Monday, April 13, 2009

GOP talking heads attack Obama's failure to resolve pirate/hostage situation; hours after it had been resolved

This is just embarassing. Poor Newt Gingrich is out there on Sunday's talk shows about how Obama's unwilling to "pull the trigger" and make the hard decisions while being completely unaware that the President had authorized that lethal force be used if the Captain's life appeared to be threatened and the triggers, three to be precise, had already been pulled.

FoxNews and the conservative talking head crowd just can't understand Obama. They're the only ones who would compare Obama to Bush and find Obama lacking. Now was the time for the grownups to be in charge. You don't need the President publicly swaggering on television talking about "Dead or Alive" or some nonsense that if you can't deliver on (ala OBL), then you wind up looking incredibly weak and impotent.

Only in the game "Civilization" would a lifeboat be able to defeat a Navy Destroyer. But pure firepower wasn't going to solve the problem unless you didn't care about killing the American hostage in the process. So, you let cooler heads prevail. You keep the pirates busy trying to negotiate their way out of the situation, hook up a tow line to the Navy ship to drag them further out to sea, and at the first sign of serious trouble with a clear line of shot, you already have clear rules of engagement that authorize the necessary and immediate action.

You keep the pirate you already have in custody and charge and prosecute him with piracy. That's how a grown up Administration acts.

It was the Republican Party which took the tragic and heroic deaths of 18 Army Rangers to capitalize as a foreign policy criticism of then-President Bill Clinton's effort at nation building in Somalia which forced the Administration into a hasty retreat from the region. Because Al-Qaeda had supplied organizational/tactical training in the region, the Somalia event emboldened the terrorist organization into planning 9/11.

Why Somalia became a haven for Al-Qaeda and international piracy is going to become the next focus. And that's not something Republicans should particular feel comfortable about. Their policy that stable and orderly nation-state in Somalia was not in our national security interests in 1990s is at root to how this crisis occurred in the first place.

2 comments:

ols said...

I don't understand the legal framework issue Gingrich raised. Maybe he should talk to an international lawyer, but we *have* a framework for that. Piracy is subject to universal jurisdiction under international law and most countries have the criminal laws to address that. I am 90% sure we do (although I'm too lazy to go find it in the USC right now) and if we don't, we hand over the pirates we have to Belgium or Spain and I know they do!

You're right on the money w/ the other stuff, Modern. They're flipping idiots if they think going in with the Marines was going to keep that captain alive or using a hostage negotiator was somehow a "weak" thing to do. Seriously - we used the SEALS. What were the Marines going to do that the SEALS weren't? Freaking idiots.

It's okay though - I say let them keep talking. The more they stay stupid sh*! like that while the Obama administration continues to quietly go about getting things done the more the American people are going to see how absolutely asinine they are. And then maybe we'll be saved from future Bush administrations.

Randy said...

The actions (and initial inaction) have proven to be the right moves. President Obama gets a ticky mark in my book for handling this the right way. I'm a little concerned why he had to be contacted twice to approve the action, but trust that there are details that can't be published.

The question now is, what is the next step? What can (or should) the US do to prevent future hijackings? Today's news says four more ships have been hijacked, that's to be expected. Any long-term effect of the rescue and killing of three pirates will take a while to realize. But what other actions will be taken or needed?

(Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not being critical, just trying to see where we go from here).