Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Coastal African Maritime Entrepeneurs (with Guest Blogger Jim)
All we need is Alice in the middle and it's the new Brady Bunch...
For the past month, there has been much kerfuffle and ballyhoo surrounding the increase in attacks by Somali pirates. Folks act like this is some new sort of problem, as if the scrawny little bastards haven’t been marauding about on the seas off Africa for half of all recorded history. There are also active pirates around Thailand, too, in case you live under a rock.
My dear old Army buddy, Guest Blogger Jim, weighed in a couple of weeks ago on the subject:
The Marine Corps Hymn goes “From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli; we will fight our country's battles in the air, on land and sea"......that's unless you are the so-called Lincoln of our Times™. If you're that guy, you're reportedly worried about getting a special pizza chef in to throw you together a couple of pies for Easter or you’d rather discuss housing. This, while part of your Navy steams into hostile waters to deal with an on-going pirate/hostage issue.
A bit of a history lesson: the newly-formed USA fought 2 wars with the Barbary pirates, first from 1801-05, and again in 1813. This was after paying tribute to the Muslim pirates for years (hence the 1st war), and upon becoming engaged in a second war with Great Britain (The War of 1812). It seems the pirates were able to do a bit of critical thinking and surmised that the newly-formed nation could not protect its shipping interest in the Med and started highjacking our vessels. This resulted in a negotiated settlement with the pirates, until such a time as the new country had built up a sufficient naval force to deal with them, which we did beginning in 1801. Upon completion of this conflict in 1805, the United States thought it had won the peace and secured a treaty with said pirates. This lasted until 1807 when the pirates got back into business. It was out of this first conflict that much of the history and lore of the U.S.M.C. was born, by the acts of Presley O’Bannon, Stephen Decatur, and the men they led. Enter the “leathernecks” and the Mameluke sword.
From 1807 until 1815, whilst gearing up for and fighting a second war with England, the Barbary pirates began to seize American ships and citizens in the Med and demand tribute---again. After a successful completion of the War of 1812, we headed back to North Africa to remind the asshole Muslim pirates who we were. In about a month’s time we kicked their collective ass and got our people back. A year later the Brits had to do it again however, but it seemed like the last time.....until this week.
On Wednesday April 8, 2009, Richard Phillips became the first US hostage taken by pirates in almost 200 years. This does not include the Mayaguez incident of 1975, as it involved the Khmer Rouge, and is considered the final battle of the Vietnam War.
In response to the incident, when asked by reporters, the Lincoln of our Times™ said," Guys, we are talking about housing here." Kinda demonstrates his inability to think on his feet, no? So the Lincoln of our Times™ lets the issue fall to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who says that the pirates are criminals. Hate to tell ya’, lady, but interfering with a country’s commerce on the high seas is an act of war. They knew it in the 1800’s and it’s still that way today. Surprise!
Granted, Somalia is on the Indian Ocean and not in the Med, but it is the same practitioners of the Religion of Peace who are doing this shit 200 years later. As far as I know, the Somalis are not selling Christians into slavery like the Barbary pirates did, but they are still boarding our vessels and holding American citizens hostage. In response, we are sending an FBI negotiator to the scene to help the navy.
WTF???? Since when do Navy SEALs need the FBI's help with shit? Stop fucking about, and kill these assholes and their fuck-buddies on shore and anybody else that sells 'em tooth paste or tennis shoes and be done with it.
You are only a super power as long as you use your force to protect your interests abroad. People try this shit against us because we treat everything like it’s a simple shoplifting case. Talking to four dickheads in a rowboat from the deck of a multi-million dollar destroyer only makes you look weak, Oh Mister Lincoln II. The Barbary pirates could spot weakness all those long years ago, and people today are no less sophisticated. Hope you enjoyed the pizza.
April 12 (The Day After The SEALs Rescued Captain Phillips)
So the news today makes me look like a raving fucking genius. Good job, squids; my hat is off to you for your proficiency with the long gun with a 3 1/2 outta 4. Live bodies only count as half cause they want to give him a trial and a free lawyer, access to our courts, etc. This guy thinks he's a buccaneer, so make his ass walk the plank. It is part of their code, right?
We should be following up on all actionable intel and hitting their bases ashore as well as their mother ships. You can run but you can't hide. Keep reading, Lincoln II; I have many more good ideas and I’ll even cut you a reduced rate on a package deal.
Yeah...we negotiate with underfed khat-fiends brandishing rusty-assed RPK's left over from some bush war in Angola in the 70's
Additional input from MojoSteve:
Well, well…His Presidentialness actually gave the green light to his very first use of force by Special Ops troops. Great job by the SEALs, and great job by the entire crew of the Bainbridge. Of course, there were what, three other ships alongside by that time, too, including a giant amphibious assault ship? Billions of dollars in sophisticated assets for four khat-stoned Skinnies in a lifeboat…and lest we forget the skilled FBI hostage negotiators, since of course we negotiate with terrorists and pirates and every other swinging Dick that decides to mess with us worldwide. It ended the EXACT way it should have, with pirates zipped up in bags and our guy safe. That, sir, is how you negotiate with scumbags.
According to witnesses, the sole survivor of the four pirates, 18-year old Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse was not shy about making his presence known on the Maersk Alabama, brazenly tearing through the ship in a way that belied his young age and skinny, 5-foot-2 frame. He was the first to board the ship, fired a shot at the captain on the bridge, helped steal $30,000 in cash from a safe, and bragged about hijacking ships in the past, authorities said. He said that his dream was to come to America; he got his wish, and even if we send his bony little ass to prison he’ll still get three hots and a cot and be living moderately better than he was before he became a pirate. And even if he gets raped in the prison showers, he’ll still have less of a chance of contracting HIV than he would have back home.
Of course, this all finally hit the news because it was a US-flag vessel involved. The Skinnies have been high jacking and pirating ships for years, and while they just recently really stepped it up to capturing mega-vessels for ransoms, they’d never screwed with a US-flagged ship before. They just happened to hit the wrong ship at the wrong time. I guess they just saw Maersk and didn’t know any better. That’s mostly because there are damned few US-flagged ships making cargo runs anymore; it’s too expensive to register your vessels here. The cheap way is to register it and flag it out of Panama. Evergreen Line (the conglomeration of what used to be four branches of the same tree: Evergreen Marine Corp. (Taiwan) Ltd., Italia Marittima S.p.A., Evergreen Marine (UK) Ltd. and Evergreen Marine (Hong Kong) Ltd.) rolls past my workplace all the time in these huge 965-foot bright green container ships with PANAMA on the ass end.
The ship that was taken was the Maersk Alabama, one of a fleet operated by Maersk Line Limited, a US-based subsidiary of the Danish company Maersk Line. MLL handles the US-flag operations for Maersk. With the largest U.S. flag fleet in international trades, MLL supports military and humanitarian missions through the transport of cargo on its container, tanker, dry-bulk, multi-purpose and roll-on/roll-off ships. That means that when you run into a Maersk ship under a US flag, it’s full of governmental goodies. I recently saw a certain un-named sister ship of the Alabama come through a certain un-named East Coast port facility with certain unspecified governmental cargo that was under heavy guard by certain un-named floating assets of the government.
Now, maybe some of the shipping companies in the world are okay with paying ransoms and encouraging these Skinnies to keep on taking their ships, when instead they should be arming their crews, or hiring out some security. I know there’s an assload of currently underemployed and bore Blackwater guys who need some gainful employ after being kicked out of Iraq. Perhaps instead of selling off all our older Perry-class frigates to foreign navies we should transfer them to the US Coast Guard and let them escort US-flag cargo ships in and out of certain Third World shit holes where pirates lurk, especially since the USCG is in sore need of some deep-water assets to replace some seriously aging cutters. It’s hard to guard the coast with 40-year old cutters in need of drydock and stuff that shouldn’t operate more than 20 miles offshore.
Look, the Coasties get the shitty end of the stick and we all know it. Move them back under Department of the Navy where they belong, instead of under Transportation until wartime. They have ships and guns and uniforms and ranks; they’re military. Give them some decent gear though. The two cutters assigned to Charleston are the biggest ships the USCG has, but they’re also a year older than me and need replacements. The Perry-class frigates that we keep selling off to Poland and Pakistan and Egypt and Turkey and Bahrain could be transferred to the Coast Guard instead. The Navy already removed the missile launcher and magazine from the remaining ships anyways, leaving them no better armed than the current cutters the Coast Guard possesses, but they’re on average 20-25 years newer than the Hamilton-class cutters and more capable for deep water operations than the Bear-class.
But I digress.
Until someone; i.e.: the spineless gutless UN (Useless Nations) puts together a multinational force to float the fuck over there and take out the pirate bases and mother ships, they’ll just keep coming back. And compared to sitting around in your own filth in a country with no government or economy, chewing khat weed and waiting to die in between calls to prayers, a life of piracy is a pretty good-looking alternative unless we make it less lucrative and fulfilling. And while retrofitting your 800-million-dollar cargo ship with a rather inexpensive 1-million dollar set of four Minigun stations is a no-brainer, brains are in remarkably short supply in shipping, it seems.
So far, the best idea that I’ve heard has come from Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), and in a sense wouldn’t really be that far off from what I mentioned before about guys from Blackwater and other contract guns for hire. Representative Paul reminded us all that one of the powers of Congress, little used, is to issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal. A letter of marque is an official warrant or commission from a government authorizing the designated agent to search, seize, or destroy specified assets or personnel belonging to a foreign party which has committed some offense under the laws of nations against the assets or citizens of the issuing nation, and as such would be pretty handy for dealing with pirates.
The formal statement of the warrant is to authorize the agent to pass beyond the borders of the nation ("marque" or frontier), and there to search, seize, or destroy an enemy's vessel or fleet. It is considered a retaliatory measure short of a full declaration of war, and, by maintaining a rough proportionality, has been intended to justify the action to other nations. As with a domestic search, seizure, arrest, or death warrant, to be considered lawful it needs to have a certain degree of specificity to ensure that the agent does not exceed his authority and the intent of the issuing authority. In the past, a ship operating under a letter of marque and reprisal was privately owned and was called a "private man-of-war" or "privateer." The French sometimes used the term lettre de course for its letters of marque, giving rise to the term corsair.
So we can just issue a letter of marque against the pirates and turn out the high-dollar mercenaries (um, I mean government contractors) to ventilate their skulls and ribcages with many large-caliber holes. Then again, getting the current shitbirds in Congress to actually do it is another matter. With that scumbag Arlen Specter jumping ship to the Democrats today, that gives them 59 Senate seats, and if that idiot assbag flake Al Franken gets in that’ll make a solid 60 seats and a fillibuster-proof majority, made all the worse by having Maine’s two RINO’s at their beck and call.
So instead of any reprisals, this Congress will likely instead offer free tuitions and healthcare to any and all pirates who want to slide on over here. Nancy Pelosi will call them true patriots, and that simpleton Napolitano will coin a new phrase; instead of “pirates” they’ll be called “Coastal African Maritime Entrepeneurs”. Wonder how they’ll like having their wealth redistributed?