Thursday, January 29, 2009

ARRRRRH, matey!

Sorry. All about the pirates, who continue to fascinate me.

So apparently we've got a new ass-kicking task force, CTF-151, patrolling the Somali coast and the Gulf of Aden. Well, sorta. They're patrolling, but ass-kicking? Not too much yet, though piracy incidents are down. Might just be rough seas, though. Our multinational flotilla sure talks a good game, though.

Meanwhile, of course, the pirates themselves seem to be developing still further their tactical awareness (bitches!--in-joke, beg your pardon), running games and winning at them against the Indian and Chinese navies.

One thing that continually baffles (and annoys the crap out of) me with our national rhetoric, and to an extent the West's international rhetoric is that we always seem to spin it so that the "evildoers"--terrorists, pirates, folks in general who commit acts in flagrant violation of international law--get cast as being somehow second-class or wildly inferior simply because they're poor and quite possibly hungry and their skin color is often a darker shade.

Now, don't get me wrong...if someone's reprehensible but a moron, I'm all for calling him or her on that. Thing is, it actually requires a hell of a lot more thought, creativity and tactical precision for guys with speedboats and AK-47's on the open seas to get their job done (in this case, piracy) than it should for us to do our job (in this case, to deter them). And they seem to beat us, more often than not, these days.

This suggests to me that these people are smarter, and more creative, and more flexible, and more highly motivated than we are. Even if they're doing reprehensible things, the fiction of meritocracy should demand, or at least allow, that we give them due props for their operational competence (relative to us, anyway...and on the downside for the pirates, there were those dudes who seized the Saudi oil tanker, got the $$$, and then drowned on the way home) regardless. The West sucks at irregular warfare--on land, as we've seen in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza, and by sea, as we can see (if we have the eyes to do so) of fthe coast of Somalia. We've got billion-dollar warships and all kinds of crazy stuff. They've got chewing gum, baling wire and black-market weapons. They now also have the German-owned tanker, snatched from a convoy with a navy escort, and now there's one more ship that someone somewhere is going to wind up paying a ransom on. Who are the competent ones here, I ask?

Way to go, CTF-151.

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