Not content to let “Black Hawk Down” be a single movie, President Obama took steps to make it a franchise by refusing to take decisive action against Somali pirates (again) today; much like Bill Clinton did when he refused to send in armor support for the trapped Rangers.
In response, the pirates have vowed vengeance:
A U.S. Navy commander made a split-second decision to fire on the pirates because he believed that Phillips, who tried to escape on Friday, faced imminent danger amid tense hostage talks with his captors and deteriorating sea conditions.
“They were pointing the AK-47s at the captain,” Vice Admiral William Gortney, head of the U.S. Naval Central Command, said in a Pentagon briefing from Bahrain. “The on-scene commander took it as the captain was in imminent danger and then made that decision (to kill the pirates) and he had the authorities to make that decision and he had seconds to make that decision.”
Obama, spared from having another thorny foreign policy crisis added to his troubles with the U.S. economic meltdown and the war in Afghanistan, welcomed the rescue, praised the U.S. military and vowed to curb rampant piracy. “To achieve that goal, we must continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks, be prepared to interdict acts of piracy and ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes,” he said in a statement.
Somali pirates were quick to vow revenge over the shooting of their comrades, as well as a French military assault to rescue a yacht on Friday.
“The French and the Americans will regret starting this killing. We do not kill, but take only ransom. We shall do something to anyone we see as French or American from now,” Hussein, a pirate, told Reuters by satellite phone.
“We do not kill?” Really? What’s with the Ak-47’s, then? Party Favors? (Times like this I remember that the Qu’ran allows Muslims to lie to unbelievers — and don’t feel badly at all calling them lying sacks of shinola. It’s a religious imperative with them.)
And the lawless sacks of shinola then took action. firing mortars at the departing plane of a U.S. Congressman:
MOGADISHU, April 13 (Reuters) – Somali insurgents fired mortars towards U.S. congressman Donald Payne as he left the Somali capital on a rare visit by a U.S. politician to the anarchic Horn of Africa nation, police said.
“One mortar landed at the airport when Payne’s plane was due to fly and five others after he left and no one was hurt,” Abukar Hassan, a police officer at Mogadishu airport, told Reuters.
Payne is a Democrat from New Jersey — that figures. Somebody trying to glory-hog by negotiating behind the scenes?
Somalia has no effective central government. The “government” consists of territorial warlords who are constantly in-fighting each other, and whose militias consist of kids high on jimson weed with automatic weapons and unlimited ammunition. If these kids want to move up in the world, they hijack a skiff and start holding ships for ransom.
We’ve tried the “International solution” in Somalia — the U.N. completely screwed that up with Black Hawk /Down, when they tried to clean out the Somali Warlords. (Apparently the international master negotiator Bill Clinton missed the class in school about “Never get involved in someone else’s civil war.”)
The next best solution is containment. Set a nice thick picket line of ships — whether ours or our alllies, or both — and turn any pirate velssels back to the mainland — by force, if necessary.
I don’t expect “wait-and-see” Obama to do a damned thing, though — but ship crews will be taken hostage and killed until someone does something. And the U.S. Navy is the most skilled, most professional, and the best equipped to do this — not to mention we have a vested interest in protecting those shipping lanes for our troops in Iraq, as well as protecting oil shipments.
But I don’t expect “wait-and-see” Obama to do a damned thing.