Some thoughts on the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, master of the Maersk Alabama:
- There’s a quotation attributed to George Orwell that goes something like this: “We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."
The U.S. Navy SEALs who killed the three Somali thugs holding Captain Phillips are, like their special operations counterparts in the other services, the very definition of “rough men.”
If you doubt this, consider that they arrived on scene by use of a parachute technique known as “HALO” which stands for “High Altitude, Low Opening.”
This bit of expertise entails jumping from an airplane that’s cruising at about 25,000 or so feet, and then free-falling to 1500 feet before deploying their parachutes.
In this case, they also landed - at night - in the ocean to be picked up by a small boat from the U.S.S. Bainbridge.
Once aboard, they set up positions and, eventually, put an end to the situation by taking three simultaneous shots in the dark, from a moving platform (the destroyer), at targets on another moving platform (the lifeboat), and sent all three thugs to the hell they so richly deserved.
Every now and then I think we should climb out of our beds, get down on our knees, and give thanks that such men are still among us.
- Captain Richard Phillips offered himself as a hostage in order to protect the lives of his crew. This speaks volumes about the man.
The thing about being “in charge” is that, along with the privileges that go with such positions, there are also a few responsibilities. Among them is one that says when everything is going south and others might be in the “when in danger, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout” mode, you’re not allowed to join in.
Being “in charge” also means that there are times when you may have to place yourself in harm’s way to protect others.
Captain Phillips did this and you can bet that his crew would now follow him anywhere and heaven help anyone they might hear saying anything derogatory about him.
- One of the first lessons you learn on a playground is that the only way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them. Giving in, doing nothing, or whining assures you of further trouble since it’s now obvious to them that your spine has been surgically removed.
Swallowing your fear and making them understand that you’re not going to kowtow to them, however, will soon move you onto their “do not mess with” list.
It’s high time that the pampered poodles at the U.N and other governments with maritime interests realized that this lesson applies to “bullies” of every stripe - even the ones you might find on the open ocean.
Dealing with these thugs in the only manner that they understand is something that’s long overdue.
- I didn’t vote for Barack Obama and, believe me, I’m not a fan of his ideas as regards where he’s taking this country. That said, he is our president and, in this matter, he didn’t gum up the works.
I think he waited longer than necessary to greenlight the snipers but, when he did, he stood back and allowed the people at the tip of the spear to use their training and judgment to end this situation in whatever manner was necessary.
I feared a Jimmy Carter rerun, but it didn’t happen and the bad guys are now roasting in hell as they should be.
The president gets the credit.
- As for what to do with the remaining thug, my darker side says to hand him a fathom or two of anchor chain and give him a “float test.” Certainly, it’d be a sad and terrible loss for us all should he not “float” but, on the positive side, it would save us the many millions of dollars it will likely cost to try, convict, and then feed and house him for the rest of his life.
My good side - and, yes, there is one - says, “OK. Bring him here. Give him the circus that his trial will be and, then, lock him up for good.”
But I don’t have to like it.
- In case you missed it, the destroyer from which the SEALs fired was named for Commodore William Bainbridge - a naval officer who fought against the Barbary pirates in the early 1800’s.