April 14th, 2009

When the world is stumped by the Somali pirates…

it’s the dolphins to the rescue.

But alas, there are only so many dolphins in the world, and they can’t be everywhere at once. The pirates have wasted no time boarding four more vessels. This time, however, the targets were not American, but Lebanese, Greek, and Egyptian, with a mostly Filipino crew on the Greek vessel.

Piracy has an ancient and varied tradition, and has existed as long as people have plied the seas. The Somali pirates are currently big on braggadocio; here’s a (self-appointed?) pirate spokesperson speaking:

“Our latest hijackings were meant to show that no one can deter us from protecting our waters from the enemy because we believe in dying for our land,” Omar Dahir Idle, a pirate based in the coastal town of Harardhere, told The Associated Press by telephone. “The recent American operation, French navy attack on our colleagues or any other operation mean nothing to us.”

Interesting rhetoric, coming from a pirate. “Protecting” their waters? Dying for their land? Perhaps it’s meant to deter any efforts to destroy the coastal havens from which they operate. The pirates rightly reckon that the whole thing is a test of warring resolves, and that the world may not have the stomach for the fight and would rather continue to pay them lucrative ransoms.

I say “the world” because Obama has carefully framed this as a multilateral effort:

“I want to be very clear that we are resolved to halt the rise of piracy in that region and to achieve that goal, we’re going to have to continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks,” Obama told reporters Monday.

It will be exceedingly interesting to see just how much cooperation he will actually get, in the practical sense. And then, if the answer is “not much,” it will be even more interesting to see just how far Obama is willing to go it alone.

Then again, there’s always the dolphins. Perhaps Obama can learn to speak their language.

18 Responses to “When the world is stumped by the Somali pirates…”

  1. Gray Says:

    Then again, there’s always the dolphins. Perhaps Obama can learn to speak their language.

    No, no…. The dolphins must learn to speak “Obama”:

    “But, what we can’t do here is…. um…. eeeek eeeek squeeeeek.”

  2. Lee Says:

    At least there are some positive aspects of my tuna not tasting as good as it used to.

  3. expat Says:

    I am wondering how much other country would be willing to risk the lives of their citizens who are hostages. There are 5 German hostages. Should one be killed, either in an assault from US troops or as an up-the-ante tactic by the pirates, I doubt the staying power of the German government. It is an election year, and this would make a great issue.

  4. Occam's Beard Says:

    because we believe in dying for our land

    Great. We can help with this.

    Obviously the pirates, along with Putin, Kim Jong Il, and DinnerJacket & Co., have taken Obama’s measure and concluded he’s a weakling. Finally we agree on something.

    If he’s running true to form, Obama’s trying to dig up divorce records on these guys so he can have them leaked to the press.

  5. Gray Says:

    Nevermind the pirates…. Is that skunk’s ass on Janet Nippleatanos’ head?

  6. Baklava Says:

    Those right wing pirates !!!

  7. Foxfier Says:

    It’s a The-Pirates-Are-Really-Eco-Fighters, Ignore-Those-Corpses theory.

    Very popular with English language media, which has been ignoring the dead anyways…..

  8. dane Says:

    Unfortunately the administration would probably think you were talking about the Miami Dolphins.

  9. Occam's Beard Says:

    No one is addressing the real issue, the root cause of piracy. Why do pirates hate us? How can we improve our standing in the international pirate community? By fighting pirates, are we just making more pirates? We should provide programs, training, and healthcare for pirates, to make amends for their historical oppression. /liberal

  10. PoliGazette » Link Mess Says:

    […] File this under “believe it or not”: When Somali pirates wanted to hijack a Chineseboat, they were stopped by thousands of courageous dolphins. Neo-neocon has more. […]

  11. JKB Says:

    Actually, Obama said “…we are resolved to halt the rise of privacy in that region…” but it was just another Obamanism, if Obama were to have -isms other than the social kind.

  12. SteveH Says:

    I’ve heard Ron Howard supported Obama. Please don’t tell me that Flipper has flipflopped too.

  13. Wallace Says:

    It’s too bad that very few people look to the lessons of history anymore.

    1] During the 17th and 18th centuries the British, and other seafaring nations, had a good policy toward pirates. “If you look like a pirate and approach our ships we reserve the right to blow you out of the water. If you are captured in an act of piracy on the high seas and are caught, you will immediately be executed.”

    2] During WWII German U-Boats, so as not to waste torpedoes, would surface and shell merchant ships into submission i.e. sink them. Until, the British and later Americans started arming merchant ships and better yet still, disquising warships as merchant vessels and blowing hell out of the U-Boats when they surfaced.

    Some good ideas never change….

  14. Scottie Says:

    Wallace, Wallace, Wallace…..please, that is SOOOO last century!

    Exactly how many times has meeting aggression with resolve backed by military force ever made society safer?

    I mean, aside from WWI.

    Ah, and WWII.

    Well, I guess you’d have to toss in Korea as well.

    And, ah, Desert Storm I and II.

    Well, I guess the Cold War would qualify.

    The Berlin Airlift.

    The Cuban Missile Crisis.

    Vietnam was conducted differently of course, and is the template for all conflicts since then you see, and those other little nasty bits of business were not the norm.

    And ah….well, you get the idea.

  15. Jamie Says:

    To my great surprise, I heard an NPR interview the other day with a fella who has written a book about merchant vessels’ carrying armed guards to defend against piracy, and about applying the right to self-defense, including lethal force, in the event of being boarded. Can’t remember the guy’s name, nor which program it was on for certain – “All Things Considered,” I think. But though the interviewer tried hard to suggest (in mellifluously [? I don’t actually like the voices of anybody on NPR; too fluty] urbane tones) that the interviewee was a crazy reactionary, the interviewee, bless him, remained calm, direct, and clear about the history of piracy and what he felt was the appropriate level of response to it.

    And (here was the part that surprised me most, beyond the very fact that the guy was given a forum on NPR) the callers and emailers, all but one, agreed, or went even farther than the interviewee: pirates, one caller said, should be shot not upon boarding, but on sight.

  16. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Jamie, NPR tries to bend over backwards to include alternative POV’s. They don’t get it right, because they don’t understand them, so they always ask the wrong people or ask the wrong questions, but I give them credit for recognising that there are other views besides their own. Despite being more liberal themselves, they are actually ahead of the MSM on that. There’s a sadness to it, actually – nice people, trying to find their way, unable to see the obvious…

  17. Baklava Says:

    Occam wrote

    He he.

    Love it

  18. Thomass Says:

    Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    “Jamie, NPR tries to bend over backwards to include alternative POV’s. They don’t get it right, because they don’t understand them, so they always ask the wrong people”

    That’s so consistent though that it just seems like another scheme. Invite a blow hard idiot (this instance aside) and say you presented the conservative side. As long as I can remember that was the basic MSM ploy. Example, Pat Buchanan was on TV a lot as the conservative until he finally went too far with some of his WWII views.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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