Friday, April 10, 2009

On Obama and Pirates....

Jon over at Exurban League has a wickedly cutting take on Obama and the current crisis with Pirates. The fellas over there are getting all sorts of attention for this, from a mention on Hugh Hewitt's show to another mention on Rush's show to a hit on HotAir's headlines. It is quite a funny bit, and you ought to take some time to read it.

However, I'd like to take the question a bit more seriously.

There are all sorts of comments here and there in the 'sphere to the effect that we can't take action to free Capt. Phillips without unnecessarily endangering him. Apparently, he has tried to escape, only to be recaptured.

I think we are missing a crucial point: Shipping in the area is already in danger. There are reports of as many as 200 hostages being held from as many as a dozen ships. Each one of these hostages is being held in as real a threat to life as Capt. Phillips is enduring.

The Somali pirates are Muslim, but the point of their piracy seems to be financial rather than the political aims of the al Qaeda terrorists. This, I think, is a distinction without a difference.

As I admit to in the sidebar, I am an airline pilot. And here is what I know.....

Federal Air Marshals and Federal Flight Deck Officers (armed pilots) are on commercial flights today because aviation remains in danger from terrorists. These law enforcement officers are there to keep someone from taking control of another airplane. If there is no FAM or FFDO onboard, the American passenger should know that the government of the United States will send fighters up to keep a hijacked airplane from another 9/11 attack. The government, in one capacity or another, will act to keep that from happening. Allowing another airplane to be hijacked is unacceptable.

In the not-so-distant past, we had a religious group resist a search by the BATF and barricade themselves inside their compound. There was a whole host of things the government did wrong leading up to the search. I've always believed that because the Branch Davidians were harming no one with their peculiar apocolyptic views, that they should have been left alone. That said, the government should expect, once shots have been exchanged, that everyone involved should respect the law enforcement and legal system, and the Davidians clearly did not do this. At some point, the government decided to send in the tanks.

Whenever I fly, I know that a law enforcement officer might have to shoot someone. And as a shooter, I know that sometimes bullets overpenetrate or completely miss their targets. Further, as I have said, if there are no government shooters on a hijacked flight, everyone should know that it is likely that an Air Force fighter will shoot that plane down rather than allow it to impact another American target. In the interests of the larger good, we have to know that the passengers are expendable.

Captain Phillips, having already demonstrated his honor by exchanging himself for some of his men, and his bravery with his escape attempt, will also know that he is expendable.

This piracy cannot continue. That the failed state of Somalia has created the incentive for these criminals to enter into their piracy is no excuse for us to tolerate it. The French (!) have already been more bold than we have been, and the Chinese are flexing their muscles in the Indian Ocean. We must end this thing, even if it means that some innocents are hurt or killed. Allowing skinny Somalians to standoff against the US Navy is unacceptable.

No comments: