Monday, April 13, 2009
Here is an incredible story.
High sea piracy off the African coast didn't play out so well for a few pirates this week. After stupidly abandoning a hijacked American ship for a small life boat, four pirates ran out of fuel and became sitting ducks for American forces. Unfortunately, the pirates brought along the ship's captain as insurance, and were left with a stand off.
Fearing for the captain's life, President Obama gave authority to use deadly force if the Navy saw "imminent danger." After one of the pirates had given himself up to American military to get medical treatment, one of the remaining pirates raised his AK47 to the back of the captured captain. Three Navy Seal snipers on a nearby ship were given orders to kill the remaining pirates.
I'm no marksman - in fact I've fired a gun exactly once in my life - but these strike me as an extraordinarily difficult shots. These Seals were on a boat, bobbing in the ocean, trying to hit three targets 75 feet away on another boat bobbing on the ocean, while trying to avoid hitting the captain. All three made head shots and killed the pirates. The captain was unscathed.
I can't imagine the ice water you need running through your veins to do a job like that. You can argue about whether they are always used the way they should be - in this case it seems there's little doubt they were - but the American military has some remarkable people serving in it.
One question: Could we get these three Seals within 75 feet of Bin Laden? I'd prefer the surgical precision of these guys over the "smartest" bomb we have.