Saturday, April 11, 2009

Question re: pirate standoff

OK, I understand the importance of safeguarding the captain held hostage aboard the pirates' lifeboat, as well as the 200-odd other hostages held by Somali pirates elsewhere. This isn't something where we (and by that I mean the U.S. military) should charge in guns blazing--those times are quite rare, if they exist at all. Keeping the hostages safe is the most important factor, although I think "never negotiating with terrorists" is strongly vying for the top spot among priorities. And yes, just because your motives are pecuniary and not ideological doesn't mean you are not a terrorist--just my $0.02.

Here's what I don't get, though: the U.S.S. Bainbridge, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, is "keeping its distance, in part to stay out of the pirates' range of fire."

I am no expert in naval strategy and tactics, nor do I have any proficiency in hostage negotiations (particularly where there are potentially multiple hostages in play in multiple locations). But really, unless they are carrying suitcase nukes, what could the pirates possibly have on board the lifeboat that could seriously threaten the Bainbridge? The only shots fired so far appear to have been fired by the pirates during an escape attempt by the hostage. Does the Bainbridge have any Marine snipers on board or anything? Maybe I've just seen too many movies, but when the most powerful Navy the world has ever known is held at bay by a lifeboat, something just seems a bit wrong.


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