Powered by TypePad

« Sunday Open Thread | Main | The Meltdown Of The Stevens Case »

April 12, 2009



sbw, ♥


by fighting terrorists we actually make terrorism worse by helping them recruit more terrorists

Talk about vacuous logic:

1) We have terrorists
2) If we stop the terrorists we will get more terrorists
3) So we have to let terrorists terrorize so we won't have anymore terrorists

To paraphrase - if you tax something, you get less of it. Let's tax the hell out of terrorism every chance we get.

I find both the .408 and .50 tax effective. No refunds.

Manuel Transmission


I was on a rifle team in the early '60s (college and ROTC) and we did a fund raiser involving sifting all the sand in the bullet traps to reclaim the lead. After a couple of days of that (without respirators, of course) I had the worst headache of my life. My coach thought I was just being a p*ssy.


Well, there are different formulations of lead and pure lead is pretty stable. Working in a newspaper composing room and stereo platemaking shop. Several summers of hands-on lead with linotype machines and all.

Other compounds in paint I guess are more dangerous.

Of course pure lead does the most damage to your body when it goes in very fast in one lump weighing about 160 grains and traveling about 2000 FPS.


I think whoever worded the question Allowing action if the Captain was in imminent danger should get a medal. The wording force administration to give approval

JM Hanes

Very taxing -- LOL! sbw.

Danube of Thought

The WaPo has an article with a little more detail than I had seen or heard up until now. LUN


Biden said that Obama would be tested and he was. The Repugnants would sure be speaking up to connect him if this had gone wrong, a la Jimmy Carter style. So now we have a chance for international and global cooperation against pirates, terrorists and the bad economy. Poor Rush ("I want him to fail") Limbaugh.


Laird, what a tired, old, trollish construct.

If you were more than a troll, you'd know that Rush wanted Obama's socialist ideas to fail because they were bad for America.

Grow up if oyu want to be helpful. Leave if you don't.


WaPo:"As the seas grew rougher, the Bainbridge offered to tow the lifeboat to calmer waters, and the pirates agreed, linking up the lifeboat to the destroyer with a towing cable that left 75 to 80 feet between the two vessels. Phillips at the time was tied up in the lifeboat, having been bound -- and occasionally beaten -- by the pirates ever since he had attempted to escape by jumping into the water on Friday, the officials said.

Meanwhile, one of the pirates, estimated to be between 16 and 20 years old, asked to come aboard the Bainbridge to make a phone call. He had been stabbed in the hand during an altercation with the crew of the Maersk Alabama and also needed medical care. "He effectively gave himself up," said a senior military official. The Navy then allowed that pirate to speak with the others in hopes that he could persuade them to give up.

The three other pirates, however, showed signs of growing irritation, as the Bainbridge, already 18 miles from shore, towed the lifeboat further out to sea, the senior military official said. "They had no promise of money, clearly no passage. The one ticket they had was the captain," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter on the record.

"In the last discussion, they said 'If we don't get what we want, we will kill the captain,' " the official said.

Soon afterward, two pirates moved to one of the hatches of the lifeboat and stuck their heads out. The third pirate advanced toward the captain, and pointed his AK-47 straight at Phillips' back, the rifle touching it or inches away, the official said.

U.S. military observers believed that Phillips was about to be shot. SEAL snipers, who were positioned on a deck at the stern of the Bainbridge, an area known as the fantail, had the three pirates in their sights. The on-scene commander gave the SEAL snipers authority to fire."

Can't wait to hear Murtha's take on itl

Hey, Laird say hi to our firend Axel for us..


Drudge: "Pirates vow revenge against USA and France..."

Now, before this gets out of hand, we need to help the left understand that "Bring 'em on!" really means, "We are not looking for trouble... and you would be wise not to look for it either."


Fausta says this is the real meaning of Easter seals--HEH


I don't understand something--the lifeboat seems to be completely covered..How could the men on the Bainbridge have seen so much except what was on the bridge? Was the captain there, instead of inside?

Rick Ballard


You might give some consideration to the Somali pirates being a "shovel ready" project. It's not as if we don't know precisely where they are - using satellite phones assures that fact. The "tribal elders" doing the negotiating are the ones that need a nice dirt nap, although there is no harm in polishing off the muslim kids whom they send to carry out the orders.

It would be interesting to see where the funds flow from these operations. I would not faint after finding out that Kenyan bank deposits increase every time a deposit is made - either of ransom money or from the slave trade with the Saudis.

Captain Hate

And here I thought it was just incompetence and ignorance, we can now add pettiness and vindictiveness.

Add? I thought the surreptitious middle fingers should've been enough to convince the most skeptical jury.

Captain Hate

Yeah Laird, Bammers the Null was doing a great job of screwing the pooch (figuratively of course) before the Navy pulled his bony ass out of the fire. Axeldouche realized that and sent morons like you flooding the innertubes to make asses out of yourself to distract people from brilliant moves like dispatching the FBI to an international scene.

Lorna White

EXCELLENT DECISION!! Excellent Actions Taken! Bravo to everyone involved!
Much Deserved Peaceful Rest to Captain Phillips...


Biden said that Obama would be tested and he was.

How would you characterize the nature of the test? What was Obama's response? How do you grade him on this response, and why?


Talk about vacuous logic

Yeah. There's "turn the other cheek" in personal matters. But as a matter of civic policy, a government serves its people poorly if it adopts the view that the best thing to do when faced with people who want to kill you is to let them.


Biden said that Obama would be tested and he was.

How would you characterize the nature of the test? What was Obama's response? How do you grade him on this response, and why?

After eight years of saber rattling and getting in the way of the military (Bush) Obama listened to advisers, let them move in and got out of the way. When he saw there was nothing else to be done and the calculated risks were good, he allowed a surgical strike. What you morons fail to recognize is that delegating the right people to the right task is good leadership. Just TRY to tell me you wouldn't have held him responsible if the SEALs had shot our man and botched the mission. Don't worry though, you will have plenty more chances to watch him get the job done, without flying premature "Mission Accomplished" banners.

JM Hanes

Apologies if this comes out to be a duplicate post -- on the one occasion I didn't copy/paste, of course.

The NY Times fills in more details of this fascinating story (in slightly altered order):

Meanwhile, members of the Navy Seals were flown in by fixed-wing aircraft. They parachuted into the sea with inflatable boats and were picked up by the Bainbridge. On Sunday, the pirates, their fuel gone, were drifting toward the Somali coast. They agreed to accept a tow from the Bainbridge, the senior officials said. At first, the towline was 200 feet long, but as darkness gathered and seas became rough, the towline was shortened to 100 feet, the officials said. It was unclear if this was done with the pirates’ knowledge.

At dusk, a single tracer bullet was seen fired from the lifeboat. The intent was unclear, but it ratcheted up the tension and Seal snipers at the stern rail of the Bainbridge fixed night-vision scopes to their high-powered rifles, getting ready for action.

What they saw was the head and shoulders of two of the pirates emerging from the rear hatch of the lifeboat. Through the window of the front hatch they saw the third pirate, pointing his AK-47 at the back of Captain Phillips, who was seen to be tied up.

That was it: the provocation that fulfilled the president’s order to act only if the captain’s life was in imminent danger, and the opportunity of having clear shots at each captor. The order was given...

It took only three remarkable shots — one each by snipers firing from a distance at dusk, using night-vision scopes, the officials said. Within minutes, rescuers slid down ropes from the Bainbridge, climbed aboard the lifeboat and found the three pirates dead. They then untied Captain Phillips, ending the contretemps at sea that had riveted much of the world’s attention. A fourth pirate had surrendered earlier.

I've been wondering about the emphasis on the dual authorization. The times only refers to one:

The Defense Department twice sought Mr. Obama’s permission to use force to rescue Captain Phillips, most recently on Friday night, senior defense officials said. On Saturday morning, the president agreed, they said, if it appeared that the captain’s life was in imminent danger.
Perhaps the initial permission had something to do with sending in the SEALs, but that's not the impression other reporting has given.

I also can't wait to learn how they could surgically take out three pirates through portholes. Maybe they were all pissing overboard at the same moment?
What I also really don't get is how difficult it would be to pirate proof any large vessels sailing in those waters. Barbed wire seems a little low tech, but some kind of surveillance/warning device should be possible. And how about a secret plan should they get boarded, with a secret stash of firearms that the merchant marine officers knew about? How about each company hiring some mercenaries. It's not like you're gonna have some innocent vacuum cleaner salesmen climbing aboard. Just blow their friggin heads off.
And a word to the yachtsmen...avoid those waters. duhhh

selena martinez

I am a lefty vietnam navy transgender (yes, Transexual MtF !) Veteran and I agree, implant a chip in the pirate prick ( note* pirate, not pirate's) and tell him if he ever gets near the water or leaves his village his entire village will be eliminated, or he can do time in juvenile hall in oakland, ca. then be force fed pork chops, american style, how about pigs feet? or......... a group hug by some leftys

JM Hanes

Someone suggested that carrying weapons was problematic from an insurance standpoint -- either ironically, or short sightedly.

selena martinez

BTW Go Navy!! Bravo Zulu!!!


most of you people on this sight are a bunch of hateful idiots you should be glad that the captain and our fellow americans are safe and out of harms way but instead you are more worried about who gets credit for giving the order last time i checked this country the USA has only one leader one commander in-chief one PRESIDENT and that is BARACK OBAMA and so get over whatever most of you wingnuts are going through and realize WE THE PEOPLE have a lot of people to thank first the captain for caring about his crew and then OUR PRESIDENT because without him giving the order the US NAVY would never have been there now put that and whatever else you insist on smoking in your pipe GOD BLESS AMERICA

selena martinez

Giola sounds like the hateful one, I hear nothing but praise for our men, the men that place their lives on the line so we may sleep well, we do not have to agree about the government leaders, we give thanks to our true patriots, the armed forces of the united states

kevin in iowa

wat to do with the 16 year old? That's easy. You try convict and execute him. Period.

selena martinez

Kevin in Iowa is right, the kid has gotta go...........

JM Hanes

More on Arming Crews from the NY Times.

Gosh, Gioia, where were you back when this country the USA had only one leader one commander in-chief and one PRESIDENT that was GEORGE W. BUSH? I'm sure WE THE PEOPLE here would be interested in learning how you happened to land on this site now. Most folks like you don't stick around long enough to say, alas.



Good grief, it was 4 (later 3) pirates in a lifeboat surrounded by the US Navy. Are we really going to set the bar that low for Obama to pass "the test"? Good thing that it didn't turn into the USS Harlan County or the USS Cole.

And how about a secret plan should they get boarded, with a secret stash of firearms that the merchant marine officers knew about?

And when customs inspectors find the weapons when they search the ship, the cargo is impounded and crew is arrested?

JM Hanes-

I've been wondering about the emphasis on the dual authorization.

I've been curious about that myself since Obama seemed to call in the AG before he called the Pentagon. I'm not sure what exactly the Obama Administration is planning on doing with the captured pirate, because if he is a juvenile, he'd probably do zero jailtime either here or in Kenya. Also I'm not so sure the DOD would want the Bainbridge's captain tied up as the DOJ prepares for trial. He'll probably be back in Somalia next week.

At least it ended well for the Maersk-Alabama's captain and her crew. Until the next ship is taken.


They had to ask twice?

What is so great about the decision to authorize the Defense Department to take necessary action if Capt. Richard Phillips’ life was in imminent danger? That’s the minimum any idiot president should do.

Obama was voting present, scared to death of the political repercussions if he had demanded the release of the captain and acted tough but nothing happened for days, weeks or months. He was hoping that the Navy will save his black hide. And they did. So the MSM will now portray him as Mr. Cool under extreme pressure. There are millions of stupid Americans who will fall for this.

JM Hanes

Heavens Rich! We can't possibly send him back to Somalia, can we? Wouldn't that be, like, rendition or something?


Rob Furlong holds the record for the longest shot in combat at 2430 meters. He was a Canadian.

Martin Riggs

When I was 19, I did a guy in Laos with a rifle shot in high wind. They told me, maybe eight or even ten guys in the world could have made that shot. It's the only thing I was ever good at.


"Biden said that Obama would be tested and he was"

No he wasn't,Obama was playing with his pooch and shopping round for an Easter Sunday church.
No announcements were made,no words of encouragement to the family.Obama led as he voted in the Senate,he was just "Present"


Sixteen year old pirate...Two words:


If it has a Red White and Blue flag on it,,turn your little boat around!
Let the other countries fend for themselves, unless they have their checkbook!

Captain Hate

most of you people on this sight

I see Axelrod sent the brilliant ones. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.


" A mind is a terrible thing to waste."

In Laird's case that is irrelevant.


Martin, you forgot about it being 800 yards in a high wind. That's what made it so difficult. Stop getting kicked in the head by Gary Busey. It's affecting your memory.


PUK--apologies for being tardy in expressing my thanks to you for the excellent sniper information and the conversation link provoked.


My family, including my husband, would be the first to tell you that all I want for Christmas is a Navy SEAL. ::grin:: Gawd! Those guys are amazing.


While I'm a little concerned that Barry required the good Captain's life to be in imminent danger before lethal force was authorized we should be glad he authorized it at all. He's already one up on Carter.

However the real tests will be when Pakistan collapses and Iran tests a nuke or a war starts when Israel prevents Iran from obtaining a nuke and Turkey goes all Islamist and Russia does some real provoking and spying and China does the same and ad infinitum.

The majors just started play and they're going to come whirring over the plate hard, inside and about eye level very soon. I wonder if Barry even has his batting helmet on.

Uncle BigBad
I've been wondering about the emphasis on the dual authorization.

Authorizations are like promises. They have an expiration date (In this case, a very short one).

Danube of Thought

I hope we learn more about the "imminent danger" issue. I believe that if I had been the Officer in Tactical Command (and that appears to be the CO of Bainbridge) I would have concluded that Capt. Phillips was in imminent danger continuously from the moment he found himself aboard a lifeboat with four armed pirates.

It may be that that was indeed his interpretation, and that the climactic events came at the very first opportunity to take all three guys out without undue risk to Phillips.

Clarice, you have probably read by now that at the time the shots were fired, two guys had stuck their heads and shoulders up through hatches, either to look around or get some air. The third guy was visible through a forward window-like hatch that was open.

I'd still like to know whether there has been any consideration given to mining the Somali ports, with the promise to clear them when those ashore get sufficiently fed up to bring the pirates to heel.

Danube of Thought

From Lethal Weapon (1987), for those who might be confused:

Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson): I do it real good, you know.

Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover): Do what?

Martin Riggs: When I was 19, I did a guy in Laos with a rifle shot in high wind. They told me, maybe eight or... even ten guys in the world could have made that shot. ...It's the only thing I was ever good at.

Danube of Thought

Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1651:

"Whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life."

Doesn't provide for much latitude in sentencing; doesn't say anything about juveniles or adults.

The "Law of Nations," as used in both the statute and the constitution, does not mean "international law." (Courtesy Andrew McCarthy's piece today)


Demonstrating the wisdom of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Chairman, Rep. David Wayne, came under mortar fire when he chose to fly into Mogadishu today of all days: LUN


From the NYTimes article linked earlier, it sounds like the ship owners would (individually at least) rather take the easy way out and pay tribute or ransom--just part of the cost of doing business--than arm their ships, even if the problem of local permissions was solved. Not unlike what a lot of companies do in response to our domestic pirates (personal injury lawyers). In both cases we need leadership to put a stop to the problem, since it's not always in the victims' interest to do so. We won't see such leadership until at least 2012, unfortunately.

JM Hanes


"The "Law of Nations," as used in both the statute and the constitution, does not mean "international law.""

A critical distinction which virtually never crosses the public radar! "International law" gets bandied about as though there were an identifiable corpus of statutes to which the world has subscribed, rather than a combination of multiple treaties, conventions and traditions. A couple of years ago, Andy McCarthy also took a pretty comprehensive look at the subject, in "International Law v. United States." Unfortunately, it is now behind the archival fire wall at Commentary, but it might turn up elsewhere, for those who want to spend some time with Google.

That doesn't stop much of anyone from citing putative U.S. international breaches (as with the Geneva Conventions) -- most notably the European boosters of a multipolar world order, which should tell people something. Back in Novermber, Jack Goldsmith pointed out that they are real scofflaws in practice.

On a related issue, Orin Kerr has a depressing item about Justice Ginsberg's warm and extremely fuzzy approach to citing foreign law.

One of my own biggest worry about appointing Harold Koh to State is a concerted effort to press the U.S. into sign onto the International Criminal Court in light of the new Democratic majority in Congress. The supremacy of treaties seems to pose a particularly difficult problem when such a compact would effectively abrogate some of our own constitutional rights -- in a court which can define its own purview and from which there is no designated appeal.

The Constitution is pretty clear about how treaties come into force, and I'd be interested in knowing if the Supreme Court has ever asserted jurisdiction which would allow it to pass judgment on the constitutionality of a Treaty. That, in itself, strikes me as constitutionally problematic, and I wonder if anyone here is in a position to comment.

Ed Whelan has been doing a whole series on Koh's transnationalism. The latest installment includes links for the previous 5 parts. Eric Posner takes a somewhat more benign view of Koh's record and intentions.

I hit the maximum number of links, but I can provide one for the Andy McCarthy piece if anyone wants to follow it up.

JM Hanes

Might as well go on and post it, before the link gets lost in the shuffle chez moi: Andy McCarthy


Demonstrating the wisdom of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Chairman, Rep. David Wayne, came under mortar fire when he chose to fly into Mogadishu today of all days

Thought he'd be among friends?

The comments to this entry are closed.