Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pest Control--Who Ya Gonna Call?

We drift, literally, into the fourth day of the piracy saga off the coast of Somali with the USN looking a bit perplexed with regard to allowable options under the Rules of Engagment. One might suggest thinking "outside the box" on this. If your list of options seems thwarted by the ROE, it might be time to consider revising the ROE!

Pathetic Responses

Once again we see the Islamists (make no mistake, the Somalis are exactly that and have been since well before "Blackhawk Down,") are using their well-oiled PR machine to link the American confrontation with a group of other currently held pirate hostages. Now, think how pathetic that statement is! This sort of activity is so common that right now, the pirates also hold Phillipine, Russian and German ships with hostages. The linkage of what happens to the American to what the outcome might be for the other nation's citizens is designed to further limit the US options. We might handle our situation, but the success would cause the execution of the rest.

Notice, in particular, the strong position of the VP of the Phillipines:

"We hope that before launching any tactical action against the pirates, the welfare of every hostage is guaranteed and ensured," said Vice President Noli de Castro. "Moreover, any military action is best done in consultation with the United Nations to gain the support and cooperation of other countries."

I can see that approach getting a lot done. We'll consult with the UN!

How about this. Let's outsource the job. There have been hostage situations before that resulted in something more satisfying than a ransom being paid, a reputation being sullied and a notch in the rusty guns of the bad guys.

Let's put out an RFP (Request for Proposal) and get bids from the Israeli military. I'm certain that they could cobble together something like Entebbe again. Or how about asking the German SKS who did such a great job a couple of decades ago against the train seizure and hostage taking in their country. The Brits have always had a very creditable, well-trained and brutally efficient group in their SAS. There are a lot of other potential bidders. We certainly could entertain proposals from our own Delta Force and might even open it to private contractors--I like the ring of that one, a free enterprise capitalist solution!

Then, we could get an omelette made. There might be same eggs broken, but the outcome would be quite satisfying.


Andrew C said...

"If your list of options seems thwarted by the ROE, it might be time to consider revising the ROE!"

You mean like the strike on that 'buffer zone' railroad siding at Bac Ninh, or Lt. Richter's oil storage tank at Cam Pha? Those two missions are among my favorites in "When Thunder Rolled" - they illustrate clearly that sometimes the politicians don't realize there's a war going on, and it's up to the folks in the fire to hit the enemy where it hurts. As for these pirates, as of today it looks like the captain was rescued, three pirates now sport impressive holes in their chest, and one is in chains on the USS.Bainbridge. I guess the SEALs know when to relax the ROE just like you pilots did back in the day. I really hope none of the credit finds it's way to Obama's doorstep - this decision was made by real men, doing real good, and risking their lives for what's right.

Andrew C said...

PS - I never thought I'd get a chance to ask, but did you guys end up getting that oil tank? Reading about the end of the mission, I wasn't sure. Either way, it's a much better target than a patch o dirt where 50 barrels of POL 'might' be buried.