Yeah! This one was for us!

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Posted April 16, 2009 by Peter Gorman in Blotch

Well, on Easter Sunday, Captain Richard Phillips, taken captive by Somalian pirates 5 days earlier, was freed when Navy gunmen–in all likelihood SEAL sharpshooter–took out three pirates holding him hostage on a life raft off the Somalian coast.
Phillips, captain of the US-flag bearing Alabama, was enroute to Somalia with a cargo of relief supplies when his ship was boarded and hijacked by a team of four pirates. Phillips evidently gave himself up as a hostage in return for the safety of the 19 other US crewmen aboard–who managed to take back the ship but not rescue their captain.
The situation could have ended in a number of ways, all but one of which had the captain dying at the hands of his captors.
I’m a peacenik, but I’m also from the streets of New York, and I’ve been in my share of fights. Sometimes you win, sometimes you run. This was one of those cases where running was not an alternative. This was at least a small litmus test for our new President, I think, and I think he did his job. He okay’d the use of force if Phillips’ life was in jeopardy and when the navy thought it was, they did their job. And while I’m sad three poor kids died, I’m thrilled that Phillips is safe. I’ll admit there is the refrain from a country song about America running around my head right now. Silly? Yes. True? Yes. I know the Somalian people have had a near impossible time of things. I know that the piracy that’s been going on there is fueled by outsiders utilizing that country’s difficulties. I also know that the piracy is feeding thousands who wouldn’t otherwise eat, just as the Medellin and Cali cartels–murderous and wretched people–took care of their cities in ways Colombia never could, with hospitals and roads and food programs. Sort of like the Mafia in New York, which prosecutors hated but the people always loved because of how generous they were to anyone in need.
At the same time, once the New York mafia crossed the line and hurt innocent people, New Yorkers didn’t like it a bit. And while these Somalian pirates are good to their own–by all accounts–the taking of ships is crossing the line. Particularly ships carrying human relief supplies. (I don’t at all feel the same about taking ships full of arms–please, take those to your heart’s content.)
So I am thrilled that our soldiers and our commanders were able to rescue Captain Phillips. That was one hell of a job in my book.
Good for you, fellows.


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