Piracy, Permission & the Black Caucus

The happiest man in Washington, D.C. is Veep Joe Biden, who promised during the campaign that the prez would be confronted with an international incident within six months of his taking office. Problem: No such incident has arisen and time was running out for a good old shootout, either verbally or physically.

Enter the Somali pirates to try to capture the Maersk Alabama only to be outfoxed by its captain, who became a hostage, exchanging himself for the safety of his crew. AT LAST – an incident to try the president’s mettle, with old Joe giving thanks during Holy Week! It was duly reported by the media that, even though the Alabama was captured on 08 April, the prez gave the order to use force on 10 April. For her part, the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, called for international action against piracy. Zounds! What force!!!

Not so fast. The USS Bainbridge had already been ordered to the hijacked ship’s position and arrived there on 09April. One assumes it was there to gain the release in any way it could of the civilian captain, i.e., use whatever force was necessary, such force automatically implied in its assignment without the president’s further permission to do anything, especially a day later. Does anyone actually believe the commander of the USS Bainbridge would have hesitated for a second to order the snipers to fire at any time such firing promised to be successful? Only an idiot would believe so. The so-called, Good-Friday permission was purely a political ploy.

So…old Joe will just have to wait for a more serious “testing” of the president’s mettle. Perhaps he should re-read the history of President Ford’s actions in the affair of another piracy, in 1975 – that of the Mayaguez, in which another nation was involved, thus actually testing the mettle of the president. In the Alabama affair, four men with no country’s sanction were overcome, the lone pirate-survivor being a sixteen-year-old. The pirates were actually just terrorists.

But…the president said it all not long ago when he asserted that, “We won;” however, if memory serves, he didn’t identify that “We.” Apparently, some members of the Congressional Black Caucus have identified that “We” as “black folks,” forming 13% of the nation’s population. Led by its chairperson, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, seven members of the caucus took themselves off to Cuba the other day for a tete-a-tete with brothers Fidel and Raoul Castro, the better for the nations to understand each other, though they’re only 90 miles apart.

Congresswoman Laura Richards said Fidel Castro "looked directly into our eyes," according to KCBS. Congressman Bobby Rush, founder of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panthers in the 60s, said "I think that what really surprised me, but also endeared me to him [Raoul Castro], was his keen sense of humor, his sense of history and his basic human qualities." Human qualities? Ask the political prisoners.

This is not to speak pejoratively of effecting some sort of relations between the countries. It is to say that these folks had absolutely no official standing in their trip, financed by the U.S. government – a nice warm vacation in windy Washington April. One wonders what Secretary Clinton thought of this hijacking of her territory.

Actually, the U.S. could return Castro a favor by opening the gates on the land side of Guantanamo and letting the terrorists run as far and fast as they can. Remember the Mariel Boatlift of 1980, when Castro allowed some 125,000 Cubans to flee to this country, 124,000 of them undocumented aliens. More than 23,000 of the arriving Mariel Cubans revealed to Immigration Officials previous criminal convictions. Where is Jimmy Carter when he’s needed, the Black Caucus might ask.

As if that wasn’t enough of the in-your-face stuff, Black Caucus Congressman Donald Payne took himself off over the weekend to – where else? you ask – Somalia. According to Fox News, Payne told reporters he met with Somalia's president and prime minister during his one-day visit to Mogadishu to discuss piracy, security and cooperation between Somalia and the United States.

Hillary…where are you? Payne had absolutely no official capacity, but one surmises that he might pick a better spot next time for a weekend vacation at government expense, since some mean person greeted him with a few mortar shells. Somalia’s president and prime minister have about as much power as a canary has when confronting a hippopotamus. There’s virtually no government in Somalia, in the first place, and in the second place the Navy Seals were the only avenue of deliverance for hostages. Payne merely got in the way, but he also got his 15 minutes of fame – important for any politician.

When all is said and done, Veep Joe will have to keep looking for a confrontation (maybe fomenting something with Ahmadinejad) for the prez to display his bona fides. In the meantime, maybe Obama should take that advice about the beauties at Gitmo. Now, THAT would cause a stir in Hillary’s international community, not to mention Fidel and Raoul!