Sunday, April 12, 2009

Obama Twice Approved Plan to Rescue U.S. Sea Captain, Philips' Family "Happy and Relieved" (Video)

I'll give the President some credit for this, but I still think the military should have acted sooner.

Alas. All's well that ends well!

My hope is that the Administration is serious about cracking down on piracy in the Indian Ocean and that Captain Phillips has opened America's eyes to the dangers that many of our citizens face around the world.

Fox News reports:

President Obama twice authorized the military to rescue a U.S. captain held by Somali pirates and whose life appeared to be at risk.

A senior administration official told FOX News that Obama granted the authority on Friday and Saturday to use appropriate force to rescue Capt. Richard Phillips from a lifeboat off the Somali coast. The Pentagon believed Phillips' life was at risk both times, officials said..

Administration officials say Obama was told Sunday of the rescue while he was in the White House residence. An official told FOX News that Obama has phoned Phillips and Phillips' family.

"I am very pleased that Capt. Phillips has been rescued and is safely on board the USS Boxer," the president said in a statement. "His safety has been our principal concern, and I know this is a welcome relief to his family and his crew."

Obama also praised the U.S. military and the other departments and agencies for their efforts.

"We remain resolved to halt the rise of piracy in this region," he said. "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."

A law enforcement official told FOX News that if the Justice Department determines it has enough evidence to charge the pirate currently in custody, the prosecution will take place in New York where the pirate would be transferred within days.

Phillips was in "imminent danger" of being killed by his captors before U.S. Special Operations forces fatally shot them, a U.S. military official said.

Phillips was not hurt in the several minutes of gunfire off the Somali coast Sunday. Phillips was safely transported to a Navy warship nearby.

Three pirates were killed and one surrendered to U.S. forces, said the military official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the event publicly.

The Pentagon briefed reporters late Sunday afternoon on the dramatic rescue.

"This was an incredible team effort, and I am extremely proud of the tireless efforts of all the men and women who made this rescue possible" Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, said in a statement.

He called Phillips and his crew "heroic."

The U.S. military official described a tense and terrifying few minutes for Phillips, during which "we definitely felt there was a life-threatening situation there."

He said the situation appeared "imminent" and that forces shot the pirates to death.

Following the rescue, Phillips was taken aboard the USS Bainbridge and later flown to the USS Boxer, where he called his family and got a medical evaluation.

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  1. All this proves is that Obama is a moron for forcing the military to go back to him twice for authoirzatoin. Instead of giving the military that ability to do what was necessary, they had to ask twice. The commanding officer has already admitted to the press that they had an opportunity but were too far away. Too far away because they had to ask and wait.

  2. All this proves is that Obama is a moron for forcing the military to go back to him twice for authoirzatoin.......... THE REASON FOR THAT IS BECAUSE IT HAD TO BE THE RIGHT MOMENT WHEN THE CAPTAIN FACED BODILY HARM YOU IDIOT AND LEARN HOW TO SPELL AUTHORIZATION!!!!!!!!

  3. This was not a rescue attempt ordered by National Command Authority i.e. the President. It was a reaction by the on scene commander under standard authority to safeguard the life of a hostage.

    He did affirm the military's authorization to use force if the captain's life was in danger, but they already would have had that authorization as part of their standard rules of engagement.

  4. Maybe I am alone, but I hardly view this as a test of the President. Unless I am mistaken, all he had to do was sign off on rules of engagement and stay out of the way, and I don’t mean that to denigrate Obama, but because that really is all any President could do. We have a massive Navy with several hundred ships, highly trained professionals in the SEALS, highly trained professionals in the FBI and in the crews of the naval vessels tailing (and in one case towing) the raft, and you just need to let them do their job. This didn’t happen because heroic efforts by Rahm Emmanuel and David Axelrod in consultation with Obama produced a dashing plan a la the The West Wing . This happened because our very entrenched military and national security apparatus can handle little things like this without flinching.
    That isn’t to take anything away from what the guys on the scene did, as that appears to have been one helluva shot they took. They also deserve real credit for their prior restraint, and waiting until the right moment to make things happen. They really acted like, well, professionals. But heaping all sorts of praise on Team Obama seems to me to be just as silly as flaming them for this. They acted prudently and cautiously, as anyone who has watched the President for any period of time would have expected him to behave.