It’s interesting but not altogether surprising to see how the mainstream media is reporting on the heroic rescue of Captain Richard Phillips from the clutches of pirates in the Indian Ocean over the weekend by Navy Seals. The way they’re spinning it, you’d think that Obama himself had personally fired the three sniper shots that killed three of the four pirates holding Captain Phillips.
While I’m certainly willing to give credit where it is due to the CIC, a couple of things need to be kept in mind: First, the DOD had to ask for President Obama’s permission twice before they were given then go ahead to shoot only if the Captain’s life was in “imminent danger.” The Captain was held for close to a week – Obama gave his authorization Saturday. But even as Uncle Jimbo explains, Obama’s authorization was really a reaffirmation of the standard rules of engagement already in place for our military:
He did affirm the military’s authorization to use force if the captain’s life was in danger, but they already would have had that authorization as part of their standard rules of engagement. If there are innocents about to be slaughtered the same reasoning that authorizes self defense also covers an imminent execution unless the ROE specifically forbid it.The AP is making it sound like there was an active rescue ordered by the President. It was not, there was an imminent threat and the local commander gave the order to fire. Good on Obama for ensuring their authorization was clear, but let’s also be clear that he did not authorize or order an active rescue attempt.
In the short term, I’m ok with the media/left doing a little high-fiving about the rescue of Captain Phillips. After all, modern history has shown us that it’s not often that Democrat CIC’s have the intestinal fortitude to pursue any degree of military success. But they shouldn’t go overboard, either (no pun intended).
In the end, this crisis ended the way it should have. Much credit is due to the unarmed crew of the Maersk Alabama, who quickly took control back of the ship before the State Dept. could even formulate a coherent response (and no, that doesn’t include laughing about piracy), the Navy SEALS who brilliantly took out the pirates, the Maersk Captain for keeping his cool during the whole hostage stand-off, and to a lesser extent, Barack Obama for reaffirming the military’s authority to act on foreign soil in the event a US citizen’s life is in imminent danger.
But let’s hold off on the ticker tape parades and “medals ceremonies” for the President (the latter of which some goofballs at Daily Kos have suggested/implied). Where his mettle will really be tested will be in how he handles Iraq and Afghanistan in the coming years. I think I can safely speak for us all when I say that hopefully he will succeed in both Iraq and Afghanistan provided his plans for both revolve around winning both battles (in fact, Iraq is well on its way, no thanks to him) decisively rather than caving to his far left wing base and withdrawing prematurely from Iraq and treating Afghanistan as if it were a “hopeless cause.”
Related: A tribute to our Navy SEALS is in order.