One thing is clear. If President Obama actually gave the Bainbridge CO the authority to kill the pirates if the hostage was in imminent danger, then he was 'giving' the same authority that every 18 year old private in Iraq and Afghanistan inherently has.
From the MNC-I Rules of Engagement (ROE) card I carried for 16 months-
- The use of force, including deadly force, is authorized to protect the following:
If the President authorized a rescue operation prior to the actual event, then I give him credit for having the courage to do the right thing. But if the rescue occurred because several snipers waited hours and finally had the perfect shot, then why does President Obama get credit for the rescue?
Yourself, your unit, and friendly forces Enemy Prisoners of War Civilians from crimes that are likely to cause death or serious bodily harm, such as murder or rape Designated civilians and/or property, such as personnel of the Red Cross/Crescent, UN, and US/UN supported organizations