I’m as happy as anyone that Captain Phillips is safe but, from the reports out there, I think we have to chalk this up to good luck and a good dose of stupidity from the Somali pirates. Here’s Fox News:
The scene got “tenuous” according to one official, shortly after the three pirates agreed to let the Bainbridge tow their boat. The sea conditions were worsening and the lifeboat was “floundering” before pirates acknowledged that by establishing a tow, it would be a smoother ride.
But sometime soon after the boats were hooked together, shots were fired from the lifeboat and the pirates were seen holding a gun to Captain Phillips back. Acting on a standing order from President Obama to move in when Phillips was in “imminent danger” snipers were ordered to fire.
I wonder if there was any discussion in the lifeboat along the lines of, “Hey, you think we’re an easier target now that the lifeboat isn’t bobbing up and down like a cork?” It seems the pirates never really thought they were in any real danger, with past attacks following the script of catch, collect, and release. Oops.
“The French and the Americans will regret starting this killing. We do not kill, but take only ransom. We shall do something to anyone we see as French or American from now,” Hussein, a pirate, told Reuters by satellite phone.
“We cannot know how or whether our friends on the lifeboat died, but this will not stop us from hijacking,” he said.
Sea gangs generally treat their captives well, hoping to fetch top dollar in ransoms.
The worst violence has been an occasional beating.
“We shall revenge,” said another pirate, Aden, in Eyl village, a pirate lair on Somalia’s eastern coast.
Some fear the U.S. and French operations may make the modern-day pirates more like their more fearsome forbearers.
“The pirates will know from now that anything can happen. The French are doing this, the Americans are doing it. Things will be more violent from now on,” said Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based East African Seafarers Assistance Programme.
“This is a big wake-up to the pirates. It raises the stakes.”
It’s not like the pirate issue is anything new. The MSM, and Americans, started caring only when Americans were involved. Now is the time for a greater discussion on the issue, including what the United States does next. We got our guy back, but there are 250 other hostages still being held by the pirates.