Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Somali Pirates Grab 20 Americans; Obama to Apologize?

{updated at bottom; ship-re-taken by Americans !}

Now here's a test for Barack Obama:

Somali pirates on Wednesday hijacked a U.S.-flagged cargo ship with 20 American crew members onboard, hundreds of miles from the nearest American military vessel in some of the most dangerous waters in the world

Cmdr. Jane Campbell, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, said that it was the first pirate attack "involving U.S. nationals and a U.S.-flagged vessel in recent memory."

Gee, I wonder why they suddenly wouldn't be afraid to attack American interests?

Press secretary Robert Gibbs said the White House was monitoring the incident closely and "assessing a course of action." Barack and his inner circle wondering who they could apologize to, in order to make this go away? Maybe for President Clinton's tragic cut-and-run that left their nation in ruins?

And why do I feel this could become an Iranian Hostage Crisis Redux?

[Jimmy] Carter would latch on to a deal proffered by a top Iranian official and grant minor but humiliating concessions, only to have it scotched at the last minute by Khomeini....

Who does that sound like to you?

One should remember that the United States Marines were first formed to specifically fight this type of battle:

...the activities of the corsairs, who did not scruple to kidnap Yankee sailors, led to the new republic's first experiment in geopolitics. It was principally on their account that Congress decided to establish a navy in 1794, and America consistently refused to ransom captives in the European way by handing over money, powder, shot and arms to the Muslims.

As President Jefferson put it: "Millions for defense, not one cent for tribute."

From 1803 Washington, in effect, made war against the beys. In one episode in 1805 American marines marched across the dessert from Egypt into Tripolitania, forcing Tripoli to make peace and surrender all American slaves, and giving rise to the famous line in the U.S. Marine Corps anthem "From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shore of Tripoli".

Immediately after the Treaty of Ghent was signed, when the cruising season of 1815 opened, Washington sent out a squadron under Stephen Decatur to punish the Barbary towns for violations of previous agreements. He forced the Bey of Tunis to pay $46,000 in compensation, and in Tripoli he also exacted a fine and secured the release of some Danish and Neapolitan slaves.

Nice work. Will Obama follow the lead of Thomas Jefferson, and let the Marines wreak havoc? Or will he follow the lead of Jimmy Carter, and appeal to the pirates on his knees for mercy?

The first real test begins...

UPDATE: The American crew has apparently re-taken the ship:

"The crew is back in control of the ship," a U.S. official said at midday, speaking on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak on the record. "It's reported that one pirate is on board under crew control ...

Guess they knew they weren't going to be helped by Obama...and doesn't this incident alsoillustrate the importance of not waiting for you government to act, anyway?

Hope Obama doesn't force them to apologize....

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