Held by Pirates for Nearly Three Years

After almost three years in captivity, the crew of the Iceberg 1, a cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates, are home after finally being rescued.  …

Its Dubai-based owner, who appears not to have been insured, refused to pay a ransom for it and simply went to ground, ignoring pleas for help from the hostages’ families.

Meanwhile, the governments representing the different sailors on board – six Indians, nine Yemenis, four Ghanaians, two Sudanese, two Pakistanis and one Filipino – were either unable or unwilling to mount a rescue attempt.  …

Now, though, it has been – courtesy of an armed raid not by the multi-national force, but by Somalia’s own fledgling anti-piracy patrols, who have been trained up a South African private military company. But while I would be the first to congratulate the Somali troops for completing what is an extremely dangerous job, I can’t help wondering why it had to be left to them. Freeing hostages is normally a task deemed suitable only for highly-trained special forces, and without casting aspersions on the Somalis’ abilities, I doubt they quite fall into that category.

The multinational force, on the other hand, has huge special forces assets galore, from Britain, France, the US and so on. Given the appalling plight of this ship, could they not perhaps have made an exception in this case?


The answer, I suspect, is that most nations are generally reluctant to risk the lives of their own troops to free citizens from other countries, which is probably fair enough. But this does give an idea of the limits to which the international force – and note that word “international” – is prepared to go.


One also can’t help wondering why India – which now sees itself as a global superpower, and has perfectly competent special forces – couldn’t have done the raid, given that six of the hostages were Indian. Yes, they would have ended up taking the lead on behalf of a few lesser nations in the process. But isn’t that what being a superpower is all about?

Kudos to the Somalis for pulling themselves together.

Shame on India for not lifting a finger.

It’s time the U.S. and the U.K. seriously think about their global roles as well.  Should add China and Russia to the list as well.  All countries rely on global trade.  All should be willing to do their part to keep global shipping channels free from pirates.

If we’re willing to commit 35,000 troops to kill Afghans who’ve done nothing wrong (other than try to survive) than can’t be pledge a small force of 100 to deal with pirates?

Obama Wrong: US Troops to Remain in Afghanistan

Despite repeated pleas from US President Barack Obama to conclude the war in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, a leading official with the State Department tells reporters this week that the United States is readying plans that will leave boots on the ground for the unforeseeable future, perhaps long after the Obama-insisted deadline comes and goes.

Marc Grossman, the State Department’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, reportedly told the press on Tuesday that upcoming negotiations in the region will iron out how and who will be left overseas after 2014 to allegedly engage in counterterrorism efforts and assist Afghans with military training.  …

Grossman adds that the State Dept. has already held meetings to discuss “how we will manage our forces going forward in Afghanistan,” and now must begin negotiations to figure out a number of factors, including who and how many troops will be left behind.via RT.

Is anyone really surprised?

We need to simply bring everyone home.  Now.  Just pick-up and pull-out.  The entire country has been a war zone for the last 40-50 years; actually since the dawn of time itself.  We simply do not belong there.  It’s serving no national foreign policy objective.

Al-Qaida just moves the base of operation into Africa and they use the Afghan war as a reason to bring more young loyalist into the fold.  Our actions there are counter-productive.  It’s not worth a single human life to try to change the geo-politics of that region.

Obama, Iraq & Afghanistan, Peace & War

There an amazing story about mine clearing activities in the Persian Gulf.  Before we get to it though we really need to consider some history.

Do we remember:

There is no military solution to the war in Iraq. Our troops can help suppress the violence, but they cannot solve its root causes. And all the troops in the world won’t be able to force Shia, Sunni, and Kurd to sit down at a table, resolve their differences, and forge a lasting peace. In fact, adding more troops will only push this political settlement further and further into the future, as it tells the Iraqis that no matter how much of a mess they make, the American military will always be there to clean it up.

Barack Obama, Podcast, Jan. 3, 2007;


Iraq is sort of a situation where you’ve got a guy who drove the bus into the ditch. You obviously have to get the bus out of the ditch, and that’s not easy to do, although you probably should fire the driver.

Barack Obama, The Daily Show, Nov. 7, 2005?

Do we remember when we were told that Iraq was “Bush’s” war and that it was going to impossible for Iraq to know peace?

Does anyone remember how were told that Afghanistan was the place where we had to really focus our energy?

The 30,000 additional troops that I am announcing tonight will deploy in the first part of 2010 – the fastest possible pace – so that they can target the insurgency and secure key population centers.

Taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground.

Barack Obama, December 01, 2009

Well let’s review how things are going…

An Afghan police officer shot and killed three U.S. Marines after sharing a meal with them before dawn Friday and then fled into the desolate darkness of southern Afghanistan, the third attack on coalition forces by their Afghan counterparts in a week.

via CBS News.

Wow!!  Afghanistan is a mess.  How are things going in Iraq?

Iraq Joins Mine clearing Exercises:

…  Saturday aboard the Ponce one of the countries ship’s came close enough for me to snap this picture with a telephoto lens. It’s the Iraqi patrol boat P-307 sailing alongside the U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Gridley.

The P-307 was delivered to Iraq in March 2012, carries a 30mm cannon and is manned by crew of 25 sailors. I talked to a Navy officer who told me if I was able to see it, I could go ahead and report it.

In Obama’s war the people we trained and armed are killing American Marines.
In Bush’s war the people we trained are helping us clear mines in the Persian Gulf.
That’s the fact Jack!!

Taliban Behead People for Music (CAIR Silent)

The news out of Afghanistan is that the Taliban beheaded 17 men and women who had gathered for a mixed-gender social event with music and dancing.

via Business Insider.

Some parts of the world are simply 1,500 years behind the times.  We need to leave them be.  It’s not worth the American lives and money to try to front-face backward people.

One questions I do have though is where is the outcry from moderate Muslims?  It appears to me that this sort of behavior is simply acceptable to them.  That’s at least a save assumption until someone says otherwise.

Back to my first thought… why should we risk our lives trying to save the innocent when their own people refuse to even acknowledge that anything is wrong?

The ‘Wild, Wild Midwest’

The city’s murder rate is quadruple New York City’s. Homicides since 2001 total twice the number of U.S. military personnel killed in Afghanistan in the same period. Police have moved to reduce the carnage, but activists say gun use must be reined in—and they will stage a peacemakers’ rally on Friday.

via The Daily Beast.

We’re making national headlines on a regular basis now.  In the meantime Rahm and The Machine that run this town are still telling everyone that crime is down.  The local news media is fully complicit with the ongoing lie.

It’s like they’re all Frank Drebin:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NNOrp_83RU?rel=0]

Afghanistan – The Forgotten War


Since Apr. 24, the following American service members have died as a result of continuing operations in Afghanistan.

Spc. Manuel Vasquez, 22, West Sacramento, California
Spc. Benjamin Neal, 21, Orfordville, Wisconsin
Spc. Jason Edens, 22, Franklin, Tennessee
Lt. Christopher Mosko, 28, Pittsford, New York
Spc. Moises Gonzalez, 29, Huntington, California
Staff Sgt. Brandon Eggleston, 29, Candler, North Carolina
Sgt. Dick Lee Jr., 31, Orange Park, Florida
Staff Sgt. Andrew Brittonmihalo, 25, Simi Valley, California
Master Sgt. Scott Pruitt, 38, Gautier, Mississippi
Pfc. Christian Sannicolas, 20, Anaheim, California

via The Unknown Soldiers.

Why is the media simply not covering these losses?

Pentagon Smears Critics

The first casualty when war comes is the truth.
— Hiram Johnson

No one knows this better than the folks at the pentagon.

The newspaper USA Today said Friday an editor and reporter probing Pentagon propaganda efforts have been targeted by an online “misinformation campaign.”

Fake Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created under the names of the reporter and editor with postings denigrating their professional reputations, according to the daily.

The timing of the online harassment coincided with stories by Pentagon correspondent Tom Vanden Brook, who has written about the military’s “information operations” program that spent large sums on marketing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The program has faced criticism in and outside the Defense Department as “ineffective and poorly monitored,” the paper said.

The false online accounts, including a fake Wikipedia entry, started appearing only days after the reporter first contacted Pentagon contractors for the story, the newspaper wrote.

Two weeks after enterprise editor Ray Locker’s byline appeared on a story on the same subject, a fake website under his name — RayLocker.com — popped up, the paper said.

You see?  you go writing things about the pentagon that they don’t like and misinformation about you will magically appear out of this air.  But worry not…

A US official confirmed to AFP that the Defense Department had made inquiries to contractors doing public relations work to ask them about the false online accounts.

The contractors denied any such activity, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

But the websites were taken down following the Pentagon’s inquiry. Some other accounts were removed for violating Internet providers’ terms of service, USA Today said.

The Pentagon said Friday it had not launched a formal investigation of the case.

No no… why would a formal investigation be necessary?

“We’re aware of the allegations and are not dismissing them outright to be sure,” press secretary George Little told reporters.

via Yahoo! News Canada.

Uh huh, right.

Know this:  If the misinformation department at the pentagon is willing to take on a reporter and an editor from the USA Today — the nation’s largest paper — who have research staff and other resources at their disposal to fight back, then it would have no problem whatsoever totally destroying an ordinary citizen who exposes the truth.