Monday, April 13, 2009

Where Credit is Due: The Story of a Successful Rescue

I said last night that I'd update on the Richard Phillips rescue story when more information became available. Well, the story's now leading at Memeorandum. See, for example, Michael Shear, "An Early Military Victory for Obama," and Ann Scott Tyson's, "How SEALs Carried Out Their Mission."

But relating to
Black Five's earlier piece, see Jeff Emanuel's, "The Story of a Successful Rescue (and the Obama Adminstration’s Attempt to Claim Credit)":

Almost immediately following word of the rescue, the Obama administration and its supporters claimed victory against pirates in the Indian Ocean and declared that the dramatic end to the standoff put paid to questions of the inexperienced president’s toughness and decisiveness.

Despite the Obama administration’s (and its sycophants’) attempt to spin yesterday’s success as a result of bold, decisive leadership by the inexperienced president, the reality is nothing of the sort.

What should have been a standoff lasting only hours — as long as it took the USS Bainbridge and its team of NSWC operators to steam to the location — became an embarrassing four-day-and-counting standoff between a rag-tag handful of criminals with rifles and a U.S. Navy warship.

On Friday, April 9, as the standoff reached the end of its third day, I called on President Obama to take action to free the American hostage from his Somali captors. I outlined three possible operational tactics that could be used to do so; number 1 was the following:

(1) 2 helos, 2 snipers each: pop the [pirates] in their heads, then drop a rescue swimmer to escort the hostage up to one of the choppers. This works best if the hostage is aware of what is happening and can help without getting in the way — say, by hopping overboard as the gunships near, to divert attention and get out of the line of fire.

(This was written before the USS Bainbridge tethered the life raft to its stern, an action which eliminated the need for helicopters.)

However, instead of taking direct, decisive action against the rag-tag group of gunmen, the Obama administration dilly-dallied, dawdled, and eschewed any decisiveness whatsoever, even in the face of enemy fire, in hopes that the situation would somehow resolve itself without violence. Thus, the administration sent a clear message to all who would threaten U.S. interests abroad that the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has no idea how to respond to such situations — and no real willingness to use military force to resolve them.

Any who think they weren’t watching every minute of this are guilty — at best — of greatly underestimating our enemies.

Like the crew of the Alabama, which took swift and decisive action to take back their own ship rather than wait for help from Washington that they knew could not be counted on, Captain Phillips took matters into his own hands for the second time in three days, leaping into the water to create a diversion and allowing the NSWC team to eliminate his captors. The result, of course, was the best that could possibly be expected: three pirates dead, the captain unharmed, and a fourth Somali man who had surrendered late Saturday night in custody.

See also, Red State, "Captive Captain Saves President Obama."


JSF said...

As I said earlier, the Navy did great.

I just do not support the CiC as the left did the same for the past 8 years (there were protests by ANSWER before we went into Afganistan, and then protests against Iraq -- very well orginized).

Kudos to the men and women of the American Navy!

Tim said...

Sometimes a little patience is the best strategy. Kudos all around.

I hate that some have tried to politicize this event. Shameless.

AmPowerBlog said...

Well, I'm giving Obama a little credit, although it's funny how much the lefties are trying to spin Obama as the next G.W. Bush!

JSF said...


I'd love to see a comment where you gave President Bush any credit.

Also, don't forget, whenever there is a shooting, you folks politicize that as an attack against:

1) Gun owners
2) Republicans
3) Mental health sufferers.

Again, I support the Navy, not the CiC.

Dan Nexon said...

I can't find any corroboration of Emanuel's claim that Philips threw himself into the sea a second time. All the published accounts in major news outlets say something along the lines of:
Rescuers slid down ropes from the Bainbridge, climbed on to the lifeboat and found the three pirates dead. They then untied Mr Phillips.
I find it odd that he writes as if he's doing original reporting on this story.

Anyway, if we'd use force prematurely, we'd likely have gotten Phillips killed. The French lost one hostage in a rescue operation over the same weekend, which no one seems to be talking about.

The negotiations--which never included a US offer of ransom and fell apart over the US demand that the pirates be tried--allowed for the tethering, the surrender of one pirate (and one potential missed target), and a whole set of conditions favorable to the eventual operation.

It is hard for me to see how the Obama did anything wrong. As the situation deteriorated, he authorized local forces to use force if they thought Phillips' life was in danger. They executed with flawless professionalism.

Tim said...

Dan: You are right.

JSF: I totally supported action in Afghanistan. I did not criticize Bush for that. I became cynical when he began pushing for war in Iraq. And I remain cynical to this day.

For the record, a large majority of Americans remain unconvinced by Bush's motivations, and his party was roundly defeated in large part because of this in two successive elections.

The Griper said...

that is one thing that has always mystified me. Bush had greater justification in his invasion of Iraq than he had in the invasion of Afghanistan yet it is percieved as the opposite by the people.

as for this incident and the reaction to it along with the comparisons of the two Presidents, i won't get into that.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

The TRUTH is finally beginning to filter out and what we suspected about Mr Obama is being borne out. FAIL.