Great news – Hail to the Chief.

April 13, 2009

Here’s one for the good guys:

Navy Seals snipers rescued an American cargo ship captain unharmed and killed three Somali pirates in a daring operation in the Indian Ocean on Sunday, ending a five-day standoff between United States naval forces and a small band of brigands in a covered orange lifeboat off the Horn of Africa.

Acting with President Obama’s authorization and in the belief that the hostage, Capt. Richard Phillips, was in imminent danger of being killed by captors armed with pistols and AK-47s, snipers on the fantail of the destroyer Bainbridge, which was towing the lifeboat on a 100-foot line, opened fire and picked off the three captors.

President Obama deserves credit – as do, obviously, the Seals who pulled it off. But, as the same article explains, we need to do more to prevent this nonsense in the future:

While the outcome was a triumph for America, officials in many countries plagued by pirates said it was not likely to discourage them. Pirates are holding a dozen ships with more than 200 crew members, according to the Malaysia-based International Maritime Bureau.

In Somalia itself, other pirates reacted angrily to the news that Captain Phillips had been rescued, and some said they would avenge the deaths of their colleagues by killing Americans in sea hijackings to come.

“Every country will be treated the way it treats us,” Abdullahi Lami, one of the pirates holding a Greek ship anchored in the pirate den of Gaan, a central Somali town, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying in a telephone interview. “In the future, America will be the one mourning and crying.”

We need to take these clowns out – enough with the reaction-only policy. But this item isn’t encouraging:

On one trip, one of the four pirates — whose hand had been gashed during the capture of Captain Phillips — asked for medical treatment and, in effect surrendering, was taken in the small boat to the Bainbridge. Justice Department officials were studying options for his case, including criminal charges in the United States or turning him over to Kenya, where dozens of pirates have faced prosecution.

As I said before, the only “options” to consider are whether to shoot the pirates or hang them. Treating them like common criminals is simply nuts. I fear that President Obama authorized force only to save the captain in this case and will back down in the face of stronger threats.

But maybe I’m too pessimistic: U.S. Military Considers Attacks on Somali Pirates’ Land Bases.

 

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