Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, April 13, 2009

World 1, Pirates 0

This could be just the beginning of a long bloody war between pirates and the rest of the world. But for now, we’ve won a battle. This article from three days ago shows what an awkward situation the United States (and the rest of the world) was caught up in because of these attacks.

And now, we done got us a war hero! You go Barack!

The real heroes of course are the Navy SEALs who pulled off this incredible operation. But it’s also a big STFU to those rightwing spewbags who’ve been jumping for joy like a bunch of 8-year-olds over the president’s dilemma. “Hee hee hee hee look at him grovel. They’re walking all over that liberal pussy.”

This article describes it perfectly: Obama’s “no drama” handling of the hostage crisis. He did what he needed to do and then he went back to work. He didn’t prance around on the world stage blubbering about “you’re either with us or you’re with the pirates!” Presumably he won’t be airlifted out to an aircraft carrier for a “Mission Accomplished!” photo op.

And we can assume he won’t “solve” the pirate problem — a year and a half from now — by invading a country that has absolutely no connection whatsoever to the pirates.

So now what? The international community is demanding protection against these pirates, and the pirates are vowing revenge for the three deadfucks they lost during the Navy SEAL rescue.

These pirate attacks could make the global economic crisis even worse. You’ve seen the bumper sticker “If You Bought It, A Trucker Brought It.” Think of the global version of this, if the world’s busiest shipping lanes are in jeopardy.

The United States can’t (and shouldn’t) handle this alone. Every country that can, should contribute to an international force to patrol these waters. And there should be orders to shoot to kill if a pirate ship approaches. I don’t think that would violate international law; it’s obvious what the pirates’ intentions are when they approach.

But maybe I’m oversimplifying a complicated situation. What say you?

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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17 Comments:

Anonymous S.W. anderson said...

Good point. Here's the real irony.

In April 2001, the radical-right's hero, George W. Bush, was tested when Chinese fighter planes damaged and forced down one of our surveillance aircraft on Hainan Island. The Chinese trashed the plane, carrying off sensitive equipment and data, while the crew was held incommunicado for days.

In the end, the Chinese demanded ransom in the form of outrageously inflated landing and layover fees, which Bush meekly paid. The aircraft was in such bad shape, our people had to come in and remove it to a boat.

No "bring it on" bluster or cowboy diplomacy in that sorry episode. Bush came off like the 98-pound weakling who just had sand kicked in his face.

It was simply amazing how the neocon right raised no questions or criticisms about how Bush had kow-towed to the Chinese.

April 13, 2009 at 11:10 PM  
Blogger Demeur said...

I was thinking the very same thing. Where's the French, the Germans and all the other navys? It should be fairly easy to run them in convoys for protection.

April 13, 2009 at 11:19 PM  
Anonymous Carlos said...

The easy part about fixing this is that you don't have to know where the pirates are, you just have to know where the merchant ships are. It’s that easy. Establish a route through the perilous stretch of water where all shipping should transit. Positions could be regularly reported to a central naval craft in the area during the transit through, giving the response entities all the information they need to make a speedy rescue. Fewer ships would be needed and there’d be no wondering who’s where.

Compensation for protection should be paid by shipping companies, by all means.

S.W.: But wait, there's more! Dubya also issued an (gasp) apology! So he's a pansy at heart! ;-)

April 14, 2009 at 2:32 AM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

Unfortunately, an international naval police is unlikely to materialize.

Since at least the early eighties, the UN General Assembly has been tossing around the idea of a permanent international peacekeeping unit that would be under the direct control of the UN rather than a force dispatched from the standing military of a member nation. It's had several names under different proposals but it's most commonly called the "Rapid Reaction Force."

Though RRF would be far too small to challenge the armed forces of all but the tiniest nations, this proposal has been shot down each time, usually by the US but always by a permanent member of the security council, on the grounds that it would be an affront to sovereignty.

As good an idea as a naval police would be and as much good as it would to to curtail piracy, I don't see the US playing along.

April 14, 2009 at 8:17 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Plus, with a proliferation of hot convoy action, that crappy track from the 70s will make a chart-topping comeback.

April 14, 2009 at 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Bee said...

No international naval police is necessary. Most of the world's larger powers already have navies, and most use these shipping lanes for their import/exports. All it takes is an agreement to act as protectionary convoys for the merchant ships. Sure, there are international water laws in place which make this difficult, but at some point, it's going to be in everyone's best interest to start handling this situation together. The situation can be handled, as long as the forest isn't missed for the trees (like, admittedly, it usually is).

I did think it was pretty cool, Obama sending in the seals without making some big war pronoucement about it.

April 14, 2009 at 6:19 PM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

Obama sure has the pedophile dope addict's panties in a twist. At this rate he'll have to switch to mainlining black tar heroin to avoid having a heart attack.

April 14, 2009 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: I'd forgotten about that incident. Dumbya begged and groveled and the neocons pretended they didn't notice. Go figure.

Demeur: The French navy scored a similar victory a few days earlier. Yes, there's no reason the world's most powerful countries can't all pitch in. This affects everybody.

Carlos: Good point. Everyone keeps talking about huge that area is, but like you say, all we have to know is where the merchant ships are. Certainly sounds doable to me. And definitely the shipping industry should foot the bill.

Thomas: True, these international peacekeeping forces don't have much of a track record. But as far as I know, there isn't any country or powerful organization who's on the pirates' side. Maybe with all countries having the same stake in this, everybody could help each other, for once. One can hope anyway.

Randal: Sorry, but I didn't catch your reference. What song is that?

Bee: That's my thought too. So many countries and shipping firms are in this together, there shouldn't be any conflicting interests. This really needs to be handled.

JR: Black tar heroin for the pedophile dope addict -- works for me.

April 14, 2009 at 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somalia is only the latest player in the piracy game. For Decades there have been hot spots around the world. Most were off Southeast Asia.

Security Companies have been advising the shipping companies for years and they come up with the same three solutions:

1. Train and Arm the crew
2. Carry a Arm detachment
3. Take the Long Way around

All are considered too expensive (and with some liability arming the crew) so they prefer to take chances and charge it to the insurance companies.

Now it's a problem out in Africa and the same proposals are being floated. But it's probably going to wind up protection by the worlds navies which means taxpayers now pick up the tab instead of insurance companies.

I approve of military protection but if a businessman wanted to walk a huge bag of cash to the bank - should he call the cops to go with him (at taxpayers expense) or should he spend the extra money for bodyguards or a Armored Car?

Remember the line of the Marines hymn "The Shores of Tripoli"?

There's talk of retaliatory air and ground strikes - all you need is a few pictures of a woman holding a dead baby afterwards to see how that will come out.

Somalia really has no government (but I still don't understand why this isn't considered an act of war by the UN?). But if we attack them, aren't we also responsible for them in some sort of way, which means more billions in occupation money?


An African Journalist said on CNN the other night, while not justifying it, noted that when the Somalian government fell apart in 1991 many countries (including those running the ships) violated their waters and their shorelines dumping hazardous waste and fishing out their waters, he wondered where were the worlds powers and the UN back then?


Thank you for posting this

Erik

April 15, 2009 at 3:15 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: A commenter at "Bring It On!" where this is cross-posted, said the exact same thing, that since 1991 a lot of Western countries used the waters off Somalia as a dumping ground for hazardous waste. If that's true, Somalians do have reasons to resent the rest of the world.

But as far as what to do about the pirates, I think an international force needs to patrol those waters and do whatever they need to do. It would be nice if the shipping companies paid for this protection, but that's unlikely, things being the way they are.

I think any land attacks on Somalia would be a huge mistake. But the patrol boats should be as ruthless as they need to be with the pirates. As far as I can tell, nobody's on their side, so it wouldn't be perceived as the big rich arrogant West squelching a poor defenseless country.

But international law needs to be enforced all the way around. If the West uses a third world country as a dumping ground, they're sowing the seeds for the kind of thing that's happening right now off Somalia.

April 15, 2009 at 8:22 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Other nations need to take the lead in combating this piracy thing. The Obama administration has too much other stuff to focus on for this matter to become a distraction. If he is indeed already thawing relations with other nations around the world, America can enlist the other nations to help police the waters off Somalia.

I think the way the U.S. hostage situation was handled was correct. Obama tried diplomacy first, and when it became apparent that wouldn't work he authorized our military to use deadly force as they deemed necessary... because he trusts our military.

France is taking a nice, aggressive approach to the pirate problem. Maybe they can take the lead.

Nice point about Dubya and China there, S.W. How quickly we all tend to forget about things like that...

As far as taking out the pirate network, I think that could be done with increased intelligence and special ops. For that matter, had America really wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussein, I think Bush could have chosen to go that route instead of invading the country. Either approach is reprehensible, but a special ops unit doing the job might have been far less expensive in terms of human lives. I would advocate something like that for Somalia, while at the same time trying to help that country develop a functioning government...

April 16, 2009 at 12:49 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: I agree, this has to be a global thing. All countries are in this together, and I don't know of any country that's on the side of the pirates. This global force needs to take whatever pre-emptive action is necessary to stop these pirate attacks. Special Ops type tactics would be preferable, like you were saying.

April 16, 2009 at 6:57 PM  
Blogger USpace said...

.
These terrorists must be exterminated with extreme prejudice. Sending several drones into their camps when they're fat and happy celebrating their new money should do the trick.
Hopefully the bombings of their bases and mother ships will commence forthwith.
.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
RULE the seas you pirates

steal the infidels' BIG boats
but NOT ALLAH'S YOU FOOLS

.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
don't exterminate pirates

seizing ships for ransom
everybody gets rich

.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
let pirates operate

you will get cut of ransom
and maybe some weapons too
.
USpace.
All real freedom starts with freedom of speech. Without freedom of speech there can be no real freedom.
.
Philosophy of Liberty Cartoon.
Visit: HaltTerrorism.com:)
.

April 18, 2009 at 11:52 PM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

The right is complaining about how it was handled. They are saying if Bush did it, there would be an uproar and sniping the pirates. There is nothing that can be done to satisfy these children.

I would like to see an international effort to end this thing. France seems to be pretty active. I wonder how the right wind will be able to stomach that since that nation is always the butt of their jokes.

April 20, 2009 at 1:53 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Ricardo: I think the Far Right is pissed off that Obama and the French government have taken charge in this crisis. Two of the Right's favorite punching bags turn out not to be wimps after all, and the wingnuts can't stand it.

April 20, 2009 at 6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Tom,
I think for the first time I'm going to disagree with you in regards to the piracy going on near Somalia. Why are we patrolling the waters of Somalia when the west will never let anyone within a ten mile radius of their waters? Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, Russian ships are spotted near Cuba and we almost had a nuclear war.

I actually support the pirates in this case. Yes it is wrong to take innocent marines hostages but that is their way of telling the West that it needs to examine the cause of this wave of piracy. The waters of Somalia are being polluted and their source of food and livelihood(fishing) is being destroyed by us. Go in and killing Somalian fishermen will not solve the problem of piracy neither will patrolling the waters in or near Somalia. If anything, we need to get off their sea leave their waters alone or we will see a new wave of violence against innocent marines.


Jo

April 22, 2009 at 2:55 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jo: Well, I guess we can agree to disagree. It's true that Somalia has some legitimate grudges; I hadn't known about that (waste dumping and overfishing by the West) when I wrote the post. I'm all in favor of investigating and prosecuting the countries that did that. We need to start enforcing international law, across the board.

But I don't see these pirates as some sort of David standing up to Goliath. Every country is threatened by these hijackings. There are hundreds of hostages from poorer countries (mostly the Philippines) who've been held for months by the pirates. Nobody can afford the ransom being demanded by the pirates, so the hostages are languishing. They're not getting the cushy royal treatment that American and European hostages are getting.

These hijackings should be treated like any other crime IMHO. I'm all in favor of eliminating or reducing the root causes of crime; after all, I'm one of those bleeding heart liberals. But after a violent or dangerous crime has been committed, the criminal needs to be punished and taken out of circulation. And merchant ships -- if they're in international waters -- have every right to shoot pre-emptively when they see these pirate ships approaching.

April 22, 2009 at 2:21 PM  

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