(bumped up from late afternoon – Editor)

Remember how we heard ad nauseam that Bill Clinton’s limped wristed response to Al Qaeda’s terrorist attacks on the US embassies in east Africa in August 1998 and the USS Cole in October 2000 paved the road for 9-11? Well, if it is good for the goose it is good for the gander.

Starting in 2006 pirate activity off the coast of Somalia escalated dramatically. Hundreds of ships have been taken and tens of millions of dollars in ransom paid.

And what did the Bush Administration do?

Not a goddamn thing. The piracy was allowed to go on virtually unchecked. The United States chose to ignore it because it was not “terrorism.” So blowhards like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Marc Levin and others of their ilk can and should “Shut the Fuck Up!” Did you ever hear them blame Bush and company for going soft on piracy? Hell no.

In 2008 there was a worldwide total of 293 incidents of piracy against ships, which is up more than 11% from 2007 when there were 263 incidents reported. In 2008, 49 vessels were hijacked, 889 crew taken hostage and a further 46 vessels reported being fired upon. A total of 32 crew members were injured, 11 killed and 21 missing – presumed dead. Guns were used in 139 incidents, up from 72 in 2007.

The increase is attributed to the number of attacks in the Gulf of Aden with 111 incidents reported on the east coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden. The rise peaked in September with 19 attacks. In October and November there were 15 and 16 vessels attacked respectively. This is an increase of nearly 200% from 2007. In addition, 2008 saw the largest tanker ever being hijacked by Somali pirates, and successful attacks being carried out at greater distances from land than in previous years. All types of vessels with varying freeboards and speeds were targeted. The pirates boarding the vessels were also better armed than in previous years and prepared to assault and injure the crew.

“We are encouraged by recent efforts to tackle Somali piracy and hope that more governments will continue to devote more assets to the region. International navies are the only ones capable of effective response against piracy in the region and can help to secure the safety and security of this major maritime trade route,” said Captain Pottengal Mukundan, Director of the ICC International Maritime Bureau.

Nigeria ranked second in the report with 40 reported incidents including 27 vessels boarded, five hijackings and 39 crew members kidnapped. The PRC is also aware of approximately 100 further unconfirmed incidents that have occurred in Nigeria. Under-reporting from vessels involved in incidents in the Nigerian waters remains a great concern.

I may not be a fan of Obama but blaming the Obama Administration for this stinking turd of a mess off the coast of Somalia is ludicrous. Bush and Cheney ignored the piracy and, surprise of surprises, a gang of impoverished thugs discovered they could make millions of dollars for simply capturing a ship and demanding a ransom. Bush and Cheney talked a good game about fighting terrorists but when it came to piracy, they looked the other way.

It is now up to President Obama to decide whether he will continue to act like George Bush or will actually put a policy in place.

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.
  • Michael Dugas

    People you have to get over this Bush on the Brain crap.
    Somali pirates have been plying the coast there
    since before we were a country, and not just the Somalians.
    You all sound like the monomaniacal Captain Ahab
    and Bush is your White Whale and he’s stuck in
    your brain like a bad song. Stop parroting
    the spin doctors and do a little legitimate
    research and you may find yourselves “cured”

  • Pingback: The Presidential Monkey’s Paw - streiff’s blog - RedState()

  • Fred

    Actually it is the pirates fault. No one ele’s! Let us all get away from blaming America or the President for this.

  • Blame Bush

    If it was not for Bush who interfered in Somlia’s Politics piracy off the coast of Somalia would have been wiped by now. He was responsible for indirectly supporting the war against ICU(Islamic Courts union) who had stopped piracy for the few months they were in power.

  • Fred


    What do you expect Obama to do? He is actually doing what he believes he should do in regards to terrorism, piracy, war, or dangerous crisis situations. Nada! He would rather curl up in a ball on the floor than face this. The man is not a leader or warrior. Your getting what you paid for or voted for liberals. Dont complain of whine. Maybe you guys should go protest or wish just wish it away. Regardless, to me it’s just plain commedy watching this guy(Obamacarter).

  • KintheNorthwest

    Obama has done nothing to make America look good in the eyes of the world since he stepped into office.
    In fact Obama has been systematically putting America down as a nation in many aspects, especially in his latest speeches. So yes I do blame Obama for what is happening with the piracy.

    Obama is putting up the target on our butt, by saying
    Look at us weak arrogant Americans who are failing finacially.
    Look at us weak arrogant Americans who are letting admitted terriorists go, even stopping trials on the worse.

    Think about it guys — listen to Obama’s words and watch Obama’s actions.

    Is Obama protraying the role of a man who is the head of a great nation or ???? Is Obama protraying the role of a man who is proud of the country he rules…

    Obama’s voice is being heard around the world and Obama’s voice is not protraying an America that is strong and powerful.

  • L

    I think you are really grasping at straws on this one
    Larry. They were not attacking American ships before
    and I am sure if there had been a request to respond
    we would have done so. Your bias has really been
    showing lately.

  • BARB

    Another POV!


    The New York Times acknowledged, “the piracy industry started about 10 to 15 years ago… as a response to illegal fishing.”

    Take this fact: Over $300 million worth of tuna, shrimp, and lobster are “being stolen every year by illegal trawlers” off Somalia’s coast, forcing the fishing industry there into a state of virtual non-existence.

    But it isn’t just the theft of seafood. Nuclear dumping has polluted the environment. “In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed,” wrote Johann Hari in The Independent. “Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.”

    According to Hari:

    As soon as the [Somali] government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.

    This is the context in which the “pirates” have emerged. Somalian fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least levy a “tax” on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia – and ordinary Somalis agree. The independent Somalian news site WardheerNews found 70 per cent “strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence.”

    • WMCB

      I might have some sympathy for that view, IF the boats being attacked were either the illegal fishers or the dumpers. But they aren’t.

      They are merely attacking any target that will get them a nice fat ransom. It’s ALL about the money, now, and the fishing and dumping abuses have become the convenient excuse to terrorize anyone they want, for money.

    • Why did Somalia’s government collapse? The US sent food aid under Bush Sr. The reason Soamlians were starving was not because of drought, but because war loards were deliberately starving their people for political purposes. Clinton tried to address the root cause of the problem by attempting to remove the war lords from power. Somalians allowed their politics to be run by warlords & allowed their commerce to be run by pirates.

  • NomNomNom

    I am not suggesting that the piracy does not need to stop, but it’s not just the Somali piracy that needs to stop. In 2005 the UN reported that illegal fishing in Somali waters robbed them of an estimated $300 million, much of the theft perpetrated by Europeans (Yemen is also frequently cited and recently 81 Yemenis were deported from Somalia for illegal fishing). That year their GDP was 4.8 bn: so that’s the equivalent of 16% of it stolen. These reports of illegal fishing go back a decade: that’s a lot of piracy too. Also problematic: illegal dumping of toxic waste in Somali waters.
    I am not ascribing RobinHoodesque motives to the pirates: scum is a good word for them. But it is a good word for a lot of people.

  • kgirl

    Personally I think the Obama administration has worn out the right to blame anything on Bush.

    • Docelder

      He is still campaigning against Bush… even though he never actually ran against him. Why? Because he can. Because the media allows it perpetuates it. Because there is a Dixie Chick style hatred for Bush that has been elevated to a “poison issue”.

  • imustprotest

    Bush is not the president as of: 1-20-09…….the buck stops with OBAMA. End of story. Enough finger pointing and blaming and excuse making…..sorry. Obama wanted to be prez, he thugged and cheated his way to get to be prez….he’s not ready on day # 1 or day #81…..this is Obama’s problem and it is HIS to either solve or NOT solve.

  • politicsisdirty

    Mr. Johnson, Bush left office 4 months ago. Who is in charge now? I am not also a big Bush fan but you are sounding more like a left wing propagandist….if you cant solve the problem or if the problem is too big, blame Bush.

    The problem is at hand. Solve it. Or better still, Obama admin should have seen it coming.

    Maybe the reason the current admin did not think piracy is a problem is because they think and acmore like the previous admin.

  • texaslatina

    love love love your piece! thank you larry for all the information and knowledge you provide us and all your hard work. appreciate it. luv ya!

  • Patience

    Random thoughts…

    It’s my understanding that the Dutch own this ship and it’s their policy to willingly pay ransom because it’s been less costly than alternatives.

    The Netherlands has a very long history and much experience when it comes to shipping and they’ve prospered handsomely because of it (I don’t think they have much in the way of a military force though — maybe I’m wrong). Anyway, I’d like to know what kind of liability they (or any other shippers for that matter) are exposed to if, say, this captain is murdered by the pirates. Could it be a basis for a lawsuit brought by his wife and children? Could the policy of routinely paying ransom expose shippers to tort claims? As far as that goes, are tort claims already being brought against shippers in cases of piracy?

    Some people who’ve commented on this thread so far seem quite knowledgeable about shipping/piracy and their input would be welcomed.

    Since, as Larry has pointed out, incidents of piracy are increasing at an alarming rate, it’s my hope that some workable solution can be found to effectively deal with these MOTHER-RAPING thieves. And I hope the captain survives.

    • Patience

      Ooops, I’m wrong — Maersk is Danish, not Dutch.

      • Baba Rum Raisin

        The Dutch are the Wizards of Towing. When you transit the Panama Canal, your vessel is handled by Dutch tugs whose Owners have the concession.

        If you need something exceedingly large/bulky/odd-shaped (USS SAMUEL L ROBERTS, for instance) moved or a European-built Awl Rig moved you call a Dutch company.

    • Baba Rum Raisin

      A.P. Moller is the parent company of MAERSK, which is the parent company of MAERSK U.S.A. Maersk is a Danish company.

      (Disclosure: I have worked for MAERSK under US flag twice in the 90’s, and they are a First Class outfit, IMO. Their checks arrived on time and cleared the bank on the first pass, unlike many US shipping companies).

      Ships usualy have a Mortgage, and the mortgage may be held by any person or group or bank. In 1995, I worked aboard a tanker which was OWNED by a subsidiary of Ford Motor Credit, Demise-Chartered to DoD (Military Sealift Command), and the mortgage was held by a teachers’ union retirement fund.

      • Patience

        Okay, thanks for the info BBR and for straightening me out. Here I was stupidly grumbling to myself that some small but prosperous country’s penury was contributing to this problem via their ransom policy.

  • JS

    “…I may not be a fan of Obama but blaming the Obama Administration for this stinking turd of a mess off the coast of Somalia is ludicrous…”

    Check please!

    You know what’s ludicrous? Straw men. Where’s my coat? No, sorry, can’t stay. Hillary for Queen! I think I get it already. Bush sucks!! Gotcha.

    This guy is over the top.


  • Dave

    Yea right, spoons are the fault that Rosie O ‘Donnell is fat !!! This is entirely at the feet of the Democrats in power now, the idiot president the laughing sectary of state, the retarded speaker of the house and the pervert barney frank. You can’t keep blaming Bush , Morons elected an idiot with NO experience to run the country, and he’s doing a great job of running the country right back ointo the stone age.

  • Obama: Dubya II Electric Boogaloo

    I think some people are missing the point here.

    It’s not Obamas “fault” or Bush’s. The blame game isn’t the point. The point is Obama’s non-response to the situation. First, that he couldn’t talk off the cuff and go off script. Bush was terrible at it and said some pretty stupid stuff, but at least he was willing to go with his stream on consciousness.

    Obama…”no comment”. At least show SOME reaction to an American being held hostage. This just underscores his hatred of America and just how unprepared this admin is. They couldnt even come up with a stock response before the presser? Or even plan ahead and anticipate it would be asked?

    The other thing I don’t get is that we have US marshalls in airplanes, right? Why cant US flagged ships be armed up with weapons? Its not like you have to worry about bullets like you do in an airplane.

    • Docelder

      Yes, and whatever quirky maritime laws applied for piracy, this has progressed to kidnapping of an American citizen which is definitely an international crime. Somebody might ought to give this more priority. No I have never been there in person and again, I could give a rats azz what quirky circumstances exist for maritime law, insurance carriers regarding shippers or whatever else seems to cloud this incident. An American citizen has been kidnapped, forcibly removed from a U.S. flagged ship and is being held for ransom. Or, is there no happy middle ground between “cowboy” and “goldbrick”?

  • Serf Nation

    The point of this story is ridiculous. Piracy has been a problem since boats were invented. It’s not terrorism. The goal is to hold the ship hostage for ransom money.

    Didn’t see you list any US ships during Bush’s years. Don’t we do enough for other countries? Did you want him to save all the ships including the ones privately owned? I don’t get it. Do you have a quota of Bush bashing that you have to meet or what?

    If you want to criticize someone, listen to the press conference when Hillary was asked to comment on the situation. She made some stupid comment about the world needing to get together to work on the general problem. And then proceeded to laugh it off. That’s code for FAT CHANCE.

    • Baba Rum Raisin

      >>> Piracy has been a problem since boats were invented.

      The SECOND boat to put to sea was a pirate.

  • I believe that this is one result of 0’s recent proclamations during his EU trip. His kumbayah moment, we love Islam, bowing to the Saudi creeps, tepid-to-no response to the Dear Leader…why not pirate a ship flying the American flag? It must be obvious to them that 0 won’t order a kill on Muslim thugs…as he is one.

    Guess the aid going to Kenya was first in that billion dollar payment to his relatives.

  • Doc99

    Kill the Pirates. Carpet bomb their base ports until the pirates are no more. It’s time for 44 to emulate 3 and put an end to this nonsense once and for all. This has gone on quite long enough. Surely the spirit of Thomas Jefferson and Stephen Decatur still lives in the US Navy.

    • Baba Rum Raisin

      NUKE the raggedy-ass MF’ers! THAT’ll straighten ’em out!

      >>> Surely the spirit of Thomas Jefferson and Stephen Decatur still lives in the US Navy.

      Not LT William Allen, USN?

    • Ken in IL

      The US Navy probably goes to sea without ammo to be safe!

  • Patrick Henry

    Good Read Larry..

    Point On…or the Pirate problem wouldnt be as Bad as it is now…The Stats Speak for themself on Somalia and Priacy and The Lawlessness and gangster
    Violence there…

    The exact same could be said about Bush Policy on Immigration and our Border problems with Mexico…It got Political too so to hell with whats Hest for the united states….Bush let Border lawlessness develope too..To the Point that The Drug cartelks are out of Control…the mexican Drug routes into the United States are well supplied and Manned..

    That seems tom be turning around under obamas Tenure but the damage has been done…

    On the Pirates and Somalia…Who is arming them..?? Where do they get the High tech Stuff from..?? are they Islamic Ji Haddists..?? Any Connection to Bin Laden..??

    What are they doing with the rasom Money they get..??

    I say…Take em Out with Missle Strikes…Hit all the Known HQs…If these terrorist are using Sattelite phone to tak to someone in Somalia…Tack em and Smack em…Eleminate the Communication and supply Pipelines…

    Let Our military Rock..in Memory of Blackhawk..

    The onloy Good Pirate is a DEAD Pirate..

    • cynic

      You can’t deal with roaches who come out of the woodwork in speedboats via conventional warfare. You get yourself some attractive floating Roach Motels and let them come to you.

  • Tuppence411

    I have been refreshing my memory of long ago learned history lessons and reading up on the First and Second Barbary Wars Interesting reading how a then young US nation handled conflict with pirates on the open sea. How Jefferson responded, how Madison responded a decade later. (And the infancy of our Marines and the legacy of those wars that are so much a part of their culture to this day- the hymm, the sword, the nickname) http://www.historyguy.com/Barbary_Wars.html

    Two hundred years later, ranson is no longer called tribute and hostages are not sold as slaves. But many of the same issues of national security remain. Back then, countries manipulated the pirates to interfere with the commerce or defense of their political adversaries. Tributes and peace treaty payments were used to fund more violence. It’s a scary thought thinking the current day piracy could escalate from crime and greed to political terror.

  • Lisabona

    You are right.this is not 0bama’s fault but he has to deal from no one with this problem. My biggest disappointment toward Bush was, starting the war in Iraq. I’m not a professional blogger just a simple observer. But, when those ” arrogant” American soldiers were dying in Iraq or Afganistan did others(evan they were against the war) thought to join us. Why America has to be ” Mother Teresa” for the whole world? I can’t remember ” many of them” thank America for their uncountable sacrifices. Also, I don’t recall they asked the Bush Adm. for help and they were turn away. This is my humble opinion as an arrogant american. Sorry if I offended somebody. Not my intention.

  • dst

    What If our Navy could scrape up enought ships for perhaps four groups of a single helo-equipted assult ship plus a few smaller coast guard like vessils and form something so primitive as a “Convoy”, going back and forth through the major threat area. These little boats although faster then the average freighter are not exactly hard to find and dispatch. US flag ships go for free and all others pay, it might help our balance of trade. Further if these ships are needed to help in rescue efforts let the associate country wire some of our spread around the world $’s into Uncle Sam’s account and then we will help.

    • Baba Rum Raisin

      What of the Owners of the ships not of US flag told us to take our Convoys and shove them where the sun doesn’t shine, because they have Insurance for that sort of thing?

  • KintheNorthwest

    America cannot solve nor be blamed for all the World’s problems. Right now that is the problem with America around the World. Many nations feel that America has their feet in places it doesnt belong, even when asked. (Hey I am getting so tired of America being bad mouthed and now laughed at).

    Until whatever is happening directly involves America or law abiding Americans, America needs to only keep their eyes and ears open, but keep out of it. (By keeping eyes and ears open, they should be ontop of things before it happens, unlike 9/11).

    Right now I think America is so blind and deaf to whats going on south of us that we are going to be really paying for it soon. In fact we are all ready paying for it, Look at all the thousands of kidnappings and murders along the border (yes on American soil too.) in the last year. Phoenix now has the second highest rate of kidnappings in the World, yes I said World oh my my…Why? Gangs and gangs connected with Mexican criminals.

    Is this priracy all Obama’s or Bush’s fault–I dont think its either ones per say.

    It might just be more Obama’s because they are probably seeing how far they can push Obama’s administration For some reason I think they have been more scared of trying to push previous administrations, especially since they havent in the over decade of their piracy. I bet there were lots of American vessels in those waters since the piracy began being a big problem.

  • FYI, the Corner has summarized US government action wrt pirates:

    Our government has (1) coordinated with other nations and passed a UN Security Council Resolution allowing land-based operations in Somalia to combat piracy; (2) created an understanding with Kenya (which has a lot of economic activity at stake) to try the pirates in their court system; (3) worked with the shipping industry to teach them best practices; and (4) put military ships and aircraft in the region to fight the pirates. Ambassador Stephen Mull, undersecretary of State for International Security and Arms Control, testified that the U.S. has “worked with our military partners to create a transit lane throught the Gulf of Aden, which has an enhanced military presence, to further protect international shipping from the threat of piracy.”

    so it sounds like Condi Rice & state department were the point people on this issue.

  • xax

    I call bull once again.

    Given the heat they took over getting involved in Iraq and causing international incidents via the war of terror, why on earth would they get involved in piracy near Somalia? You want to blame Bush for the piracy, but also beat him up over his handling of the war on terror and Iraq. I mean c’mon Larry, everyone knows if he had gotten involved it would have been spun around in such horrific ways about how the US and Bush are constantly involved in other affairs when we were still bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. It wouldn’t have made sense, especially since no American ships were taken. I know what one criticism would have been:

    “Why stretch your military so thin?”

    So you can’t blame Bush for the pirates, nor Obama. I don’t think anyone is blaming Obama for the actual piracy, but this is the first time an American ship was taken- it happened under HIS watch and HE needs to respond. Period. How other countries handled the pirates is their business, but the idea is that the US needs to respond forcefully to them. I happen to agree. So while he’s soo focused on housing, pirates are still holding an American captive. So yes I do BLAME Obama for this- specifically his inaction.

    • xax

      And another thing I’m pissed about is that he has yet to respond. I mean SAY SOMETHING!! Acknowledge it. Let people know that you are paying attention. It’s kinda important that the President of the United States at least acknowledge this.

      • KintheNorthwest

        Like I said earlier–Obama probably lost the key to his teleprompter.

    • Baba Rum Raisin

      It’s MAERSK’s problem, NOT the US taxpayers’!

  • Diana

    Larry that would be the first Bush, Clinton, and Bush Sr. I just saw a documentary on this. These attacks began in 1990 with the humanitarian efforts. They’ve been trying to get countries to do something since then. None of the three of them did a whole lot of anything. This is the second time they’ve taken our citizens hostage. The first time they escaped on their own. In 2008 they formed the Combined Task force 150. The Indian Navy deployed to fight. Russia sent it’s military in Oct of 2008 to join in the fight. At the same time in 2008 the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1838. We adopted and got other nations to pass an arms embargo against Somalia in 1992. Bush and Cheney were not in Washington in 1992. The pirate attacks didn’t subside from the early 90’s till the early part of 2006, then started back up again the late part of 2006.

    • Diana

      Apologies. That should read the First Bush Sr, Clinton, and Bush Jr.

  • jwrjr

    I can see both sides of the issue of whether or not to blame Bush for the piracy problem. All that I can say for sure is that “It could not be Obama’s fault because The One would never allow such a thing” is utter BS, and certainly not a good reason to blame Bush for it.

  • Tricia Spiegel

    I know it’s a huge area, but why couldn’t jet planes patrol these danger areas? Ideally ones with amunition aboard.

    They could get to a perceived threat coming along much faster than ships.

    • Baba Rum Raisin

      How many should we send?
      How will we pay the crews?
      Where will the crews come from?
      From where will they operate?
      Who will decide when to attack?
      Who’s buying the fuel?

      Call up the Navy and ask how much it costs to operate a P-3 per hour. And BUY some new P-3’s.
      And train some new P-3 pilots and sensor operators.

      Say it requires 24 P-3’s to patrol from Bab-el-Mandeb to Mombasa, counting Maintenance down-time and training (Six P-3’s X 4).

      And…wait for it…WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR IT?

      What, do you think that the Airplane Fairy makes all this happen?

      • TeakwoodKite

        Baba, point taken. Just stipulate that we can “afford” it. Would this surveillance be any help?

  • democrat

    I blame Palin.

    • beebop

      If this isn’t a snark then you are a donkey’s ass.

  • skinny malinky

    It’ll be interesting to see how this gets handled, if at all. So far, it’s been a classic case of head-in-the-sand, if America isn’t directly affected it isn’t happening willful ignorance. Once this story goes away, there’s a good chance we’ll go back to ignoring it all over again.

  • i.m praying for the captain and his family.
    i hope he is returned unharmed..

  • beebop

    I have no confidence in Obama

    He’s just going to tell us the real problem is our arrogance for shipping food aid in to Africa …

    • KintheNorthwest

      Hey I heard that if it comes from the mouth of Obama its the whole truth and for the greater good of America and all Americans…

      If you believe this than I have some “ocean front property in Arizona for you”

  • sandi78

    Nobody did anything about pirates before now because no Americans were directly affected until now. No US flag ship was seized, no American citizens were held hostage. Much as I detested Bush, how would it have been received if he had sent the US Navy to deal with another nation’s problem on the high seas?

    Now it IS Obama’s problem, and instead of dealing with it immediately and decisively, he’s let it fester. BIG mistake bringing in the FBI, what the heck do they have to do with this? The whole thing could have been quickly resolved by Navy SEALS, rescuing the captain and making it clear to the pirates generally that they can’t mess with US ships without serious consequences.

    Now I’m just hoping that the WH understands that they can’t allow the pirates to take the captain to Somalia. I would have thought that would go without saying, but they’re still out there in the water now. I have no confidence in Obama.

    • How moronic can you be? By your logic we should not have done anything about Islamic extremists as long as they did not attack US targets. Well, that’s exactly what happened in large measure under Clinton and then during the first 8 months of the Bush Administration.

      And you do not know WHAT THE FUCK you are talking about with respect to the SEALS. I work closely with those folks and, while talented, they do not have magical powers to bridge time, space and distance.

      So far Obama is letting the professionals handle this and they are doing just fine.

      • beebop

        I’m not going to argue with you. It’s your blog.

        I think that sandi was speaking in rhetorical terms. But I could be wrong.

      • sandi78

        Sorry I pissed you off so much Larry. I have a great deal of respect for you and frankly I don’t like being called a moron.

        I offered a reason why the US was not involved until now. Unless another country whose ships, citizens or whatever were seized by pirates requested our assistance, I don’t see how the US could have stepped in. Perhaps you can explain how that could have been accomplished without infuriating many of our allies, not to mention a large percentage of the voting population who would think it’s none of our business.

        I am well aware that you are very knowledgeable and involved with SEALS. I know some myself, but that’s not the same as working with them. They are not magical, it takes time to get to the location in question.

      • candymarl

        Good Mr. Johnson. As long as the hostages come out of this alive I’ll be happy.

        I know a little bit about the SEALS and other folks.

      • Diana

        The Navy Seals are the best of the best. 😉

        If I understand this correctly. China veto’d us or any other country from entering Somalia’s waters from 1992 until 2008. So the pirates knew where to run. But agreed to the arms embargo. When they passed the resolution in 2008, they also tried to get it to extend to other pirates in the region and China has still veto’d us from entering any other waters. Which means we can’t go after the pirates in Libya or any other country. Plus, they only gave us 6 months on this measure. That would only give us until May, then we no longer can chase them into the waters in Somalia. Or is that wrong?

        • Baba Rum Raisin

          Hate to tell you this, but I was in Mogadishu aboard a US-flagged ship (USNS) in 1992 and 1993.

      • Baba Rum Raisin

        >>> And you do not know WHAT THE FUCK you are talking about with respect to the SEALS.

        Hear, hear!

        With all due respect to everyone’s right to an opinion and to express it, unless one has been to sea, particularly in this region and the Persian Gulf and the Straits of Malacca, one is largely farting in the wind.

        And, NO, five days aboard Norwegian Caribbean to St. Thomas doesn’t qualify.

        If you think Bab-el-Mandeb is a Country and Western singer or that Djibouti is a question one high school boy asks another about his Friday night date, then you are SO FAR behind the Information Curve as to resemble a hog looking at wristwatch.

        The vast bulk of the lip-flapping I have heard about this incident puts me in mind of being lectured about the Joys of P***y by an 8 year-old boy, quite frankly.


        When the batteries in their SatPhone and VHF run out.

        • … or that Djibouti is a question one high school boy asks another about his Friday night date…

          Now that’s funny.

          • Baba Rum Raisin

            Go ahead, you can use it.

            (rim shot)

            Don’t forget to tip your barmaids. And I’ll be here all week.

        • snosandy

          I lived in Malaysia when there was a lot of piracy in the Malacca Straits. We got daily warnings not to travel in the Malacca Straits. The most scared I was when I lived there was on a 12 person passenger ferry boat ride in the Straits with 9 other Americans and a two person crew dressed in military fatigues that didn’t speak any English. There was a lot of miscommunication because we were supposed to wait for a Malay speaking co-worker of my husband’s, but that person was late and the ferry took off without him. We had no idea where we were going and the supposed 20 minute ride took over and hour and a half, in thunder and lightning no less. My heart still races thinking about that trip.

    • cynic

      The passengers aboard the cruise ship Seabourne Spirit, attacked by Somali pirates with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades in 2005, were mostly American. The ship was registered in Naussau but owned by an an American company. Another U.S. operated cruise ship, the Nautica, was chased and fired on by Somali pirates in late 2008, but outran its pursuers.

      • Baba Rum Raisin

        MOST ships are owned by Americans and registered in foreign countries. The therm is, “Flag of Convenicence,” and it’s a way to chisel on wages and taxes. The original Off-Shoring, as it were, and has been going on over 150 years.

        Most ships are owned by “Brass Plate” corporations registered in Panama but funded by GringoBucks.

        For example, the RMS TITAMIC was an American-owned ship, International Mercantile Marine (JP Morgan) being the parent company of White Star Line.

  • candymarl

    What did you expect Mr. Johnson? This is the same mentality that led to the outing of Ms. Plame and the attacks on her husband Mr. Wilson.

    That same mentality exists among the bunch occupying our WH now. The end justifies the means.

    That even includes Obama minions fanning out across the country. If Bush had done the same Hitler references would be all over the big liberal blogs. Obama does it? Absolute silence.

  • Docelder

    I think the point I am fixing on in the above article is this didn’t just happen out of the blue sky yesterday, and that allowing a policy of wink-wink ransom has allowed this to become a viable business venture. Honestly, at 3 million for a few days work and all you need is a handful of thugs and a few arms… and all you have to do is overtake a ship defended solely with fire hoses… I am surprised to be honest that U.S. street gangs haven’t gotten in on it by now. It can be stopped and it needs to stop now.

  • Patience

    I’m not aware that any previous acts of piracy concerned American crews as does this current incident. If so, why should the US have gotten involved?

    • beebop

      There were Americans (and British and Australians) on a luxury cruise that was attacked from the same area. We are too dependent upon the MSM … we only hear what they allow us to hear.

      • sandi78

        The cruise ship outran the pirates. They were not boarded.

        • beebop

          The statement was acts of piracy rather than boarding. You might want to talk to the British tourists recently attacked ….

          Terror for 1,200 Britons as Somali pirates with rocket launchers attack cruise ship

          More than 1,200 British holidaymakers on a round-the-world cruise came under a terrifying attack from pirates armed with rocket launchers.

          The 715ft-long Balmoral came under fire four times from Somali bandits, a crew member said.

          The 43,000-ton cruise ship was forced to zigzag violently to evade its pursuers as the pirates gave chase in two small craft in the notoriously dangerous waters off Somalia.

          One crew member said in e-mails to her boyfriend back in Britain that the pirates circled the ship and came within 400 yards of the cruise ship, The Sun reported.

          ‘I stood on the deck and watched through binoculars at men in the fishing boat armed with AK-47 rifles and rocket launchers,’ she said.

          ‘People were all over the place and everyone was in tears.

          ‘We could hear shooting. It started following us and we had to call the US Navy.’

          Many of the passengers ‘were in tears and frightened to death’, she added.

          Oh …. I forgot … they weren’t Americans …. seems like some Americans are indeed arrogant or in the very least dumb as shit.

          • sandi78

            beebop, per ABC news, “the US Fifth Fleet heads an international naval task force to deter piracy off the coast of Somalia.The European Union and NATO also have naval task forces in the area to combat pirates.”

            It’s a huge area.

            • beebop

              I wish this was relevant. Then I could at least figure out how to respond … duh ….

            • beebop

              One question … is the 78 your IQ? And I mean that in the most respectful possible way ….

    • Ferd Berfle

      Because the high seas are necessary to commerce, among other things.

  • politicalidentitycrisis

    I’m not a fan of Obama or Bush, but given the option, I would take Bush back in a heartbeat.

    Why do we have to get such friggin’ losers anyway? Can’t we send the stupid uninformed voters off on a boat near the coast of Somalia?

    • Ferd Berfle

      Why do we have to get such friggin’ losers anyway? Can’t we send the stupid uninformed voters off on a boat near the coast of Somalia?

      Great idea. We could send obamabots there to do their usual tortuous blathering and within a few hours, the pirates would be begging for someone to come and save them from the mutant horde.

  • Peggy Sue

    Why do we always “react” to these things rather than getting ahead of the curve? Maybe it’s human nature but it seems very dangerous to practice “magical thinking, maybe it will all go away” in the foreign relations arena.

    I do remember these earlier incidents and wondered why we shrugged them off. Bravo, Larry, for bringing it up. Why do you think Bush and Cheney ignored the problem? Not important enough? Bigger fish to fry?

    The past is prelude. Whether it’s comfortable or not.

    • beebop

      Uhhhhh … I just want to remind everyone here that we had a Democraptic led Congress. Staying silent is everyone’s condemnation.

      • Peggy Sue

        Why do I always feel like tearing my hair out when I look at some of these questions/issues??

        Who advocates for the American public, domestically or overseas? I no longer trust the two-party system. I no longer believe either party has anyone’s back, beyond their own limited ideological spines.

        • beebop

          I think that the partisanship is so deeply seated that it never occurs to them that there is anyone in this other than them and them … dems and repubs. We’re just the voters and they blow in our ears and tell us anything to get our votes every four years.

        • Docelder

          no longer trust the two-party system

          Me either, because we don’t have a true two party system anymore. We have the “re-elect me” party system and everyone becomes a member of that party as soon as they get elected. From that point on, raising money for the next election cycle is the main focus.

  • beebop

    There are all kinds of facts about the piracy in Somalia, aren’t there? We can’t be both the strongest and most responsible and the most arrogant at the same time. Please take a look at this one …

    The root cause of maritime piracy resides on land, and halting it requires an international solution, according to a report submitted to the National Association of Chiefs of Police’s Terrorism Committee. The report, from American Forces Press Service’s Samantha Quigley, described congressional testimony by members of the Department of Defense.

    “The absence of a strong government in Somalia remains the single greatest challenge to regional security,” Daniel Pike, acting principal director of African Affairs, said in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee. “[It] provides freedom of action for those engaged in piracy along the Somalia coast.”

    Because experience has shown that no one nation can secure every ocean and waterway around the world, all nations have a vital interest in ensuring the maritime domain remains secure and open, he added.

    This is precisely what an international coalition has come together to guarantee, Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and the U.S. 5th Fleet, said. He also commands the Combined Maritime Forces, an international coalition created to address the recent uptick in piracy in the Gulf of Aiden.

    Several years ago, the number of pirate attacks off the eastern coast of Somalia began to increase, he said. In response, the U.S. 5th Fleet and the shipping industry moved the transit lane further off the coast.

    It worked, and attacks decreased to just a few a year, Gortney said. But the situation changed in mid-August 2008, when a new clan of Somali pirates began attacking ships north of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden. In just a few days, the number of pirate attacks went from three to 12.


    • Peggy Sue

      Thanks for the additional material, beebop. I don’t remember seeing anything on this before.

      Good followup!

      • beebop

        If we haven’t learned anything else from 0bama, we’ve learned to ask questions and that there are multiple sources. I have never been better informed — and as a result more frustrated — than I am right now. Maybe ignorance is bliss?

  • Hg

    Anarchy does not answer to any nation, anyone, or anything. Obama cannot be held responsibile but he will damned well be held accountable for intrenational security of Americans. And if he can’t, then he needs to step down and let someone do the job that his current position calls for. The title, “King of the Teleprompter” accomplishes nothing.

  • Obama: Dubya II Electric Boogaloo

    Wasn’t the big thing was that this was the first US ship to be pirated since 1805? That didn’t happen on Bush’s watch but under Obama’s. And let’s face it. What the fuck are we, the world’s sea cops?

    Don’t get me wrong, I hated Bush like everyone else but it’s time to stop flogging the dead Bush horse and put the narrow beamed focus on Obama and his assinine response when the press pressed him for his take.

    Do you really think Obama gives a shit about some white dude being held hostage by some of his muslim brothers?

    • Ferd Berfle

      Do you really think Obama gives a shit about some white dude being held hostage by some of his muslim brothers?

      The long answer would be “no”.

      • candymarl

        What you said.

      • Hg

        “A world in need run by white man’s greed”? I think that answers the $64 question, where does Obama stand on principle?

        • Ferd Berfle

          where does Obama stand on principle?

          He doesn’t. Whatever stokes the fire of his ego is all the principle he needs.

      • the short one too.NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I’mFedUp

      Comment by Obama: Dubya II Electric Boogaloo | 2009-04-09 17:31:44

      Wasn’t the big thing was that this was the first US ship to be pirated since 1805? That didn’t happen on Bush’s watch but under Obama’s. And let’s face it. What the fuck are we, the world’s sea cops?

      Don’t get me wrong, I hated Bush like everyone else but it’s time to stop flogging the dead Bush horse and put the narrow beamed focus on Obama and his assinine response when the press pressed him for his take.

      Do you really think Obama gives a shit about some white dude being held hostage by some of his muslim brothers?

      +1 Boogaloo. My guess is that this thread might be a response, rebuttal, to those who think that Hillary’s laughter was a tad questionable this morning. So it’s back to Bush. Sigh. I will get attacked, I am sure, but I had to say I agree with you Boogaloo.

      • Hg

        The thing is , Obama’s brothers did the hijacking.

        • AMEN to that. If not his brothers, surely his cousins. Wasn’t he just boasting about all his relatives that are Muslim, not long ago?

      • Docelder

        We haven’t suffered enough to come together… yet. But that day will come.

    • Ellen

      Isn’t it typical of Larrys’ readers to bring up the race aspect…and why do you all continually bring up every incident as the result of a particular party or leader? you offer no proof that this is Bush’s fault or obama’s fault.

      • beebop

        Two people bring up “0bama’s brothers” and “cousins” and all of a sudden it’s “typical of Larry’s readers to bring up race?”

        Please find another argument. You are a full fledged fool full of horse hockey.

      • Obama: Dubya II Electric Boogaloo

        Muslim isn’t a “race”. There are plenty of white and asian muslims, Indonesia being the largest Muslim population I believe.

        Unless you assume that muslim=black, which then is a result of your own racist mind, not mine.

      • Psst, Ellen. Your brain is still sitting by the toilet where you left it this morning.

        • As ususal.

          0 supporters also think that “African” is a race, forgetting there also that many “Africans” are white, Asian, Indian as well as black. They’re merely uninformed…or educated by the liberal leftists. I specify because true liberals aren’t leftists but more free thinkers.

      • candymarl

        You sound like one of those stupid white yuppies that bring race into everything. I can tell you you are clueless as to what is going on. Please go buy a clue.

    • Baba Rum Raisin

      >>> Wasn’t the big thing was that this was the first US ship to be pirated since 1805?


      • DEL

        Do tell.
        That sounds interesting.

  • Linda Anselmi

    I never understood why these piracy incidents were always shrugged off. Assumed it was for show while they tried to deal with things behind the scenes. But if that was the case they certainly haven’t got ahead of the escalation.

  • AX10

    Certainly this is not Obama’s fault.
    Bush ignored most potential/actual threats in order to place all resources into Iraq.
    As where Clinton actually dealt with the matter of terrorism, Bush was hellbent on going into Iraq and torturing anyone with an Arabic background to give the illusion that his (Mr. Bush) gang of thugs were actually dealing with Terrorism.
    The pirating matter is nothing new. Bush most certainly ignored it during his tenure.

    Perhaps he was profiting from it?

  • these things should be nipped in the bud..to ignore them just emboldens them..

  • That was very point in the SoS thread and piracy earlier. Secretary of State Clinton was giving a glimpse of the irony of having to deal with this very issue again and pointed out that Morocco was among the first countries to have addressed the issue in the past.

    Piracy, was a big issue, and if you remember before the January some pirates drowned after leaving with their ransom. The price of oil was also affected and even Iran had pirate problems. So, yes, everyone did stay silent and didn’t label the piracy issue ‘terrorism’ when it was BUSH/CHENEY in charge.

    I do hope that Secretary of State Clinton makes good progress in aligning cooperative nations to address this problem and establishes a standing committee that keeps these trade routes safe for commerce.

    • KmX

      You can’t blame Bush and Cheney on this One. This is the FIRST time an American ship and crew have been captured off Somalia. The times before were other nationals. The Brits and Saudis had a case earlier. WHy should America fight for them when they refuse top help us. So this is Obama contingency Operation now.

      Most of the countries paid the ransome. Did you expect America to pay the pirates for France?

      • Ferd Berfle

        WHy should America fight for them when they refuse top help us.

        Let’s see… the British DID help us in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

        By the way, the high seas need to be open for passage by any ship, irrespective of flag.

      • rw

        You make a good point. Why didn’t another country, especially one previously affected by the piracy, not take a lead in organizing some form of concerted response.

        There was such resentment toward Bush/Cheney unilaterlism (EU) yet not one nation stepped forward to actually take the lead. Seems the world wants the US to be a multilateral, soft power…….hegemon. don’t know.

        • Tuppence411

          If I remember correctly, did not Barky’s new BFF Sarkozy last year call for a unified response to the piracy? And I know he has used French Commandos to free cruise ships, yachts and their hostages.

          • rw

            Maybe I’m just uninformed, but did Sarkozy, anyone, take a lead:

            -But one analyst at a private security firm says the international patrols are poorly coordinated.-

      • elise

        KmK I don’t understand your argument. Is it your view the government should ignore a problem until something happens involving our citizens and then ask others to help us solve the problems? This is the basic flaw in every ideology, tunnel vision. Bush and Cheney spent all their focus on Iraq which was not a threat, cost the US the ability to ask for cooperation from other countries and while they had their backs turned a real problem was ignored. Where, for example, is the extorted money going if not to those who are not our friends? Piracy is only one of the international issues they didn’t have on their radar, including the economic free fall.

    • “That was very point in the SoS thread and piracy earlier. Secretary of State Clinton was giving a glimpse of the irony of having to deal with this very issue again and pointed out that Morocco was among the first countries to have addressed the issue in the past”

      Hmm…was Morocco part of the solution under the Jefferson administration, or part of problem?

      I never understood the reason for GWBush’ hands off approach to the pirates. I don’t know if he didn’t want to get involved with another potential war, if if the US military was stretched too thin, if the CIA was somehow in cahoots with somebody in Somalia…

      • termo

        “Starting in 2006 pirate activity off the coast of Somalia escalated dramatically.”

        In 2006 Bush had lost all his political capital and could not get involved in any other military skirmishes.

        • Baba Rum Raisin

          We are in up to our asses in Djibouti and have been for several years. DoD/USN is probably the largest single payer in the country.