Department of Speaking Too Soon
Mark Steyn at National Review Online Saturday afternoon:
Once upon a time we killed and captured pirates. Today, it’s all more complicated. The attorney general, Eric Holder, has declined to say whether the kidnappers of the American captain will be “brought to justice” by the U.S. “I’m not sure exactly what would happen next,” declares the chief law-enforcement official of the world’s superpower. But some things we can say for certain. Obviously, if the United States Navy hanged some eyepatched peglegged blackguard from the yardarm or made him walk the plank, pious senators would rise to denounce an America that no longer lived up to its highest ideals, and the network talking-heads would argue that Plankgate was recruiting more and more young men to the pirates’ cause, and judges would rule that pirates were entitled to the protections of the U.S. constitution and that their peglegs had to be replaced by high-tech prosthetic limbs at taxpayer expense.The Washington Post today:
MOMBASA, Kenya, April 12 -- An American captain held hostage for five days by Somali pirates in a lifeboat adrift in the Indian Ocean was rescued unharmed Sunday in a surprise U.S. military operation in which snipers killed three pirates with the captain tied up just feet away, American military officials said. A fourth pirate was in U.S. custody.
The snipers, positioned near the fantail of the destroyer USS Bainbridge less than 30 yards from the lifeboat, fired within seconds after a commander determined that Capt. Richard Phillips, 53, was in "imminent danger" as one of the pirates aimed an AK-47 at his back, military officials said. President Obama had issued a standing order that the military was to act if the captain's life was in immediate jeopardy, said Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of the Fifth Fleet.
The rescue occurred at 7:19 p.m. local time Sunday, the Navy said, and involved dozens of SEALs. With one of the pirates pointing an AK-47 straight at Phillips's back, an on-scene commander gave the SEAL snipers authority to fire.