Friday, August 28, 2009

I sure as hell hope this is a coincidence

Top British Naval officer defends captured sailors' conduct

"We certainly wouldn't want this to happen again."
Band also said the rules of engagement would be examined. Some commentators have criticized the crew for not fighting back when armed Iranian forces captured them.
"In the context of the operation that morning, with the force that was shown against them, they made exactly the right decision. I stand by what they did," Band said.
 Somali Pirates Fire on U.S. Navy Helicopter From U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs
MANAMA, Bahrain - Yesterday, at approximately 8:00 a.m. local time, Somali pirates aboard Motor Vessel Win Far, fired what appeared to be a large caliber weapon at a U.S. Navy SH-60B Helicopter from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 49, embarked aboard USS Chancellorsville.

No rounds of ammunition struck the SH-60B. The SH-60 crew did not return fire. No personnel injuries resulted from the incident.

Bold type is mine in both quotes.  It gets worse further in the story.
Win Far is a Taiwanese-flagged vessel that was pirated, April 6, and over the past 135 days it has been used as a "mother ship" to conduct other known pirate attacks, most notably the U.S. flagged Maersk-Alabama in April 2009.

We got shot at by the ship that launched the Maersk piracy attack and we didn't respond?  Getting shot at by a large caliber weapon is an act of war in any language.  It's tempting to think that the local commander on the scene exercised restraint, and held fire so as to not provoke an incident.  But for Pete's sake, if we have the intel that says this is the ship that attacked a US flagged ship AND they fired on our military, it runs contrary to everything we have learned about terrorism to not respond.

When the Maersk was pirated and later retaken by US forces, I bought into the conspiracy theory that Pres Obama had placed excessive rules on the local commander.  I was wrong.  So I wont make the same mistake here and place blame where it hasn't been shown to lie.  But I do hope that someone in the Pentagon is screaming at the top of their lungs that we need to respond decisevly to threats like this.

Walk softly and carry a big stick is a good policy, but only if you are ready to swing the stick when your enemies attack.

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