Read the whole thing here. Also read here.
Hero Capt. Richard Phillips was freed today in a dramatic ending to a four-day high seas standoff that riveted the world.
Three of the four ragtag pirates who held the world's most powerful Navy at bay on the Indian Ocean were killed, and the fourth was taken into custody.
Phillips was said to be in good condition.
Heroes 1 -- Thugs 0
Military 1 -- State Dept. 0
I'm glad somebody in the chain of command had the good sense to allow killing the pirates to replace an indeterminate negotiation process and culturally sensitive demands that we work through local "elders".
UPDATE: Hot Air reports that what precipitated the firefight was that Captain Phillips made a second attempt to escape. If that is true no credit accrues to the commanders. It was Phillips who created an opportunity for rescue and on-site troops who took advantage of the opportunity to bring him to safety. Kudos to them, but nothing for the higher command who will now try to take credit for what these brave men did.
UPDATE: The order to fire was given by the commander of the USS Bainbridge. Good for him! He had orders to fire if he thought Captain Phillips' life was in danger. The details of the incident are still not clear. A Navy spokesman seems to indicate that there was no second escape attempt, but it also seems that Capt. Phillips was in the water with weapons pointed at him when the firefight broke out. [The Washington Times confirms that Capt. Phillips did precipitate the incident by jumping into the water and trying to escape a second time -- here] The killing was done by special ops forces on the Bainbridge. One thing seems clear -- Obama was not involved in ordering the attack. The standing orders were for US forces to take no action against the pirates unless the commander felt that Capt. Phillips' life was in "imminent danger". The expectation was that negotiations would lead to a non-violent conclusion. The Naval spokesman said that it was "unfortunate" that things turned out the way the did. Needless to say I, and most Americans, do not share that opinion.
UPDATE: You knew this was coming. Anonymous White House officials are trying to create the impression that President Obama ordered the attack that freed Capt. Phillips [here]. What Obama did was to authorize negotiations with the provision that an attack could be ordered if, and only if, Capt. Phillips' life was in imminent danger. Not quite the same thing.
Blackfive explains the command situation here.