Obama's Second Test

As the world watches the situation of the coast of Somalia with pirates seizing a US vessel for the first time in over 200 years, everyone wonders what Barack Obama's next move will be. If the current standoff is any indication, he's violating a core policy of the United States by sending the FBI to negotiate with these thugs. High seas piracy is terrorism, last I checked the US does not negotiate with terrorists. However, take heart, Obama is ignoring the issue for good reason!

Yes, you guessed it, it was time for him to fulfill a campaign promise. And what an important decision this must have been. How critical it weighs on the minds of the American people. ABC News has been following the situation with baited breath for over a month now. After all, what could possibly be so important that the BBC had to break the story in the middle of the night on Easter weekend? Yes, you guessed it. That critical issue: What kind of dog to get for his daughters. *FACEPALM*

If it isn't blatantly obvious to you all yet, it should be now. This tin god president of ours doesn't give a flying fuck about this country. He's clearly demonstrated that already by pushing for spending bills that ballooned the deficit to 5 times what it was under Bush, and 3 times larger than any before ever recorded in the US. Even under Jimmy Carter. Our enemies are flinging ballistic missiles into the sea trying to see if they can hit Alaska, and his only concern is how fast the defense budget can be cut. Priates off of Somalia attack a US ship taking US citizens hostage for the first time in over 200 years, and he pawns the job off on the FBI to talk them down. All the while, the media fawns over him in cultic worship and professes he can do no wrong, that all his critics are simply racist xenophobes. UGH.

What's even more irritating is that these same news agencies who think Kennedy giving Obama some dog is huge news would have stopped at nothing to crucify Bush if he'd done the same thing, claiming he was callously ignoring his duty to the people and professing how evil and horrible all Republicans are for supporting their president.

This whole affair is simply disgusting. Obama fiddles while the US burns.
.........................
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

       
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Posted on Apr 12, 2009 1:06 am by Samson in: | 10 comment(s) [Closed]
Comments
This pirate thing takes place in international waters (i.e. off US soil), doesn't that make it the CIA's authority rather than the FBI's, even if he was going to voilate national policy by negotiating?

I don't know that I have any real comment on the rest, it's getting to just be more of the same by now. :(

       
Kudos to the US Navy. Looks like someone finally did right and killed the pirates.

       
Dude, calm down. You're frothing. For little reason.

As far as the dog thing goes, I don't think you can really blame Obama for the ridiculous media hype around the animal, which he seems as mystified about as the rest of the thinking world.

As a comment on ridiculous media hype, well, yes.

As far as the FBI goes, my (limited) understanding of that issue is that FBI has some jurisdiction over kidnapping issues (which this was), but more importantly, they have expertise in the area of hostage negotiations, which this most certainly was. All things considered, that doesn't seem like a particularly bad idea to me. Avoid the possibility of getting Captain Phillips killed, etc.

Of course, it also sounds like negotiations failed, and events conspired so that the Navy had to intervene, so the whole thing is irrelevant, but. OTOH, while thankfully the rescue was successful, let's be clear that high seas rescues are pretty non-trivially complicated, and it could've easily gone very badly (as the French know), so there's some value in negotiations.

Especially, yknow, since the pirates aren't terrorists. Armed and dangerous criminals, sure. Al Qaeda, no. Not quite even FARC level. Speaking of which, you and a couple crackpot commenters at Information Dissemination are about the only people talking about terrorism, when all available evidence suggests the situation is a very great deal more complicated, as discussed here and here, among other places (the USNI blog is good too. As I was saying to The_Fury, do some reading and get back to me.

That said, clearly something needs to get done about Somalia, and I'm not particularly convinced we know what that something actually is. It seems to me that the only way we're really going to get this done is to rebuild Somalia, and our efforts on those lines have not gone enormously well historically.

We shall see, I suppose.

       
Sorry, I don't see it as frothing. I see it as extreme irritation with a tin god president being worshiped by the media and people obsessing over every little thing he does - like getting a dog - when we have situations in the world that need actual attention. If the press spent even 10% of their time pointing that out to people maybe we wouldn't be in such bad shape.

The FBI has experience in hostage negotiation, yes, but *HERE*. Not overseas. Let the military deal with it. It seemed to work perfectly well back in the 1700s when pirates would attack ships. The British Navy would sink the pirate ships and kill the pirates. Easy, no? Negotiations failed because the pirates never had any intention of honoring the outcome no matter what it would be.

And I'm sorry. What's complicated about terrorists hijacking boats and taking people hostage? Not a damn thing. They sail out, take the ships, sail home and wait. Well, if the international community would sink the pirate ships and kill the pirates like was done in the days of old, the problem would disappear. Piracy is only a complex issue when you have liberal appeasers in office.

What needs to be done about Somalia? Short of Ocean of Glass, I am all for a massive bombing campaign followed up by a full scale ground invasion. Ethiopia would be more than happy to help us out there. Just make sure all the pirates and warlords die in the process. Only then can you spend time rebuilding.

       
You can hardly blame the president for what asshats in the media choose to report on. That's as true of Bush or Clinton as it is of Obama, especially given the fact that the man has, in fact, been focusing on Important Issues Of the World quite a lot in the past few weeks - the economy, shoring up NATO, and what have you. Disagree though you might with him, he does seem to be taking the job seriously. The media, OTOH, well.

As far as the FBI goes, the point is that they have more experience in the negotiation part than the military, who to the best of my knowledge have about zero experience in such things, as opposed to shooting the hijackers, which they are (as we have seen) very good at. If you want to go the negotiating route, they'd seemingly be the ones to call. And, as I said, I don't find the negotiating route, even if it's just a ploy to get the shooters in or whatever, to be a particularly wrongheaded approach in this case, given the difficulty of conducting rescues on the high seas, such as the one I linked to, where the French tried the same thing and a hostage wound up very dead.

Which is not to say that, in general, I don't support blowing the crap out of pirates, but maybe not the first choice solution in that particular case.

That having been said, even a brief amount of education on the subject will tell you that what military force exists in the region is entirely inadequate to sufficiently protect shipping routes. Never mind the difficulty inherent in actually policing such a broad stretch of waterway. Which is not to suggest we shouldn't try, because clearly we should, but doing so at this time is pretty tough.

And since you and I both know that your solution to Somalia isn't happening, and never mind that both we and Ethiopia both tried exactly that and failed, feel free to try again.

       
I've even heard foks in the media complaining about the over-coverage of the First Dog, so maybe Samson's not quite as out of line here as you're implying, though I will agree that it's not Obama's fault that the media is being this way.

FBI: fine, so you call in the FBI to get the hostage back and then wipe the pirates (which is in itself a form of terrorism by definition, btw because they are using terror tactics and hijacking ships and taking hostages - just like they did 200-300 years ago before we had this fancy "terrorism" term).

Yes, actively patrolling all shipping lanes all the time is out of the question for conventional means, but we already actively monitor most things planet-wide via satellite anyway so how much of a stretch would it really be to add 24/7 ocean monitoring for ships misbehaving along with dolphiins and whales that go astray?

Damn, so you're saying the only resort left is the Glass Skating Rink solution? Well, in that case.. Mr. Obama, time to pick up your batphone to NORAD... ;)

       
Re: First Dog - by all means, complain about media overhype, and believe you me I'm right there along with everybody I know - maybe it's worth some slow news day time, but this? Oi.

Re: Satellites - harder than it seems, from what I'm given to understand. Never mind the issues detecting pirates vs. fishermen vs. giant, ship-eating squid.

Well, maybe not the last.

And...wait, Obama has a batphone? He's even more epic than his action figure had led me to believe.

       
It's gotten to where I hear the guy's name on TV and instinctively mute. He could be telling us World War 3 is beginning in 5 minutes but I just can't stand listening to him blather on endlessly about how this policy or that policy is supposed to help the economy when all it's done so far is push us off the cliff and make us a worlwide laughing stock to our enemies. Is it any wonder North Korea and Iran are thumbing their noses at us? They watch the same news and I can't help but think Kim Jon Il and Ahmadinijad are both laughing their asses off at us.

       
Just because this is wicked cool:

       
Edited by Samson on Mar 22, 2010 3:39 pm
Dwip:
I would really be inclined to think giant ship eating squid would be the hardest of those to detect via satellite, afterall they're entirely organic and probably not really as giant as we're lead to believe.. as for distinguishing between pirates and fishermen, well.. details, eh? ;P

Of course he's got a batphone, Reagon had it installed during the Cold War era, no? ;)

Samson:
Sadly, I can't begin to argue that point. The media's madly in love with Obama and they're determined to put a positive spin on everything he does or says, and as sick of it as we're getting, I'm sure the leaders of other countries are also watching it all (or having their people do so anyway) too and, in some cases, getting a real laugh out of it or, in other cases, are damn near to tears over some aspects of it.

       
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