Maritime Captain Freed From Somali Captors
by Deacon Blues
Maritime captain Richard Phillips, who has been held hostage by Somali pirates for days after his ship was seized and then freed by the US Navy, was himself freed earlier today when US forces surprised his captors, killing three of them and taking a pirate leader into custody. Phillips' ship and the rest of his crew have since sailed on to their intended destination in Kenya.
To their credit, the Bush administration had reportedly developed a plan to deal with the increasing threat caused by Somali piracy, but apparently had not implemented it, leaving it like so many other problems to his successor. However, the one area of constancy between the administrations (unless, like me, you feel that Tim Geithner and Larry Summers are also carryovers from Bush and Hank Paulson's "let Wall Street have the cash" reign) was at Defense, so I think it is a fair question why the Obama administration isn't doing more to deal with and snuff out the pirates.
Is there some reason why we can't station an aircraft carrier battlegroup off the tip of eastern Africa for several months to track down and sink all pirate boats coming out from the coast, until another navy can get to the area to take this over? Are the European navies so tied up making meaningless ports of call that they can't get their asses down there to provide security in that part of the world? In fact, if we have satellites so good that they can photograph things happening on our own streets here in America and can listen in to phone calls on Main Street, why can't we use them to locate which ports they are coming from and snuff them out at the source? If Somalia will remain a lawless country without the capability or desire to live up to international treaties, then they should be dealt with as a rogue, lawless regime the moment anyone departs from their shores.
Update: Worse yet, the Bush administration dithered and wanted to consult the UN about piracy, instead of taking action itself. It was the Obama administration that reversed that policy and issued new guidelines shortly after taking office.
In fact, Obama had basically issued "shoot to kill" orders against the pirates in this episode, and stayed quiet about it, rather than adopt the Bushian approach of public saber-rattling and doing everything out in the open for show. I eagerly await Rush's sh*tburger sandwich tomorrow, but he won't eat it.
I suspect this will be the way we find out about Osama Bin Laden's demise. There will be no public posturing or macho BS pronouncements like Bush's juvenile "dead or alive" crap - just a statement from CENTCOM that the bastard is dead and how it happened.