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Old 04-13-2009, 09:18 PM   #121
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Those snipers are training on 1000+ yard ranges I think. So a 25 yard shot is probably like shooting pirates in a barrel.
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Old 04-13-2009, 11:45 PM   #122
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I agree with FUEGO, but I'd love to hear more from those that know more about rifles.

One article I read speculated the weapon used was the SEALS' favorite sniper rifle, the MK 11 Mod 0. Google "MK 11 sniper rifle" and you can find plenty of info.

One gung-ho testimonial from a Marine sniper said he was happy with his first trials at the range, where he was able to consecutively hit four 4-inch disks at 600 yards. In 8 seconds.

So hitting a target so close that it fills up the telescope sight should be well within a SEALS operator's capabilities. And I would assume they had been looking down the barrel for a long, long time before the opportunity to shoot was right - ample time to get the feel for the motions of both the ship and the lifeboat.

My guess is two SEALS are kidding the one SEAL whose shot landed the farthest from a pirate's earhole.
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Old 04-13-2009, 11:54 PM   #123
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Because the Chicken are eating my tomatoes. Plus I hear free range chickens are ono. Having done more than scare the stupid critters.
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Old 04-14-2009, 08:02 AM   #124
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I guess the pirate aboard the Bainbridge doing the negotiations had a quick change in his frame of reference. One minute he's holding all the cards, probably talking tough, driving a hard bargain, demanding tons of ransom, all kinds of toys, and spitting on the Americans. A moment later he's the captive. "Umm, I was just thinking my previous statements and demands may have been a little harsh. I'm thinking I'm gonna let you guys off the hook this time. Me and my buddies will just go back to Somalia. I'll just climb over this rail, no need to help me. Anyway, have a nice day."

Life's funny like that--everything is going fine and then the world changes.
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:12 AM   #125
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Life's funny like that--everything is going fine and then the world changes.
You could say that this was a "black swan" event for the pirates...
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:14 AM   #126
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You could say that this was a "black swan" event for the pirates...
You could, except that the phrase "black swan" is one I hope to never hear again...
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:26 AM   #127
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The thing I find interesting, is that they had to all shoot at the same time. That is, they had to kill all the pirates at once. That would take some coordination if all the heads appeared for only an instant.
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:37 AM   #128
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The thing I find interesting, is that they had to all shoot at the same time. That is, they had to kill all the pirates at once. That would take some coordination if all the heads appeared for only an instant.
These guys are professionals. Don't try this at home.
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:59 AM   #129
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I agree with FUEGO, but I'd love to hear more from those that know more about rifles.
I'd like to hear more too. My comment was just speculation, having never fired a sniper rifle and the last real gun I have fired was a .22 in boy scout camp back in the day. But I've got some mean aim on my BB pistol.

I know shooting from a ship would present a challenge, plus the targets are bobbing in the water. But the big ship's motion was probably slow and steady so easier to accommodate than the lifeboat's rocking.

From watching the sniper documentaries on History channel, these guys have trained under some tough grueling conditions including watching a target for hours on end for the perfect shot that may only last an instant. My guess is the three seals had their rifles trained on the pirates for quite a while and they saw the perfect opportunity so made a move. The claim that the captain was under imminent threat from the pirates may be a cover story to justify taking action.

Moral of the story? Don't send 4 poorly trained teenage pirates to a seal firing range.
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:56 AM   #130
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Way too much info was given by the Navy. Far too much on the operational details.
It would have been sufficient to say, pirates dead, Captain safe.

Now all the Monday morning experts will analyze the the failure to appreciate the human rights, difficult childhoods and exploitation of the poor teenage pirates. Not to mention all the closet warriors displaying and ealborating their magazine learned skills and bravado.

The less is known of how the rescue was done, by the pirate managers and handlers, or those higher up profiting from the activity the better.

The fools with guns doing the boarding are nothing but dispensable tools of the the money mangers.
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Old 04-14-2009, 11:13 AM   #131
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Now all the Monday morning experts will analyze the the failure to appreciate the human rights, difficult childhoods and exploitation of the poor teenage pirates.
It's not that difficult to understand that the pirates played a dangerous game and got what they deserved yet still understand that they're doing it because of their economic conditions.

We can sail around expensive ships loaded with expensive soldiers, have cargo ships sail around Africa, keep paying ransoms, or we can solve the real problem. Understanding "why" is helpful when trying to fix "what."
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Old 04-14-2009, 11:15 AM   #132
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Without revealing anything of value, anyone who believes the Navy's version might have bought into some obfuscation, the deluxe model.

Here's how it was really done. Scan up till you see Rufus.
Anti-Pirate Weapon of Mass Destruction


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Way too much info was given by the Navy. Far too much on the operational details.
It would have been sufficient to say, pirates dead, Captain safe.

Now all the Monday morning experts will analyze the the failure to appreciate the human rights, difficult childhoods and exploitation of the poor teenage pirates. Not to mention all the closet warriors displaying and ealborating their magazine learned skills and bravado.

The less is known of how the rescue was done, by the pirate managers and handlers, or those higher up profiting from the activity the better.

The fools with guns doing the boarding are nothing but dispensable tools of the the money mangers.
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Old 04-14-2009, 11:44 AM   #133
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Old 04-14-2009, 02:10 PM   #134
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The thing I find interesting, is that they had to all shoot at the same time. That is, they had to kill all the pirates at once. That would take some coordination if all the heads appeared for only an instant.
No doubt they were all in radio contact. The real tricky thing is, each
guy had to be able to call off the shoot if his target became unavailable.
But really, only the guy with the AK on the merchant captain had to die
instantly; probably the other two snipers would have had a little more
time before their targets could have hurt the captain.

Watching/reading "Generation Kill" you really get a feel for how good
our guys are; you do not want to mess with them. These recon Marines
would drive into a known ambush, on purpose, and kill every Iraqi while
one of their guys gets hit in the foot.
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Old 04-14-2009, 06:03 PM   #135
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Not kidding.

Thinking like yours led to the rise of the taliban and al quada.

Free market suggests the people doing the shipping will find a way to protect themselves.

If it is a US ship by all means protect it with the US Navy.

If it is a small nation, and they expect US Navy escorts, what happens when a similar situation occurs in another part of world like South America, then some rogue south american country launches a terrorist attack on a US ship? WWIII might be just around the corner.

Let the little countries fight the pirates, and pass that cost onto whoever was buying the goods and services. Free market would work that way too.

We should stop looking at the US military as a way to bully small pirates around and wait around for bigger battles vs bigger enemies. We don't want to overuse or overextend our military.
That's right... after all we might unintentionally offend the pirates... And then they might hire lawyers and sue the US for their inconvienience...
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:16 PM   #136
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So pirates get a couple million dollars. What do they do with the money? I don't think there are any Neiman Marcus stores in Somalia where you can spend it. Do Ferraris appear on the streets of Mogadishu just like after Wall Street bonuses are paid?

I guess there is a bit of "Cargo Culture" going on. You dream of one day getting your own ransom that provides a little bit of cash for your entire village, clan, even state. After all, what is the GDP of Somalia anyways? Isn't it about $50,000 Canadian??

The money has got to be laundered somehow. Per capita income is probably less than $100 a year. So as a pirate, one successful hijacking and ransom paid is early retirement city for you. Do you try to get out of Somalia? Or do you just bask in your new found wealth? If too many ransoms are paid in a short period, what does that do to inflation in Somalia?

It just seems that when a ransom hits Somalia, it should be easily traced to the major players who could then be assassinated.
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:30 PM   #137
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It just seems that when a ransom hits Somalia, it should be easily traced to the major players who could then be assassinated.
How about robbed first, then assassinated. Donate proceeds to charity.

That pirate stronghold in Somalia, Harardhere, would be a good place to start head-knocking. I wonder what it would cost to hire a squad of Blackwater mercenaries to go on a robbing spree in Harardhere? An equal split of the plunder? Anyone want to throw some venture capital money into this?

I may need to check with my attorney to verify the legality and tax implications of this first though...
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:42 PM   #138
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Here's a couple aspects of the rescue that I found interesting:
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"The on-scene commander took it as the captain was in imminent danger and then made that decision (to kill the pirates), and he had the authorities to make that decision, and he had seconds to make that decision."
U.S. acted after pirates aimed at ship captain | U.S. | Reuters

Seems pretty straightforward to give the on-scene guy the authority to do what needs to be done, no? But that's rarely what happens-- technology makes it too easy to look over their shoulders and jostle their elbows. The ship CO has to phone up the commodore, who arranges a VTC with COMFIFTHFLT & CINCCENT, who talks to the NMCC at the Pentagon... who wants hourly updates... I may not have the latest names in the right order but this is a simplification of the staff briefing & coordination process. There have been times in the past where everyone would be voting on the same satellite radio circuit with the CO who's essentially begging "Can we shoot yet? How 'bout now? NOW?!?"

It's very encouraging that the military was able to go to the NCA and say "And if it looks like they're gonna kill the captain, then we wanna kill 'em first." It's even more encouraging that the NCA said "Yeah, that's a good idea." And then that the ship's CO said "Hey, lieutenant, weapons free."

Then there's this little deck-seamanship tidbit:
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Conditions were deteriorating and the USS Bainbridge was towing the lifeboat in search of calmer waters at the time of the incident. The lifeboat was about 80 to 100 feet away from the Bainbridge when the Navy SEALs opened fire on the pirates.
Q+A: How the U.S. Navy ended Somali pirate drama | U.S. | Reuters

When the lifeboat pirates accepted the offer of a tow, I don't think that the BAINBRIDGE pulled up alongside and threw over a monkeyfist... especially since the pirates had earlier fired a tracer round at the ship. I suspect that the ship threw over a towline attached to a buoy or fired a shotline a couple hundred yards to the boat-- out of the pirate's shooting range, but close enough to hook things up. So the lifeboat was initally at least 200-300 feet away from the BAINBRIDGE, close enough to tow and far enough for everyone to feel comfortable.

Then I think the SEALs up in the superstructure coordinated a little sound-powered-phone teamwork with Deck Division down on the fantail: "Hey, Boats, heave 'round on that towline a few feet, couldja? Do it nice and slow so that they don't notice the stern's getting bigger. OK, give it a few more feet. Just a little more... almost... come to Poppa... lemme tweak this gunsight a little... OK, hold it right there!!"

Meanwhile, on the lifeboat: "Hey, Habib, have you been messing with the towline? Why does the infidel ship seem to be getting so much bigger? I'll point my weapon at the captain so that he behaves, and you can pop your head up to take a look!"

I won't pass on the testosterone-drenched commentary from SailorBob.com, but the surface warriors are feeling pretty good about the way the Navy was trusted to do its business.

It's also agreed that the cost of the rescue was far more expensive than the ransom, and the bill will continue to rise as additional force-protection measures become necessary.
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:38 AM   #139
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The other impressive thing was that the snipers killed the pirates without hurting the parrots on their shoulders. [Leno].
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:10 AM   #140
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It's also agreed that the cost of the rescue was far more expensive than the ransom, and the bill will continue to rise as additional force-protection measures become necessary.
I'm sure it was, but I see this as akin to insurance companies either choosing to payout fraudulent claims and settle non-meritorious lawsuits or fight them. Even though in the short term it may cost more to fight, if it can discourage more of the same in the future it may be long-term cost effective, not to mention being the right thing to do (IMO).
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