Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another pirate attack thwarted, but we didn't go after the pirate ship?

If this report is accurate, another American ship was fired on and damaged by pirates, and in this case, an American destroyer arrived at the scene before the pirates were able to board.

However, there is no mention of an attack by the destroyer against the pirate ship. Does this mean that US policy is to not go after pirate ships, even after they open fire on commercial vessels?

While this would be consistent with Obama's Carteresque political orientation, it spells very bad news for the anti-piracy effort. Pirate ships should be destroyed wherever they are found, whether they have attacked yet or not. To leave them alone after they've attacked another vessel is to tell them the piracy game is still very much in their favor.

Let's hope that there is some reasonable explanation for this lapse, but it doesn't seem likely. During the successful rescue of the American ship captain, it was reported that there were 2 requests made to use force against the pirates, and that Obama only approved the second request "if the captain's life was in imminent danger".

If both of these stories are true, it would appear that extremely restrictive rules of engagement will apply. This means there will be virtually no chance of success against the pirates.

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