We have been letting the pirates run the ocean for too damn long. Our occasional feats of brilliance, like when the SEALs wished the Maersk hijackers a Happy Easter, are brutally overshadowed by episodes like the recent slaughter of four Americans while we motored along behind them, and the more recent capture of seven Danes. We have had a few successes trying these wankers either in African courts or bringing them to the US, but both of those plans are full of holes. Kenya decided they didn't want to be our trash disposal service and for most of these Somalis, US prison would be a Shangri La.
No the real problem is interdiction. We don't want to be negotiating with pirates holding hostages, ideally we should be circling over wreckage counting dead pirates before the sharks get there. We have made some tentative baby steps in that direction and the Navy has floated the idea of hitting the pirate base camps, which prompted the following response from our resident SEAL.
Froggy said... Existing technology cannot measure the level of AWESOME that would be Navy SEALs on a Somali pirate hunt.
Now I am not holding my breath that our government is going to unleash the SEALs of War against these parasites, it goes against too many diplomatic and international niceties for our timid leaders. You would think this is the simplest of problems and custom-built for one of these trans-national collections of tea-sippping, petit-four nibbling, meddlers telling formal lies in formal wear. I mean if we can't agree that piracy is a scourge and all necessary means should be employed to stop it, then WTF good are these groups? I answer my own question.
So cue the scary music and enter the bad guy. Erik Prince is a super villain, he is a Christian crusader with a private Army to do his bidding, he is a cold-blooded uber-mercenary, and purveyor of evil. I know this is so, for I have read it in the NY Times. Apparently now he has made common ground with the pirates and will be assisting them in their predations.
Erik Prince, the founder of the international security giant Blackwater Worldwide, is backing an effort by a controversial South African mercenary firm to insert itself into Somalia's bloody civil war by protecting government leaders, training Somali troops, and battling pirates and Islamic militants there, according to American and Western officials.
Wait, what's that you say? He is working against the pirates? Why would he want to do that? Oh yeah, because nobody else will. It shouldn't really surprise anyone that a man who has spent his adult life working in the field of maritime badassery would have an objection to piracy and would be willing to help eradicate it. But that is not the media narrative, so we get spin and hit pieces rather than analysis.We have quite a few well informed, experienced folks around here who think that Congress ought to be cranking out a few Letters of Marque for pirate hunting. If Mr. Prince can organize a posse and help take care of this problem, well fine by me.
Deebow is on board with a nice succinct hunting license.
We at Blackfive have a long history of showing love to our French allies. Actually since Sarkozy was elected it has been kinda fun to have them back on the team. Here is an article about what their troops think of ours. Good stuff.
Subject: French view of US Military by Jean-Marc Liotier
American troops in Afghanistan through the eyes of a French OMLT infantryman
The US often hears echoes of worldwide hostility against the application of its foreign policy, but seldom are they reached by the voices of those
who experience first hand how close we are to the USA. In spite of contextual political differences and conflicting interests that generate friction, we do share the same fundamental values - and when push comes to
shove that is what really counts.
Through the eyes of that French OMLT (Operational Mentoring Liaison Teams) infantryman you can see how strong the bond is on the ground. In contrast with the Americans, the French soldiers don't seem to write much online - or
maybe the proportion is the same but we just have less people deployed. Whatever the reason, this is a rare and moving testimony which is why I decided to translate it into English, so that American people can catch a
glimpse of the way European soldiers see them. Not much high philosophy here, just the first hand impressions of a soldier in contact - but that only makes it more authentic.
"We have shared our daily life with two US units for quite a while - they
are the first and fourth companies of a prestigious infantry battalion whose name I will withhold for the sake of military secrecy. To the common man it is a unit just like any other. But we live with them and got to know them,
and we henceforth know that we have the honor to live with one of the most renowned units of the US Army - one that the movies brought to the public as series showing "ordinary soldiers thrust into extraordinary events". Who are they, those soldiers from abroad, how
is their daily life, and what support do they bring to the men of our OMLT every day?
Few of them belong to the Easy Company, the one the TV series focuses on. This one nowadays is named Echo Company, and it has become the support
company. They have a terribly strong American accent - from our point of view the language they speak is not even English. How many times did I have to write down what I wanted to say rather than waste precious minutes trying
various pronunciations of a seemingly common word? Whatever state they are from, no two accents are alike and they even admit that in some crisis situations they have difficulties understanding each other.
Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins and creatine (Heh. More like Waffle House and McDonalds) - they are all heads and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind us of Rambo. Our
frames are amusingly skinny to them - we are wimps, even the strongest of us - and because of that they often mistake us for Afghans.
Here we discover America as it is often depicted: their values are taken
to their paroxysm, often amplified by promiscuity and the loneliness of this outpost in the middle of that Afghan valley. Honor, motherland - everything here reminds of that: the American flag floating in the wind above the
outpost, just like the one on the post parcels. Even if recruits often originate from the hearth of American cities and gang territory, no one here has any goal other than to hold high and proud the star spangled banner.
Each man knows he can count on the support of a whole people who provides them through the mail all that an American could miss in such a remote front-line location: books, chewing gums, razor blades, Gatorade, toothpaste
etc. in such way that every man is aware of how much the American people backs him in his difficult mission.
Back in 1992, I was a First Lieutenant (1LT) in the US Army. I was an Executive Officer - 2nd in Command of a Company - in the 3rd Infantry Division (3rd ID) and was headquartered in Wurzburg, Germany, which was nestled in the hills of the northern tip of Bavaria. It was the end of June, and I was getting ready to head back to the states.
Now, normally, when you are leaving one post for another, you receive about ten days administrative leave (read vacation or time off) in order to put your things in order - things like shipping your car back to the states, packing and shipping your belongings, and ensuring that you have properly filled out about ten reams of paperwork properly. It is during this standard, ten day period that you are considered untouchable for additional duty assignments. For all intents and purposes, you are supposed to be considered already gone...
Well, over the Fourth of July weekend, the 3rd ID was going to celebrate it's 75th Anniversary. Major General (MG) Keller, the Division Commander, was going to bring every living 3rd ID Medal of Honor (MOH) recipient to Germany. This meant that each MOH winner would need a junior officer as an escort. You guessed it, MG Keller caught me in his net for junior officers even though I was supposed to be left alone.
Please understand that is was a great duty to escort a MOH winner - so I didn't complain - hell, I wanted to meet the heroes and I ended up as escort officer for Ola Mize. He was a Sergeant when he received the MOH and ended his career in the Army as a Colonel. He was a great guy, very easy going and funny. I really liked being around him. I even had the Division Staff Duty Officer - charged with knowing everything that was going on at night and had keys to open every building - open the bowling alley on base for Colonel Mize at midnight so we could bowl and have a beer. After bowling, I dropped the colonel off at his VIP suite. I caught up with the other junior officers who escorted MOH winners that day, and the consensus was that every single one of them were great guys. All of us had been treated with enormous respect. Hell, I bowled and drank beers with an amazing American hero that I would have willingly carried on my back around the base.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.