Navy Shoots, Obama Scores

The juxtaposition of two headlines this morning at memeorandum was rather amusing:

As it turns out, Michael Shear‘s “An Early Military Victory for Obama” and Shailagh Murray‘s “Obama’s Chief of Staff Grants Access, Gets Results” are unrelated stories combined through the vagaries of automated selection algorithms.  Indeed, the inside headline on the latter is actually “Give-and-Take With Emanuel Advances President’s Agenda – Lawmakers Respond to Improved Access to White House” (the other is the page title that will be found by search engines and aggregators).

Still, the pairing is apt.  President Obama did what any president would have done: authorized the Navy to use deadly force (i.e., kill people) if they deemed Maersk Alabama captain Richard Phillips to be in mortal danger.  They did and they did.  (To paraphrase Maverick, “I had the shot.  There was danger, so I took it.”)

So, what’s the headline?  “When You Mess With the Best, You Die Like the Rest”?   No, it’s “An Early Military VIctory for Obama.”

[T]he result — a dramatic and successful rescue operation by U.S. Special Operations forces — left Obama with an early victory that could help build confidence in his ability to direct military actions abroad.

His strategic acumen was demonstrated thusly:

[A]fter a National Security Council telephone update, Obama granted U.S. forces what aides called “the authority to use appropriate force to save the life of the captain.” On Saturday at 9:20 a.m., Obama went further, giving authority to an “additional set of U.S. forces to engage in potential emergency actions.”

A top military official, Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of the Fifth Fleet, explained that Obama issued a standing order that the military was to act if the captain’s life was in immediate danger. “Our authorities came directly from the president,” he said. “And the number one authority for incidents if we were going to respond was if the captain’s life was in immediate danger. And that is the situation in which our sailors acted.”

Obama to Navy:  “Do your job.”

Nonetheless, it may help to quell criticism leveled at Obama that he came to office as a Democratic antiwar candidate who could prove unwilling or unable to harness military might when necessary.

Granted, reading the comment thread on Dave Schuler’s post about the freeing of Phillips, there are people who harbored this doubt.  But has there been a president in American history who hesitated to authorize force in a situation like this?   Jimmy Carter authorized the ill-fated Desert One rescue of the Iranian hostages.  Bill Clinton ordered the Somali warlord-hunting mission that led to the infamous Black Hawk Down incident.   Both caught flak for the failure of those missions.   But of course Obama was going to authorize action — at the discretion of the professionals on the scene — to save the life fo the captain.  To have done otherwise would have been morally unconscionable and politically suicidal.  I can’t imagine it ever crossed his mind to say No.

UPDATEBrendan Nyhan obseves,

I’m sure the Obama White House did not require much persuasion to leak word of the President’s role in approving the successful anti-pirate operation off the coast of Somalia, but I’m going to guess they won’t be so quick to take credit the first time some military operation goes bad. As the administration will soon learn, the president is largely a prisoner of circumstance when it comes to external events like this. The flip side of taking credit for good news is that you’re more likely to be held responsible for bad news.

Quite right.  Then again, he’d likely be held responsible, anyway.

UPDATE 2: Nate Hale, writing in the Washington Examiner, shares my initial take:

To be fair, President Obama made the right call, giving his commanders the authority to act swiftly–and decisively–to end the hostage standoff, when the opportunity presented itself.  But the successful rescue of Captain Phillips was hardly a triumph of executive decision-making from the White House situation room.  Instead, the real credit should go to the field-grade officer who accurately assessed the situation and gave the order to fire–and to the SEALs who took out their targets with customary efficiency.

UPDATE 3: Andrew Exum‘s feeling vindicated.

FILED UNDER: Media, Military Affairs, , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    [A]fter a National Security Council telephone update, Obama granted U.S. forces what aides called “the authority to use appropriate force to save the life of the captain.”

    Trouble is, that authority would have already been in the hands of the field commanders based on the rules of engagement. All Obama did was to reaffirm that point. Hardly to be considered a decisive action.

    And still, we have yet to see a decent answer for what happened on at least one occasion where Phillips of his own initiative managed to get away from the kidnappers which would have allowed them to be blown out of the water . Jeff Emanuel points out as I have already:

    Philips’s first leap into the warm, dark water of the Indian Ocean hadn’t worked out as well. With the Bainbridge in range and a rescue by his country’s Navy possible, Philips threw himself off of his lifeboat prison, enabling Navy shooters onboard the destroyer a clear shot at his captors — and none was taken. The guidance from National Command Authority — the President of the United States, Barack Obama — had been clear: a peaceful solution was the only acceptable outcome to this standoff unless the hostage’s life was in clear, extreme danger.

    The next day, a small Navy boat approaching the floating raft was fired on by the Somali pirates — and again no fire was returned and no pirates killed, thanks again to the cautious stance assumed by Navy personnel due to the combination of a lack of clear guidance from Washington, and a mandate from the Commander in Chief’s staff not to act until Obama, a man with no background of dealing with such issues and no track record of decisiveness, decided that any outcome other than a “peaceful solution” would be acceptable.

    Philips’s first leap into the warm, dark water of the Indian Ocean hadn’t worked out as well. With the Bainbridge in range and a rescue by his country’s Navy possible, Philips threw himself off of his lifeboat prison, enabling Navy shooters onboard the destroyer a clear shot at his captors — and none was taken. The guidance from National Command Authority — the President of the United States, Barack Obama — had been clear: a peaceful solution was the only acceptable outcome to this standoff unless the hostage’s life was in clear, extreme danger.

    The next day, a small Navy boat approaching the floating raft was fired on by the Somali pirates — and again no fire was returned and no pirates killed, thanks again to the cautious stance assumed by Navy personnel due to the combination of a lack of clear guidance from Washington, and a mandate from the Commander in Chief’s staff not to act until Obama, a man with no background of dealing with such issues and no track record of decisiveness, decided that any outcome other than a “peaceful solution” would be acceptable.

    Some leadership!




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  2. Comrade Stuck says:

    Your kidding, right? Understatement of the year. The growing cacophony (or perhaps not so secret hope) from the wingnut right was that Obama would somehow go liberal weeny and be outdone by the ultra weeny French.

    Of course he did what other presidents would have done by not getting in the way with hesitant hand wringing. My guess is that Jim Jones was talking with the Navy and was a reassuring element to the on scene commanders. Obama should get credit for making him the NSA, but I doubt he will, at least from the “hopey failure” crowd.




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  3. Michael says:

    And still, we have yet to see a decent answer for what happened on at least one occasion where Phillips of his own initiative managed to get away from the kidnappers which would have allowed them to be blown out of the water .

    It’s my understanding that the US Navy wasn’t in sniper range during that incident, and that the captain was retaken rather quickly.




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  4. Bithead says:

    It’s my understanding that the US Navy wasn’t in sniper range during that incident, and that the captain was retaken rather quickly.

    (Shrug) I suppose that to depend on what you mean by in range.

    Certainly, the ship was within reasonable range of the thing on the first attempt, but the orders, to my understanding had not come down as yet. I imagine that will become either more clear or muddled as time goes on, and depending on how it makes the WH look.




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  5. Bithead says:

    BTW, I will refer the group to Black Five for confirmation of my reading of the matter.

    http://www.blackfive.net/main/2009/04/how-the-rescue-happened.html




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  6. Comrade Stuck says:

    The flip side of taking credit for good news is that you’re more likely to be held responsible for bad news.

    There is another flip side. When the right eagerly assigns responsibility to Obama for events largely outside his control and things turn out well, the right will not take credit for looking like fools.




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  7. bboyle says:

    The interesting thing about this incident is not what Obama did (which as you point out would have been done by any President) but rather what his opponents tried to do. Beck, Limbaugh, Fox and the entire right side of the chorus feverishly worked up the Jimmy Carter meme in hopes of an embarrassing result. If anyone were in doubt that these guys are quite willing to see the country lose in order to score a political win, that doubt can be put to rest (as would any unfortunate sailor who happens to get in the way). Most telling was Newt Gingrich whipping up a demagogic, batty merengue of Somali pirates, North Korean nukes, Iranian mullahs and what-have-you on This Week almost in synch with the action that dramatically freed the captain. If this is the playbook for GOP revanchism…..well, good luck with that.

    P.S. One quick note…George Will deserves the Grown Up of the Week award for his contemptuous dismissal of Gingrich’s ‘silly’ swing for the fences.




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  8. Eric says:

    Ah, there you are, Bitsy. We’ve been looking all over for you.

    We’re all waiting for you in the other “pirate” threads for you to retract your oh-so-sure statement that Obama surely must’ve given the order to not engage the pirates. LOL! Get this, though: turns out, Obama DID give the order to use force and was involved in this.

    So, we patiently await for your retraction instead of cowardly ducking into other threads to avoid owning up to your incorrect pronouncements.

    🙂




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  9. anjin-san says:

    the right will not take credit for looking like fools.

    It would seem that they have grown so comfortable in that role, that they simply do not notice it anymore…




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  10. anjin-san says:

    Let us examine the workings of bitsian logic:

    After a National Security Council telephone update, Obama granted U.S. forces what aides called “the authority to use appropriate force to save the life of the captain.”

    Trouble is, that authority would have already been in the hands of the field commanders based on the rules of engagement.

    Certainly, the ship was within reasonable range of the thing on the first attempt, but the orders, to my understanding had not come down as yet.

    So let’s see. The rules of engagement, according to you, say that the navy had the right to use deadly force all along. Obama had nothing to do with it.

    Yet, according to you, when the Captain made his first attempt at escape, the navy was hamstrung because Obama had not as yet given them permission to act.

    You can’t have it both ways chuckels.

    Look bit, you have just been provided with some wonderful examples of what it means to act like a man. Observe and learn.




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  11. Michael says:

    Certainly, the ship was within reasonable range of the thing on the first attempt, but the orders, to my understanding had not come down as yet.

    The Bainbridge was several hundred yards away from the life boat during the escape attempt. So far, nobody in the Navy is claiming that there was an available shot to be taken during that episode. If you have information to the contrary, please let us know.




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  12. Pug says:

    Bithead, you might want to consider the old adage about digging when you are already in a hole.

    Just admit that Obama approved the orders to use deadly force and you were wrong. I’m sure there will be other opportunities down the road when things don’t go nearly this well.

    You can come out swinging when your hoped for failure finally materializes. You, Fox News, Hannity and all the rest can have a field day then. This isn’t the time. Move on.




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  13. Bithead says:

    We’re all waiting for you in the other “pirate” threads for you to retract your oh-so-sure statement that Obama surely must’ve given the order to not engage the pirates. LOL! Get this, though: turns out, Obama DID give the order to use force and was involved in this.

    No, that he didn’t.
    Try again. But first, read on.

    So let’s see. The rules of engagement, according to you, say that the navy had the right to use deadly force all along. Obama had nothing to do with it.

    Correct.

    Yet, according to you, when the Captain made his first attempt at escape, the navy was hamstrung because Obama had not as yet given them permission to act.

    Again, correct. You’re suggesting a conflict in my comments where none exists. Look again, where Jeff Emanuel points out:

    The guidance from National Command Authority — the President of the United States, Barack Obama — had been clear: a peaceful solution was the only acceptable outcome to this standoff unless the hostage’s life was in clear, extreme danger.

    That’s already part of the standing ROE. Now, Obama could have and in my view.. SHOULD have.. ordered action above that. He did not. As a result, by the reports I’m seeing the snipers had to wait until such time as the pirates were about ready to shoot Phillips… by one report, in the back of the head, execution style.

    A nice try for defending the indefensible. A for effort, and all that. Trouble is, the fact don’t bear out your claims.




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  14. Bithead says:

    The Bainbridge was several hundred yards away from the life boat during the escape attempt. So far, nobody in the Navy is claiming that there was an available shot to be taken during that episode. If you have information to the contrary, please let us know.

    Well, I’m hearing two seperate lines, neither of which make much sense.

    On that first occasion, the claim was that nobody noticed Phillips had slipped off the boat. Of course that doesn’t explain, then how the (rather confused) initial reports of him slipping off that lifeboat, got out to the world, then. It certainly couldn’t have come from the pirates themselves, who had already tossed their radios overboard. That report has them a few hundred yards out, in clear and fairly calm water.

    Then we have the claim that they didn’t have the sharpshooters aboard, to explain away that first incident. Hell, if Phillips was out of the boat and anything more than a few yards away from it, the thing would have been easily ended by something along the lines of an RPG. Wouldn’t have taken much more than that, and certainly woodn’t have required very accurate shooting.

    But of course they didn’t have clearence for that kind of operation.

    They had to wait until Phillips got threatened directly. Again, that restriction was foolish and was as likely to cost Phillips life as save it. Obama could ahve over-ridden that restriction, and did not.




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  15. Comrade Stuck says:

    As a result, by the reports I’m seeing the snipers had to wait until such time as the pirates were about ready to shoot Phillips..

    They had to wait until such time they had clear shots on ALL THREE pirates AT THE SAME instant. Two of them happened to poke their heads out at once and the other was standing behind Phillips in view. That would strongly suggest that they had orders to take the action when all three targets were available, not just if Phillips was in imminent danger of being killed. And they would not have done it without permission from the President.




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  16. Bithead says:

    Just admit that Obama approved the orders to use deadly force and you were wrong

    I’m not wrong.
    Obama did nothing of the sort.




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  17. Bithead says:

    They had to wait until such time they had clear shots on ALL THREE pirates AT THE SAME instant.

    Ummm…. If there were only three, what you say would make sense. THere were four of them, not three. They managed to off three, but the fourth is alive and wasn’t targeted, far as I know.

    And they would not have done it without permission from the President.

    Again, incorrect. Standing ROE permets action to save life.




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  18. Comrade Stuck says:

    but the fourth is alive and wasn’t targeted, far as I know.

    The fourth had jumped ship the day before and was on the Bainbridge. Keep up please.

    Again, incorrect. Standing ROE permets action to save life.

    Standing orders in a situation like this, that goes on for four days, are, or can be superceded by the CiC. Unless you believe that it was a coincidence, that two of these guys happened to poke their heads out a hatch or window at once, as the other happened to be about to shoot the Captain, which btw, would have been a summary death sentence for them as well, it would appear that standing ROE was in fact superceded to allow for this pre-emptive action.




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  19. anjin-san says:

    Wow. Bitsy’s fury at the successful outcome to this operation knows no bounds. You would think that every American would just be happy about this. Well, not the members of the Armchair Warrior Militia apparently…




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  20. anjin-san says:

    Now, Obama could have and in my view.. SHOULD have.. ordered action above that

    Right. Because this ended so badly. Oh, wait, reality…




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  21. Bithead says:

    Wow. Bitsy’s fury at the successful outcome to this operation knows no bounds.

    No, at Obama’s misdirected inaction. Of course I’m delighted at the outcome, as much as I would be if my five year old had flushed my money down the john, and it all floated back up. That doesn’t mean the path to the result was at all desireable or correct, or that my five year old deserves praise for his actions.

    Right. Because this ended so badly

    Luck, not leadership. By not direcly ordering the attack, instead waiting on the standing ROE to be satisfied, Phillips was placed in more danger needlessly.




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  22. anjin-san says:

    Luck, not leadership. By not direcly ordering the attack, instead waiting on the standing ROE to be satisfied, Phillips was placed in more danger needlessly

    Bit, why oh why do you continue to play sock puppet for Hannity? Do you really enjoy having his hand up your ass?




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  23. Michael says:

    On that first occasion, the claim was that nobody noticed Phillips had slipped off the boat. Of course that doesn’t explain, then how the (rather confused) initial reports of him slipping off that lifeboat, got out to the world, then.

    It’s possible that by the time commanding officers were aware of what had happened, the hijackers had already recaptured the captain. The whole event probably lasted less than a minute. Unless the snipers were already in position, they would not have had an opportunity to take advantage of the escape attempt. I have heard no reports that there were snipers in place during the escape attempt, or if they would even attempt a shot from 300 yards away. The shots made yesterday were from 25 yards.

    That report has them a few hundred yards out, in clear and fairly calm water.

    I haven’t heard reports about what the weather was like during the escape attempt, but we do have reports that the Bainbridge was towing the life boat to calmer waters on Sunday. Again, if you have more information, please share.

    Hell, if Phillips was out of the boat and anything more than a few yards away from it, the thing would have been easily ended by something along the lines of an RPG.

    I’m not sure I’d want someone shooting an RPG from 300 yards away, at a target only a few yards from me. If it had landed in the water anywhere near Phillips, the shock would likely have killed him.

    They had to wait until Phillips got threatened directly.

    Reports are that the pirates fired into the water at Phillips during the escape attempt, thereby threatening him directly. If the snipers did not take that opportunity then, it suggests to me that they were not prepared or able to do so.




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  24. Michael says:

    By not direcly ordering the attack, instead waiting on the standing ROE to be satisfied, Phillips was placed in more danger needlessly.

    What were the other options? Storm the life boat? Sink the life boat? Fire indiscriminately in the general direction of the life boat? What would you have ordered Bit?




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  25. Bithead says:

    Bit, why oh why do you continue to play sock puppet for Hannity? Do you really enjoy having his hand up your ass?

    Your utterly fact free response tells me all I need to know about the strength of your argument.

    It’s possible that by the time commanding officers were aware of what had happened, the hijackers had already recaptured the captain.

    Quite so. But if true, that tells me they didn’t have an active recovery operation going at the time. And that goes to the order not having been given.

    Reports are that the pirates fired into the water at Phillips during the escape attempt, thereby threatening him directly. If the snipers did not take that opportunity then, it suggests to me that they were not prepared or able to do so.

    WH clearence not having been given would seem to explain this best.

    The shots made yesterday were from 25 yards.

    That’s a function of their drift, which is another variable. I gather that they were drifting closer to shore.

    I’m not sure I’d want someone shooting an RPG from 300 yards away, at a target only a few yards from me. If it had landed in the water anywhere near Phillips, the shock would likely have killed him.

    Well, yes, it would have had to hit the boat. Do you really consider that they’d not hit the thing, a more chancy situation than simply watching him swim back to the pirates? Doesn’t seem logical.

    I haven’t heard reports about what the weather was like during the escape attempt, but we do have reports that the Bainbridge was towing the life boat to calmer waters on Sunday. Again, if you have more information, please share.

    Without a map in front of me, calmer waters would seem likely to have meant closer to shore than they were operating. Calm, of course is a relative term. The Lifeboat being closer to shore without the ship was an issue. I suppose with it, was not.




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  26. Michael says:

    But if true, that tells me they didn’t have an active recovery operation going at the time. And that goes to the order not having been given.

    Or that such an operation wasn’t feasible at the time. You don’t position snipers on the bow if you know you’re not in range.

    WH clearence not having been given would seem to explain this best.

    As you mentioned already, absent any order from the WH, they were authorized to use deadly force to safeguard the hostage. You must contend that an order was given explicitly restricting the use of force, even if the hostage’s life was in immediate danger. As much as I’ve heard you espouse that as fact, I haven’t heard anyone of authority allude to it.

    That’s a function of their drift, which is another variable. I gather that they were drifting closer to shore.

    If by “drift” you mean getting towed by the Bainbridge, then yes.

    Do you really consider that they’d not hit the thing, a more chancy situation than simply watching him swim back to the pirates?

    An RPG from 300 yards? Yeah, I’d say the captain had a much better change of surviving by swimming back. Even with a direct hit on the boat, there was a good chance that the shockwave would have injured or killed Phillips.

    Without a map in front of me, calmer waters would seem likely to have meant closer to shore than they were operating.

    Yes, the Bainbridge was towing the life boat closer to shore to get into calmer water. The implication being that the waters it was in during Phillip’s escape attempt were not calm enough.




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  27. Thomas says:

    Why is it that people believe that leadership is always about DOING SOMETHING? (“Remember John McCain suspending his campaign to return to Washington to straighten out the economic mess”). Leadership is about knowing when to do something and when NOT to do something. The president has an acute sense of when and in what manner to take action!




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  28. anjin-san says:

    Your utterly fact free response tells me all I need to know about the strength of your argument.

    Facts? You mean like YOUR facts? Let us examine the words of Bithead:

    would seem likely

    Doesn’t seem logical

    would seem to explain this

    But if true, that tells me

    So – if something SEEMS a certain way to you, it becomes, in your pocket universe, a fact. If you FEEL something is right, then it must be so.

    Bit, you remain, as ever, driven entirely by the expedience of the moment…




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  29. nevrdull says:

    why do you argue with this imbecile anyway? isn’t it kind of pointless (and cruel) to poke fun of someone who has not learned, never learns and will not learn?




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  30. tom p says:

    Geee… almost wish I could have been here today.

    why do you argue with this imbecile anyway? isn’t it kind of pointless (and cruel) to poke fun of someone who has not learned, never learns and will not learn?

    It is only cruel, if they actually feel pain or remorse or shame or… something… It should be obvious by now that bit feels nothing but the urge to attack all those facts that do not agree with his worldview.

    And Bit, if you had even the slightest familiarity with armaments you would not make any of the ludicrous suggestions for how to take out the pirates without having Capt Phillips coming to harm.




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  31. An Interested Party says:

    This has been one of the more amusing threads that I’ve read on this blog…it’s beyond hope that Bithead would ever give President Obama credit for anything…granted, that doesn’t mean that Obama deserves any large amount of credit for this operation, but, Bithead would rather rip out his own fingernails than recant any of his various rants trying (and failing) to use this incident to smear the president…




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  32. Bithead says:

    why do you argue with this imbecile anyway? isn’t it kind of pointless (and cruel) to poke fun of someone who has not learned, never learns and will not learn?

    I argue with him because he serves well as a bad example.

    Anyway, look, all this bottom lines here:

    Obama fouled this one up, and is now tring to take credit for a successful outcome.

    Obama’s inactions (in the name of peaceful resolution, of course) was as likely to cause the death of Captain Phillips as to save his life. That’s an unacceptable gamble. If it all works, Obama gets to look like a peacemaker, and looks like a water walker again.… if the Navy manages to pull the extraction of Phillips off without a shot. If conditions cause a failure in any way, does Obama take the hit, or does the military? You know as well as I, Obama’s not going to get any blame for a failure, here. The Navy would.

    And I’m supposed to sit back and smile and credit Obama for ANY of this? Sorry, no.




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  33. anjin-san says:

    I argue with him because he serves well as a bad example.

    Arguing with yourself again? Time to get back on your meds…




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  34. Bithead says:

    And Bit, if you had even the slightest familiarity with armaments you would not make any of the ludicrous suggestions for how to take out the pirates without having Capt Phillips coming to harm.

    Ah, but you see, I DO, in fact understand them.
    What you’re mising is I considered the suggestions made of lower risk than watching Phillips swim back to his captors. Interesting that you apparently don’t.

    This has been one of the more amusing threads that I’ve read on this blog…it’s beyond hope that Bithead would ever give President Obama credit for anything…granted, that doesn’t mean that Obama deserves any large amount of credit for this operation, but, Bithead would rather rip out his own fingernails than recant any of his various rants trying (and failing) to use this incident to smear the president…

    If it’s true, AIP, it’s not a smear… as we were so often told about Bush. It’s interesting. You sat back and watched for years as the left refused to give any credit to Bush for doing the right thing. Yet when the same standard is applied to Obama, you have problems? Forgive me, but I find your outrage selective at best.

    But no; When Obama does something right, trust me in this…I’ll make a (Somewhat shocked) mention of it. An example of such… you may not recall, but I’m sure Anjin will, I allowed as Kosovo was one of the few things BJ Clinton got right.




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  35. Grewgills says:

    Ah, but you see, I DO, in fact understand them.
    What you’re mising is I considered the suggestions made of lower risk than watching Phillips swim back to his captors. Interesting that you apparently don’t.

    The bottom line you seem to be missing is that had the decision gone the way you think it should Phillips might now be dead rather than alive. If that were the case you would be here crowing about how Obama put Phillips life needlessly at risk and about he should have followed some other strategy you made up after the fact.

    PS Please do not come back with your standard, but you did it about Bush and I’m just using your standard nonsense. Please just pick one standard, man up, and use it.




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  36. Bithead says:

    The bottom line you seem to be missing is that had the decision gone the way you think it should Phillips might now be dead rather than alive

    So, you think he was safer in the hands of the pirates? Gee. Sounds nearly the same argument made about how Iraq was better off when saddam ran the place.




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  37. An Interested Party says:

    Obama fouled this one up…

    Only the most rabid partisan conservatives believe this nonsense…




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  38. Michael says:

    So, you think he was safer in the hands of the pirates?

    As it turns out, he was.

    Sounds nearly the same argument made about how Iraq was better off when saddam ran the place.

    Nobody is making that argument, though many Iraqis believe things aren’t better enough to warrant continued gratitude.

    If someone breaks into your house to kill you, and I come in and stop him, you’d be grateful. If I’m still in your house 6 years later, you probably wouldn’t be so happy about it.




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  39. anjin-san says:

    Ah, but you see, I DO, in fact understand them.

    That’s right. Bit has seen war movies. He has read spy books. He KNOWS about this stuff.

    After all bit, this is how things seem to you. If you feel this way, it must, just must, be a fact…




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  40. Bithead says:

    As it turns out, he was.

    I see no proof that he wasn’t in greater danger back in the hands of the pirates. Example: Just because I survive a flight on a plane from NY to SanFran doesn’t mean I couldn’t have been safer INSIDE the plane for the same distance.

    Nobody is making that argument

    Not in this trhead, no, but the basic illogic is remakable in it’s similarlity.

    After all bit, this is how things seem to you. If you feel this way, it must, just must, be a fact…

    Gee, Anjin… you’re a little off your feed today.

    Only the most rabid partisan conservatives believe this nonsense…

    And of course your status as a partisan liberal doesn’t influence this response of yours at all, right?




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  41. anjin-san says:

    Gee, Anjin… you’re a little off your feed today.

    Could be. You don’t really even merit decent sarcasm. We can’t really make you into a bigger joke than you have made of yourself. You’re… you’re… the Teflon rater! 🙂




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  42. anjin-san says:

    BJ Clinton

    Whatever you think of Clinton, there is no denying women love him. And chuckles will always hate him for it.




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  43. anjin-san says:

    BJ Clinton

    Whatever you think of Clinton, there is no denying women love him. And chuckles will always hate him for it.




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  44. Michael says:

    I see no proof that he wasn’t in greater danger back in the hands of the pirates.

    With the pirates it was very likely that he would stay alive and in captivity. Firing RPGs at him held a very high chance that he would be killed by friendly fire, a medium chance that he would be killed by hostile fire, a small chance that he would remain alive and in captivity, and a small chance that he would be freed.




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  45. An Interested Party says:

    re: Bithead | April 14, 2009 | 02:17 pm

    A better question would be can you find anyone who isn’t a rabid conservative partisan who believes that the president “fouled this one up”…




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  46. Michael says:

    A better question would be can you find anyone who isn’t a rabid conservative partisan who believes that the president “fouled this one up”…

    Hmm, are Somali pirates considered rabid conservative partisans?




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  47. An Interested Party says:

    Well, considering that the captain was freed, I can see why the Somali pirates would be upset with the president…who knew that the opinions of these pirates was now something of value…




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  48. anjin-san says:

    I think consensus has pretty much emerged. Somali pirates and bithead are both really pissed at Obama. Telling, that…




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  49. Floyd says:

    Even a Glory-Hog with X-ray vision and hyper-olfactory nerve, could have found a way to give credit where it was truly due!




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