- Thanks Stan and Mark.Phelps----- Original Message -----From: StanEllexsonSent: Thursday, April 16, 2009 6:50 PMSubject: Fwd: Fw: [Fwd: pirates/This is not humorous at all, but worthy of reading]It seems to me that the Navy League, Naval Order, MOAA, ROA, NRA, American Legion, VFW, and other military/patriotic type groups should see their contacts on "The Hill" to get some action.Stan
Sent: 4/16/2009 5:59:57 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time
Subj: Fw: [Fwd: pirates/This is not humorous at all, but worthy of reading]----- Forwarded Message ----
From: CAPT (ret) John H. McCoy <jmccly at pacbell dot net>
I am an active Merchant Mariner. Last year I spent the entire year out in those waters on the Maersk Vermont, Maersk Ohio and the President Truman. It's very difficult for those who don't have first hand Merchant Marine experience in those waters to get a full appreciation of the situation. Pirates aren't new, just their tactics and equipment are. They have better boats, better guns and much more sophisticated electronic guidance systems. Perhaps the worst piece of equipment the USCG/IMO has mandated ships to not only carry but remain in operational service is the "AIS" or Automated Information Systems. For those unfamiliar with the system, here is an informational link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_Identification_System Apparently, the pirates aren't complying with these mandates, because, I have yet to see a "Pirate ship" identified on AIS, and I have sailed in pirate waters for a long time. In spite of all the ISPS Security measures, the USCG mandates that we broadcast all the information about our ships to the whole world in real time. The AIS, as a minimum broadcasts our position (accurate to GPS standards) our, course, speed, destination and number of crew aboard. as well of course as our flag. Its like a "menu" for pirates and terrorists (there both the same in my view) to plan attacks on us when and where we are most vulnerable. It's ironic that you can be steaming along in the middle of the ocean, run across a US Navy ship all armed with guns, SEALS, and helicopters, and they are in full EMCOM (Electronic Emission and Communications Control) and we are out there, slow, under manned, and unarmed being required to broadcast all the vital statistics of our ship to any pirate who can buy them on line from the WEST Marine catalog, although they usually don't have to buy them. They just take them off the ships they highjack. Now the armchair Admirals, who haven't got a clue as to what we are up against have this "knee jerk" reaction is to arm the crews. That looks real good on front pages of newspapers, but is idiotic in the real Merchant Marine. I want the cook to put a meal out, not play Rambo. What we don't need, right now is an escalation in the crisis, using garden hoses to extinguish a raging forest fire. But then again, those who can do; those who cant, teach. The key to this problem is far more complicated and need to be resolved at the very highest levels of government, and even the United Nations. Alfred Thayer Mahan wrote in his "Sea Power" thesis, that the primary role of the US Navy must be to protect the US Merchant Marine. That doctrine is still the basis of Naval Seapower lessons taught at both the US Naval Academy and the Navy War College. Are these Admirals now sluffing off that responsibility to twenty one sailors , already undermanned, rather than stepping up to the plate, as they certainly did, in the case of the USS Bainbridge. If our over 250 capital ship US Navy, cant defend our 189 (10,000gt and over) US Merchant fleet, with all their sophisticated weapons, and trained warriors, how can we, the Merchant seafarers have any hope whatsoever? These havens of refuge and support, where pirates can stage their attacks must be eliminated. Hopefully, through political (speak softly and carry a big stick) means, but if not ultimately, through whatever means are appropriate. In Somalia, we are dealing with a place where there is no central government, and an economy with absolutely no gross national product. Lawless and useless. As Captain of the USNS Harkness, I spent several years operation off the coast of Somalia, and dealt directly with the ragged and disorganized Somali government of that time. Mogadishu was my base of operation, but I also had to call on many of the other ports along the Somali Coast, both in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. What struck me most, was the difficulty in identifying organized government officials from the rest of the population. Everyone wore the same sarrappi (affectionately referred to as Man Dresses), and everyone had an AK-47 strapped over their shoulders. It was like the African "Wild West". Waiting for the pirate to get alongside the unarmed or armed merchant ship means that we have already lost the battle. We can only win the War against pirates, by closing down their bases of operation, ashore, and making sure, there are no safe havens for pirates, anywhere in the world. Captain Bill Doherty, master mariner, MMA-67 CDR-USNR Ret
How to solve the pirate problem
April 17, 2009
Well, that was simple. Shoot the pirates, problem solved.
OK, not the problem of piracy per se. But the problem of these specific pirates off the coast of Somalia: taken care of. And, if more pirates were shot, there would be fewer pirates. Unlike, say, jihadist terrorists, pirates are in it for the money. Raise the cost of being a piratein denominations of pirate bloodand you'll lower the supply of pirates. That's how governmentsgood and badhave dealt with piracy for thousands of years.
President Barack Obama didn't personally order Navy SEALs to take out the Somali pirates holding Capt. Richard Phillips hostage. He left the decision up to the commanders on the scene, who made the right call. Obama should be congratulated for that, just as surely as he would have been criticized if things had gone south.
For those of us who see the resurrection of President Jimmy Carter in Obama, this was a nice surprise. People forget how reluctant the Carterites were to use force. Carter agonized over whether to rescue American hostages in Tehran. According to Charlie Beckwith, the commander of Delta Force in charge of the mission, he informed Carter's point man, Warren Christopher, that in the rescue effort, "anyone who is holding a hostage, we intend to shoot him, and shoot him right between the eyes. We intend to shoot him twice." Christopher was stunned, according to Beckwith. "Would you consider shooting them in the leg, or in the ankle or the shoulder?"
So this, as they say, is progress.
But only if you look at things along a timeline beginning a mere 30 years ago. Looked at from 200 years agothe last time an American-flagged ship and crew were seized by pirateswe've fallen terribly behind.
Why has this become so complicated? I don't mean finding and shooting pirates, which can be quite difficult, according to experts. I mean the issue of piracy, which has been around since the 13th Century B.C.
Several answers come to mind. For starters, the culture has become more pro-pirate. Although everyone hoped for the safe return of Phillips, it was clear the media and public thought there was something charmingly exotic about all this pirate talk. Avast, mateys, and all that.
Then, of course, there's the fact that the pirates today aren't flamboyantly dressed, gold-bling-sporting white guys better suited for "Project Runway," but very poor Muslim Africans from a failed state. Generations of "don't blame the victim" talk have made us sympathetic to criminals, particularly Third World ones.
Indeed, the British, who once hastened human progress by hunting and hanging pirates, are now afraid to allow the Royal Navy to even arrest them for fear that under the 1998 British Human Rights Act, the captured pirates might demand asylum in Britain. After all, you can't send pirates back to their home country, where they might be mistreated.
And that raises the primary reason this all seemed so complicated. Lawyers. Layers and layers of lawyers. Bret Stephens asked in a prescient Wall Street Journal essay last November, "Why don't we hang pirates anymore?" And the answer, he discovered, is that "there is no controlling legal authority." A combination of international and domestic law has made dealing with what Cicero dubbed hostis humani generisenemies of the human racejust too darn complicated.
Add to this the fact that trial lawyers, bureaucrats and accountants for too long have conspired with corporate honchos to make paying ransoms the least costly option. Shipping companies don't want their crews armed to defend themselves.
Piracy is still a small problem in the scheme of things, but that makes things easier. Cannibalistic serial killers are relatively rare too. That hardly means there's a great mystery about what should be done with them.
What remains to be seen is whether this problem was solved despite Obama's instincts or because of them. The SEALs solved a hostage crisis by shooting three pirates. The question is whether Obama will prevent a pirate crisis from emerging by making it easier to shoot even more pirates.
- Wish I notified you of this earlier but in any case here it is.Anyone with a DVD recorder hooked up to their television? Please record it.Have high speed internet? Please record it.If we get a DVD we will show it at our council's 21 September luncheon focused on the subject (see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PMMC-NLUS/message/388).In regards to recognizing the captain and crew of the the Maersk Alabama, Stephen Pietropaoli at Navy League Headquarters wrote, "Great suggestion and it is in the works here at National. Appreciate your offer to collect locally, but weve got it covered here. We are working some other possible recognitions for the skipper and crew and will let you know when they come together."Phelps_____________________________Watch Fridays at 10 p.m. ET