President Obama Shows Best Defense Against Pirates: Dead Pirates

Now that new details of the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips are emerging, the rabid right is in full backspin mode, obama_bernanke_meetingtwisting the story as it develops in order to undercut the President as much as possible.  Jeff Emanuel and Caleb Howe ran with the early story that the SEALs shot only after the Captain had leapt into the sea, and somehow decided that this made the President deficient.  Caleb updated his story, but still decides the President is wrong.  Shocker.

Mark Impomeni and Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, think the President should have compromised the safety of the Captain and the rescue mission by spewing out information to the pirates and their accomplices.

It turns out the President handled this situation perfectly.  To Jeff and Mark, I would say that the President isn’t looking for, nor does he deserve, credit for the rescue.  He deserves credit for doing his job, nothing more.

Rather than go in like a cowboy, Jeff’s idea from the safety of his keyboard, or compromise the  safety of the Captain or rescue personnel, he did what he does best: He played it cool.

Get the pirates talking, bring them food, let them know that safe passage was off the table.  Drop in a Navy Seal team in secret, with orders to take the shot if they get the shot.  The “imminent danger” part of the order is a legalistic wink, since the Captain was in imminent danger the whole time.

On Sunday, the SEALs got their shot and took it.  President Obama reserves none of the glory for himself in his statement:

“I share the country’s admiration for the bravery of Capt. Phillips and his selfless concern for his crew,” Obama said. “His courage is a model for all Americans.”

It was Obama’s first public comment on the situation. Administration officials said the president made an effort not to call attention to the hostage situation while it was ongoing. Officials said they didn’t want to send mixed signals to the pirates or do anything that might threaten Phillips’ life.

“We remain resolved to halt the rise of piracy in this region. To achieve that goal, we must continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks, be prepared to interdict acts of piracy and ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes,” Obama said.

Wow, what a credit hog.

The President did his job, and the more these details emerge, the more the right will look silly and petty in trying to spin this as a loss for Obama.  He used the military, took their advice, and kept his cool while Newt and the gang tried to score points on the life of an imperiled US citizen.  This is to their shame.  An apology would be to their slight credit.  I won’t hold my breath.

Update: Allow me to point out, however, that there are sober, serious conservatives like Captain Ed Morrissey, who don’t swing at every pitch.

Also, I am told that Jeff Emanuel was a Navy Seal.  I should clarify that “from the safety of his keyboard” isn’t intended as a slap at Emanuel’s courage, but rather his perspective as it differs from that of the hostage.

Update 2:  DailyKos has a video roundup of other right-wingers betting against America before the rescue.



  1. Tommy, sometimes I just don’t know anymore…

    too much twisting of facts and pushing of opinions for me…

    Im just so stoked that the man is alive, and able to get home to his family…

    let the rightards spin their ilk…I find it very disappointing, but typical.

    Happy Day to ya!!! life is good!

  2. I agree with Michelle, I am glad the man is safe.

    Captain Phillips did his job (protecting his crew), Obama did his job (putting the life of Captain Phillips above all else and keeping a tight lid on details of the operation), and the Navy did it’s job (ultimately saving the life of Captain Phillips).

    It is a fine example of America’s power when it is being administered by a rationally thoughtful President. What others say in disagreement of that, just doesn’t matter anymore.

  3. A bit of background information, this was my AFSC, and my chosen off duty hobby.
    I do have a little knowledge of hostage rescue, and the risks envolved. The SEALs are far better trained, but the basic fundementals hold true. My first instinct was to say what I did, didn’t check any sites to see what they were thinking first. My opinion hasn’t changed, the President did exactly what he needed to do.

    Set ROE, rules of engagement that provided the flexibility to respond if circumstances changed. To ensure that assets were in place to provide whatever resources were needed. To not undercut the mission by engaging in a media blitz, where the wrong words could have spelled disaster. He did what presidents are supposed to do.

    I didn’t think he was looking for praise, I do believe he wanted the same outcome we all did. Something that gives me hope his judgement is better than we seen in the past. If only he’d lose the nationalizing crap, the class warfare, be the centrist he promised to be.. But that won’t happen, so the siege will continue.

    I wouldn’t get too mad at the center right to right for not suddenly becoming his newest fans.

    Remember back, did you praise Mr. Bush for this?

    “Former President George W. Bush’s international AIDS-fighting campaign has reduced by 10 percent the mortality rates in 15 targeted countries, primarily in Africa, and has saved 1.1 million lives, according to a study that for the first time quantified the successes of his program. ”

    I don’t know if anyone here did, I’m just asking, before you kick anyone too hard for not joining the parade, did you ever give Mr. Bush credit for a right thing, or did you like some on the right today,..

    let your distrust or dislike for a man taint your opinion?

    even when he’s done a provable good in the world…?

    I’m not accusing anyone, or even asking for an answer,. just ask yourself.

    Thinking outside the box, judging your own actions, as you would your political opponents. If your standards aren’t that high, how can you take pride in them? Doing the same, but not getting caught doesn’t make it right.

  4. Question for those who support the extremist position. Why would you piss away credibility here? Why even risk it? You have.

    I have stated repeatedly, you don’t need to lavish The President with praise. Or have 76 rusty trombones to lead a big parade. How about a freaking h/t? Or a pat on the back. Or even a big DOSE of “shut the fuck up.” Like, you do have the right to remain silent.

    Furthermore, the Chapter 11 argument here is not a conservative one. It is irrational extremism. A conservative at most, would err on the side of silence. Not extreme, absurd, argument that caters to bedpans.

  5. Amazing how you claim the right is trying to spin this as an embarrassment on the same page you and some commenters are trying to spin this as some huge victory for Obama. All he did was give the military authority to act when THEY wanted, if the guy’s life was in danger, nothing more. Yet to hear those on various blogs such as Daily Kos, we should be shining up Obama’s Medal of Honor. He didn’t freakin do anything. This operation was planned by the military and the President said, “Yeah, ok, it sounds good”. Trying to spin this into some outstanding victory for Obama is just as silly as trying to claim it was an embarrassing setback. Furthermore, I seem to remember those on the left acting quite badly when an American plane crashed in Chinese territory after a Chinese fighter plane got too close. So please, spare us the implication that only “rightards” (way to hatefully insults tens of millions of your fellow Americans)act this way. Anything the right does that is offensive, the left does equally as well.

  6. This is not as bad as you all seem to think it is, I finally read there some of the links Caleb posted. This from Blackfive, a milblogger, and special forces,.. quote,

    “He also could have done what some reported and authorized a rescue if an opportunity presented itself. It looks like the only step he took was to allow the normal authorization for deadly force to stand, essentially doing nothing.

    This is in no way reflects badly on the President. ”

    This is harsh?

    Sure, there were other opinions, none that I would consider any more cruel than a Leno sketch,.. you all really need to lighten up, and remember hardball hurts equally when it hits you in the head too… or did you forget that when you were shoveling it at Mr. Bush?

    apparently so..

  7. It’s called being a dick. For no reason.

  8. Or, an unnecessary dig. He did “nothing.” Prey tell, what is the point of saying that if not to detract from the President. That the next sentence reads it “in no way reflects badly on the President,” does not cure the “nothing” remark. That’s like saying your a worthless piece of shit but that doesn’t reflect badly on you. Give me a break. If ever Tommy’s use of the phrase “fig leaf” was appopriate, here it is.

    Clearly, this guy’s a dick too. Nothing. You want to know what “nothing” at most should be from detractors and peons? Being quiet.

  9. […] President Obama Shows Best Defense Against Pirates: Dead Pirates […]

  10. […] President Obama Shows Best Defense Against Pirates: Dead Pirates […]

  11. Cube,

    do you understand how the military command authority works?

    The president, is commander in chief, he can alter ROEs at will, he can put his judgement in place of experienced field commanders, or,..

    he can let standing orders stay in place,..

    in effect, doing nothing,

    which allows the military to do what it does best, kill people , break things.

    It’s not a slur or insult to do nothing, when doing nothing is the best option.

    A point Blackfive and I am now making. Your skin is way too thin, Blackfive is a professional operater, I have some small experience, this is how it works. I’d have said that of Ford, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush. They followed standing procedure designed by experts, on the advice of military professionals, doing nothing when the rules didn’t need to be changed, altering them when circumstances warrented it.

    Carter, was an unmitigated ass, putting his judgment in over the considered advice of the Delta Commander, and botching the operation, killing 8 men for NOTHING. The survivors were still in the Wilford Hall burn center when I took basic, three miles away.

    I know Goddamned well how presidential edicts can screw up field operations, because the ego of the CIC is too large to admit, something is outside his area of knowledge. Obama get’s points for accepting advice following reasoned judgement and staying out of the operational loop.

    doing nothing was his best choice, and from a military man’s point of view, admitting that is no insult. In fact, it’s admirable. Which Blackfive and I both pointed out in a shorter fashion.

    you don’t “get” the military or our way of thinking, and believe he’s been insulted. Fine, get pissed for nothing, For a professional soldier,.”in no way reflects badly” may be faint praise, but it is praise. That’s a Hell of a step,.

    considering how low a great many active and veterans opinions of liberals are in general. No esteem at all, no respect. There is no reserve of trust, none, liberals and progressives have pissed it away,.

    Reading the comparative slaps at Bush,.. I’m stopping here. Before I return fire, and go over every single doltish misstep by your annointed one, Mr. Obama. He’s our president, and need I remind you George W. Bush, was YOUR president too,..

    the number of dolts on the left who completely refused to acknowledge that, who screamed curses at him, called him vile names,. hung him in effigy,. every and all slurs and insults possible.. I have already said I’d show him the respect his office deserves..

    but don’t anyone here dare say the right must give Mr. Obama complete loyalty, and grovel in awe of his wonderfullness..

    not after 8 years of how to be an ass and slime the president 101.

    we’ll grant the office the respect due it, because of our upbringing, and it’s our way. Not because the left said a damn thing, some on the right will slip of course,. and you’ll all howl in rage.. odd,.. no one here did that in 07, 06, 05,…. I missed the part of civics class where only one side is pure and untouchable,..

    The rage here is tainted by the smell of hypocrisy.

    or did you all tell the loonies with lynch ropes and warcriminal signs splattered in red to shut the fuck up and respect the office back in 03?

    didn’t think so.

    You tell us, we MUST repect him, because it’s proper to show the office due respect,

    then say, Bush was ,,.. different,. he DESERVED it,…

    right,… that’s where in the Constitution? That Republican presidents are to be slimed when we hates em, but democrats are off limits to criticism…

    never saw that amendment..

    This arguement smells, and lefty hands are far too dirty to preach about your purity on presidential criticism now.

  12. […] * President Obama Shows Best Defense Against Pirates: Dead Pirates […]

  13. […] * President Obama Shows Best Defense Against Pirates: Dead Pirates […]

  14. […] * President Obama Shows Best Defense Against Pirates: Dead Pirates […]

  15. […] * President Obama Shows Best Defense Against Pirates: Dead Pirates […]

  16. hmmm…so Bambi gave the ok to execute three black Somoli Teenagers…can’t help but wonder if your opinion would would be different had the previous POTUS made the same call.

    That hypocricy thing is a bitch.

  17. Tim,

    don’t come in here and accuse me of hypocrisy, as if you know anything about me. Your re-framing of the rescue as an execution is itself a bit of self-contained hypocrisy.

  18. Oh snap, markde…

    Obama allowed the professionals, DO WHAT THEY DO BEST…

    he didn’t dick with them…and get in their way…

    and let me ask you…

    When cops shoot teenagers here, that are black…what do you have to say about that?

    but these 3 black teens, that took an American ship and held her capt…you want to get all in a tizzy over?

    lol thats rich…

    they may have been teenagers….but what they were doing, didn’t have an age limit, nor requirement to go down…

    and y’all call US hypocrits…

    wow, just wow…

  19. And another thing….

    If Bush would have behaved the same way, it would have been, good for you buddy…atta boy!!

    what is your twisted point anyway?

    Under Bush’s watch…shipping companies, were paying huge ransoms…none was paid on this incident…

    will we deal with this again, you betcha…

    Obama did good on this, the Navy did stellar on this…thats the facts of the situation, anything else, you are just playing with yourself…

  20. Oh don’t be so angry my Little liberal buddies….I think he done good! I’m surprised he didn’t declare the term “pirate” derougatory, rename them “Testy Seabourne Parrot Carriers”, and take a trip abroad to bow to them, and blame America for all their problems – I couldn’t be more pleased to be wrong.
    The point was, amigos…I’f this had been Bush…ya’ll would be screaming bloody murder (and you know it).
    And it certainly wouldn’t have gone unreported that the dreaded evil republican president had ordered the execution of 3 Somoli teenagers. Isn’t it incredible how quickly your perspective as a party changed?

  21. […] * President Obama Shows Best Defense Against Pirates: Dead Pirates […]

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