25 March 2008

Avast there, stand by to repel boarders...


There still remain these scourges of the seven seas roaming every corner of our planet. They come in all shapes and sizes. They may be an illegal fishing trawler, a drug smuggler's clandestine submarine, East African raiders or Straits of Malacca slave traders. No matter how you slice it, these are not ennobled, slightly tipsy Johnny Depp wannabes, they are desperate criminals who infringe on the freedoms of navigation of the rest of the world.

All manner of ships have been accosted by pirates. The targets range from cruise ships (like the Achille Lauro - where pirates ala terrorists - murdered an American citizen in a wheelchair) , freighters and private vessels. Even military ships have, from time to time, come under attack from pirates. The worst outcomes result in the loss of the vessel and crew. The sea is already merciless enough without miscreant humanity adding to its danger.

There is but one recourse for piracy, to quote the first pirates of the Caribbean movie;

"A short drop and a sudden stop at the end of the hangman's noose."

At least the Navy remembers how to deal with the like.


American Forces Press Service

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Navy Contract Ship Fires Warning Shots Near Suez Canal

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2008 - A ship on short-term charter to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command fired warning shots at a small boat approaching the ship as it was preparing to transit the Suez Canal last night, military officials reported.

There were no reports of casualties from the ship, the Global Patriot.

Officials said several boats approached the Global Patriot while it was preparing to transit the Suez Canal. The boats were hailed and warned by a native Arabic speaker on the Global Patriot to advise them to turn away. Other warning steps, including a signal flare, were used to caution the boats.

One small boat continued to approach the ship and received two sets of warning shots 20 to 30 meters in front of the boat's bow. All shots were accounted for as they entered the water, officials said.

The incident is under investigation. The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet command is cooperating with Egyptian authorities, including the Suez Canal Authorities, through the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

(From a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet news release.)

Related Sites:
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet
Military Sealift Command
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11 March 2008

Leaving on a jet plane...

Traveling a lot.  Soon to be visiting my good friend at his post in the wet UK.  The vagaries of air travel are always amusing.  Fortunately I am able to score the odd first class seat once in a while.  I can still remember when we dressed up for air travel.  My latest example of how far things have changed was during a recent trip to Vegas in which Sinbad sat ahead of us in first class clad in a sweat suit and a sweaty brow.  We used to wear suits, thank god those days are gone. 
Crap, the flight attendant is shooting me a menacing look!

05 March 2008

Good bye, good luck and good riddance.

Exit Mike Huckabee.  The one time Baptist minister / governor of one of the most desperate states in the nation is out of the race.  He offered his support to John McCain in a conciliatory manner.  He described the race as not the one we had hoped for, but one we must win.  I am not sure what he hoped for had he emerged victorious. 


The only remaining opponent to John McCain is Ron Paul.  Officially, he is still in the race – although he is desperately defending a same party challenger in his home district.  I have a running bet with a fellow blogger that Ron Paul will fade from memory almost as quickly as Tom Tancredo.


Huckabee was an interesting spoiler.  He had distinctly left wing economic ideas and yet an evangelical’s philosophy.  I guess he is the closest thing to church folk, people who will help you out unconditionally, as long as they can get into your business, we have in the race.


I think the three remaining candidates will do an adequate job.  Although the only thing the President can really influence is foreign policy.  Providing that each candidate picks some heavy hitters for Secretary of State, we will be fine.  What will be interesting is the effect of the economy on the race.  Our nation’s economy is a 14 trillion dollar juggernaut which is hardly influenced by one administration, save due to conflict.  FDR spent a great deal of money with the implementation of the New Deal, but it was WWII which finally corrected the depression. 


With abortion, gun rights, and same sex marriage all off the table, there is little emotion left in the race.  The war in the Mideast is improving and the outcome should be secure, barring some unforeseen idiocy by Iran. 


As I see it, the campaign boils down to security, energy and rebuilding our foreign reputation through engaging policy.  I am not sure that the democrats can deliver on number one and three.