So Much Stupid

This pirate crisis appears to be another one of those political Rorschach tests that shows how detached from reality some people can get when it comes to defending or attacking a politician. Over at the DKOS, there are multiple glowing diaries all but calling for a CMH for Obama:

“Obama Approved Special Forces mission to save Captain!”

PR disaster for the GOP: Republicans bet against the United States and lose

And at the Washington Post, this diabetes inducing story:

An Early Military Victory for Obama

It was one of the earliest tests of the new American president — a small military operation off the coast of a Third World nation. But as President Bill Clinton found out in October 1993, even minor failures can have long-lasting consequences.

Clinton’s efforts to land a small contingent of troops in Haiti were rebuffed, for the world to see, by a few hundred gun-toting Haitians. As the USS Harlan County retreated, so did the president’s reputation.

For President Obama, last week’s confrontation with Somali pirates posed similar political risks to a young commander in chief who had yet to prove himself to his generals or his public.

But the result — a dramatic and successful rescue operation by U.S. Special Operations forces — left Obama with an early victory that could help build confidence in his ability to direct military actions abroad.

Folks, this was not the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Meanwhile, over at alt.fantasy.wingnut.redstate, they are doubling down with their alternate history of the event:

The Story of a Successful Rescue (and a Democratic Administration’s Attempt to Claim Credit)

After four days of floating at sea on a raft shared with four Somali gunmen, Richard Philips took matters into his own hands for a second time. With the small inflatable lifeboat in which he was being held captive being towed by the American missile destroyer USS Bainbridge, and Navy Special Warfare (NSWC) snipers on the fantail in position to take their shots at his captors as soon as the command was given, the captive Captain of the M.V. Maersk-Alabama took his second leap in three days into the shark-infested waters of the Indian Ocean.

This diversion gave the Navy Special Warfare operators all the opening they needed. Snipers immediately took down the three Somali pirates still on board the life raft, SEAL operators hustled down the tow line connecting the two craft to confirm the kills, and a Navy RIB plucked Philips from the water and sped him to safety aboard the Bainbridge, thus ending the four-day-and-counting hostage situation.

That was written last night, after everyone on the planet was aware that the initial reports about the Captain jumping a second time were inaccurate. From the Navy Times:

U.S. Navy snipers opened fire and killed three pirates holding an American captain at gunpoint, delivering the skipper unharmed and ending a five-day high-seas hostage drama on Easter Sunday.

Capt. Richard Phillips was in “imminent danger” of being killed before snipers shot the pirates in an operation authorized by President Barack Obama, Vice Adm. Bill Gortney said.

He said the pirates were armed with AK-47s and small-caliber pistols and were pointing the rifles at the captain when the commander of the nearby destroyer Bainbridge gave the order to open fire.

From the NY Times:

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.

It took only three remarkable shots — one each by snipers firing from a distance at dusk, using night-vision scopes, the officials said. Within minutes, rescuers slid down ropes from the Bainbridge, climbed aboard the lifeboat and found the three pirates dead. They then untied Captain Phillips, ending the contretemps at sea that had riveted much of the world’s attention. A fourth pirate had surrendered earlier.

It is pretty safe to say that Red State is doing what they do best, which is to “make shit up.”

Maybe I am alone, but I hardly view this as a test of the President. Unless I am mistaken, all he had to do was sign off on rules of engagement and stay out of the way, and I don’t mean that to denigrate Obama, but because that really is all any President could do. We have a massive Navy with several hundred ships, highly trained professionals in the SEALS, highly trained professionals in the FBI and in the crews of the naval vessels tailing (and in one case towing) the raft, and you just need to let them do their job. This didn’t happen because heroic efforts by Rahm Emmanuel and David Axelrod in consultation with Obama produced a dashing plan a la the The West Wing. This happened because our very entrenched military and national security apparatus can handle little things like this without flinching.

That isn’t to take anything away from what the guys on the scene did, as that appears to have been one helluva shot they took. They also deserve real credit for their prior restraint, and waiting until the right moment to make things happen. They really acted like, well, professionals. But heaping all sorts of praise on Team Obama seems to me to be just as silly as flaming them for this. They acted prudently and cautiously, as anyone who has watched the President for any period of time would have expected him to behave.

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337 replies
  1. 1
    Armando says:

    FWIW – This is a great post.

  2. 2
    canuckistani says:

    They acted prudently and cautiously, as anyone who has watched the President for any period of time would have expected him to behave.

    After the past eight years, this is worthy of praise.

  3. 3
    El Cid says:

    A real manly man’s President, bold enough to thrill the likes of sober policy analysts John Bolton and Newt Gingrich alike, would have dropped a nuclear weapon on the cargo ship the moment it was seized, in order to show the pirates the devastating insanity they faced when messing with Texas.

  4. 4
    BC says:

    Yes. We should all be like Obama and be more matter-of-fact when people are competent and do their jobs. It’s what we pay the SEALS trainers for and what we pay the SEALS for. Just that we got used to the over-the-top emotion of the past 8 years and forgot what it’s like to be matter-of-fact when things work out. Obama is a great role model on how to behave when things are difficult – hope more of us catch this type of behavior, particularly our media.

  5. 5
    Keith says:

    Redstate should go full-on bullshit and claim that Newt Gingrich stormed into the Oval Office, grabbed the telephone from Obama’s hands, saying "You had your chance to lead, now GET OUT OF THE WAY!" and promptly orders 3 F-22s equipped with lasers on the nose to vaporize the pirates from 10,000 feet at Mach 1.6.

  6. 6
    rob says:

    Agreed- If the Captian had been killed though, you know it would be all Obama’s fault.

  7. 7
    El Cid says:

    By the way, the reason right now to heap all sorts of mostly undue praise on Obama and the administration for this rescue is specifically because the right wing just invested so much in the past few days, thus the goal is to derange them even further.

    I think some of the people going overboard (ha! pun!) with praise for Obama for the captain-rescue are doing it just because it pisses off the neo-Confederate Teabagging Counter-Revolutionaries so much.

    I’m sorry, but I’m going to be doing just that over the next few days to my right wing colleagues who flapped their big yaps about how Obama was screwing this all up, blah blah blah, and I’m going to be artificially awe-struck at Obama’s awesome leadership in this crisis as contrasted to the skittish and panicky and loudmouth Bush Jr.

    And yes, just because it pisses them off. That’s why.

  8. 8
    Punchy says:

    Serious Q — Does RedState write their own news articles, ala the AP or UPI? Cuz that doesn’t read like a blog post; it almost reads like a newspaper article, but with the shit all wrong.

    Or did they link to something just as fetid, like HumanEvents or WashTimes?

    TIA

  9. 9
    JoyceH says:

    John, you talk about giving the orders and staying out of the way as if that’s a simple thing to do. Maybe simple, but the previous administration could never manage it.

    Sometimes staying level-headed and low-profile is the hardest thing to do. And that’s what Obama did. He didn’t make any public pronouncements ahead of time, and he didn’t swan up to the cameras to take credit when it was over. And best of all, he didn’t elevate these rag-tag thugs into a stature equivalent to the United States by framing the situation as some apocalyptic Clash Of Civilizations.

    It’s smart. It’s calm. It’s refreshingly different because it’s exactly what he should have done. And Obama deserves credit for that.

  10. 10
    Leelee for Obama says:

    This is my take exactly. I am so glad that the Captain was rescued unhurt, because that was the most important element. However, John, because the MSM needs a story more captivating than the new First Puppy, this will be it. ALL. DAY. LONG. From that perspective, it’s good that things went well for all but the pirates, because the wingers are already spewing crap like wind-mill blades to produce the REAL truth!

    COOL. CALM. THOUGHTFUL. PRUDENT. Our President. Thank God!

  11. 11
    rts says:

    Finally – someone speaks truth. It’s great that the captain was rescued. It’s great that the U.S. armed forces were well-trained to deal with such situations and they performed their job admirably. However, to say that Obama deserves kudos for this action is somewhat ridiculous (likewise if things had gone badly he would certainly not have deserved the brickbats that would have been thrown his way). I’m actually a bit sickened by the gloating tone at DKos over this situation. Of course, that is less absurd than the make stuff up approach at Red State; I mean, the captain couldn’t have thrown himself overboard and escaped since he was tied up. Anyway, this is a pimple on a pimple and let’s not blow things out of proportion except perhaps to make Newt Gingrich look even more silly.

  12. 12
    stevie314159 says:

    The Republicans, following up on their successful invasion of Iraq, which was responsible for 9/11, are calling for a massive retaliatory strike on Pittsburgh to deter future Pirate aggression.

  13. 13
    GSD says:

    John,

    Rumor among conservative circles is that Captain Phillips floated to saftey on Pamela Gellars’ pontoons.

    Another Wolverine-Cougar win.

    -GSD

  14. 14
    Zifnab says:

    @El Cid:

    By the way, the reason right now to heap all sorts of mostly undue praise on Obama and the administration for this rescue is specifically because the right wing just invested so much in the past few days, thus the goal is to derange them even further.

    I don’t know if that’s the "goal" so much as the "inevitable result". The DKos crowd bought into the Obama’s-responsibility narrative and when things worked out, they were happy to cash in their "My President is better than your President" chips.

    But the very fact that we’re praising or blaming the less-than-two-month-old President for a single piracy act on the other side of the world and it’s resolution… that’s just ridiculous. Saner heads know it. Just don’t get sucked in by the ridiculous rhetoric.

  15. 15
    Walker says:

    alt.fantasy.wingnut.redstate

    That is 100% win.

  16. 16
    Mudge says:

    As is said, success has many fathers, failure is an (in this case would have been Obama’s) orphan.

  17. 17
    Emma says:

    I see all the "Obama praise" as a direct result of the right-wingers’ "Obama fault". Just another way of sticking it to them. They have been crowing for a week about how this is a test of Obama’s whatever-whatever-whatever; now let them eat their just desserts. And yes, it’s petty, but… delectable.

  18. 18
    Face says:

    The media doesn’t give a shit about accuracy. If they can dress up a blah story and make it BLAM! , well, then, they’ve done their job.

  19. 19
    El Cid says:

    @Zifnab: Let me be clear. I am saying that I will be heaping all sorts of mostly undue praise on Obama for this captain’s rescue precisely because it pisses off the loudmouth yob right wing shitheads I’ve been listening to making up all kinds of sh*t about how this was a huge and failed test for Obama etc etc.

    I’m not just trying to anthropologically explain. I don’t care that it’s not the perfectly reasoned approach. I am recommending liberal people entertain themselves by using this incident to overpraise Obama in front of right wing sh*t-for-brains.

  20. 20
    NonyNony says:

    Maybe I am alone, but I hardly view this as a test of the President.

    You’re not alone. Although I will say that I’m glad to see that Obama and his crew did "get out of the way" rather than tamper with whatever plan the Navy brought to them for taking care of this. I’m not so sure that previous presidencies would have taken the same approach (and I’m not singling out W here either – there are a lot of presidents who might have wanted to put their own "mark" on the success just so they could claim some kind of victory here).

    OTOH, if this had gone poorly, he would have taken all of the blame. It would have been stupid, but the blame would have fallen entirely on "Team Obama" for their "terrible handling" of the situation. So I can kind of see why a heavily Democratic partisan website like DKos might want to be spinning things the other way since things ended reasonably well, just like I can see why a heavily Republican partisan and crazy website like RedState might want to rewrite the events so that they can still put the blame on Obama that they were gearing up to blame him for for the last few days. But I don’t see why anyone else needs to humor either group. DKos has the better case, since it’s actually based on little things called "facts" and "evidence", but it’s not like this is some kind of binary choice – you can acknowledge that DKos’s case is better than RedState’s and yet also acknowledge that both of them are wrong and that this "test" was more a test of our Navy’s anti-piracy techniques than anything the President did.

  21. 21
    JimPortlandOR says:

    I’m with El Cid: By the way, the reason right now to heap all sorts of mostly undue praise on Obama and the administration for this rescue is specifically because the right wing just invested so much in the past few days, thus the goal is to derange them even further.

    I mostly agree with John that this was way overblown, but it has to be viewed in the context of the Limbaugh/Beck/Faux News nervous breakdown accusing Obama of everything up to and including genocide.

    While Obama’s actions were as they should have been, we do need to recognize that a failed execution of the military plans would have led to blood curdling calls for impeachment of POTUS.

  22. 22
    Violet says:

    Maybe I am alone, but I hardly view this as a test of the President. Unless I am mistaken, all he had to do was sign off on rules of engagement and stay out of the way,

    So simple and yet so difficult. Compared with the previous occupant of the White House, doing something as straightforward as you describe means Obama knows how to be President. If the previous administration had been in power, I expect we’d be gearing up to attack Uruguay right about now.

    Although I don’t see this situation as a test of Obama in the same way something like the Cuban Missile Crisis was a test for Kennedy, it sure seems like a test of his ability to be a good President, make good decisions, and allow people to do their jobs.

    Ten million steps up from what we had before.

  23. 23
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    It’s clear Obama failed here. He managed to wait 3 full days before shooting, at a cost of god-knows-what keeping all those ships needlessly in the water all that time. This indecisiveness then mitigated any chance of capturing the pirates in time for an Easter Sunday conversion to Catholicism, and further biffed on the inability to 86 all the thugs involved. Clearly, this 4th pirate will be shipped to Leavenworth, escape, and rape 116 attractive white women before moving to Iowa and begin pirating tugboats on the Mississippi.

    I say we impeach Obama tomorrow for this calamitous debacle.

  24. 24

    The Vice-Admiral set the distance at 60 meters, just over 60 yds.

    It is refreshing after the last 6 years to have a President stay out of the lime-light while the stuff is in the wind. That wouldn’t look like more than oridnary without GWB as a lead in.

  25. 25
    Richard Bottoms says:

    By the way, the reason right now to heap all sorts of mostly undue praise on Obama and the administration for this rescue is specifically because the right wing just invested so much in the past few days, thus the goal is to derange them even further.

    Magneto: You never learn do you?

    Wolverine: Actually, I do.

    There are no bad Democrats, there are no good Republicans.

    To defeat the Right you need to kick them in the nuts as hard as you can each and every time you have the opportunity to do so.

    Fuck them, fuck being reasonable, and fuck all to hell not taking a chance to wipe the desert One debacle off of the Democratic Party once and for all.

    Obama tried being reasonable and bi-partisan. His reward? The birth certificate loons and calls for revolution by sitting members of Congress. Please, wake the fuck up.

  26. 26
    MattF says:

    Just bear in mind… Bush had aggressive policies that would be hard for anyone to implement, and then assigned their implementation to idiots. The concept of letting trained and proficient professionals do their job seems obvious, but it’s actually a big change.

  27. 27
    anonevent says:

    Obama deserves praise for being competent. He listened to those that said that we might have to kill the pirates and save the captain and allowed them to do their jobs. He didn’t stop them from killing, and he didn’t try to turn it into a photo-op. And he didn’t call a press conference afterwords to declare that saving the Captain displays the strength of America.

    After the last eight years, a competent president is something we have to celebrate.

  28. 28
    Marked Hoosier says:

    I am really impressed by the three sniper shots. The pirates were in a boat, bobbing up and down in the water… and the Navy scored three headshots.

    I think my mind would explode if they said the snipers fired from the deck of another boat, bobbing up and down in the water.

    Our guys and gals are GOOD. :)

  29. 29
    ChrisB says:

    Meanwhile, Chuck Todd was on Morning Joe this morning saying that he didn’t think the Republicans would have criticized Obama if the rescue attempt had failed.

    Res ipsa loquitor.

  30. 30
    Rainy says:

    Umm, don’t they know that the Navy Seals couldn’t have used force without the President’s permission. Hello? This is not rocket science, right wingers!

  31. 31
    BrYan says:

    You do have to wonder how a President McCain would have handled this. Fighting pirates has to be a lot more interesting to an old sailor like McCain than fixing the banks. His advisers probably would have taken a page from Rove and had McCain on the deck of the Bainbridge. Of course the best thing McCain could have done to help is to crash an airplane on the pirates.

  32. 32
    Napoleon says:

    Even if Phillips had "taken matters into his own hands" and jumped in the ocean I can not see how that could be used as some kind of indictment of Obama’s/the military’s inaction. The lifeboat he was on was enclosed. In order to sucessfully rescue him the military almost needed and amazing number of factors to be in their favor to sucessfully pull it off, namely all of the pirates had to be in view and/or clearly seperated from Phillips or disarmed so they could not harm him, the right military personal in place at the right time and a whole lot of luck (that is not intended as a slight, it just seems to me that in any operation like that there are more ways it can go wrong then right).

  33. 33
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    Obama may not deserve personal credit for the success, but he would’ve gotten all the blame for a failure. If taking the credit shuts the pundits up about his military creds, and makes the wingnuts look like the babbling loons they are, then I think he should take it. It’s an early "test" of his Presidency, and he "passed" this "test" with flying colors. Mostly, by not bombing Iran or using piracy as an excuse to jack up spending on the Star Wars system or whatever the fuck stupid shit Dubya would’ve done.

  34. 34
    kay says:

    I think it’s worth pointing out that he ignored bad advice. It was a really, really bad idea to make some bold, determinative Presidential pronouncement when he had negotiators actively working, yet that’s what these idiots wanted him to do.
    That could have been a disaster, and for what? Because a certain segment of the population views Presidential bluster and tough talk as necessary to their self-esteem?
    I think the difference might be that this was an actual good-faith negotiation, instead of a purely procedural predicate to a predetermined and inevitable goal: blowing things up. Maybe that changes the approach. You know, when you actually want negotiations to succeed.

  35. 35
    Dave says:

    Spot on, John. The focus should be on the great job our SEALs did.

    That said, I do like the side benefit of watching Teh Right go batshit trying to turn this into a failure. Although, credit where it is due, Goldberg at NRO manned up. You could almost feel the pain he went through to write it.

  36. 36
    ChrisB says:

    @peach flavored shampoo: "Clearly, this 4th pirate will be shipped to Leavenworth, escape, and rape 116 attractive white women before moving to Iowa, marrying another gay pirate and begin pirating tugboats on the Mississippi."

    Not fixed but perhaps helped.

  37. 37
    Lee from NC says:

    @Keith:

    I think you meant sharks. Sharks with frickin’ lasers attached to their heads.

    On a side note, I find myself surprised how much I agree with JC so much lately. A lifelong liberal Democrat and yet he makes more sense than a lot of the loony tunes I see on DK (not to knock Markos himself, whom I have a lot of respect for).

  38. 38

    I agree with El Cid: the only reason Obama’s minor role is this is being highlighted is the drumbeat of pointless, ignorant, petty criticism he had been subjected to over the past few days. It isn’t really commentary on Obama and his role in the rescue itself, so much as rubbing the noses of people like Erik the Red in their own stupidity.

  39. 39
    kay says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Why would the President jumping in the middle with a public pronouncement ever make that particular situation better? Who was it supposed to be directed to? Wouldn’t that almost inevitably make things worse?
    Who needed it, and why?

  40. 40
    Krista says:

    Chuck Todd was on Morning Joe this morning saying that he didn’t think the Republicans would have criticized Obama if the rescue attempt had failed.

    Pray tell, what has he been smoking?

    And I agree with Scruffy — we all know perfectly well that if things had gone pear-shaped, the wingnuts would have settled the blame squarely (and solely) on Obama’s shoulders, and would have been happy to crow about his "failure" for decades to come.

    They can’t have it both ways. Those fuckers insisted that this was a test of his leadership. And now, because he didn’t fail like they desperately hoped he would, they’re changing their tune. Either it was a test of his leadership or it wasn’t. And where they were screeching for days that it WAS, then we have to rub their noses in it and remind them that if they were going to hold Obama solely responsible for failure, then they’re just going to have to give him credit for success now, aren’t they?

  41. 41
    Ted says:

    I was with a bunch of right-wingers this weekend (it’s Texas. That’s all we’ve got.) and they had convinced themselves that Obama didn’t have the cojones to do anything about the hostage situation (they said he was too afraid of world opinion. Huh?) I agree wholeheartedly with you that the President really doesn’t matter in cases like this and that it’s more about the military, but the other side is just way off the deep end and it’s fun to watch them squirm under the weight of their own beliefs.

  42. 42
    Zifnab says:

    @Richard Bottoms:

    Fuck them, fuck being reasonable, and fuck all to hell not taking a chance to wipe the desert One debacle off of the Democratic Party once and for all.

    You have to be reasonable. Because it’s about restoring normalcy to the rhetoric. It’s important to change the playing field because, at the end of the day, this news cycle victory isn’t worth the pixels it’s printed on. No one is going to look back in November ’10 and say, "I’m voting Democrat because of how well Obama’s military advisers handled a single pirate attack two years ago."

    The best way to fight back is to make the wingers look silly for even making a big deal out of this. De emphasize these pissant "military" victories. Stop applauding the cowboy guns-blazing rhetoric. Quit buying in to macho war posturing. I’m not interested in hearing about how Jack Bauer would have handled this as we rehash the events in every-more-grandiose detail a month from now.

  43. 43
    Ricky Bobby says:

    Are you SURE the captain wasn’t trying to "go Galt" by leaping over the side? I mean, he could have been trying to swim home to make it to his state’s teabagging protest.

    Better ask the red staters, they would know.

  44. 44
    dmsilev says:

    Obama had the wisdom and self-confidence to do what you described, keep a low public profile and sign off on the plan generated by the professionals. For that, he deserves some credit.

    Beyond that, I think part of the cause of the lionization (both over at GOS and in conventional media) is a blowback from a week’s worth of right-wing "this is a test of Obama’s leadership abilities" blather.

    -dms

  45. 45
    ** Atanarjuat ** says:

    I wrote down quite a few responses to this post, including, "after imitating Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ statue while paralyzed with indecisiveness, Obama’s Teleprompter — safely hidden behind the new Presidential Puppy — finally issued the kill order to end the needlessly protracted Somali pirate hostage drama that never would have ensued if Obama had not bowed shamelessly to the Saudi King."

    I’m just not feeling it, though.

    Everyone did the right thing (minus the pirates), including President Obama. Capt. Richards Phillips is to be commended for his personal sacrifice that permitted the rest of his crew to go free, and the U.S. Navy, especially the Navy Seals, deserves absolute praise for showing restraint and acting swiftly when the window of opportunity opened to rescue the hostage.

    -A

  46. 46

    a Democratic Administration’s Attempt to Claim Credit

    That must be why I’ve seen Barack Obama, David Axelrod, and other top White House staff all over the TV, talking up Obama’s involvement in this. Oh, wait…like pretty much everything that is reported on Red State, that never happened.

    Ha ha. These idiots did everything they could for the past week to make sure that this episode was laid at the President’s feet. Thanks, fellas!

  47. 47
    C. Isaac says:

    I think my mind would explode if they said the snipers fired from the deck of another boat, bobbing up and down in the water.

    They were, in fact, on the stern of the USS Bainbridge, a frigate, when they fired.

    So yes, the SEAL snipers were absolutely amazingly skilled in their execution of this. One report states that two pirates were outside the lifeboat’s enclosed compartment, but the third was inside, waving the gun at the Captain. He was shot through a glass porthole. Through the head.

    Really amazing work by the US Navy and great to see a president who acts like an adult about this and not a grandstander. I’m even more proud of my vote for Obama now.

  48. 48
    Krista says:

    Why would the President jumping in the middle with a public pronouncement ever make that particular situation better? Who was it supposed to be directed to? Wouldn’t that almost inevitably make things worse? Who needed it, and why?

    The wingnuts needed it because a macho, "tough-talking" President gives them tinglies in their naughty bits.

  49. 49
    r€nato says:

    @canuckistani:

    what you said, x100.

  50. 50
    Rick Taylor says:

    Maybe I am alone, but I hardly view this as a test of the President. Unless I am mistaken, all he had to do was sign off on rules of engagement and stay out of the way, and I don’t mean that to denigrate Obama, but because that really is all any President could do.

    Steve Benen agrees with you:

    At some point over the last few days, the hostage standoff with Somali pirates became a leadership test for President Obama. I’m not sure how or why, and I’m less sure this makes sense, but it apparently happened anyway.

    Oddly enough, it seems conservatives wanted it this way. Some on the right blamed the White House for the pirates attacking the Maersk Alabama in the first place, while many more blamed the White House for not resolving the matter immediately. The situation, conservatives told us, made the president, and the country, appear "weak." As Michael Tomasky noted this morning, the "unhinged-o-sphere" had started calling this "Obama’s Hostage Crisis."

  51. 51
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    The difference here is that the previous administration would have inferred sinister links between the pirates and Al Qaeda, Bush would wear a holstered six gun while fishing with his dad, and the CIA would have kidnapped Johnny Depp and spirited him off to a secret prison in Bulgaria.

  52. 52
    Incertus says:

    How did you ever manage to become an internet success with this sort of rational approach to things?

  53. 53
    The Other Steve says:

    And here I just assumed that the US Navy brought on board several Marines snipers and that was that.

    I just assumed they were Marines, because usually Marines are the soldiering force that coincides with the Navy.

  54. 54
    aimai says:

    How soon you all forget. The whole point is that if it had been Bush in charge he would have had Karl Rove up spinning it for him every living second on every TV, the whole thing would have been blown hugely out of proportion, Bush would have gone on TV every night and banged his binky on the podium with rage, and then we would have bombed the hell out of Sweden because it also starts with an "S" and then he would have been forced to grovel to to get our captives back. That’s what happened with the plane we lost in china and don’t think that message didn’t get through loud and clear. From that moment Bush resolved never to look weak even if he had to punch old ladies in the teeth to make his bones.

    aimai

    So, in conclusion, by simply staying out of the way and above this petty fray Obama wins this round of "Is Obama the luckiest bastard in the universe? Or just lucky enough?"

    aimai

  55. 55
    Krista says:

    Everyone did the right thing (minus the pirates), including President Obama. Capt. Richards Phillips is to be commended for his personal sacrifice that permitted the rest of his crew to go free, and the U.S. Navy, especially the Navy Seals, deserves absolute praise for showing restraint and acting swiftly when the window of opportunity opened to rescue the hostage.
    -A

    Very gracious and reasonable of you, A. You do realize, however, that you’ve just made RedState and Malkin look that much more unhinged, however, right? :)

  56. 56
    Tom65 says:

    @Emma: Exactly. The effusive praise in some quarters is a direct response to the dead-enders who had beating the Failure Drum for the past week.

    Obama did what a NORMAL president does in these situations – give the on-site commanders the authority to do what needs to be done, and get the hell out of the way. It’s very telling that after the last eight years, mere competence looks like a stroke of genius.

  57. 57
    aimai says:

    PS. I’m a dyed in the wool anti militarist but I have to say that the perfect kill shot from a heaving boat *to* a small target on a darkened, heaving boat was incredible. And even more incredible they had *three guys* who could each make the same incredible shot under the circumstances. I’m amazed and awed. And deeply thankful.

    aimai

  58. 58
    fastandsloppy says:

    Those SEAL snipers are so obviously in the tank for Obama.

  59. 59
    Rick Taylor says:

    It’s eye opening to see the right wing’s response to President Obama. From Rush Limbaugh’s I want him to fail, to making fun of the white house puppy, to attacking him during a hostage crises, it’s distasteful. As Americans you want to come together during a crises, and it is so revolting when the other side’s vitriol for the President is so strong they can’t do that. It makes me appreciate better the source of conservatives frustration with liberals attacking Bush during his Presidency, though I don’t think the two are entirely comparable.

  60. 60
    zoe kentucky from pittsburgh says:

    The right has been rubbing their palms together with glee, hoping that they could use this story against Obama. It’s far too easy to imagine all of their talking heads all over the teevee if this had ended badly– if the captain had been killed– and they would have laid the blame ENTIRELY at Obama’s feet. They would have talked about it endlessly and the MSM would have reported it as a major failing because if Obama can’t handle 4 measley pirates off the coast of Somalia, how can he lead?

    The right/GOP is waiting and weighing every moment, every event, hoping that they can use it to tear Obama down. They’re angry zealots hoping for some sign of failure so they can try to use it to get back into power. They are so lost and confused that they don’t realize that this does not inspire confidence. People want to vote FOR something, not just against. They don’t seem to understand that they’re up against a popular president and that attempts to attack and undermine him will not endear them to the American public.

  61. 61
    R. Porrofatto says:

    They really acted like, well, professionals.

    This is exactly, exactly right, and it’s why those we expect to act professionally, be they doctor, soldier or politician, should be held accountable when they don’t.

    The most Obama (or any good leader in such an event) has to do is trust in the professionalism of the military and cross his fingers real hard that no one fucks up — which is not the same as acting unprofessionally. This is why the warbloggers’ armchair fantasy world is an eternally-adolescent place, where people act purely on emotion and misguided concepts of manliness, the very opposite of professionalism.

    Considering the insanity of the wingnut brigade on this, I can forgive a little pro-Obama excess in response to it, but excess it is.

    However, we should give credit to Obama for not following his predecessor’s example and invading Chad.

  62. 62
    Woody says:

    We–the USer taxpayers–pay the military untold trillions of dollars so they don’t fuck up at moment like this.

    Why is it such a coup when a nuclear-armed, battle-ready, modern, high-tech vessel, manned by 300 or more professional military personnel, can take out a couple of raggedy-assed, ill-armed, untrained, desperate pirates?

  63. 63
    evie says:

    As our previous president proved, even basic competence cannot be taken for granted. And if the captain had been killed, Obama would have been pummeled.

    I’m not saying that Obama deserves some special medal of honor, but we also shouldn’t underestimate how easy it is to mishandle even simple things, and then have them blow up. How many accolades would Bush have received for preparing properly for the Katrina storm that everyone knew about for days? How much praise would Rumsfeld have gotten for preventing the riots in Iraq? Not much, but when you don’t bother to do your job properly, people die and you’re also in trouble politically.

    The Navy, the captain, and Obama got lucky in this case. But they also put together a situation where they were able to take advantage of the opportunity when it opened up. I am not going to take for granted doing a job well, even a seemingly "simple" one, only three months into the administration. We know what it looks like when incompetence rules.

  64. 64
    Svensker says:

    Yeah, but none of that matters now because I heard on Fox News this morning that Katie Couric’s getting an award for her "let’s sandbag Sarah Palin" interview is all a plot of the liberal media !l! and that Katie had An Agenda!l! which was proved by Sarah Palin herself who said that Katie had An Agenda to Get Sarah Palin and also she was Mean. And Fox News is promoting a demonstration at the award event in California today and the demonstration is being organized by How Did Obama Get Elected.org. I do not kid.

  65. 65
    Svensker says:

    @Woody:

    I’m with you. Our 3 trillion dollar military kicked butt on 3 rag tag third world pirates. Let me go beat my chest about this because I Am Proud, USA USA!

    Happy the captain made it out alive. Sick to death of militarism.

  66. 66
    Woody says:

    And even more incredible they had three guys who could each make the same incredible shot under the circumstances. I’m amazed and awed. And deeply thankful.

    aimai

    It’s not THAT unusual. There are Marines aboard every commissioned vessel in the Navy. It was close range–the Bainbridge was towing the life-boat, so it couldn’t have been more than 50 or 60 yards astearn–and they had sniper-scopes on sniper rifles. With those weapons–50 cal, usually–almost any hit is fatal, through shock. At that range, it would have been like getting hit by a train…

    It was a good shot, but lucky, too, that all three of the pirates aboard the lifeboat showed themselves simultaneously…

  67. 67
    smiley says:

    …were pointing the rifles at the captain when the commander of the nearby destroyer Bainbridge gave the order to open fire.

    That quote must be the source of the "nuh uh! Obama didn’t give the order" meme I’ve seen cropping up on the right.

  68. 68
    Screamin' Demon says:

    Sometimes staying level-headed and low-profile is the hardest thing to do. And that’s what Obama did. He didn’t make any public pronouncements ahead of time, and he didn’t swan up to the cameras to take credit when it was over. And best of all, he didn’t elevate these rag-tag thugs into a stature equivalent to the United States by framing the situation as some apocalyptic Clash Of Civilizations.

    FTW.

  69. 69
    r€nato says:

    Why is it such a coup when a nuclear-armed, battle-ready, modern, high-tech vessel, manned by 300 or more professional military personnel, can take out a couple of raggedy-assed, ill-armed, untrained, desperate pirates?

    Um, because they got the hostage out safely without these raggedy-assed, ill-armed, untrained, desperate pirates harming him.

    Also:

    12-14-2001 WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush pledged anew Friday that Osama bin Laden will be taken "dead or alive," no matter how long it takes, amid indications that the suspected terrorist may be bottled up in a rugged Afghan canyon. The president, in an Oval Office meeting with Thailand’s prime minister, would not predict the timing of bin Laden’s capture but said he doesn’t care how the suspect is brought to justice. "I don’t care, dead or alive — either way," Bush said. "It doesn’t matter to me."

    3-13-2002 "I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority… I am truly not that concerned about him."
    – George W. Bush

    I’ll echo many previous commenters – after 8 years of Emperor Fuckupus Maximus, ‘mere competence’ by the POTUS is indeed something to celebrate.

  70. 70

    Maybe I am alone, but I hardly view this as a test of the President. Unless I am mistaken, all he had to do was sign off on rules of engagement and stay out of the way, and I don’t mean that to denigrate Obama, but because that really is all any President could do.

    Exactly. And really, that was the point of the one DKOS diary — which was that it wasn’t just that the wingnuts were dissing Obama, but that they were, by implication, dissing the entire friggin’ US Navy. As the title said, they bet against the President AND the Navy, and lost.

  71. 71
    jibeaux says:

    @Svensker:
    But a conflict that can be resolved by taking out 3 bad guys without harming a hair on the head of the good guy is a terrific thing. It’s not that hard to come up with ways for it to go badly wrong. It was necessary, defensive, rescued an innocent person, and was pretty much a textbook definition of a surgical strike, which to me is the opposite of militarism. It’s a proud moment not in a USA-USA kind of way, but because it represents our best capabilities put to their best use, which you don’t see every day.

  72. 72
    HitlerWorshippingPuppyKicker says:

    Pretty much agree with the top post. This isn’t really that big a deal one way or the other. It’s a big scary world out there and there are dangers that are going to exist on the high seas.

    Obama seems to have handled this pretty well, and the Navy was obviously superb. Good for them, we are all glad it worked out well. It could have turned out badly. If it had, it wouldn’t have meant that Obama did poorly or that the Navy did poorly.

    National politics is a circus. Everything is politics, and politics is everything. The media (and the blogs) live off of this fact, and then of course practice fauxrage over it when it suits their purposes. Meh. The people are smarter than the media and the blogs. Luckily for all of us.

    The only other thing I’d say is that some jackass (there are many, so who can remember all their names?) was bloviating the other day that "nobody lays a hand on an American overseas, period." Well, yes they do, and there isn’t that much that can be done about it in the end. The idea that we are going to have an official posture of zero tolerance of harm to Americans is sociopathic, and dangerous.

  73. 73
    Dave says:

    Per some posts…when is it "militarism" to celebrate the success of the SEALs in saving someone’s life? And to do what they did is very hard. Hitting a target like that from a boat onto another boat, adding in wind, is possible only through a lot of training and dedication.

    These guys bust their ass for us in ways we don’t even know about. Love or hate America’s foreign policy, but these guys deserve nothing but appreciation and a big, fat "thank you."

  74. 74
    angulimala says:

    SEALS SCHMEELS

    Obama shot the pirates himself ….. from the white house.

    Yes, he’s that good

  75. 75

    Woody,

    Why is it such a coup when a nuclear-armed, battle-ready, modern, high-tech vessel, manned by 300 or more professional military personnel, can take out a couple of raggedy-assed, ill-armed, untrained, desperate pirates?

    It’s not. They could have shelled the lifeboat days ago and killed those three pirates.

    Now, what’s a coup is that they were able to take out the pirates without getting the captain killed.

    That demonstrates a professionalism, a level-headedness, a strategic sense, and a discipline that is really quite impressive.

  76. 76
    gwangung says:

    These guys bust their ass for us in ways we don’t even know about.

    And these are the situations they’re preparing for, that they’re busting their asses.

    Also, given the real screw-ups by many local police lately (see the BART shooting, the various home invasions, etc.), it’s just nice to acknowledge competence in a difficult situation.

  77. 77
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I get a shiver down my leg imagining President Obama sliding down the ropes from the Bainbridge to the pirate vessel, then standing there bravely, dressed to the nines in military garb, saluting our other heroes while a hastily-erected giant Mission Accomplished banner flutters in the breeze.

    Too bad we aren’t closer to the 2012 elections.

  78. 78
    Zifnab says:

    @zoe kentucky from pittsburgh:

    They would have talked about it endlessly and the MSM would have reported it as a major failing because if Obama can’t handle 4 measley pirates off the coast of Somalia, how can he lead?

    But this wasn’t such a big deal. The pirates just wanted money. The captain just wanted to live. And the military just wanted to resolve the issue as painlessly as possible.

    This was a softball over the plate and it’s no surprise everything went according to plan. I hope the GOP continues to pin all it’s hopes on an Obama administration wiffing at easy pitches. That said, it’s important to acknowledge how trivial this all really is. Be modest. Convince people that this is a standard affair. Downplay the incident.

    Because two months down the line, when Obama issues some directive reorganizing FEMA or improving HHS, you’re going to hear a bunch of bullshit about how it’s all stupid or trivial or welfare for ACORN. And that’s when you’ve got to push back, selling it as the important stuff of the Obama administration.

  79. 79

    Once again Team Obama shows good judgement. Once again Team Obama detractors and admirers should follow suit. Oy.

    We are headed to the IKEA store down in Stoughton, MA today. The boss wants to redecorate our girls’ bedroom so I’m tagging along to provide witty conversation, a strong back and superior driving skills. Because the corporate headquarters is in Sweden and they have stores in Saudi Arabia and Israel, does that make me a socil!st, a terrorist sympathizer or a Zionist? I’m very confused. At any rate this is our bit to stimulate the economy for the month of April.

  80. 80

    […] John Cole finds plenty of dumb to go around in the aftermath of the Pirate story. And there is plenty of dumb to go around. […]

  81. 81

    To the anti-militarists:

    Your talking point here should be about the restraint that characterized our response. The genuine militarists on the right have spent days yakking about Obama being "weak" and "indecisive" because he took no action for a while, allowed the situation to develop, and waited for an opportunity to accomplish our goals with the minimum loss of life. They wanted something quick, flashy, and involving overwhelming use of force.

    You know what that would have gotten us? A dead Merchant Marine captain, that’s what. Did you read about the recent commando raid on the French yacht, that got one of the civilians killed? I’m not going to sit in judgment of the French – I know nothing about the developments that led them to launch that operation at that time – but it certainly makes for an illuminating contrast. Playing Die Hard tough guy gets innocent people killed. Keeping quiet, keeping control, keeping your head, and keeping the action hero crap to a minimum brings better results. That’s your talking point.

  82. 82
    HitlerWorshippingPuppyKicker says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    In your fantasy, is Barack holding a knife in his teeth?

    He is, in mine.

  83. 83
    HitlerWorshippingPuppyKicker says:

    @angulimala:

    Wonderful post.

  84. 84

    Because the corporate headquarters is in Sweden and they have stores in Saudi Arabia and Israel, does that make me a socil!st, a terrorist sympathizer or a Zionist?

    I’m pretty sure it makes you gay, but I wouldn’t write off "elitist," either.

  85. 85
    HitlerWorshippingPuppyKicker says:

    They wanted something … flashy, and involving overwhelming use of force.

    He gave it to them, on election day.

  86. 86
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @BrYan:

    That was a tasteless low-blow. Everyone knows that, because of injuries suffered as a POW, John McCain is physically unable to crash airplanes anymore.

  87. 87
    angulimala says:

    Playing Die Hard tough guy gets innocent people killed. Keeping quiet, keeping control, keeping your head, and keeping the action hero crap to a minimum brings better results. That’s your talking point.

    @joe from Lowell

    You, sir, have obviously never seen Die Hard OR it’s 3 sequels. If you had, you would know that McClain has NEVER gotten a single innocent person killed. Contrary to your assertions, the evidence is clear that "Die Hard" shit is the best way to deal with almost any problem from pirates to terrorists to a fee dispute with the cable company. The best thing to do is to shoot first and the best way to do it is to stand up and discharge a continuous stream of automatic weapons fire until your mag runs dry. Why? Because BAD GUYS CANT SHOOT STRAIGHT!!! I mean, how many movies do you have to watch before you understand this? If it were just one or two I could understand your skepticism but when EVERY movie from Star Wars to Red Dawn (peace be upon them) says the same thing you know it HAS to be true and you are just stubbornly denying logic and common sense.

    I say "Good Day", to you sir!!!

    WOLVERINES!!!!!

    :).

  88. 88
    Michael says:

    "No Drama Obama" strikes again.

    The man managed to do the egg roll, get a new puppy, allow his professionals to do their jobs and not toot his own horn all at once.

    The previous occupant of the White House would have had an Orange Terror Alert, ominous poorly worded "civilization ending" statements, saber rattling in the direction of Tanzania and a half dozen renditions of suspected pirates/fishermen from Columbia going on by now. In addition, John Bolton would be blustering down some UN diplomats and Chuckles Krauthammer would be singing the praises of "muscular" policy while advocating for the release of Israeli nuclear weapons over Damascus, Amman, Cairo and Tehran.

  89. 89
    Mo's Bike Shop says:

    However, we should give credit to Obama for not following his predecessor’s example and invading Chad.

    The importance of this cannot be emphasized enough.

  90. 90
    Joshua Norton says:

    Those SEAL snipers are so obviously in the tank for Obama.

    Next up on Fox: How Obama secretly set the pirate attack up to make himself look good.

    Plus, we’re going to need more teabags.

  91. 91
    WyldPirate says:

    The Washington Post is so full of s**t that they can’t even check the historical record.

    GHW Bush put troops in Mogadishu in 1991. Congress give Clinton s**t over it when he wanted to send M-1 Abrams from Ft. Stewart in support of the UN mission.

    And Cheney was running his stupid-arsed fat mouth when he should have kept it shut:

    Cheney, Oct. 1993:

    The administration ‘has allowed the UN to rewrite the mission’ into ‘an open-ended military commitment’, President Bush’s defense secretary, Dick Cheney, declared. ‘We shouldn’t be in the position of having Boutros-Ghali and the United Nations deciding the objective of US military forces.’

    What a lazy bunch of tools the WaPo is paying. They deserve to go out of business.

  92. 92
    Michael says:

    @angulimala –

    I say "Good Day", to you sir

    Outstanding winger parody. I’ve often thought that they imagine themselves in white powdered wigs when they go into that little convention.

  93. 93
    Yo Ho Ho says:

    As I diabetic-American, I must protest your insensitive use of the phrase "diabetes inducing story." The development of diabetes in any particular individual involves numerous factors, including genetic predisposition, physical condition and eating habits. The precise mechanism of causation remains a mystery. However, the disease of diabetes cannot be induced by a single triggering event.

    What are you, retarded?

  94. 94
    Brachiator says:

    They also deserve real credit for their prior restraint, and waiting until the right moment to make things happen. They really acted like, well, professionals. But heaping all sorts of praise on Team Obama seems to me to be just as silly as flaming them for this.

    On the ABC Sunday pundit show, Newt was invoking the memory of Thomas Jefferson and the Barbary pirates, and adding the lack of immediate strong action by Obama as another example of his failed vision.

    I think that some morans expected Obama to look for some Somali warlord to "negotiate" with, or to somehow just wilt under pressure. In some ways, over-praising Obama is a variant of wingnuts over-criticizing Obama. Both sides need a reality check.

  95. 95

    The whole wingnut attack is going to fall flat. For the public, this couldn’t possibly have gone any better. They got three days of vicarious thrills, and then, before it could start to become boring*, we got an exciting and completely heroic successful conclusion. This was cable news heaven.

    *For the general public. I got bored with the coverage after about three hours, and I was spending most of my time watching and talking about hockey. Most exciting NCAA tournament ever, though it was the team that I was rooting for that blew a two goal lead in the last minute of the final.

  96. 96
    Svensker says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    To the anti-militarists:
    Your talking point here should be about the restraint that characterized our response.

    You’re probably right.

    I’m just sour after a rough weekend. And my anti-militarism and anti-imperialism nose tends to get out of joint easily.

  97. 97
    Tsulagi says:

    calling for a CMH for Obama

    Pedantic point, correct acronym would be MOH. It’s the Medal of Honor, not the Congressional Medal of Honor.

    all he had to do was sign off on rules of engagement and stay out of the way

    Yeah, and really didn’t even have to sign off on standing rules. But given this event was so public, command on the scene likely ran it up their chain getting to Gates. Who then likely made a call to Obama for his thoughts. That seems to be confirmed in the DoD account by Vice Adm. Gortney…

    Gortney said the White House had given military operators "very clear guidance and authority" if Phillips’ life was in danger.

    @Krista…

    They can’t have it both ways. Those fuckers insisted that this was a test of his leadership.

    Exactly. But of course they’ll insist on having it both ways. The mission succeeded in spite of President Obama.

    And…

    The wingnuts needed it because a macho, "tough-talking" President gives them tinglies in their naughty bits.

    Eewwwww

  98. 98
    Joshua Norton says:

    Newt was invoking the memory of Thomas Jefferson and the Barbary pirates, and adding the lack of immediate strong action by Obama as another example of his failed vision.

    But of course. Because everyone knows if Jefferson hadn’t handled the Barbary pirates correctly he wouldn’t even have been a footnote in our history.

  99. 99
    Persia says:

    @jibeaux: Good point.

    It’s like the landing in the Hudson; everyone had to do their job well to get it to work, but they did, so that’s awesome.

  100. 100
    someguy says:

    @ Richard Bottoms:

    Obama tried being reasonable and bi-partisan. His reward? The birth certificate loons and calls for revolution by sitting members of Congress. Please, wake the fuck up.

    That’s basically right. Since the Republican Party cultivates the loons, there’s really no sense in having a dialogue with them or making any attempts at a dialogue with them or their stupid 48%er voters. Like John Stewart said, losing is supposed to taste like a shit taco. Here, let me help with a little hot sauce, assholes.

  101. 101
    jibeaux says:

    @Persia:

    Thanks! Now, let’s refer to it as "miraculous" and re-fight the Battle of The Absurdly Pedantic. I mean, otherwise, this thread is going to wind down with everything that can reasonably have been said, being said.

  102. 102
    LD50 says:

    By the way, the reason right now to heap all sorts of mostly undue praise on Obama and the administration for this rescue is specifically because the right wing just invested so much in the past few days, thus the goal is to derange them even further.
    I think some of the people going overboard (ha! pun!) with praise for Obama for the captain-rescue are doing it just because it pisses off the neo-Confederate Teabagging Counter-Revolutionaries so much.

    I’m sorry, but I’m going to be doing just that over the next few days to my right wing colleagues who flapped their big yaps about how Obama was screwing this all up, blah blah blah, and I’m going to be artificially awe-struck at Obama’s awesome leadership in this crisis as contrasted to the skittish and panicky and loudmouth Bush Jr.
    And yes, just because it pisses them off. That’s why.

    This strikes me as a perfectly valid motivation. Proceed.

  103. 103
    renegademom says:

    @JoyceH: I co-sign Joyce’s comment.

    This is what you call governance without EGO. Halleljuah.

  104. 104
    HitlerWorshippingPuppyKicker says:

    @Mo’s Bike Shop:

    Well sure, if you don’t think invading Chad is long overdue.

  105. 105
    Martin says:

    This is what we expect of the President and a little praise is earned, but it’s also not like Obama took the shot personally. And praise goes to the SEALS, but then this is what we expect of them as well. It’s only remarkable because the last guy would have responded by bombing Chad and required a shoe inspection and pat-down before boarding a racing dinghy.

    Don’t think this is the end of it from the wingers. Their pivot will be that Obama has made the seas more dangerous for Americans and will point to every failure to tack before a right-of-way American ship as Obama’s fault. Further, expect them to say that Bush really deserves credit because those SEALS were trained on his watch and because Obama’s defense cuts will eliminate the SEALS, snipers, and firearms for the military.

  106. 106
    Comrade Dread says:

    Of course a bunch of illiterate pirates were a major test for the Obama administration and it’s clear by taking so long, he has failed and humiliated the nation forever.

    If it were John McCain, he would have dispatched the Red State Strike Force and ended this in less than a day.

  107. 107
    eyepaddle says:

    Let’s be clear on this, this WAS a test of Obama’s leadership; but the whole piracy thing is really just a backdrop. The real test is being able to ignore all the howling blowhards clamoring for something RIGHT NOW! I’m kind of curious to see how this ability to keep his eye on the real ball will play out in negotiations over health care and environment, and other sundry issues.

  108. 108
    Darius says:

    Yeah, some of those diaries/articles you linked are pretty excessive in their praise of Obama. But I think this Kos diary makes a valid point:

    This should never have been a political issue. And for most red, white, and blue Americans it was about as non-partisan as it gets. But nutballs on the fringe right just couldn’t help themselves: while armed terrorists were holding a brave, innocent American at gunpoint, a few extremists elements were barely able to contain their glee at the thought of the terrorists winning, or at least for Phillips to remain captive or worse, all so that they could try and make the President look bad for a news cycle or two. What was for the rest of the nation a joyous Easter miracle has right-wing eliminationists furious. They’re angrily denouncing the details of the rescue, vainly trying to revise events to fit their failed ideology. It’s revolting, beyond the pale, and something this nation will not soon forgive or soon forget.

  109. 109
    DanF says:

    Violet said:

    If the previous administration had been in power, I expect we’d be gearing up to attack Uruguay right about now.

    True enough. Cheney would have been on the Sunday morning shows talking about a Judith Miller story which conclusively linked the Somali pirates with stolen Uruguayan uranium.

  110. 110
    Lupin says:

    I can’t help but feel mildly disappointed that Obama didn’t pull his adamantium claws out and go snikt on the pirates personally.

  111. 111

    and I’m going to be artificially awe-struck at Obama’s awesome leadership in this crisis as contrasted to the skittish and panicky and loudmouth Bush Jr.

    Don’t forget John "Panicky" McCain.

    No drama. Don’t need no hateration, holleration in this dancerie.

  112. 112
    jill says:

    Okay, while some of the dailykos stuff has been bad I’d say the 2nd kos diary you linked was pretty truthful in theory. Though the media isn’t actually going to call the republicans on the things they said leading up the rescue. Did anyone see Newt on the teevee on Sunday? Laying it on a little thick guys. But it’s hardly a PR disaster.

    Yes some dems have gone over the line, but nobody can deny if this would have ended up badly that Obama would have been blamed. It’s like the NY-20 race. There was unneeded importance put on it because the GOP is searching for any opening they can. Then the democrats fall into the trap and respond.

  113. 113
    Dude in Jersey says:

    You really need to read the comments at RedState to see just how psychotic that crew is. They are writhing with anger over completely made-up scenarios. It’s classic psychotic behavior.

  114. 114
    passerby says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Now, what’s a coup is that they were able to take out the pirates without getting the captain killed.

    To add: and they did so only after negotiations had "broken down"–twice.

    They exhibited patience and struck when the time was right.

  115. 115

    […] about frothing, fuming and extolling, here is a balanced take by John Cole on this issue: Maybe I am alone, but I hardly view this as a test of the President. Unless I am […]

  116. 116
    JasonF says:

    I agree with others who have said that there was a lot of room for the president to screw this up, so the mere fact that he didn’t is probably praiseworthy. Along similar lines, I would also imagine that the JCoS or the Sec. Def. or the Fleet Admiral (or some combination thereof) came to the president with a number of options, so there was room for the president to insist on a bad option (e.g. storm the boat immediately in an effort to overpower the pirates, which would almost certainly have cost Captain Philips his life).

  117. 117
    Cain says:

    @ChrisB:

    @peach flavored shampoo: "Clearly, this 4th pirate will be shipped to Leavenworth, escape, and rape 116 attractive white women before moving to Iowa, marrying another gay pirate and begin pirating tugboats on the Mississippi."

    His story will then be turned into a fun loving Disney cartoon complete with songs and toys for happy meals!

    "America! America, I love this counntrrryyyyyy! … "
    cain

  118. 118
    Cain says:

    @Krista:

    Very gracious and reasonable of you, A. You do realize, however, that you’ve just made RedState and Malkin look that much more unhinged, however, right? :)

    The fucker is changing right before our eyes depriving us of entertainment. Goddam wingnuts, they can’t even sit still on anything can they?!

    I’m going to cry when A finally says "Democrats First!".

    cain

  119. 119
    ksmiami says:

    There is a pretty good written account of the same thing in 1794 called Pirates of the Barbary Coast which details Jefferson’s attack. There are a lot of similarities, plus equating Obama with Jefferson will surely drive the Wingnuts batty (although, they really don’t understand that Jefferson was an intellectual and mostly a deist / agnostic)

  120. 120

    @Dude in Jersey:

    How much of it is spoof? I made my annual visit there over the weekend and I couldn’t find a single post that could not be taken to be spoof.

  121. 121
    Cain says:

    @angulimala:

    SEALS SCHMEELS

    Obama shot the pirates himself ….. from the white house.

    Yes, he’s that good

    Yes, that’s why he’s cutting the military budget. Cuz he sits around in the Oval Office with a sniper rifle by his desk and his dog ready to battle the forces of Darkness.

    cain

  122. 122

    This morning on FauxNews:

    Expert guy says "Navy not doing enough, we should go after the mother ships — the ships that launch the small boats that go out and make the actual attacks.

    Interview guy says, yeah, but won’t that just spur the pirates to capture more civilian vessels to turn them into more mother ships?

    Expert guy: Well, uh, yeah, but, er, uh …. SHUT UP THAT’S WHY.

    They are flailing now, big time. I don’t have enough popcorn.

    (above is my paraphrase, not a true transcript)

  123. 123
    JK says:

    Once again, another trenchant, cut to the chase, bullseye analysis from John Cole.

    "So Much Stupid" – official slogan for the Palin/Bachmann 2012 campaign

    Victor Davis Hanson writing in National Review Online
    "In academic circles the last two decades, pirates have been romanticized in a variety of contexts—as in pirates being contrarian individualists, admirable anarchists, Marxist redistributionists, sexually ambiguous, cross-dressing, transgendered libertines, and Lotus-eater-like sensualists, rather than as murderous criminals. Who knows, maybe such esoteric theorizing has filtered down to the U.S. State Department."

    Hanson is the Chairman and CEO of the So Much Stupid wing of the Republican Party

    Hat Tip to iambiguous, a commenter at the New Republic, for the following quotes:

    Rush Limbaugh:
    "Why did it take a Democrat days to accomplish what a Republican president would have accomplished in hours?"

    Sean Hannity:
    "Piracy is a direct result of a liberal philosophy."

    Ann Coulter:
    "It’s obvious the whole thing was staged to bolster Obama’s abysmal poll numbers."

    Michelle Malkin:
    "At least 2 of the pirates were seen in the crowd at Obama’s inauguration."

    Glenn Beck:
    "Can pirates in Kansas be far behind"

    Lou Dobbs:
    "This never would have happened with a wall separating America from the rest of the world."

    Bill O’Reilly:
    "Secular progressive pirates are pinheads."

    Tim LaHaye:
    "This was all predicted in the Book of Revelations."

    Sarah Palin:
    "We can see pirates from Alaska."

    Bobby Jindal:
    "Pirate cells in America are all in the blue states."

    Michael Steele:
    "Rush and I both agree the Republican party platform should denounce pirates."

  124. 124
    Rick Taylor says:

    How many accolades would Bush have received for preparing properly for the Katrina storm that everyone knew about for days? How much praise would Rumsfeld have gotten for preventing the riots in Iraq?

    Or how much praise would Bush have gotten if when the warnings were coming in from the CIA, he prevented a terrorist attempt to fly planes into a skyscraper.

  125. 125
    mechanical jacobin says:

    I’ve been scouring the internet, looking for someone, ANYONE, who is reacting to this in a sane way. I come here, and breathe a giant sigh of relief…

  126. 126
    anonevent says:

    @JK:

    Michael Steele: "Rush and I both agree the Republican party platform should denounce pirates."

    LOL.

  127. 127
    LV-426 says:

    @JK:

    Michelle Malkin:
    "At least 2 of the pirates were seen in the crowd at Obama’s inauguration."

    WIN!

  128. 128
    AL says:

    This was a bad call on Obama’s part, or if not his, then the admiral’s part. Now innocent people will die in retaliation, with nothing gained. This is ultimately going to fall on Obama’s head, though, so you will not see the last of the right-wingers on this one.

    Everything about the operation was handled poorly, from using negotiators as a ploy (good call, now the pirates know that negotiating with us is a total waste of time and is actually dangerous to them) to firing at someone from an unstable position while the target is holding a gun to the hostage’s head. If the fates were not generous, the captain comes home missing his head and Obama looks like an even bigger jerk. Don’t be so quick to fully credit the SEALs, without luck their skill would have been for naught.

    Cole, I appreciate your throwing cold water on right-wingers attempts to mewl about Obama on this one, but don’t buy into the notion that this was a triumph for democracy. There was no evidence that I’ve seen that the pirates actually intended to harm the captain, and the only thing they were demanding was simply to leave. Obama deliberately chose the most violent solution to this scenario, and now innocent people are going to pay the price. So effectively we have killed people in cold blood to show how big and tough we are to a bunch of criminals. This has ended nothing and thus has accomplished nothing. The only people who get to leave this sorry episode with anything in tact are the captain and his family, who thankfully survived. I hope we can say that about the next round of hostages taken, but I don’t think we will.

    And I say again, the US Navy ended up killing more people than the pirates. Yup, this will surely make them realize that violence is not the answer.

  129. 129
    KCinDC says:

    While “Obama Approved Special Forces mission to save Captain!” seems silly (especially the exclamation point), I don’t see the problem with "PR disaster for the GOP: Republicans bet against the United States and lose". That’s what happened, and you have to call these wingnuts on their idiocy. When it blows up in their faces, make sure everyone knows about it.

  130. 130
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    Speaking of Redstate et al "making s**t up" … it seems they’re also perfectly happy to cut and paste stuff other people make up, too.

    For instance, has anybody seen the latest meme? Based on a single anonymous quote and a single picture, they’re screeching that the cheering welcome Obama received from the troops in Iraq was actually staged. Yep, the troops were "prescreened," and they all used identical cameras handed out by Obama operatives.

    Aside from the fact the cameras in the picture they chose are obviously NOT identical, it seems they might have bothered to check some of the other pictures of the same event, showing … right, non-identical cameras.

  131. 131
    Jay C says:

    @TheHatOnMyCat:

    The really sad part is, that none of the stuff posted on RedState is spoof: incredibly, they actually believe the stuff they write: from the driest facts-and-figures posts to the wildest wingnuttery – there isn’t a sense of humor detectable on the whole site. Sneering "satire", yes – "spoof", no way.

  132. 132

    Reaction To Captain’s Rescue, Pirates, And Obama Role Flood New And Old Media…

    Reaction to NAVY SEAL snipers killing three of Capt. Richard Phillips’ captors and freeing him in an operation that reportedly involved coordination of military in the field, the Defense Department and President Barack Obama is now pouring in via…

  133. 133
    spare says:

    This is why I read your blog, Mr. Cole. Thank you for being sane.

  134. 134
    Joshua Norton says:

    When it blows up in their faces, make sure everyone knows about it.

    The blow-hard wingnuts waving their teabags around are becoming cartoons of themselves. Much like the bleak and ridiculous current crop of movie "mall cops", they need to be perceived as important and envision their pathetic little selves as great warriors and protectors.

    Then they get pissed off when you rightfully point and laugh at their pathetic little delusions of grandeur.

  135. 135
    poopsybythebay says:

    @JK:
    This is actually scary–an absolute perfect compilation of the sort of thing each one of them would have said. At first I thought this was a list of their actual statements. You must have spent some time hanging around the dark side in order to have gotten the essence of each so perfectly. Great job.

  136. 136
    Robin G. says:

    I have to say that AL has a point, though not necessarily in heaping all the blame on Obama, just as he should not get all the credit. Let’s face it — we shot guys while we were supposedly "negotiating." This all could have gone much worse, and it’s wonderful that the captain is safe, but I’m not convinced that this is a particularly proud moment for the country.

    The front page of DKos is calling the pirates "terrorists," which disgusts me. Terrorists do it to inspire, well, terror. These criminals were in it for the money. I didn’t like it when the right decided anyone who opposed us was engaging in terrorism, and it’s just as revolting coming from the left.

  137. 137
    Tsulagi says:

    It is pretty safe to say that Red State is doing what they do best, which is to “make shit up.”

    Pretty much. Just read the linked alt.fantasy.wingnut.redstate post. Before clicking on the link could tell the blockquoted portion was written by their “military expert,” and no doubt general in the activated RSSF, Jeff Emanuel.

    I liked some of the comments. Especially Emanuel’s after a few mentioned news accounts contradicting his assertion Captain Phillips jumped into the water a second time forcing action…

    In a split-second combat action order of events is one of the toughest things to recall and to recount.

    Whether he got wet before or just after the shots were fired is, for all intents and purposes, moot — however, as more recountings come out, reporters with integrity will update and amend their stories.

    Shorter tard: The fog of war prevents those on scene from seeing what I clearly saw thousands of miles away in my head. And “reporters with integrity” would confirm that.

    That cracks me up. While this officer in the RSSF likely is often incapacitated by starbursts dreaming of rough men at the ready, or maybe Palin saying “you betcha,” or both, for those snipers it was a short day at the range. I’m guessing command also wasn’t in a hyper-excited state of mind leading to their failure to recount events as accurately as wingnut visions.

  138. 138
    r€nato says:

    @JasonF:

    there was room for the president to insist on a bad option (e.g. storm the boat immediately in an effort to overpower the pirates, which would almost certainly have cost Captain Philips his life).

    Lost in the news of the Maersk Alabama situation was the news that French commandos stormed a luxury yacht to free captives from the pirates. One hostage died as did two pirates.

    I wonder what kind of head-exploding conflict this creates in the ‘minds’ of Red Staters and their ilk. Should they praise the cheese-eating surrender monkeys for conducting a manly commando raid? Or condemn them for getting a hostage killed despite doing what they were rooting for the US to do (a Rambo-esque commando raid)?

    More than likely, this will just go ignored by them because it’s awfully inconvenient for their party line. Anybody got the stones to go see what, if anything, is being said about the French raid?

  139. 139
    AL says:

    More than likely, this will just go ignored by them because it’s awfully inconvenient for their party line. Anybody got the stones to go see what, if anything, is being said about the French raid?

    The same being said about the other hundreds of hostages from countries not named The United States of America: zip.

  140. 140
    asiangrrlMN says:

    I agree that this shouldn’t have been a test of President Obama’s intestinal fortitude. He did what a thoughtful, sober, reasonable president would do. What makes it striking is the fact that (as many have said), it’s the direct opposite of what Bush would have done. The last eight years have been Bizarro World, and only now are we back in the real one. It’s a sad commentary on how much Bush has damaged the role of president that we are applauding cool efficiency, but so be it.

    President Obama did what he usually does–ignored the blathering around him and chose what looked to be the best option at the time. Being able to shut out the noise is one of his greatest strengths.

    I give a shout-out to the SEALS and the Navy and everyone involved for a job well-done. Yes, it’s their job, but it was also Captain Sully’s job to do what he did. We still, rightly so, praised him for his courage and bravery. Give credit where credit is due.

    Personally, I am just relieved that this ended with Captain Phillips safely rescued. Everything else is pretty irrelevant to me at this moment.

    P.S. Just saw the latest batch of opinions and wanted to add: I think this had to be done if (and only if) what they said about the captain’s life being in danger was true. However, there does need to be an addressing of the underlying problems that Somalia has re: no real government and illegal fishing. However, that will take a lot longer than a week or two to solve.

  141. 141
    celticdragon says:

    Um, because they got the hostage out safely without these raggedy-assed, ill-armed, untrained, desperate pirates harming him.

    Exactly. As has been said elsewhere, professionals are predictable. It’s the amateurs who are dangerous.

    This was a bad call on Obama’s part, or if not his, then the admiral’s part. Now innocent people will die in retaliation, with nothing gained. This is ultimately going to fall on Obama’s head, though, so you will not see the last of the right-wingers on this one.

    Oh good God. Hand wringing excuses for inaction and self imposed helplessness. We can’t do anything because the bad guys will keep being bad.

    And I say again, the US Navy ended up killing more people than the pirates. Yup, this will surely make them realize that violence is not the answer.

    Un-frakkin’ believable.

    So a police officer who kills a hostage taker is now to be castigated for killing more people then the criminal?

    WTF?

    The idea is to kill the armed criminals before they get around to killing the hostages, right? So, yes: Ideally the military and law enforcement will kill many more armed gunmen then the gunmen will be able to kill from our side.

    BTW, the fact that weapons were pointed at the hostage and the gunmen were agitated was enough to reasonably believe he was in imminent danger…but I would have been fine with shooting the assholes in any event.

    Obama made the right call, and the Captain of the Bainbridge did as well.

  142. 142
    r€nato says:

    @Robin G.:

    This all could have gone much worse, and it’s wonderful that the captain is safe, but I’m not convinced that this is a particularly proud moment for the country.

    Any time you kill the enemy, it’s going to piss off their comrades.

    That’s no reason not to kill the enemy. Sheesh. Advocating ‘we shouldn’t kill the pirates because that will piss off their comrades’ is the epitome of stereotypical squishy-soft liberalism.

    These so-called pirates can huff and puff all they want; the only reason they are getting away with the current levels of piracy is because the problem is at a small enough scale that it’s not worth diverting a significant amount of international naval force to put a decisive end to it.

    But if they insist on tugging even harder on Superman’s cape, the US and its allies will surely bring more force to bear on the situation and these pirates will learn that making a pittance at fishing or other peaceful jobs is more desirable than getting your skiff blown out of the water by a destroyer.

  143. 143
    ksmiami says:

    Disagree that they weren’t terrorists because any time a hostage is taken, it becomes a terrorizing event insomuch as it is inspiring fear for one’s life once you become a hostage… Regarding the good faith issue, these guys were holding an American sea captain on a small lifeboat in shark infested waters. I feel bad that Somalia and other parts of Africa are truly a disaster, but I really don’t feel bad that the pirates are dead.

  144. 144
    celticdragon says:

    I wonder what kind of head-exploding conflict this creates in the ‘minds’ of Red Staters and their ilk. Should they praise the cheese-eating surrender monkeys for conducting a manly commando raid? Or condemn them for getting a hostage killed despite doing what they were rooting for the US to do (a Rambo-esque commando raid)?

    I never really got the whole " cheese-eating surrender monkey" thing. The French military is tough, nasty, well equipped and professional. Their SpecOps are cold blooded killers. Period.

    I would no sooner piss them off then I would piss off the Israelis or the British SAS.

  145. 145
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @Robin G.:

    The front page of DKos is calling the pirates "terrorists," which disgusts me. Terrorists do it to inspire, well, terror. These criminals were in it for the money. I didn’t like it when the right decided anyone who opposed us was engaging in terrorism, and it’s just as revolting coming from the left.

    Pirates and bandits have been the common enemy of mankind for centuries. Long before the word "terrorism" even existed. A couple of centuries ago, any pirate apprehended could be sure of a very swift execution.

    No matter how Obama handled this particular batch of pirates, other pirates were going to continue to practice piracy. If they’d paid the ransom, maybe the captain would’ve been released unharmed. And then they would’ve captured someone else a week later. Same as the other pirates are going to do, anyway. And some hostages are going to die. Same as they would’ve done anyway.

    Really, other than sending troops to seize the Somali ports where the pirates thrive, or arming the Somali government to do that for us, I don’t see how we’re ever going to stop Somali piracy from occurring.

  146. 146
    anonevent says:

    @AL: Clinton stated that one of the goals in bringing the FBI was bring the pirates to justice. That’s a very American thing; most of the countries have just been paying ransom. The pirates would not have surrendered, and they were probably wanting to leave with Phillips so that they could get their ransom.

    What this will ultimately cost is hard to say. During the ’80s the US paid ransoms to people in the Middle East that were kidnapped. This just ensured that more people were kidnapped. This was one of the things that Bush Sr. put an end to when he took office. Kidnappings of US citizens were significantly reduced after that.

  147. 147
    asiangrrlMN says:

    P.S. My addition did not take. Damn spam moderator. I read the other opinions, and I think that we have to address the problem of no government and illegal fishing in Somalia as we contemplate how to deter further piracy, but at this moment, if (and only if) the captain’s life was in danger, then the SEALS did what needed to be done.

    I also think it’s disgusting that apparently, we only care about piracy when it’s our own people being kidnapped, but that’s endemic of our society in general.

  148. 148
    AL says:

    Oh good God. Hand wringing excuses for inaction and self imposed helplessness. We can’t do anything because the bad guys will keep being bad.

    The hell, these Iraqis won’t stop bombing our troops. Hmmm, maybe if we destroy another neighborhood…

    So a police officer who kills a hostage taker is now to be castigated for killing more people then the criminal?

    If the cop shoots a hostage-taker who is not directly threatening the life of his hostage, yeah. That’s the kind of cowboy crap that works in the world of movies, not in real life.

    I’m guessing though that you would rather mariners deal with kidnappers who now know that murder is an acceptable outcome to these situations.

    The idea is to kill the armed criminals before they get around to killing the hostages, right? So, yes: Ideally the military and law enforcement will kill many more armed gunmen then the gunmen will be able to kill from our side.

    Wrong. The goal is to disarm the hostage-takers peacefully, if possible. There was no indication that this was an impossible goal.

    BTW, the fact that weapons were pointed at the hostage and the gunmen were agitated was enough to reasonably believe he was in imminent danger…but I would have been fine with shooting the assholes in any event.

    Obama made the right call, and the Captain of the Bainbridge did as well.

    Please let the families of the future victims of these pirates know that their loved ones died nobly so that you could get your war porn on.

  149. 149
    r€nato says:

    I never really got the whole " cheese-eating surrender monkey" thing.

    That’s because Right Blogistan is a fact-free reality distortion sphere.

    French commandos, for example, haven’t been particularly nice to Greenpeace when the latter attempted to interfere with French nuclear tests.

  150. 150

    Put me down as strongly pro-"U.S. Navy Killing More People Than the Pirates."

    "Next question: The U.S. Navy killed more people than the pirates. Do you strongly approve, somewhat approve, neither ap…"

    "Strongly approve. Put down Strongly Approve."

  151. 151
  152. 152
    r€nato says:

    The hell, these Iraqis won’t stop bombing our troops. Hmmm, maybe if we destroy another neighborhood…

    For chrissakes, we’re not talking about occupying and pacifying Mogadishu. We’re talking about the equivalent of high seas hijackers.

    If situations like these can be resolved peacefully, then they should be. If they can’t be, I say take the fuckers out with the least risk to hostages. That’s exactly what the US Navy did. I for one think you are an utter douchenozzle for second-guessing the people who were actually there dealing with the situation and who showed admirable restraint and professionalism throughout.

  153. 153
    The Moar You Know says:

    Well, I went and made the pilgrimage to RedState, and they have retreated into a tight little coccoon of butthurt and talking points. It’s really quite sad. I feel kinda bad for them.

    HAHAHA NO I DON’T SUCK ON IT RIGHTIES

  154. 154
    AL says:

    Clinton stated that one of the goals in bringing the FBI was bring the pirates to justice. That’s a very American thing; most of the countries have just been paying ransom. The pirates would not have surrendered, and they were probably wanting to leave with Phillips so that they could get their ransom.

    Okay? So what? Well they want to leave with the captain, but we can’t let them do that… welp just shoot them okay boys mission’s over we can all go home now!

    Hey guess what, the pirates weren’t going anywhere one way or another. This was not a binary proposition.

    What this will ultimately cost is hard to say. During the ‘80s the US paid ransoms to people in the Middle East that were kidnapped. This just ensured that more people were kidnapped. This was one of the things that Bush Sr. put an end to when he took office. Kidnappings of US citizens were significantly reduced after that.

    The cost is that the pirates will bcome more aggressive. Innocent people will bite the dust. Obama will be pressured to invade Somalia. Here’s a protip: anyone involved with the Clintons is basically a milder version of the neocons, do not listen to them.

    All this episode has done is turned otherwise non-murderous pirates into murderous ones. Congrats America, you got your movie.

  155. 155
    D-Chance. says:

    I would also argue that this was not a "military" victory, as reported in the Washington Post (guess DougJ will have the chat transcripts later today, as that seems to be his official job at BJ… Cole hands out odd assignments to his pee-ons). It was a great hostage rescue, it was a great police action, everyone should be proud of the way our men and women handled themselves in this situation; but we were not engaging a professional military or military-trained opponent.

  156. 156
    r€nato says:

    Obama will be pressured to invade Somalia.

    Yeah, that’s not gonna happen (an invasion of Somalia).

    "Worst case", if the pirates choose to escalate (and I am convinced they are talking smack, just like Bush with regards to getting OBL "dead or alive"), I could see an int’l naval blockade of the Somali coast. Any ship coming or going in int’l waters subject to boarding.

  157. 157
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @AL:

    The hell, these Iraqis won’t stop bombing our troops. Hmmm, maybe if we destroy another neighborhood…

    See if you can figure out the difference between pirates attacking ships 400 miles off the Somali coast, and American soldiers invading Iraq.

    If the cop shoots a hostage-taker who is not directly threatening the life of his hostage, yeah. That’s the kind of cowboy crap that works in the world of movies, not in real life.

    How about if the hostage-taker just picked a rifle up and held it to the hostage’s head? You know, sort of like what happened here?

    I’m guessing though that you would rather mariners deal with kidnappers who now know that murder is an acceptable outcome to these situations.

    It’s awful hard to ransom a dead person. It’s also hard to get money out of people who don’t negotiate. So either you stop kidnapping people, or you restrict your kidnapping to countries that pay ransoms. If you’re only in it for the money, it’s stupid to waste time attacking ships and killing people for the sake of attacking and killing.

    Wrong. The goal is to disarm the hostage-takers peacefully, if possible. There was no indication that this was an impossible goal.

    Except that it looked like they were going to kill the hostage. It was a split-second decision; they didn’t have all day to agonize over it, like you have.

    Please let the families of the future victims of these pirates know that their loved ones died nobly so that you could get your war porn on.

    No, they will have died because some assholes decided to attack their ships. They’d be attacking ships next week and next month no matter what Obama did here. Until Somalia gets an effective government, this is the way things are going to be.

  158. 158
    smiley says:

    @AL:

    Obama made the right call, and the Captain of the Bainbridge did as well.
    Please let the families of the future victims of these pirates know that their loved ones died nobly so that you could get your war porn on.

    You’re advocating hostage taking of a different sort. Taking a nation hostage in fear of pissing off the wrong people. If a nation did as you advocate, there would be nothing to deter hostage taking.

  159. 159
    AL says:

    For chrissakes, we’re not talking about occupying and pacifying Mogadishu. We’re talking about the equivalent of high seas hijackers.

    Hahaa, you don’t think ONWARDS TO MOGADISHU is next? Wake up, it’s already brewing on the right.

    If situations like these can be resolved peacefully, then they should be. If they can’t be, I say take the fuckers out with the least risk to hostages. That’s exactly what the US Navy did. I for one think you are an utter douchenozzle for second-guessing the people who were actually there dealing with the situation and who showed admirable restraint and professionalism throughout.

    I’ll second-guess them all I want. Their actions have signed the death warrants of untold mariners now. And professionalism? Good call using the negotiator as a decoy, if al Qaeda did this to our servicemen, we’d hear the right screaming TAQQIYAH, SEE? SEE? THEY CAN’T BE TRUSTED!!!

    I really hope Obama is not running the Clinton foreign policy playbook. And now I see that the left is hoping that he does. Now you know why I don’t trust liberals, either.

  160. 160

    The hell, these Iraqis won’t stop bombing our troops. Hmmm, maybe if we destroy another neighborhood…

    You don’t even understand the difference between attacking (what we did in Iraq) and being attacked (what happened off Somalia) – yet you imagine yourself to occupy the moral high ground, don’t you? How pathetic.

    That’s the kind of cowboy crap that works in the world of movies, not in real life.

    Perhaps you should take a look at today’s paper, chief. And no, it wasn’t "cowboy crap," it was a very carefully-put-together operation, that was only carried out when the Navy believed the captain’s life was in imminent danger. Did you catch that last part? You are condemning an action that MEETS YOUR OWN CONDITION – "directly threatening the life of his hostage."

    I’m guessing though that you would rather mariners deal with kidnappers who now know that murder is an acceptable outcome to these situations.

    Are you living in some fantasy world where Somali pirates don’t kill anyone? Are you this ignorant, really?

    The goal is to disarm the hostage-takers peacefully, if possible. There was no indication that this was an impossible goal.

    Oh, is that the way it looks from your monitor? Tell me, is your monitor in the Indian Ocean? Because the people who were actually there – and who were given the order to use deadly force only when the captain’s life was in imminent danger – concluded otherwise. But, since you occupy the moral high ground of not considering a peaceful ship’s captain’s life to be morally distinguishable from that of a pirate holding a gun at his head, I guess you know better. Pacifists always know better, don’t they?

    Please let the families of the future victims of these pirates know that their loved ones died nobly so that you could get your war porn on.

    What’s the point of worrying about an actual man sitting in a lifeboat, staring at AK-47s, wondering if he’ll ever see his kids again, when we can assume into existence a whole host of theoretical captives. Maybe we can postulate that none of those captives offered any physical resistance to their captors, as Captain Phillips and his crew did, because that would make them more worthy.

    You are as morally vacuous as Dick Cheney.

  161. 161
    JK says:

    @poopsybythebay

    All credit for the made-up quotes goes to the commenter at the New Republic website. If you read thru enough comments, every now and then, you’re rewarded with comedy gold.

    I tend to agree with AL about using negotiators as a ploy. That kind of deception is troubling.

    Undoubtedly, some people think that Obama should have chosen an option where Richard Phillips was released and the pirates would have received save passage and not faced any criminal prosecution.

    If Phillips were released and the pirates got away scott-free, the screaming, ranting, and raving from Hannity, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Malkin et al would have been deafening. Obama would have been accused of coddling and appeasing criminals. Fox News would be organizing rallies calling for Obama’s impeachment

    I would have preferred that the pirates be taken alive and put on trial, but I’d rather have 3 dead pirates than 3 pirates who were given save passage and not faced any prosecution.

  162. 162
    r€nato says:

    Hahaa, you don’t think ONWARDS TO MOGADISHU is next?

    No, I don’t. Maybe you’ve forgotten "Black Hawk Down". I assure you DC politicians have not and there is no support, ZERO, for any kind of military operations in Somalia.

    Wake up, it’s already brewing on the right.

    Yes, and Obama = Bush and Obama takes all his marching orders from the neocon right.

    /eyes rolling

  163. 163
    over_educated says:

    Hay guyz!

    Jonah golberg went off the reservation and apparently now Rush is going after him:

    http://corner.nationalreview.c.....hhMmIwMGI=

    Wow, talk about rooting for injuries.

  164. 164
    AL says:

    You’re advocating hostage taking of a different sort. Taking a nation hostage in fear of pissing off the wrong people. If a nation did as you advocate, there would be nothing to deter hostage taking.

    I think I understand where the confusion is coming from. The Somali pirates have had a reputation of not killing their hostages and not mistreating them more than necessary. There’s only been one case of a pirate killing a hostage. But it seems everyone here is under the impression that they are all Moslem savages who behead people at the earliest possible convenience. Try reading up about their MO and their attitudes.

    Or not. Now that they have vowed revenge, we will see the same hijackings + more dead bodies. So not only are we not going to solve the piracy problem (invading Somalia and stepping up patrols won’t do the trick), we’ve just made it a more dangerous problem. This doesn’t make sense even on a pragmatic point of view, but militaristic dickwaving never does.

  165. 165

    "Non-murderous pirates?" Are you kidding me?

    This isn’t a Johnny Depp movie, you know.

    I’ll trust that other commenters will school you on the hundreds of murders Somali pirates have committed in recent years, and address the question from another direction:

    The "non-murderous pirates" intended to steal and hold a ship full of humanitarian relief supplies being sent to starving people in Africa. Let’s pretend that AL read a story about a US Marine holding up an aid shipment for a few months. Anyone care to guess what his position on the question of murder would be?

  166. 166
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @AL:

    This isn’t the first time pirates have been killed . Why haven’t they become murderous already?

  167. 167
    smiley says:

    I think AL is an O’Reilly show plant/troll. After all, Bill’s going to need material with which to paint leftish blogs as squishy on pirates.

  168. 168
    r€nato says:

    Jonah golberg went off the reservation and apparently now Rush is going after him:

    Countdown to Jonah’s apology to Rush… 3… 2… 1…

    Is it too early to predict a schadenfreude bubble? Because there just seems to be no end in sight to Republicans devouring Republicans…

  169. 169
    Napoleon says:

    @r€nato:

    AL is either a troll or idiot or something. Anyone who thinks shooting a pirate on the high seas many miles away from innocents is going to have the same effect on the population of a country as an occupying army shooting guns off near where your children play and raiding peoples houses is operating in la-la land.

    Plus, good luck planting a remote control IED where it can take out a sailor 25 miles off the coast.

  170. 170
    r€nato says:

    AL is either a troll or idiot or something.

    I vote for #2. Probably a greentard.

  171. 171
    Robin G. says:

    @r€nato: Please. I’m not a fool — I recognize a pragmatic decision when I see one. What happened may have been necessary, but it certainly wasn’t the ideal. The ideal would have been to get everyone out alive without our word becoming mud with regards to "negotiations." That may not have been possible at the end. But personally, I feel that this is a time for sadness that things didn’t go better, relief that things didn’t go worse, and sober reflection on what to do next — not a time for "USA! USA!" pride. I may not feel shame, but I have a hard time feeling pride when people get killed, even when they’re just "so-called pirates," even when it’s the least-risky, most-solvent option available. If that makes me a "squishy-soft" liberal, so be it.

  172. 172

    Hahaa, you don’t think ONWARDS TO MOGADISHU is next?

    Anybody care to take bets on whether douchenozzle wrote "Hahaa, you don’t think Bush is going to bomb Tehran?" throughout 2007 and 2008?

  173. 173
    Ella in NM says:

    I was at my dentist on Thursday, and he really has always been a really decent, sweet, nice old fella but I guess he’s fallen victim to the Teabag-nut Brainwashing. I was standing at the check out desk. He was back in his office, and I could see he had one earphone plugged in and was listening to the radio (would have been Rush at that time of day).

    I heard him tell his hygienist "Obama just told the military that if any of those pirates is killed they will be held responsible for their deaths" or some such pap. That then touched off a cascade from the little hygienist of "Oh, did you hear how he told the whole world that all these problems we’re having are the United States fault while he was overseas? And do you know he bowed to that Muslim Prince?.."

    I knew right away what was happening. At that moment I realized that these guys will shamelessly lie with no impunity just to get an old man’s adrenal’s pumping. People like him are the suckers born every minute that can’t believe that if someone on a famous "news" program says it, it can’t possibly be untrue. But they’ve been told not to read the NY Times for confirmation because it’s socialist propaganda.

    He does such nice work, too, and my kids love the guy.

  174. 174
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @Napoleon:

    Plus, good luck planting a remote control IED where it can take out a sailor 25 miles off the coast.

    You put it on a shark, then wait for the shark to find its way behind a US vessel. Then, you detonate.

    Or you could put a laser beam on its head. That might be more practical.

  175. 175
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I think I understand where the confusion is coming from. The Somali pirates have had a reputation of not killing their hostages and not mistreating them more than necessary. There’s only been one case of a pirate killing a hostage.

    Meh, we only killed three pirates but otherwise have a reputation for not killing or mistreating pirates more than necessary, whatever the hell that means.

  176. 176
    Robin G. says:

    @Scruffy McSnufflepuss: I’m not saying they’re not criminals, by any stretch of the imagination. But they’re not terrorists. Terrorists act to pursue a political goal which they feel is achievable by using semi-random acts of violence to scare the population. These guys wanted money. A dude who robs a liquor store isn’t a terrorist either.

  177. 177
    Richard Bottoms says:

    While “Obama Approved Special Forces mission to save Captain!” seems silly (especially the exclamation point), I don’t see the problem with "PR disaster for the GOP: Republicans bet against the United States and lose".

    It isn’t silly. It’s necessary.

    These dickwads need to be marginalized, mocked, and lambasted non-stop by Obama supporters for betting against the president.

    It isn’t about taking the low road. It is about getting to 61 Senators and maintaining our majority in the House.

    Everything is about that, all the fucking time, until we have sufficient electoral numbers to crush the lunatic Right wing agenda.

    Jesus Christ, haven’t you people learned anything.

    Obama needs to drive home his wins so he has the political capital to do things like this while jauntily telling the Republicans to kiss his black ass:

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama directed his administration Monday to allow unlimited travel and money transfers by Cuban Americans to family in Cuba, and to take other steps to ease U.S. restrictions on the island, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.
    Mojito This, Biatch!

  178. 178
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @Robin G.:

    I’m not saying they’re not criminals, by any stretch of the imagination. But they’re not terrorists. Terrorists act to pursue a political goal which they feel is achievable by using semi-random acts of violence to scare the population. These guys wanted money. A dude who robs a liquor store isn’t a terrorist either.

    Fair enough. Terrorists act for ideological motives that make deterrence impossible. Thieves operate for a motive of pecuniary self-interest, which makes deterrence by violence a viable solution.

    A dude who robs a liquor store can be deterred by the threat of violence. These guys are in it for the money. If they figure out that the odds of getting killed make the business too risky, they’ll stop doing it. If more pirates die, then the remaining pirates will calculate that it’s no longer profitable to risk their necks for the material gain. They’re not going to take hostages if the best-case scenario for them is life in prison. They’re certainly not going to take hostages just to kill them, unless they think that by doing so they can exert political pressure on America to start coughing up ransoms again. That seems very unlikely.

  179. 179

    r€nato is probably right about AL.

    I imagine that some wingnut, bitter about all of the abuse his side is taking, has been scanning liberals blogs, hoping to find someone complaining about the use of force, so he could find some liberal-bashing argument to make now that "Obama Makes America Look Weak" failed so spectacularly.

    Since he couldn’t find any, he decided to see if he could foment some, but things don’t seem to be working out for him.

  180. 180
    kay says:

    @Robin G.:

    Why is our name "mud" with regards to negotiations? I think a term offering immunity for the pirates is unacceptable. The whole "rule of law" concept is sacrosanct except where pirates are concerned?

    Being willing to negotiate doesn’t mean you have to stay at the table until you lose.

  181. 181
    r€nato says:

    Robin, I feel sad in general for Somalis whose situation is so desperate that they resort to piracy in order to make a living (though really, there’s greed involved too, not just putting food on their family).

    I wish "Black Hawk Down" had never happened so that there might be some international will to do something about this failed state. Because Somalis can’t make a decent living farming or fishing, because their ‘country’ is in a state of virtual anarchy (aka Libertarian Paradise), they resort to shit like this.

    But specifically, these pirates? They would have been much wiser to simply surrender. They were given food and water. They were being towed by the naval vessel in question. There’s a chance they even might have gotten off relatively scot-free.

    They had an automatic weapon trained on their hostage. It would be nice if they could have been subdued without violence. But, I am not going to feel much sympathy for those guys. They rolled the dice and they lost. Maybe their friends will consider a different line of work now.

  182. 182
    smiley says:

    @Scruffy McSnufflepuss:

    You put it on a shark, then wait for the shark to find its way behind a US vessel. Then, you detonate.

    Why not? Dogs were used by the Russians during WWII as anti-tank weapons.

  183. 183
    AL says:

    You don’t even understand the difference between attacking (what we did in Iraq) and being attacked (what happened off Somalia) – yet you imagine yourself to occupy the moral high ground, don’t you? How pathetic.

    I’m comparing the solutions to perceived attacks. In both situations, the solution was to kill people without just cause. I don’t care who you are, shooting people who are essentially trapped and do not pose a direct threat is immoral. A peaceful solution could have been reached. It was not chosen.

    I was also putting paid to the notion that blowing up people is the best way to pacify violence in a society at large.

    Perhaps you should take a look at today’s paper, chief. And no, it wasn’t "cowboy crap," it was a very carefully-put-together operation, that was only carried out when the Navy believed the captain’s life was in imminent danger. Did you catch that last part? You are condemning an action that MEETS YOUR OWN CONDITION – "directly threatening the life of his hostage."

    Roight, I’m going to take the Navy’s word on this one. Because they never lie about situations like this.

    Wake up, they used the negotiations as a means of luring them into the open. There was no intention to ending this peacefully. Don’t assume that this will escape the notice of the pirates.

    Are you living in some fantasy world where Somali pirates don’t kill anyone? Are you this ignorant, really?

    Taken as a whole here’s the killcount as of yesterday:

    Pirates 1, US Navy 3

    Whoops.

    Oh, is that the way it looks from your monitor? Tell me, is your monitor in the Indian Ocean?

    Everything you said after this point instantly became irrelevant. Sorry you wasted your time.

    What’s the point of worrying about an actual man sitting in a lifeboat, staring at AK-47s, wondering if he’ll ever see his kids again, when we can assume into existence a whole host of theoretical captives. Maybe we can postulate that none of those captives offered any physical resistance to their captors, as Captain Phillips and his crew did, because that would make them more worthy.

    You are as morally vacuous as Dick Cheney.

    Cool and when people do start dying, we can expect you to go "SO?"

    All I’m hearing from apologists for this is

    FBI Special Agent Johnson: Figure we take out the terrorists. Lose twenty, twenty-five percent of the hostages, tops.

    FBI Agent Johnson: I can live with that.

  184. 184
    celticdragon says:

    The hell, these Iraqis won’t stop bombing our troops. Hmmm, maybe if we destroy another neighborhood…

    Straw man alert!

    Why are you conflating Iraq with piracy in the Arabian Gulf?

    If the cop shoots a hostage-taker who is not directly threatening the life of his hostage, yeah. That’s the kind of cowboy crap that works in the world of movies, not in real life.

    Uh huh. Actually, that’s the kind of cowboy crap the the FBI Hostage Recue Team, Delta and the SEALs train for every day. Try to kill the criminal/terrorist/whatever before the hostage gets killed. Delta actually trains for by shooting simulated hostage taker targets holding a real person and using live ammunition. It isn’t cowboy theatrics. It’s real life, and deadly serious.

    I’m guessing though that you would rather mariners deal with kidnappers who now know that murder is an acceptable outcome to these situations.

    Are you actually equating the legally justified killing of armed criminal hostage takers with murder?

    If so, then your moral compass needs some adjustment.

    In any event, I would always assume that pirates with RPG’s and assault rifles may well kill their victims. Check out what the pirates have been up to in the Straits of Malaca. They often butcher the crew, dispose of the bodies and the cargo ship disappears only to end up repainted, renamed and reflagged.

    Wrong. The goal is to disarm the hostage-takers peacefully, if possible. There was no indication that this was an impossible goal.

    Whose goal is that? You accused me of cowboy theatrics and you suggest they could have disarmed the pirates??

    Words fail.

    The pirates resisted numerous chances to surrender, and insisted on not only being allowed to escape, but to take the hostage and maintain the ransom demand. They died of
    stupidity.

    Please let the families of the future victims of these pirates know that their loved ones died nobly so that you could get your war porn on.

    Silly me. I should have known that proper law enforcement and upkeep of rights of navigation can only result in a circle of violence…and it is all our fault. Not the pirates who choose to go out and pull triggers, mind you…

    Our fault

    I really love the non-sequiter war porn insult as well.

    Meh.

  185. 185
    r€nato says:

    @Robin G.:

    I recognize a pragmatic decision when I see one. What happened may have been necessary, but it certainly wasn’t the ideal.

    We don’t live in an ideal world. In an ideal world, our forces would already be leaving Iraq in droves, with the final US/coalition soldier departing by the end of the year or early next year.

    But we can’t do that quite yet. I am confident Obama’s administration is laying the groundwork for our troops to leave Iraq while also not leaving Iraq to the mercy of insurgent or Iranian-inspired violence.

    There’s a saying about not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, you know.

  186. 186
    Robin G. says:

    @Scruffy McSnufflepuss:

    A dude who robs a liquor store can be deterred by the threat of violence. These guys are in it for the money. If they figure out that the odds of getting killed make the business too risky, they’ll stop doing it. If more pirates die, then the remaining pirates will calculate that it’s no longer profitable to risk their necks for the material gain.

    I certainly hope that that’s the result of this whole thing, though I don’t think it’s a certain proposition. But I hope so.

    The reason I brought up the "terrorist" thing originally is because, well, that’s a very Bush M.O. Anyone who opposed U.S. policy was a "terrorist." "Terrorist" became synonymous with "enemy," and in essence degenerated into a "anyone who is against anything we do overseas is EXACTLY LIKE THE OPERATIVES ON 9/11!!!!"

    The left was, at the time, very against this, but over on DKos at least, it seems to have suddenly become acceptable word choice now that there’s a Democrat in the White House. I don’t like that.

  187. 187
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    One example of those "non-murderous" pirates:

    Meanwhile, Yemen reported that pirates killed a Yemeni fisherman and wounded two others in an attack on a fishing boat Saturday, also in the Gulf of Aden.

    CBC

  188. 188
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Wrong thread

  189. 189
    Robin G. says:

    @r€nato:

    There’s a saying about not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, you know.

    Agreed. But we also shouldn’t mistake the good for the perfect.

  190. 190
    r€nato says:

    The reason I brought up the "terrorist" thing originally is because, well, that’s a very Bush M.O.

    I think the use of ‘terrorist’ with regards to this situation is ridiculous and further robs the word of any meaning whatsoever. If that’s what the echo chamber over at GOS is saying, then that’s yet another reason why I don’t bother to frequent the joint.

  191. 191
    Pasquinade says:

    Limbaugh must be having a bad day. From Free Republic:

    Dumb and pointless question: I am watching via dittocam and saw that at the 1:00 break it appeared that Rush lit a cigarette. I know he’s a cigar smoker, and that he says he’s holding something in his "formely (sic) nicotine stained fingers".

    Did the Obama presidency make him restart the habit? Again, whether he does smoke butts or not is not my concern, just wondering if I was seeing things.

    113 posted on Monday, April 13, 2009 12:03:12 PM by crushkerry

    Rush forgot to flip on the dittocam during the last segment of the first hour, then flipped it on when he’d usually turn it off..
    .
    As he went off the air, he lit up a cigarette and left the studio! I thought he had formerly-nicotine stained hands?

    114 posted on Monday, April 13, 2009 12:03:29 PM by Dan Nunn

    Beat me to it lol…

    I wonder if it’s his diet that made him restart smoking? He said he lost 27 pounds in 27 days last week…

    115 posted on Monday, April 13, 2009 12:04:41 PM by Dan Nunn

    http://www.freerepublic.com/fo.....1&;page=101

  192. 192
    Napoleon says:

    @Robin G.:

    Anyone who opposed U.S. policy was a "terrorist."

    Of course the pirates likely don’t even know what US policy is, let alone have an opinion about it. That and the fact, as noted up thread, that they are only in it for the money make them very susceptible to a simple, credible threat that an act of piracy will result in the pirates death. It is one think to blow yourself up for what you may believe is the greater good of your people/tribe/religion, another to die so that the guy down the street collects a million dollar payday.

  193. 193
    TenguPhule says:

    There was no evidence that I’ve seen that the pirates actually intended to harm the captain, and the only thing they were demanding was simply to leave. Obama deliberately chose the most violent solution to this scenario, and now innocent people are going to pay the price.

    I see the Right wasted no time in the new meme.

  194. 194
    r€nato says:

    @Pasquinade:

    I’m confident that smoking is not the only habit Rush has re-acquired in the recent past.

    …funny, Rush lies his ginormous ass off all day long and rightards never notice.

    But he lies about being a non-smoker and they take notice. Hi-fucking-larious.

  195. 195
    celticdragon says:

    I think AL is an O’Reilly show plant/troll. After all, Bill’s going to need material with which to paint leftish blogs as squishy on pirates.

    I hesitate to ascribe that motive to AL, but s/he almost seems like a caricature of left wing, anti military moonbat squeamishness, yada yada yada.

    The idiots at Red State and Michelle Malkin would have an orgasm while pointing at AL’s comments.

  196. 196
    Napoleon says:

    @r€nato:

    I think the use of ‘terrorist’ with regards to this situation is ridiculous and further robs the word of any meaning whatsoever.

    If for no other reason the word "pirate" is exactly what they are. It is a textbook use of the word that someone 500 years ago would have understood.

  197. 197
    Robin G. says:

    @r€nato: Yep, it’s here:

    In a textbook example of military tactics, US forces sped to the scene and took control, patiently lulled the terrorists, allowing time, hunger, and the ceaseless ocean to take their toll, all the while covertly placing special forces in position. And on direct orders from the White House, when an opportunity presented itself, those forces were cleared to take the pirates out. Result: three dead terrorists, a fourth in custody, and one safe hero.

    This is the kind of oversimplification and chest-beating that’s got me a bit riled up (which, I admit, I carried here). This was a complicated situation with complicated consequences. I’m in no position to judge the people who were there at the time, trying to reach the best outcome (though I do maintain that the best outcome was, sadly, not reached). But we’ve got some people who are basically hailing the triumph of Good versus Evil, and it doesn’t look any better on DailyKos than it does on RedState.

  198. 198
    TenguPhule says:

    I don’t care who you are, shooting people who are essentially trapped and do not pose a direct threat is immoral.

    I’m sorry, we are talking about armed PIRATES here, right?

  199. 199
    JK says:

    Kudos to all the commenters on this thread

    The level of discourse I’m seeing from the comments posted here is head and shoulders above any other blog I regularly read.

    Even the commenters with whom I disagree are doing a great job of expressing themselves with clarity, intelligence, and passion.

    Credit to John Cole for a creating a blog that attracts so many smart, witty people who can write as well as, if not better than, professional print journalists and are capable of engaging in arguments without descending to the level of knuckledragging neanderthals.

    Thanks to everyone for making this thread so damn stimulating to read and please keep up the great elevated level of discourse

  200. 200
    celticdragon says:

    Sorry about the multiple post. Oops.

  201. 201
    TenguPhule says:

    Really, other than sending troops to seize the Somali ports where the pirates thrive, or arming the Somali government to do that for us, I don’t see how we’re ever going to stop Somali piracy from occurring.

    Enforce a UN mandated "No-Boating" zone with sea and air forces?

  202. 202
    AL says:

    Why are you conflating Iraq with piracy in the Arabian Gulf?

    Because they come from the same notion that might makes right?

    Uh huh. Actually, that’s the kind of cowboy crap the the FBI Hostage Recue Team, Delta and the SEALs train for every day. Try to kill the criminal/terrorist/whatever before the hostage gets killed. Delta actually trains for by shooting simulated hostage taker targets holding a real person and using live ammunition. It isn’t cowboy theatrics. It’s real life, and deadly serious.

    It actually is cowboy theatrics. Just because it’s real doesn’t mean it’s not absurd or stupid.

    Are you actually equating the legally justified killing of armed criminal hostage takers with murder?

    Well, yes, when they have not committed any crime worthy of death. Sorry to be the party pooper but extrajudicial executions are not acceptable.

    The pirates resisted numerous chances to surrender, and insisted on not only being allowed to escape, but to take the hostage and maintain the ransom demand. They died of stupidity.

    So clearly the only options were to a) indulge them or b) kill them.

    Whose goal is that? You accused me of cowboy theatrics and you suggest they could have disarmed the pirates??

    Yes Mr. Cheney, it is possible to convince people to surrender.

    Silly me. I should have known that proper law enforcement and upkeep of rights of navigation can only result in a circle of violence…and it is all our fault. Not the pirates who choose to go out and pull triggers, mind you…

    I see you saying this again when someone pipes up that we had to destroy Somalia to save it. Well not to save Somalia because nobody here really cares about the plight of Somalians whatsoever, they just want to see some skinnies roast.

  203. 203

    @NonyNony

    OTOH, if this had gone poorly, he would have taken all of the blame. It would have been stupid, but the blame would have fallen entirely on "Team Obama" for their "terrible handling" of the situation.

    I don’t see that as unreasonable at all. Look at the speech that Eisenhower was prepared to give if the D-Day landings had failed.

    Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.

    Team Obama knows where the buck stops, which is a huge improvement over the last occupant of the White House ("No, we didn’t put up the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner. The sailors did. Bad sailors. Bad, bad, bad sailors!").

  204. 204
    AL says:

    The idiots at Red State and Michelle Malkin would have an orgasm while pointing at AL’s comments.

    Ah ha, you see? THEY are laughing at us! You see, he’s using a "code of morals" and "pragmatism" to challenge us! HE MUST BE A REPUBLICAN! Don’t you hear Malkin laughing at us RIGHT NOW???

    Truly, only a conservative would have the gall to criticize a military operation based on its inherent wrongness and its potential to escalate a situation that did not need to be escalated in this way. So now anyone who levels criticism as the government is a Republican? Or is this just about Obama?

  205. 205
    TenguPhule says:

    Well, yes, when they have not committed any crime worthy of death. Sorry to be the party pooper but extrajudicial executions are not acceptable.

    Actually, Piracy had been a crime punishable by death for CENTURIES.

    Also, Armed Kidnapping pretty much earned them a bullet to the brainpan the moment they refused to surrender peacefully.

  206. 206
    TenguPhule says:

    So clearly the only options were to a) indulge them or b) kill them.

    Actually, yes.

    Surrenders require the other party actually you know, SURRENDER. Which to his credit, the fourth did when the jig was up.

  207. 207
    ricky says:

    I’m sorry, we are talking about armed PIRATES here, right?

    I’d say we are talking about some seriously delusional fools.
    They engage in an act of armed robbery, take a hostge, use an out of gas life
    boat for a getaway car, then allow the police to give them a tow and they don’t surrender?

    Kind of like the blogs praising and attacking Obama. Delusional fools.

  208. 208
    AL says:

    Actually, Piracy had been a crime punishable by death for CENTURIES.

    So has homosexuality. Oh but the King of England did it so it’s okay.

    Surrenders require the other party actually you know, SURRENDER. Which to his credit, the fourth did when the jig was up.

    "Well sir, we’ve been negotiating for a few days. They haven’t cracked yet."

    "This is boring just shoot them."

    So should we start bombing Iran now, or shall we give them a few more seconds?

  209. 209
    Krista says:

    Also, Armed Kidnapping pretty much earned them a bullet to the brainpan the moment they refused to surrender peacefully.

    Pretty much. It would be nice to have someone here who’s been in that situation before, but my layperson’s guess is that Navy SEALs probably receive just a wee bit of training for situations like these. So, unless AL is a professional hostage negotiator, I’m going to take their word over his (or hers) when it comes to whether or not it was truly necessary to shoot armed pirates who refused to surrender and who had a gun held to the head of an unarmed captain.

  210. 210
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @AL:

    I don’t care who you are, shooting people who are essentially trapped and do not pose a direct threat is immoral.

    First, they weren’t "trapped" at all. They could have safely surrendered at any point.

    Second, I think it’s an interesting universe where hiding in an 18 ft enclosed space with assault weapons pointed at an unarmed hostage, whom they had repeatedly threatened to kill, isn’t considered a "direct threat."

  211. 211
    AL says:

    I guess the fact that they were "trapped" in an 18 ft enclosed space with assault weapons pointed at an unarmed hostage, whom they had repeatedly threatened to kill, is of no consequence.

    Stop assuming that if we didn’t kill the pirates right then and there, they would have escaped scot free. They were going nowhere. Nobody would have stood for letting them escape at all, much less with a hostage.

  212. 212
    smiley says:

    Slightly OT: Via County Fair.
    Rep. Payne is black, President Obama is black, Somalis are black. Get it?

  213. 213
    TenguPhule says:

    They were going nowhere.

    "Let us go. We may not be able to kill our only hostage, but you’d be surprised what you can live through."

    So yeah.

  214. 214
    ricky says:

    I just hope the Seals carved the Miranda warning on the cartridges before they fired them. If not AL and the left will eventually use this to blame racist America.

  215. 215
    TenguPhule says:

    "This is boring just shoot them."

    Yes, imminent threat to a hostage equals Boredom.

    Epic Fail.

  216. 216
    AL says:

    I just hope the Seals carved the Miranda warning on the cartridges before they fired them. If not AL and the left will eventually use this to blame racist America.

    That’s cute. I hope you send this comment to the families of the victims who are going to die as a result of this pointless move. I’m sure they’ll think it’s a real laugh riot.

  217. 217
    Brachiator says:

    @JK:

    Hat Tip to iambiguous, a commenter at the New Republic, for the following quotes:

    Here’s a new one.

    Mark Levin
    "Obama used to pal around with pirates."

  218. 218

    […] John Cole gets it all pretty much right on the money again Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Scott Wilson hacksThe Long Daydream WanesInsanity From The Far-RightPiracy, Bushs’s fault! […]

  219. 219
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @AL:

    I edited to point out that your claim of "no direct threat" was fallacious. As was your claim that the poor things were "trapped."

    Now you set up the false argument that the question was really only whether they would "escape" with the hostage. I suggest you look up the term "strawman."

  220. 220
    AL says:

    Yes, imminent threat to a hostage equals Boredom.

    What was imminent yesterday that was not so on Friday? I’ll wait.

  221. 221
    Michael says:

    Truly, only a conservative would have the gall to criticize a military operation based on its inherent wrongness and its potential to escalate a situation that did not need to be escalated in this way. So now anyone who levels criticism as the government is a Republican? Or is this just about Obama?

    Actually, it is about competence combined with patience. The pirates had their chance – they fucked up.

    You don’t get a "right" to an armed standoff, the wingnutty idiocy about "the tragedies" of Ruby Ridge and Waco notwithstanding (Vicki Weaver earned her bullet, and the Waco Whackos have no one to blame about their kids but themselves).

    Once a cretin take a hostage and threatens to kill that hostage, all restraints are off, and the world will be a better place without said cretin sharing breath.

    You might not like that, but I can’t say that I give a damn.

  222. 222
    TenguPhule says:

    So has homosexuality.

    Piracy is okay as long as you’re gay!

  223. 223
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @AL:

    Yet you have not answered the question I posed at #166…why have the earlier killings of pirates not resulted in murdered hostages?

  224. 224
    TenguPhule says:

    What was imminent yesterday that was not so on Friday? I’ll wait.

    I believe the gun held to the captain’s head would be the first clue.

  225. 225
    angulimala says:

    @Cain

    Yes, that’s why he’s cutting the military budget.

    I know.

    When Democrats say he is actually expanding the Defense Budget by ~$21 billion I just point out that this is the same thing as cutting it by negative $21 billion.

    See, it really is a cut.

  226. 226
    Common Sense says:

    Somewhat on topic (or alternatopic if you will):

    Rush Limbaugh was awe inspiringly funny today. In addition to the aforementioned cig faux pas and the Goldberg spat, he spent the first few minutes of the show relating an utterly moronic "typical MSM" retelling of the pirate tale, complete with Obama singlehandedly saving the captain and Pelosi personally pulling the trigger on the rifle. He repeated the "captain leapt overboard" BS multiple times. Unfortunately I missed the next hour or so, because when I tuned back he was incredibly pissed about two phone calls that had gotten through and I assume called him out on this fantastic pirate nonsense. It was great: two minute phone calls from some dittohead in Sioux Falls vainly comforting El Rushbo, when Rush would distractedly hang up on them, rant a moment longer, and abruptly go to commercial — one every five minutes it seemed.

    Rush will be off tomorrow. Mark my words.

  227. 227
    The Moar You Know says:

    @AL: What you are is perfectly obvious.

    I believe the old term was agent provocateur.

    I wish you luck in your trolling.

  228. 228
    anonevent says:

    @AL: I will be the first of many to say do not equate piracy with homosexuality. Piracy involves threatening and injuring people and taking them hostage and sometimes killing them, in order to gain money or something that can be sold. Piracy will always be illegal simply because it involves violating someones space and their right to their property.

  229. 229
    r€nato says:

    I believe the gun held to the captain’s head would be the first clue.

    That’s 1 more clue than AL seems to possess.

  230. 230
    celticdragon says:

    OMG!

    AL is either a performance art genius, or delightfully deranged!

    Well, lessee…

    Because they come from the same notion that might makes right?

    I’ll see your kindergarten moral equivalency and raise you a Hobbes quote:

    For the Lawes of Nature (as Justice, Equity, Modesty, Mercy, and(in summe) doing to others, as wee would be done to) of themselves without the terrour of some Power, to cause them to be observed, are contrary to our naturall Passions, that carry us to Partiality, Pride, Revenge, and the like. And Covenants, without the Sword, are but Words, and of no strength to secure a man at all.

    Thomas Hobbes "Leviathan", Chapter XVII

    It actually is cowboy theatrics. Just because it’s real doesn’t mean it’s not absurd or stupid.

    Said while pouting in corner…

    What an interesting notion that realistic training to save innocent lives is derided as absurd and stupid. I’m actually grinning to myself reading this, since the disconnect from reality is so glaring as to be actually funny.

    Well, yes, when they have not committed any crime worthy of death. Sorry to be the party pooper but extrajudicial executions are not acceptable.

    I guess that you don’t believe in any crime worthy of death, but that is still just a guess. For the record:

    When you commit a violent crime and are armed with military weapons, law enforcement and military personnel are generally assumed to be within their rights to use deadly force at any point during an operation since you have shown intent by carrying weapons. The officer/soldier does not need to wait until you shoot somebody. The fact you are armed and committing a crime and refuse to surrender is sufficient.

    At least in the real world…

    BTW, an extrajudicial killing would have been if we captured them, and then executed them without trial or representation.

    So clearly the only options were to a) indulge them or b) kill them.

    Uh, pretty much.

    Maybe we could have tried the Valium gas thing like the Russians used at the theatre in Moscow, but that didn’t work out so well…

    Yes Mr. Cheney, it is possible to convince people to surrender.

    *giggle!*

    Cue the Darth Vader theme.

    Actually, that’s Ms Celticdragon to you…

    I see you saying this again when someone pipes up that we had to destroy Somalia to save it.

    We already tried to save Somalia once. I have had enough hubristic, Wilsonian nation building for one lifetime, thank you very much.

    Well not to save Somalia because nobody here really cares about the plight of Somalians whatsoever, they just want to see some skinnies roast.

    I have no wish to napalm anyone. The human condition is often lamentable, and people make really bad choices sometimes.

    "During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that conditions called war; and such a war, as if of every man, against every man.

    "To this war of every man against every man, this also in consequent; that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law, where no law, no injustice. Force, and fraud, are in war the cardinal virtues.

    "No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short."

    Hobbes, "Leviathan" Chapter XII

  231. 231
    r€nato says:

    @anonevent:

    butt piracy, on the other hand… ;-)

  232. 232
    ricky says:

    AL has proof the towline used by the Navy had thriteen knots in it and was tied by Klansmen in the Navy to form a noose.

  233. 233
    Mike G says:

    It’s smart. It’s calm. It’s refreshingly different because it’s exactly what he should have done. And Obama deserves credit for that.

    If Bush were still in office, right now he’d be choppering in to the Bainbridge wearing a Navy Seal outfit, and with the TV cameras rolling announce the bombing of Iran in front of a banner proclaiming TERRISTS KILLED.

    Chris Matthews and Gordon Liddy would be moistening their panties on the air while Fox News breathlessly reports that Bush himself made all three kill shots from a thousand yards.

  234. 234
    AL says:

    I will be the first of many to say do not equate piracy with homosexuality. Piracy involves threatening and injuring people and taking them hostage and sometimes killing them, in order to gain money or something that can be sold. Piracy will always be illegal simply because it involves violating someones space and their right to their property.

    Are you dense? The comparison was whether or not piracy ought to be a capital offense, in which case someone here argued with was because, well, 500 years you’d be hanged for it. That is not a justification for anything. You can be hanged for being gay in Iran, you can be hanged for dealing drugs in Singapore. Shall we emulate them just because they do it? Shall we emulate hundreds of years of maritime law because, well, that’s just the way we always did things? Don’t be obtuse.

    I believe the old term was agent provocateur.

    I’m not going to hold your paranoia against you, Moar. I have paranoid tendencies myself. I still enjoy your posts.

    Yet you have not answered the question I posed at #166…why have the earlier killings of pirates not resulted in murdered hostages?

    I missed your question, sorry. I don’t know what the pirates are thinking as a whole as they all have different motivations. My only guess is that the pirates wrote it off as a direct engagement than ended badly for them. In this case, negotiation was used as a ruse to kill them outright, which is clearly a crime no matter who you are.

    It would be more useful to actually try to contact these pirates and see what they are thinking so that we can try to work out a peaceful solution to this mess. But there I go again being a neocon demanding to know all the facts of a situation before acting.

  235. 235
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Common Sense: Quite a few of them will be off tomorrow when the unpleasant reality sinks in; they rooted for Obama to fail and for the captain to get killed, they lost that bet in such a brutal manner that there are no good dodges for it, and all of America realized today that they were rooting for an American military failure, not just an Obama one.

    America is not terribly forgiving of those who root for the failure of its military.

    All this two days before Teabag Day.

  236. 236
    celticdragon says:

    Actually, Piracy had been a crime punishable by death for CENTURIES.

    International law permits any warship or government vessel to repress an attack in international waters. In a state’s territorial waters, such attacks constitute an act of armed robbery and must be dealt with under the laws of the relevant coastal state. These laws seldom, if ever, permit a vessel or warship from another country to intervene. The most effective countermeasure strategy is to prevent criminals initial access to ports and vessels, and to demonstrate a consistent ability to respond rapidly and effectively to notification of such a security breach.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/.....irates.htm

  237. 237
    angulimala says:

    I’m going to ask the question no one else will ask:

    WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TALKING PARROT AND IS IT SAFE????

  238. 238
    ricky says:

    What proof does AL have that the pirates had never engaged
    in activities deemed common among seamen on long voyages?

  239. 239
    angulimala says:

    It would be more useful to actually try to contact these pirates and see what they are thinking so that we can try to work out a peaceful solution to this mess.

    Why?

    The only life with value on that boat was that of the captive.

  240. 240
    The Moar You Know says:

    In this case, negotiation was used as a ruse to kill them outright, which is clearly a crime no matter who you are.

    @AL: Please provide a link or citation to prove that there was no serious attempt at negotiation.

  241. 241
    eyepaddle says:

    I’m comparing the solutions to perceived attacks. In both situations, the solution was to kill people without just cause. I don’t care who you are, shooting people who are essentially trapped and do not pose a direct threat is immoral. A peaceful solution could have been reached. It was not chosen.

    I’m going to call shenanigans here too. Thinking "because the military sometimes lies aboput their actions, I didn’t see the exchange personally, the military says the pirates were threatening the hostage’s life = the US Navy is totally lying about this, the pirates were swell fellows, and they certainly couldn’t have predicted that there might be some violent blowback from repeated multimillion dollar extortions" is sloppy at best. (I knpw I should’ve hyphenated that last run-on sentence, but damn, that gets old quick!)

    Here’s a side topic though: has anybody considered convoying the mercantile shipping through the area? Obvioulsy it would slow down commerce and thus be a bit costly, but that would likely be offset by not losing the ships for months at a stretch as we are doing now.

    A few years with zero chance for monetary reward encourage the pirates to go find some other way to make a living.

  242. 242
    celticdragon says:

    It would be more useful to actually try to contact these pirates and see what they are thinking so that we can try to work out a peaceful solution to this mess.

    They would be delighted to have your generous financial support.

  243. 243
    ricky says:

    r€nato, I see you are not as firm in controlling your inner urges as I am.

    angulimala, you asked only the first question. If Polly is safe for the moment, what danger is it in due to this murderous precipitous act by the U.S?

  244. 244
    AL says:

    I’ll see your kindergarten moral equivalency and raise you a Hobbes quote:

    Hobbes? Am I arguing with a liberal or conservative?

    What an interesting notion that realistic training to save innocent lives is derided as absurd and stupid. I’m actually grinning to myself reading this, since the disconnect from reality is so glaring as to be actually funny.

    The military does it. They cant be wrong! They just can’t be!

    I think I’m the one dealing with agents provatateur here.

    Yeah look, I’m dealing with DLC-type Clinton retreads here. It’s okay when Obama does it. This is America, we don’t have political ideologies, we have teams. Period. So what if Somlians and mariners are now at tremendous risk here? Obama bagged some skinnies and the Republicans look stupid. Nothing is imporant unless Republicans slook stupid because of it.

  245. 245
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @AL:

    I don’t know what the pirates are thinking as a whole as they all have different motivations.

    Ah, but that hasn’t stopped you from pronouncing that they will now go on a murder spree thanks to us … "THERE WILL BE BLOOD !"

  246. 246
    celticdragon says:

    Hobbes? Am I arguing with a liberal or conservative?

    I’m a moderate.

    I’m also a firm believer in Hobbesian realism…which Dubya and Rummy could have learned something from when they were insisting that "All people desire freedom".

    Demonstrable hogwash, and utterly refuted by history.

  247. 247
    Ottovbvs says:

    The only reason the Kos crowd are piling on is because for some bizarre reason the right assisted by the MSM tried to elevate this to a major test of Obama’s leadership. It wasn’t but if this thing had gone wrong which people like Gingrich just couldn’t hide their desire for, even if it meant a dead captain, you can bet the right would have been all over the airwaves trashing him. It didn’t go wrong so Obama gets some of the credit and the Republicans look like anti American jackasses. Which is what they are.

  248. 248
    celticdragon says:

    Obama bagged some skinnies and the Republicans look stupid.

    Whenever I read or hear "Skinnies", I can’t help but think of the beginning of the novelStarship Troopers with Rico bouncing in power armor and blowing up stuff with micro-yield nuke rockets…

    I wanted power armor in the movie.

    *pouting*

  249. 249
    r€nato says:

    Here’s a side topic though: has anybody considered convoying the mercantile shipping through the area?

    from what I’ve read, it would require a significant diversion of naval resources to do so. This piracy problem is little more than a nuisance which does not threaten global commerce nor national/international security.

  250. 250
    TenguPhule says:

    In this case, negotiation was used as a ruse to kill them outright, which is clearly a crime no matter who you are.

    I have to call spoof here.

  251. 251
    AL says:

    The only life with value on that boat was that of the captive.

    By "these pirates" I meant the pirate organizations as a whole. They’re still around and still capable of seizing ships, so one way or another they will have to be dealt with.

    Moar: http://www.reuters.com/article.....2120090412

    A few years with zero chance for monetary reward encourage the pirates to go find some other way to make a living.

    Yup, I’m sure a land like Somalia is filled with opportunity, if only they could just stop being savages for two seconds.

  252. 252
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @TenguPhule:

    I know. I’m beginning to wonder too.

  253. 253
    The Moar You Know says:

    Hobbes? Am I arguing with a liberal or conservative?

    Another troll runs aground on the weirdness that is the Balloon Juice commentariat.

    You will provoke much more butthurt and reflexive liberal stupidity here.

  254. 254
    Brachiator says:

    @jill:

    Did anyone see Newt on the teevee on Sunday? Laying it on a little thick guys. But it’s hardly a PR disaster.

    Newt was in full neo-con blowhard mode. Andrew Sullivan and others have remarked at how Joe Klein recently took Newt down for his stoopidity (Obama and the Pirates):

    As it stands, our socialist, pacifist, crypto-Muslim President has bagged three terrorist in the most dramatic fashion and saved a Captain. Congratulations to all concerned–and let’s hope that the good luck continues to roll.

    Update: Commenter Sgwhiteinfla points out that Newt Gingrich had a busy twitter weekend backseat-driving the situation and he’s right. Here’s a sample:

    [[President obama is making a major mistake in not forcefully oulining the rules of civilization for dealing with pirates We look weak9:55 AM Apr 11th from TwitterBerry

    newtgingrichThe correct answer to piracy is to destroy it not negotiate with it Seals can retake the lifeboat Track every boat leaving somalia9:35 AM Apr 10th from TwitterBerry]]

    Oh well. Nevermind. I might point out that if we hadn’t been negotiating with the pirates they wouldn’t have been under tow by the US Navy and therefore accessible to the SEALs. But this has been another chapter in the saga: Republicans Making Fools of Themselves. What a sorry run.

  255. 255
    cmorenc says:

    @rts

    let’s not blow things out of proportion except perhaps to make Newt Gingrich look even more silly.

    That’s plenty reason enough, this time around, to let some excessive, widespread praise fall upon Obama’s shoulders. These macho wingnuts from the Seventy-First fighting keyboard brigade and their air cover from the 11th Blowhard Hot-Air-jet fighter squadron need the public exposure to just what complete idiot asshat screwups they really are.

  256. 256
    AL says:

    Ah, but that hasn’t stopped you from pronouncing that they will now go on a murder spree thanks to us … "THERE WILL BE BLOOD !"

    Well they have basically indicated as such. I don’t expect people already predisposed to taking hostages to go, "Wait a second, do we REALLY want to kill these hostages now that the Americans are coming?"

    Demonstrable hogwash, and utterly refuted by history.

    And yet you seem to be under the impression that attacking Somalia, which is next up on the plate, is going to accomplish anything useful or desireable. And before you say "Obama would NEVER do that," take a look.

    The right is going to push Obama harder for this, I fear. And he just might listen to them.

  257. 257
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    I don’t care who you are, shooting people who are essentially trapped and do not pose a direct threat is immoral.

    Holding a hostage at the point of a gun strikes me as a direct threat. What if the hostage was a bank teller held hostage as the result of an aborted bank robbery. The robber wants a million dollars and a helicopter ride to freedom. Is it also immoral for a police sniper to cap the robber instead of meeting his demands?

  258. 258
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @AL:

    A few years with zero chance for monetary reward encourage the pirates to go find some other way to make a living.

    Yup, I’m sure a land like Somalia is filled with opportunity, if only they could just stop being savages for two seconds.

    Strawman alert.

  259. 259
    eyepaddle says:

    @r€nato

    Which begs the question: What is the Navy doing now that it can’t shift away from? Isn’t control of the sea-lanes the first mission of any navy?

    I say this as a fairly proficient amateur naval historian, but this might be the most productive use of naval power since Japan surrendered.

    At least since WWI navies are always reluctant to initiate convoying–and then soon wonder what the hell took them so long. Navies generally want to fight other navies, but that sort of thing looks to be fading in to the past.

    Plus, I think we should be able to get some other navies to kick in (India, UK, France, I’m looking at you guys.)

  260. 260
    The Moar You Know says:

    @TenguPhule: Of course its a spoof, as I pointed out above.

    Don’t you recognize the style?

  261. 261
    Cris says:

    @AL: I don’t expect people already predisposed to taking hostages to go, "Wait a second, do we REALLY want to kill these hostages now that the Americans are coming?"

    Really? I don’t know anything more about hostage situations than what I’ve seen in the movies, but I would expect quite a few people who take hostages aren’t prepared to be called on their bluff.

  262. 262
    r€nato says:

    And yet you seem to be under the impression that attacking Somalia, which is next up on the plate, is going to accomplish anything useful or desireable. And before you say "Obama would NEVER do that," take a look.

    FYI, the Defense Department has all sorts of contingency plans on its books. Including for the invasion of Iran and Mexico and Canada, should circumstances warrant such action.

    If Obama/his generals think they can successfully hit ‘pirate bases’ and also aid the Somali ‘government’ in stopping pirates before they even get out to seas, I’m all for it. It would be nice if our government could learn from past policy failures without allowing those failures to result in blanket ‘we can’t ever do that again!’ decisions.

    @Brachiator:

    Didja catch where Newt called the media’s reporting on the Obama dog ‘fairly stupid’?

    “I hope that the girls love the dog,” Gingrich said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I hope the family – and all the pressure they’re going to be in – finds it useful. And I think that this whole thing is fairly stupid… It’s great that they have a dog. It’s great that the kids are adjusting,” Gingrich said. “And where they got it from – who cares? It’s a nice gesture on Senator Kennedy’s part to give it to them but who cares?” Gingrich added.

    yep, nothing enhances one’s electoral prospects more than pissing on cute puppies and children who love them.

    especially when one’s name sounds suspiciously like, "The Grinch".

  263. 263
    AL says:

    Holding a hostage at the point of a gun strikes me as a direct threat. What if the hostage was a bank teller held hostage as the result of an aborted bank robbery. The robber wants a million dollars and a helicopter ride to freedom. Is it also immoral for a police sniper to cap the robber instead of meeting his demands?

    Is the robber crazed? Is he outright threatening to shoot the hostage if his demands are not met right away? I have not read anything that the pirates were a split-second away from killing the captain. Keep in mind that the Navy approached the boat and were fired upon, yet the pirates did not shoot the captain. Does that not give you pause and make you consider that maybe they were more rational about their situation than you want to give them credit for?

  264. 264
    eyepaddle says:

    @AL

    Now I totally call utter bullshit, you fucking hack.

    They are in this for the money–take away the chance for monetary gain, and what exactly are they left with? Plus, I thought you’d be happy I chimed in; after all, convoying merely deters attacks and thus prevents hi-jackings and hostage situations. You don’t actually have to try to shoot your way to peace.

    But it is pretty clear you just want to paint EVERYBODY else as a blood thirsty, muslim hating savage. Everybody ‘cept you and the Pirates.

  265. 265
    anonevent says:

    @eyepaddle: Actually, one of the best things about having the most awesomest Navy ever controlling the seas is that we don’t have the shipping issues you would have if the seas were divided. Almost everyone has benefited from not having to negotiate and pay passage fees every few hundred miles. We could take advantage of it, but having a monopoly on patrolling the oceans has helped the US.

  266. 266
    Krista says:

    Well they have basically indicated as such.

    These are people who have said that when they hijack a ship and take hostages, that if there is any retaliation, that they will start killing those hostages.

    So, pray tell, what to do? Allow them to hijack ships and take hostages with absolute impunity? Pay them ransom, which really only rewards them for their activities? These people are thugs, and have said clearly that unless they’re allowed to get off scot-free, that they’ll start killing people. They’re pissed off, because things didn’t go the way that they wanted. There is no perfect way to handle situations like that with people like that. But it’s very naive to sit there and say with 100% certainty that this could and should have ended with zero bloodshed. I think Obama and the SEALs did the right thing: try to negotiate, but take those guys out if it looked like the Captain was in imminent danger, and then call on the international community for a cooperative approach in combating piracy.

  267. 267
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @AL:

    Uh, one pirate was quoted "indicating as such." And you’ve already said you wouldn’t try to impute motives to all of ’em based on isolated incidents. And sorry, your second sentence makes no sense at all.

  268. 268
    r€nato says:

    "It’s a nice gesture on Senator Kennedy’s part to give it to them but who cares?” Gingrich added.

    …adding, would it have killed Newt the Gin-Grinch to leave out the vitriol? For chrissakes. Just say, "it’s nice that the girls have their puppy now," and leave it at that.

    Sometimes people inadvertently say things which give one a lot of insight into their true nature. This is one of those times.

  269. 269
    AL says:

    Really? I don’t know anything more about hostage situations than what I’ve seen in the movies, but I would expect quite a few people who take hostages aren’t prepared to be called on their bluff.

    Well now the pirates know that if the US navy is approaching, just kill the hostages and call it a day. I guess everyone here views that as an improvement?

    And Moar, keep your paranoia in check. I don’t like seeing this rattle you.

  270. 270
    eyepaddle says:

    @anonevent

    Yes I concur–having our Navy beiong so far beyond all others combined has kind of made the whole "naval exercise of power" sort passe. And saved everybody a ton of cash on investing in their navies. As well as allowing largely worry free commerce across the entire globe.

    But now that we have encountered people who aren’t playing by the new rules, maybe we should get in touch with our (naval) roots. So to speak.

  271. 271
    DanSmoot'sGhost says:

    The right is going to push Obama harder for this, I fear. And he just might listen to them.

    Yeah, and your balls could catch fire and burn your ass down, too.

    Life is full of things to worry about.

  272. 272
    Mike D. says:

    I think the fact that John felt moved to write this post for a second time shows that people, rightly or wrongly, are looking to this event as Obama’s early-term foreign crisis moment, and the Washington Post piece shows the conventional wisdom that he passed and looked good doing it. These things rarely merit the attention they get — we should all hope for the best outcome and leave it at that. But we all know that is unrealistic. The media-political reaction is not about the event, it’s about us, and what people need/want to see in the event. It’s just a simple fact that this was a good moment for Obama. Masterful, brilliant? No, not in reality. And it’s fine to point that out. But to try to push back the patina of competence a president is granted after an event like this is really pointless. It just happens. Moreover, when the opposition was setting this up as exactly that early testing moment, it seems really small-minded to then have a major problem with the inevitable media credit when it works out okay. In that context, this post is a little concern-trollish. Sorry to have to say that, cuz I don’t think John is hardly ever that way. Buy that’s how I see it.

  273. 273
    Cris says:

    @AL: Well now the pirates know that if the US navy is approaching, just kill the hostages and call it a day.

    Or maybe now the pirates know that if you capture an American ship, the US Navy will approach. And that’s something to be avoided.

  274. 274
    gwangung says:

    Dudes and dudettes,

    Why are you taking a troll so seriously?

  275. 275
    r€nato says:

    Well now the pirates know that if the US navy is approaching, just kill the hostages and call it a day.

    Really? Do you really think that’s what will happen?

    Here’s a thought experiment:

    Somalis take merchant vessel, hold it for ransom.

    US Navy vessel approaches. Somalis kill the hostages.

    US Navy says, "Commando raid. No hostages left, so just shoot any pirate on sight."

    I think the underpants gnomes had a more rational business plan than that.

    once again, reality is a bit more complicated than in your simple world. This situation came to pass not because pirates commandeered a merchant vessel, but because the crew semi-successfully resisted them.

    The usual course of action in these situations is that the pirates take a vessel, there are protracted negotiations and the pirates get paid off and leave. No military action ever involved.

  276. 276
    srv says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals: Reply from earlier thread, the "pirates" respond:

    "We have decided to kill U.S. and French sailors if they happen to be among our future hostages," said Abdullahi Ahmed, a member of a pirate group based at Harardhere, a coastal town in central Somalia.

  277. 277
    Cris says:

    @gwangung: Why are you taking a troll so seriously?

    ‘s fun

  278. 278
    AL says:

    Now I totally call utter bullshit, you fucking hack.

    Uh oh, I pissed in the DLC hack’s cheerios.

    They are in this for the money—take away the chance for monetary gain, and what exactly are they left with? Plus, I thought you’d be happy I chimed in; after all, convoying merely deters attacks and thus prevents hi-jackings and hostage situations. You don’t actually have to try to shoot your way to peace.

    So then convoy. And who said that kidnapping pirates were NOT in it for the money? Evidently these four were. Who’s justifying it? Now who’s strawmanning?

    But it is pretty clear you just want to paint EVERYBODY else as a blood thirsty, muslim hating savage. Everybody ‘cept you and the Pirates.

    No, I am of the opinion that solving one problem in a way that exacerbates everything else is not a good way of going about things. This particular situation could have been dealt with peacefully, I think. And we could have moved on from it to address the larger piracy problem. Instead, now we may be facing a wave of violent reprisals that will make raiding Somalia proper look more appealing. I don’t know about you, but one Black Hawk Down was enough for me.

  279. 279
    Robert says:

    It never ceases to amaze me just how many stupid sheep are still alive in this country. To give obama credit for anything (except screwing up) is akin to giving coach phil jackson credit for mike jordans excellent play.
    just wait you left wing loons. Soon you will all be going O CRAP the right was right. Why can’t you guys just say that you got duped….again. picked the wrong guy, admit the mistake, impeach him for being too stupid to run water much less a country and get on with it. I could go on and on but I am afraid the only ones who could actually read this already agree.

  280. 280
    angulimala says:

    Well now the pirates know that if the US navy is approaching, just kill the hostages and call it a day.

    If they murdered a hostage to avert an imminent recuse attempt I think the recuse attempt might morph into an out-and-out assault. Missions tend to be much easier when you no longer have to worry about innocents that have to be kept alive. Get rid of the hostage and you just give the SEALs a reason to do their primary mission – get in, blow shit up, get out.

    You’re romantic illusions about these pirates are amusing though.

  281. 281
    r€nato says:

    "We have decided to kill U.S. and French sailors if they happen to be among our future hostages," said Abdullahi Ahmed, a member of a pirate group based at Harardhere, a coastal town in central Somalia.

    blah blah blah. Impotent losers often like to talk tough. See "Bush, George W."

    If the pirates choose to escalate things in this manner, they’ll pay a very heavy price. They’ve been able to get away with the current level of piracy only because they’ve been relatively peaceful and the only thing they’ve threatened is a marginal amount of profit for shipping lines.

  282. 282
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @AL:

    Aside from the fact that the first Navy vessel was not attempting a rescue, I find it interesting that you are willing to accept the Navy’s account on some aspects of the story, but not on others.

  283. 283
    ricky says:

    I, for one, cannot believe AL would defend these pirates after he accused them of the capital offense of homosexuality.

  284. 284
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @AL:

    Well now the pirates know that if the US navy is approaching, just kill the hostages and call it a day.

    Yeah, because it’s not like we’ve allowed anyone to surrender unharmed or anything. But right, taking the route to certain death makes perfect sense.

  285. 285

    I should know better but…

    @AL

    Is the robber crazed? Is he outright threatening to shoot the hostage if his demands are not met right away? I have not read anything that the pirates were a split-second away from killing the captain.

    Look, this is how it works, if you are pointing a gun at someone then you are, by definition, a split second, a mere trigger’s pull away from killing them. If you are pointing a gun at someone it is because you intend to shoot them. If you intend to shoot someone it is because you intend to kill them. That’s how guns work. You don’t point a gun at someone you’re not intending to kill.

  286. 286
    Blue Raven says:

    AL, considering the fact that some of the European/Carribean corridor pirates became such because they were gay, you left mere trollery behind and went right into the dumbshit hall of shame. Try an analogy that would actually push buttons around here other than the one labeled, "Fresh Meat On Aisle 9."

  287. 287
    AL says:

    Or maybe now the pirates know that if you capture an American ship, the US Navy will approach. And that’s something to be avoided.

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think the pirates welcomed the presence of the US Navy even before this incident.

  288. 288
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @srv:

    Sorry, unless you can point me to the comment you’re replying to, I have no idea why you’re posting this to me.

  289. 289
    The Moar You Know says:

    Uh oh, I pissed in the DLC hack’s cheerios.

    Eh, that’s decent trolling. But you can do so much more. Here is an example of how a real pro does it from my local paper’s site this morning:

    Attila_the_CPA
    6 hours ago
    The military did a good job on this. But it seems unfair to lavishly praise the Seals, and not to equally praise the ordinary Sailors and Marines who made the operation possible. The Marine Corps has been reluctant to establish “special” designations and badges for special units because they have seen these to detract from team cohesion, and “special” units set up disruptive internal service rivalries. Additionally, some of the Seal comments posted seem to have an element of homoeroticism, now seen by the military as another possible barrier to good order and discipline.

    Generally, the US is a minor player in the transoceanic shipping business. Japan, Germany, China Greece, Russia Norway, Turkey, and South Korea all have larger merchant fleets than we do. Seems like the Countries that profit from the shipping business should step up to this problem. The US should keep a low profile and minimize partisan political sniping. The public will see this as a major victory for international cooperation, and the US Military will be relieved to see soldiers and sailors from other countries doing the dying for a change.
    1 person liked this comment.

    The bait is bolded. Sure enough, some sucker takes it, in this case, one of our local liberals:

    TomCat84
    5 hours ago
    Huh Homoeroticism seen as being a barrier to good order and discipline? Maybe it’s because I havent had my caffeine yet, but youre confusing me.

    The troll drops the nukes:

    Attila_the_CPA
    5 hours ago
    For historical reasons sailors have been gay magnets. It relates to the old sail drivien ships, lonley nights, and months at sea wilth only male companionship. Especilly buff, manly Sailors like the Seals are irresistable to some. As Winston Churchill said, the Royal Navy only understands Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash. Some of the comments on these articles reflect this history.

    This is how a pro does it. Watch and learn.

  290. 290
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @AL:

    Or maybe now the pirates know that if you capture an American ship, the US Navy will approach. And that’s something to be avoided.

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think the pirates welcomed the presence of the US Navy even before this incident.

    Wow, you really DO go for that strawman tactic, don’t you?

  291. 291
    The Moar You Know says:

    You don’t point a gun at someone you’re not intending to kill.

    @Wile E. Quixote: Damn right. Weren’t we having this discussion just last night?

  292. 292
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    I’m just happy that AL the troll is here to speak up and defend the pirates’ perspective.

    I think it’s cultural imperialism not to stand up for the right of Somalis to take hostages and coerce ransoms out of wealthier nations. After all, we haven’t polled the Somali pirates individually, so we can never know their motives for engaging in piracy.

    Anyway, we shot these poor innocents, so now any time a hostage dies, it’s Obama’s fault. Not the people who take the person hostage and kill the hostage. They’re blameless. If anything, they’re the real victims, here.

    Obama is no better than George W. Bush. I think he should be impeached over this mess.

  293. 293
    AL says:

    If they murdered a hostage to avert an imminent recuse attempt I think the recuse attempt might morph into an out-and-out assault. Missions tend to be much easier when you no longer have to worry about innocents that have to be kept alive. Get rid of the hostage and you just give the SEALs a reason to do their primary mission – get in, blow shit up, get out.

    What makes you think they’d stick around after ditching the hostages? Obviously they would have fled long before any Navy ship arrives. Why would they stick around for any reason when they know the US will kill them at the earliest possible convenience no matter what?

    If the pirates choose to escalate things in this manner, they’ll pay a very heavy price. They’ve been able to get away with the current level of piracy only because they’ve been relatively peaceful and the only thing they’ve threatened is a marginal amount of profit for shipping lines.

    Good one. In one breath you denounce Bush as "talking tough." Then you declare that the pirates will pay a "very heavy price." Just like the Iraqis paid a very heavy price. And the Serbs. And the Afghans. And the Panamanians. And the Vietnamese. And so on, and so on, and so on… Yeah, we’ll show ’em all…

    Aside from the fact that the first Navy vessel was not attempting a rescue, I find it interesting that you are willing to accept the Navy’s account on some aspects of the story, but not on others.

    The incident wasn’t just reported by the Navy, but you have a point.

    Yeah, because it’s not like we’ve allowed anyone to surrender unharmed or anything. But right, taking the route to certain death makes perfect sense.

    We didn’t really allow them to surrender and never had the intention of doing so, though.

    AL, considering the fact that some of the European/Carribean corridor pirates became such because they were gay, you left mere trollery behind and went right into the dumbshit hall of shame. Try an analogy that would actually push buttons around here other than the one labeled, "Fresh Meat On Aisle 9."

    The paranoia here, it is palpable. Interesting too.

  294. 294
    AL says:

    Wow, you really DO go for that strawman tactic, don’t you?

    ??? Are you suggesting that the pirates were okay with a hostile warship interfering with their kidnapping attempt?

    This is how a pro does it. Watch and learn.

    That’s pretty good, much better than the banal "Obama should have shot the fourth pirate dead on the spot" troll.

    Anyway, we shot these poor innocents, so now any time a hostage dies, it’s Obama’s fault. Not the people who take the person hostage and kill the hostage. They’re blameless. If anything, they’re the real victims, here.

    You were doing okay until you accidentally spoke the truth (in a way). Next time just stick to a strictly Marxist critique.

  295. 295
    Krista says:

    We didn’t really allow them to surrender and never had the intention of doing so, though.

    Source?

  296. 296
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @AL:

    Aside from the fact that the first Navy vessel was not attempting a rescue, I find it interesting that you are willing to accept the Navy’s account on some aspects of the story, but not on others.

    The incident wasn’t just reported by the Navy, but you have a point.

    Right. It was also reported by people quoting the Navy.

    Yeah, because it’s not like we’ve allowed anyone to surrender unharmed or anything. But right, taking the route to certain death makes perfect sense.

    We didn’t really allow them to surrender and never had the intention of doing so, though.

    Well, actually we did. Or do you not recall that there were originally four pirates, and then there were three?

  297. 297
    eyepaddle says:

    @AL

    Show me one example where I support a DLC line on anything. You can’t. I called you a hack because of your desire to argue with anybody who replies to you IOW hack-tastic performance.

    So then convoy. And who said that kidnapping pirates were NOT in it for the money? Evidently these four were. Who’s justifying it? Now who’s strawmanning?

    Wait a minute, what now? Who said anything about justifying it? You said that my position was that they could enjoy the Somali-land-of-plenty if they would just be nice for two seconds. That isn’t at all what I said. No matter what their alternatives offer, if piracy becomes pointless, well, it becomes pointless.

    And just to make you work a bit harder to find something to be self-righteous about (and to give me a chance to be pedantic) convoying would simply involve gather merchant ships into groups and sending these groups through the area with a naval escort in attendance. It would be pretty impossible for these pirates to hi-jack any more ships and take any more hostages. At this point I have to ask the question: who are the violent reprisals going to be against?

    Humanity has dealt with piracy for thousands of years, and it only really stops when it becomes more trouble than it is worth–so I’m suggesting we make it more trouble than it is worth. And we wouldn’t need to go anywhere near Somalai for this to work, so no Black Hawk Down II–The Sequel.

  298. 298
    The Moar You Know says:

    Anyway, we shot these poor innocents, so now any time a hostage dies, it’s Obama’s fault. Not the people who take the person hostage and kill the hostage. They’re blameless. If anything, they’re the real victims, here.

    @Scruffy McSnufflepuss: Agreed. I think we all ought to shoot ourselves to avoid the possibility that we might prove a source of victimization to the Somalis in the future.

    Oh yeah, and Obama had those Somalis shot to prove his bona fides to the white electorate, kinda like the same way black cops beat innocent ghetto youth harder than their white counterparts, or, to quote noted philosopher Ice Cube:

    I don’t know if they fags or what,
    Search a nigga down and grabbin in the nuts.
    And on the other hand, without a gun they can’t get none.
    But don’t let it be a black and a white one.
    Cuz they slam ya down to the street top,
    Black police showin out for the white cop.

    Obama = worse than Hitler

  299. 299
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @AL:

    Wow, you really DO go for that strawman tactic, don’t you?

    ??? Are you suggesting that the pirates were okay with a hostile warship interfering with their kidnapping attempt?

    He says, without a hint of self-irony.

    Or if you actually are a spoof … well played, sir.

  300. 300
  301. 301
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @srv:

    Thank you for the link.

    However, my question still stands. Have you heard of any hostages actually being executed in retribution?

    Do you think there is not a single French or British national among the crews of the 200 or so ships still being held?

  302. 302
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @AL:

    You were doing okay until you accidentally spoke the truth (in a way). Next time just stick to a strictly Marxist critique.

    I’m honored to take lessons on spoofing from such an obvious master.

    Tell me, should Obama have ordered the Bainbridge to surrender to the pirates, or would it have been sufficient just to hand them over the SEAL sharpshooters in atonement for America’s collective moral guilt?

  303. 303
    r€nato says:

    Then you declare that the pirates will pay a "very heavy price." Just like the Iraqis paid a very heavy price. And the Serbs. And the Afghans. And the Panamanians. And the Vietnamese. And so on, and so on, and so on… Yeah, we’ll show ‘em all…

    Yep, combatting piracy = invasion and occupation just like Obama = Bush.

    I’m starting to wish that we’d have offered to exchange Ralph Nader for the captain. I doubt the Somalis read our newspapers, they might have fallen for it.

  304. 304
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Agreed. I think we all ought to shoot ourselves to avoid the possibility that we might prove a source of victimization to the Somalis in the future.

    LOL

    If Obama were a decent human being, he would order America’s nuclear arsenal to be deployed against America. That’s the only way to purge our collective guilt for the murder of those three saintly, wonderful men.

  305. 305
    r€nato says:

    Then you declare that the pirates will pay a "very heavy price." Just like the Iraqis paid a very heavy price. And the Serbs. And the Afghans. And the Panamanians. And the Vietnamese. And so on, and so on, and so on… Yeah, we’ll show ‘em all…

    Somehow, I don’t think Somalis are going to be quite as willing to fight and die to defend their right to piracy on international waters, as they might be to fight and die to keep foreign invaders off their soil.

  306. 306
    srv says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals: I had said "will"

    They hadn’t, to my knowledge, threatened retribution until now. As predicted. I predict they will follow through, should they capture any uniformed or contractor security forces. I’m guessing US Merchant Mariners have already broken out their golf shirts.

    And this will play well into the Somalis hands and any AQ resources who are still available to aid them – littoral combat against many speedboats… That’s going to turn out marvy.

    At least we can now move from a war on method to a war on something closer to a proper noun. I count that as a major step forward.

  307. 307
    gwangung says:

    @Cris:

    Aw guys, dealing with an amateur is not fun, when they can barely managed to stumble along without eviscerating themselves….

  308. 308
    anonevent says:

    @eyepaddle: I’m not sure there’s much that can be done, other than creating a high seas please force independent of our Navy. This is getting attention here because it finally affected an American, but it’s been going on for a while (probably since the invention of the boat). Do we want China running around arresting people? I could easily see them declaring the need to expand their role in the oceans in order to do their job, to assert themselves, and then expand it to "counterbalance" the mean United States.

    Maybe the Navy can argue for more boats in order to chase pirates. They must have cannons sticking out of the side. Now I’m imagining a Nimitz class carrier with ten rows of cannons on each side. That would have to scare some people.

  309. 309
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @srv:

    First of all, you quote a single Somali’s threat as evidence for what "the pirates" collectively plan to do. And the fact is that other navies have fired on, captured, and killed pirates in the past, yet no retribution has been taken against hostages, threatened or not.

    And if they really are planning to kill French hostages, my second question still stands … assuming there are French citizens among the crews of the hostage ships, why have they not been killed?

    Oh and by the way, US merchant mariners typically don’t wear uniforms. They wear jumpsuits or workshirts…or whatever else the company requires.

  310. 310
    srv says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals: The article quotes two pirate leaders, one referring to killing "sailors" (I would take that not to mean tourists and civilians) and the other to actions against "hostages".

    Why hasn’t it happened? Because they hadn’t threatened to harm anyone until now, and these are people who can handle nuance and await considered orders from their tribal leaders.

    They didn’t kick the Rangers’ and SEALs asses in Mogidishu by just whipping a response out of their asses. They had a plan.

  311. 311
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @srv:

    So in other words, it’s supposition based on assumption. Got it.

  312. 312
    Brachiator says:

    @r€nato:

    Didja catch where Newt called the media’s reporting on the Obama dog ‘fairly stupid’?

    Yeah. I don’t know why the GOP makes these sour, oddly dismissive statements directed at the Obama’s. Clearly, they are just plain uncomfortable with him being president and in the White House. Coverage of White House pets has always been bland, innocuous and favorable. Except for Obama, at least in the weird crap emanating from some in the GOP and a gaggle of wingnuts. And you would think that the Obama’s were training the poor little puppy to deliver terrorist fist bumps.

    Satirist April Winchell puts this foolishness into perspective (Obama Bows to a Dog!):

    This is the first time in 200 years that our president has bowed to a dog! No American President should ever make such an obsequious display to any household pet — ever. …This is not a man who loves America! This bow is all about being subservient to Portuguese Water Dogs, and PORTUGAL IS NOT AMERICA!

    Had Sarah Palin been elected VP, she could shoot a pet moose on the front lawn of Blair House and GOP nimrods would slobber over her.

  313. 313
    JK says:

    Great posts everybody. There’s more intelligent discussion taking place here than anywhere else in the blogosphere.

    Thanks to one and all for providing great reading material.

  314. 314
    srv says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals: Like all my other predictions, you can take it to the bank.

  315. 315
    TenguPhule says:

    in which case someone here argued with was because, well, 500 years you’d be hanged for it.

    Piracy has ALWAYS been a capital offense.

    Much like murder, it’s pretty much a universally condemned crime that is considered dangerous to civilization.

  316. 316
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @srv:

    Wow, there’s a ringing endorsement.

  317. 317
    AL says:

    Well, actually we did. Or do you not recall that there were originally four pirates, and then there were three?

    He was smart enough to flee before he was killed. Does not change the fact that the US was simply stalling until the SEALs could get a good shot.

    Show me one example where I support a DLC line on anything. You can’t. I called you a hack because of your desire to argue with anybody who replies to you IOW hack-tastic performance.

    I dont know who you are, but I know the DLC mentality when I see it. I was awake during the Clinton years.

    Wait a minute, what now? Who said anything about justifying it? You said that my position was that they could enjoy the Somali-land-of-plenty if they would just be nice for two seconds. That isn’t at all what I said. No matter what their alternatives offer, if piracy becomes pointless, well, it becomes pointless.

    I don’t really know your point was, but you made it sound like piracy was just something that they could just drop as if it were a hobby.

    And just to make you work a bit harder to find something to be self-righteous about (and to give me a chance to be pedantic) convoying would simply involve gather merchant ships into groups and sending these groups through the area with a naval escort in attendance. It would be pretty impossible for these pirates to hi-jack any more ships and take any more hostages. At this point I have to ask the question: who are the violent reprisals going to be against?

    I don’t know? They’re criminals, I’m sure they’ll come up with something. Maybe they’ll go back to jacking trawlers that are fishing too close to their coastline.

    Humanity has dealt with piracy for thousands of years, and it only really stops when it becomes more trouble than it is worth—so I’m suggesting we make it more trouble than it is worth. And we wouldn’t need to go anywhere near Somalai for this to work, so no Black Hawk Down II—The Sequel.

    Not all of these pirates are motivated by plunder and adventure, though. Some consider themselves legal entities defending their coastline, an ad hoc coast guard. I don’t think they’ll be swayed by a lack of convenience if they think they’re entitled to harrass ships coming through their waters or whatever they are thinking.

    Look, here’s my beef with this situation even beyond second-guessing what went down in the water: the pirates are still out there. They will take more hostages. They have hostages even now! They are not going to be swayed by shows of force, at least not right away. We don’t have to let them do anything, and we certainly should not let them hijack ships because that too causes innocent people to suffer. So anything that can prevent hijackings is fine with me.

    But right now, the only serious propositions to dealing with this (not from here, from the media et al.) are either arm the crew members (a variation of the If he had gun… trope), which their employers likely won’t do, or to launch incursions into Somalia. So I don’t see this problem getting solved any time soon.

    So what if we end piracy against our merchants? That’s good, but how many of these pirates will just turn to other methods of criminality? I think the ultimate plan for the US here is to just shift the brunt of these criminals on to someone else. Now we can’t really help Somalia get its act together, though it would be nice if we could try without investing ourselves too much. But I don’t see the narrative as "helping Somlai not be a basket caset." I see it as, "When will Obama take decisive action agains the pirates once and for all!?" I expect to hear that once the pirates kill someone.

    This wasn’t really the test for Obama’s foreign policy. The test comes when he has to respond to further piracy and potential killing. Then we’ll hear the right spring up and demand BLOOD. And he’ll hear it from centrists in his own party too. All some pirate has to do is decapitate someone and it will really get out of hand. Do you not think that’s possible? Do you think Obama will not be seriously swayed to do something drastic if the Navy can’t adequately clamp down on piracy?

    If you think I’m being absurd, maybe you missed how the media has cheerled this outcome like it was a football game. CNN was especially insufferable last night, with the anchor declaring this tantamount to an Easter miracle. Yup, shooting three people is exactly how Easter ought to be celebrated. I don’t care what you thought of the pirates, declaring that it was a happy Easter because they were killed is barbaric, but it is also a good indicator of how the media will treat this story, mainly promoting any angle that results in bloodshed. If you think I’m wrong, remember how Iraq was handled when it first broke out.

    Don’t tell me because Obama’s in charge, things just have to be different. They don’t have to be. Don’t let your guard down just because some idiot right-wingers got embarrassed.

  318. 318
    TenguPhule says:

    Well now the pirates know that if the US navy is approaching, just kill the hostages and call it a day.

    Or they could surrender and everyone lives.

    Otherwise, no hostages means 8 inch shells raining from above.

  319. 319
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @AL:

    Well, actually we did. Or do you not recall that there were originally four pirates, and then there were three?

    He was smart enough to flee before he was killed. Does not change the fact that the US was simply stalling until the SEALs could get a good shot.

    So I guess you agree that, contrary to your earlier claim, we actually DO allow people to surrender unharmed.

  320. 320
  321. 321
    smiley says:

    Ya know? Sometimes these long threads actually do turn into usenet a la alt.fantasy.wingnut.redstate. No one reads all the earlier posts because it would take too long and they have to make their point RIGHT NOW BEFORE ANYONE ELSE DOES. Except that the point was made at 11:10, 2:43, 3:36, 6:52, 8:33:…

  322. 322
    smiley says:

    @AL: I’m going ahead and say that AL is employed by some right-wing organization. How else could s/he keep it up, so to speak, all fucking day?

  323. 323
    Will says:

    The safe rescue of the Captain is a wonderful victory for the Navy, for President Obama and for the nation. Shooting three three pirates is a real no brainer. Now that Obama has used the military for good, maybe he will reconsider cutting our defense budget. This almost makes up for Obama’s bowing to the Saudi’s and apologizing to Europe for America saving the continent twice.

  324. 324
    r€nato says:

    @Will:

    birth certificate.

    also.

  325. 325
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    I’m going to give the last word to my son, who IS a merchant mariner, a chief mate on a ship off the coast of Malaysia. As he now has his master’s license, he will soon be captain of his own ship.

    (By the way, he’s a blue stater and volunteered for Kerry and Obama.)

    He agreed with the shooting as a necessity because of the imminent threat to the captain – they had no choice. As to the rest, a multi-nation force patrolling the coasts would be a good start:

    For your armchair Admiral friends: as an industry we do not want to arm our vessels; rather we would like to see the world’s navies do as they are doing but more vigorously.

  326. 326
    angulimala says:

    @srv

    They didn’t kick the Rangers’ and SEALs asses in Mogidishu by just whipping a response out of their asses. They had a plan.

    Kicked their asses?

    Not to sound like a cheerleader but … I don’t think it’s accurate to characterize an incident where a small number of Rangers and assorted Special Ops, split into at least 3 isolated groups, ultimately survived 24 hours of being swarmed by thousands of militiamen in a dense and twisted urban setting, despite no armor and a paucity of air support, as an "ass kicking".

    Regardless of how elite these guys are, it still only takes 1 bullet to kill a SEAL , Ranger, etc. Considering the circumstances they found themselves in, I’ll give them credit for getting out with the casualties they received.

    Frankly, your terminology makes you come off as having some sort of f-ed up schadenfreude about events of Mogadishu. Does the idea of them getting their "asses kicked" make you feel good?

  327. 327
    david w says:

    i think (as an obama supporter) that all of the praise and negatives thrown at him are unwarranted. this was an example of the best doing their job. i do think that the management style of our president might be a factor….let those who are good do their jobs. and hey they really really did

  328. 328
    srv says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    For your armchair Admiral friends: as an industry we do not want to arm our vessels; rather we would like to see the world’s navies do as they are doing but more vigorously.

    Frankly, it would be a whole lot cheaper for everyone if your shipping companies just stopped paying ransoms. And baring that, it would still be cheaper even if you just kept paying ransoms and stopped expecting the calvary. But no, now we need another fleet, a UN force, a blockade of Somalia and FINALLY, a mission for AFRICOM!

    The brilliance never ends. Now I’m going to pay for forces to turn Africa into a China vs US war by proxy.

    @angulimala:

    Frankly, your terminology makes you come off as having some sort of f-ed up schadenfreude about events of Mogadishu. Does the idea of them getting their "asses kicked" make you feel good?

    You people didn’t pay attention back then when we said it was a bad idea, and you aren’t paying attention now.

    Sorry there are those of us who don’t get all giddy about sniping teenagers and getting Africans killed then or now. We’re just not real Americans like you.

  329. 329
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @srv:

    And right on schedule, another armchair Admiral weighs in.

  330. 330
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    And by the way, it’s "cavalry," not "calvary," dipshite.

  331. 331
    celticdragon says:

    They didn’t kick the Rangers’ and SEALs asses in Mogidishu by just whipping a response out of their asses. They had a plan.

    The only people that got kicked in Mogadishu were the Somalis. In fact, they got mauled. Badly.

    They failed to overwhelm American Ranger positions, and exposed themselves to repeated air attack from 160th Avn Regt "Little Birds" throughout the night. Conservative estimates are that Aidid Clan losses ran over 3,000 fighters killed and thousands more wounded. The Aidid Clan was, in short, eviscerated.

    American casualties were minimal. About what you expect from a bad bus accident on a holiday weekend. I rather imagine it didn’t feel minimal if you were the one hit, but the ratio is so lopsided as to be amazing.

    The Somalis failed to pin and destroy our troops, and lost them the next day. The price they paid was nothing short of horrifying.

    They lost the Battle of the Black Sea Market…but we lost our nerve. Maybe that was best in the long run, but that gets into counter factual history.

  332. 332

    @srv

    And baring that, it would still be cheaper even if you just kept paying ransoms and stopped expecting the calvary.

    Expecting the calvary? Does that mean waiting for Christ to come back and lay down the smack?

  333. 333
    celticdragon says:

    Expecting the calvary? Does that mean waiting for Christ to come back and lay down the smack?

    Well, it is that time of year…

    ;)

  334. 334
    Tax Analyst says:

    Just Some Fuckhead
    I get a shiver down my leg imagining President Obama sliding down the ropes from the Bainbridge to the pirate vessel, then standing there bravely, dressed to the nines in military garb, saluting our other heroes while a hastily-erected giant Mission Accomplished banner flutters in the breeze.

    …I’m picturing him more like Errol Flynn in a Pirate movie…maybe with an eye-patch.

    But we get neither. Instead we get a calm, straight-forward statement of relief and gratitude to the appropriate parties and absolutely zero grandstanding. Just as it should be.

  335. 335
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    And evidently they’ll be bare.

  336. 336
    Fara says:

    I agree that this wasn’t really a "test" for Obama, but it became such after the right wingers, like Newt Gingrich, were all over TV as well as the blogs call Obama weak, etc… for his "lack of response". So when everyone learned that Obama DID respond, he was working behind the scene but just didn’t telegraph it, it became a huge victory.

    If Obama serves 2 terms and we don’t get attacked by terrorists I think it will be just as big a story. Why? Because the Republicans make such a big deal out of "Bush kept us safe".

    Once they make a big deal out of something, when the opposite is proven true they look foolish. The media loves foolishness.

  337. 337

    […] / Indeed Dept. John Cole makes some sanity over this pirate […]

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