2 other wars. Your clueless.

At 6:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Clueless" doesn't do this numbskull justice. Personally, this so-called blog reads like a web version of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith "Why do my ratings suck so bad?" Olbermann.

At 7:45 PM, Blogger Juan Liberale said...

I am amazed at how the trailer trash republicans pissed and moaned that Obama was too cowardly to take action against the pirates and now the little pukes dismiss it out of hand.

They offer nothing but hatred and obstruction.

I have to remind them over and over how the great coward Bush allowed Osama bin Laden to escape at Tora Bora. It is no coincidence that the bin Laden family funded every single one of Bozo Bush's failed business ventures. They also joined up with Daddy Bush in the BCCI banking scandals and the Carlyle Group.

To the Navy and Mr. Obama I over a huge MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This means Obama already has more victories in his belt as CINC than Bush.

At 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

YEAH! Navy Seals Whup Somali pirates A**!!! Good for you and good for our President for okaying this mission. I'm tired of U.S. Citizens being used as hostages all over this world, then killed. I'm glad to see a good outcome and the Seals doing what they are trained for, GO NAVY!!!!

At 10:09 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

Illegal immigration, economy, social security, jobs, the Bush2 administration did NOTHING but enrich themselves. TAX cuts for the rich during war. Shame.

EVERYBODY knows that, particularly those poor freaks trying to re-write history at poor SMU at the Bush2 "library".

"Is our children learning?" GeorgewBush

At 11:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama Slaughtered Starving Somalis and Risked Captain's life for Politics

Wake up everybody,
This "rescue" ordered by Obama was murder for political gain (a la Bush style). The rescue endangered the life of the Captain not otherwise in danger. This was four Somali's total. There was no storming of a ship as all of the co-opted media report.
Obama had already ordered the slaughter days ago. The "imminent threat" to the captain was just as much a fabrication and a pretense as Bush's lies and pretense about Iraq. This was slaughter in Somali territory for strictly political purposes.
As the escaped crew said Friday when asked what the "pirates" were like: "They seemed hungry." As far as I know, the "pirates" over the past 2 years have harmed nobody.

Obama knew the Captain's life was not in danger (except when the snipers were shooting).
Obama also knows that the "pirate problem" would go away if the US and allies would stop murdering the Somali's, obey international law, help the Somali’s enforce their fishing territory and help clean up the radioactive waste dumped on their shores by our Nato allies.
There is no military solution that would stop a people from trying to survive starvation and annihilation. This political stunt did nothing to stop piracy as again, the threat of death does nothing to stop people who are just attempting to survive.
This is shameful and disgusting and reveals even more of the true Obama, a tool of international finance capital and little more.

It's time to rein in the lies, the pretense, the killing, the worldwide tyranny and the betrayal of American principles.

Peace, JK

PS: See excellent Hari article from January on the US pretense when it comes to Somalia. huffingtonpost dot com/johann-hari/you-are-being-lied-to-abo_b_155147.html?view=print

At 2:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the communist at 11:17pm
Feeding the sharks won't make them go away

At 3:19 AM, Blogger panaman said...

3 shots, 3 kills.

An American citizen's interests were protected halfway around the world by our government and our military. Regardless of the political and cultural implications, you have to admit that's pretty awesome. It makes me feel fortunate to live in our country.

While there is a definite statement being made to pirates who would target a ship sailing under an American flag (and presumably any others that sail in a capacity to benefit the symbiotic, interdependent global economic system), personally I appreciate the effort to rescue one of our own more than anything else.

This situation really doesn't have much to do with Obama (right or wrong), and anyone that would say it does is reading too much into the way domestic politics effect how we protect our vital national interests (at least in such a short-term, immediate affair involving non-state actors).

To those of you who would make this instance grounds to compare the Bush administration vs. Obama's: Jesus Christ! Pick another battle that has some logical 'umph' to it! Anyone in that seat of power would give the military the freedom to discern and act out an appropriate course of action. It was four Somali dudes, not an oil rich former Soviet republic.

This goes for you too, blogger. What does a puppy-dog have to do with military actions and international affairs? Make me believe your point of view, not dismiss it due to transparent and empty rhetoric.

At 3:43 AM, Blogger panaman said...

P.S. - Man, this goes against my political sway, but I gotta call some bullshit when I see it.

Your argument that the Bush administration didn't do enough about the pirate problem, thereby allowing it to fester and grow, is the exact same argument that 'right wing blowhards' use against Clinton in regards to 9/11. Both viewpoints are narrow minded and incomplete, and definitely self-serving given their respective authors' political leanings. I hate that kinda shit.

At 3:56 AM, Blogger Daro said...

Action wasn't taken until the evening the snipers parachuted onto the warship. I don't think the timing was instigated by any imminent threat. More likely by the soonest atmospheric conditions (i.e. nightfall). Pure supposition here, but the snipers might have some new super-duper scope they keep a military secret that can see "through" objects like the thin coloured fiberglass walls allowing them to headshot the 3 pirates. Unless all 3 were stupid enough to all stick their heads outside at the same time... and I doubt that. The imminent threat story is a misdirection by the military to keep their secret safe.

At 7:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The attribution of ANY aspect of the success of this military operation to the President is absurd! Nuff said.

At 8:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice job NAVY, as far as I am cconcerened this dragged on 4 days too many, but again we had to wait for the prez's OK to take the shots, for those upset with America "taking out" the somali pirates, they boarded and kidnapped from an American Flagged ship, WRONG choice. They started the events that unfolded, none of this would have occured if the Maersk had made it to it's destination in the first place. They did not asked to be hijacked.

At 9:26 AM, Blogger Juan Liberale said...

Scumbag republicans were bitching that Obama was taking no action, then the bastards said he had nothing to do with it when he took action. What a bunch of hypocritical assholes.

Moderate republicans no longer exist. All that's left are the trailer trash racists that will hate Obama for every success as well as every failure. Punks!

At 9:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For over 200 years, no pirate dared take a US ship because they knew what would happen to them. Now, with Obama in power, they saw the US as weak. It took Obama five whole days to authorize a rescue that should have happened in the first 24 hours.

Bush could not take action against these pirates because they never touched a US citizen when he was president. They knew better!

Now this idiot pirate from the Somali town of Gara'ad is threatening the US. If we had a real president, Gara'ad would be levelled by B-1 bombers along with every other pirate haven on the Somali coast. If there are no more Somalis, there will be no more Somali pirate problem.

At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God that President Bush built up the US military and left us strong. Let's just pray that Obama doesn't destroy our military capability.

Navy Seals Rock!

At 10:45 AM, Anonymous john paul jones said...

We know they were pirates because they all had peg legs and wore a patch over their eye. They also spoke like Keith Olbermans imitation of Rupert Murdock.

Three people dead what a great victory. Almost as good as Reagan's invasion of Granada.

The so called pirates (actually poor fishermen) and their brothers had never killed anyone that we know of. Their fellow poor fisherman will probably change that in the near future. Then we can have a war against pirates. After all you can't have too many wars right anonymous es rhymes with hippopotamuses.

Another installment of Terry and the Pirates. What a thriller. Gets the juices going. Head shots. What could be better. God don't you anonymous es just love it. I'm trying to do simple sentences for you guys.

The (wrong) right wingers are such a hateful bunch of warmongers and stupid to boot pretending to be Christians while ignoring the commandment that shall not kill. Their motto is shoot first and ask questions later. They are truly the dumb and dummer.

My idea of a happy outcome. The captain is released unharmed. The fisherman get their waters protected and get money and food for their family and friends. They all live happily ever after. god bless.

At 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So john paul jones believes kidanpping and extortion is just fine. What a wimp! Perhaps he should go yachting off the Somali coast and see how he likes these "fishermen".

The solution is to blow them out of the water without hesitation. Then to bomb the coastal villages that produce them. If we eliminate the Somali population, then we'll have no more pirate problem.

Cruel? Perhaps, but these animals have forfeited their right to exist by acting like savages.

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the good old days, pirates would be shot on sight. What happened?

Who the heck would negotiate with these suckers? Thomas Jefferson sure didn't. He built three special frigates that looked like merchant ships. When the pirates would pull up along side, the marines opened the gun ports and let 'em have a taste of American lead.

The US Constitution specifically exempts pirates from any human rights and allows killing them without trial or redress.

At 1:25 PM, Blogger John said...

Well here we are debating the worth of one life over another. Pirates this, poor fisherman that, political grandstanding vs. political expedience!

What we are overlooking is very simple, the United State Government no matter the reason, looked after and cared for one of its citizens, the fact that President Obama and the Military advisers on scene waited 5 days and expended peaceful resolutions merely emphasizes our willingness to not go in "guns a blazing'".

The fact that this very difficult mission was carried out with such phenomenal precision is a testament to the fine training of our men and women in the military.

Because President Obama is a Democrat that is left leaning does not automatically mean that he does not have the resolve to pull the trigger when the situation justifies, nor does he necessarily have anything to prove.

The taking of a human life is never done without due deliberation, and an analysis of cause and effect.

Its not like 24 boys and girls, there isn't some adviser prodding them with re-election fallout should this go wrong. There is risk involved in any mission, thank God there are men and women that step up to the plate, put their feelings in check and have the courage and conviction to do what needs to be done, and live with those decisions.

Having voted for a Republican President since Jimmy Carter, I tip my hat to President Obama and his administration for also having that same courage and conviction.

At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous Astronamicaus said...

Right on John Paul. It's about time we simply let evolution take it's course. The United States and every other civilized county should cease ALL foreign aid and interference in African affairs. Allow the noble, intelligent people of the continent to succeed or fail entirely on their own.

At 3:50 PM, Blogger Juan Liberale said...

The republicans are now made up of just the bottom 29% of America. Those trailer trash rednecks who hate Obama more for his color than his governance. The ones who have a confederate flag on their wall and missed their last trailer payment because they just had to buy a new AK-47. The ditto monkeys. The Yee Haw republicans.

At 4:57 PM, Anonymous John Paul Jones said...

Humans are the only species that can participate in their own evolution even if only meagerly.

Unfortunately, many prefer ignorance to enlightenment. Murder satisfies our basest instincts. Helping others is humanities highest achievement.

At 6:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wake up everyone(Including the fascist at 2:32am!
This killing was not done to help the captain.Those waving the bloody version of the flag missed something very important. Three of 4 “pirates” we shot, yet the Captain was not killed by the 4th who could easily have killed him believing (as anyone would) that he only had seconds to execute the captain before he himself was killed. The military op could easily have resulted in the death of the captain when he was not otherwise in danger. The "pirates" had no intention of harming the captain and had consistently offered to release him in exchange for their own lives.
The couch potato Rambo’s in these comments have most likely always been and are likely to remain gullible and easy to manipulate by the treasonous cabal that remains in control of our government which no longer is a democracy, no longer is principled, and no longer obeys the Constitution. The US and its allies' (clandestine and other forces) caused the loss of Somali government, the loss of their fish, and their genocidal starvation of the Somali. Yet people are so easy to convince that the US military is protecting our rights and our freedom. Sadly, the reverse has been true for a generation and the cheer leaders are a serious impediment to getting our country back while reveling in the kill as the solution to every problem caused by the kill.


At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please remember, SEAL is an acronym. It is never written in lower case, e.g., "Seal". That's an animal.

Is considered disrespectful.

At 8:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The left says Obama kicked some butt, the right says he took too long to decide. Lets simply wait awhile until the real story behind the decision comes out. If Obama was ready to authorize ASAP, but was forced by others to wait for legal reasons, we will find out. If he could have authorized immediatedly, but waited 5 days because he was afraid of the decision, then we will find out. I think it's all a bit premature right now to decide.

At 2:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So when Obama was looked at as "doing nothing" and being a "pantywaste" it was because he wasn't doing anything. Now that it comes out he was doing something and the most successful outcome was realized, he shouldn't get the credit. So it's lose/lose. Why don't you blow hards find some other local issue to champion instead of putting all of your energy in disagreeing with anything the president says or does? While your at it, why dont' you get a life?

At 3:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"For over 200 years, no pirate dared take a US ship because they knew what would happen to them."
Get real!
First of all it was not a U.S. Ship, it was a Noregian ship.
Second of all only 5% of ships fly a U.S. Flag and less are owned by U.S. Companies so it's more an issue of odds. Lastly... itn's not for the lack of trying:


At 8:06 AM, Anonymous john paul jones said...

Well 5 more ships hijacked today with 65 hostages. Looks like we are winning the war on Pirates.

How about a war on mosquitoes.

A war on ants.

Simple solutions for simpletons.

At 1:51 PM, Blogger John said...

You know, I really respect everyone's point of view, particularly the ones that are NOT anonymous! Like many people in this blog I have served my country in the Armed Forces, because of this it allows for the freedoms that we so often take for granted. Have the courage of your convictions.

At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on people ask some real questions, don't swallow the cool aide. "Cui Bono?" Who Benefits from these attacks?

Certainly this follows the "order out of chaos" dialectic that has been a characteristic of some nation's foreign policy.

Who would like to control the flow of OIL and Natual Gas?

What other maritime sea lanes can handle the traffic that comes through the Strait of Aden?

What foreign powers are struggling over the resources of Africa?

Do you really believe in the "Muslim Terrorist" patsy story?

Could this be a false flag operation by a intel outfit?

At 4:05 PM, Blogger Dave said...

Great Job Navy Seals!!

President Obama, At least you got it right, eventually, but the delay in approving the use of deadly force, increased the risk to the captain. Had the approval been given earlier when the captain was in the water, even I could have riddled the lifeboat with enough bullets to kill the pirates, with little risk to the Captain. Instead, the SEAL's had to make 3 amazing shots to get the same result. Thank god, they are that good, they had to be perfect and they were. The President had an easier task, and his delay caused increased risks.

President Obama B-

At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the hardcore conservatives: Obama wasn't sitting around in the fetal position for 5 days. He was exhausting all non-violent options because that's how grown ups are supposed to deal with their conflicts. Shoot first is never the proper action, especially when the other side is willing to talk (which they were). As for wiping out the Somalis to end piracy, I refer you to Europe in the early 40s.

To the hardcore liberals: Please, shut up, you're acting like children. Yes, every effort should be (and was, by the way) made to arrive at a peaceful solution, but when you're out of options, there is such a thing as necessary evil. This wasn't about anything political or any kind of statement about America's interests in the region. This was about keeping an innocent man, who offered his life in exchange for his crew, from getting shot by criminals. Whatever plight drove the pirates to hijack a cargo ship (that happened to be carrying donated goods for African aide) doesn't justify their actions, and in taking those actions, they waived any innocence or position of being the victim. It's a violent world, and while we can do everything in our power to arrive at a peaceful solution, there will be times when the other side leaves us with no other options.

To me, this proves that Obama has peace at heart along with the conviction to give the firing order if need be.

At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wake Up!We are again being manipulated and conditioned to accept mass murder as a concocted necessity.
The "rescue" had nothing to do with helping Americans in trouble.

The crushing of the Somali's (their government, economy, etc)for the past twnety years has been to provide the pretense for, among other things, a US invasion, permanent US bases in the strategic "horn" of Africa and the massing of forces in the region. The strategy of "tension", destabilization, and false pretense is what the shadow government has been using across the globe since WWII.

The predator empire now has over 700 military bases in 140 countries. Even the most detached couch potato warrior should at long last have a light bulb going off in their head. None of this is to benefit Americans or the US (which are supposed to be the same thing).

We need to stop all of this to protect our own freedom and way of life before it is too late. The dark force is growing and is already consuming us while we swallow every pretense as if in some video game.
Every empire has failed when its people could no longer pay the massive sums for the foreign adventurism.

Enough! Obama is betraying all of his promises (esp. getting our Constitution back in addition to foreign policy,etc) and is selling us out to his handlers. He has not and will not do the right thing, keep his promises, or act in the best interests of the American people unless we pressure him to do so. Eternal vigilance, not hero worship (or blind submission to authority), is the only way things will turn out well for us or anyone else except for those pulling our strings.


PS: Throughout history pirates have cropped up as a problem when totalitarian empires make it difficult for entire populations to survive.

At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to be a nitpicker, but women did not figure in this episode, unless we include the female 'conflict resolution''risk reduction' attitude which delayed action against the pirates for five days. Laughable to waste words mentioning 'women' if nothing else. For your information, only 1 out of 10 of those who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq are female. At best, 16 percent of the US military is female. And none of those are, have been or ever will ever be a Seal.

At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay so Bush, who on one hand is viewed (and rightfully so) as wreckless and heavy-handed, was wrong not to wage full fledged warfare against the Somali pirates? But Obama, who campaigned on a platform of more restraint, deserves credit for his gunslinging? Well you can't have it both ways. It's so funny when left-wing defeatists such as yourself attempt to disguise your true nature by pretending to be a hawk--the very slobbering, right-wingers you hate for being so hawkish.

Don't pretend like you are comfortable with displays of American power, because people like you make every excuse for America's enemies, and those who wish America harm.

Oh and I found your remark about right-wingers wanting to see America fail than Obama succeed particularly interesting. In some cases this does seem to be true, but this seems oddly reminiscent of the left-wing clamoring for America's defeat in Iraq, and Afghanistan for that matter. (Oddly enough Obama campaigned on a promise of losing the war, which he has as of yet failed to do.) Did your type not want to see Bush fail?

At 10:39 PM, Blogger ladyzahl said...

I don't dance to any particular political tune. Nor do I care about skin color or religion.

I feel waiting 5 days was reasonable. If Obama had wanted to slaughter people, he would have given the order much sooner. There is more that needs to be considered. He has to think of the life of the captain, he had to determine if killing the pirates was necessary....etc.
It seems he had a lot of calculations to make. I am glad the decision was not mine to make.
To those who just want to wipe out the Somalians......I am SO glad you are not president. And have any of you given any thought to what would become of you if you were judged by the same ideals with which you judge others?
If your brother went astray and killed someone, should everyone in your town be hunted down and exterminated?


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