Arghh, mateys!

Here’s a real-life pirate ship:

A vessel controlled by suspected pirates is located in the Indian Ocean, Jan. 21, 2006, by the guided missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) and other U.S. naval forces after receiving a report of an attempted act of piracy from the International Maritime Bureau in Kuala Lumpur. Churchill later established communications and boarded the vessel. DoD photo by Chief Intelligence Specialist Kenneth Anderson, U.S. Navy. (Released)

Click for better look. Bigger version at JCCC.

For more on the story, see The Officers’ Club, which writes

“Piracy” off the Somali coast, I believe, is an AP friendly term for sea-borne terrorism. I’m reminded of the War-gaming debacle that happened a few years ago involving General VanRiper. As OPFOR commander, he surrounded the US Naval forces with small planes and ships innocuously, and then ordered them all in for a mass-suicide attack, effectively sinking the US fleet and stopping the war-game dead in its tracks [emphasis Murdoc’s]

Although some (many?) pirates are probably just the good-old sea-based thieves and robbers with wooden legs, hook hands, and a parrot on one shoulder, there is no doubt that our enemies, and the enemies of all modern civilization, can and will use the sea lanes for their purposes.

Regarding VanRiper, we need more Red Team leaders like him. That’s the whole point. I noted the story in the early days of MO, and again while discussing a Strategy Page post on war games last March.


  1. Thursday, September 23, 2004 General Paul Van Riper is Shrill: Eric Umansky reports: Eric Umansky: Van Riper… was more pessimistic, and pissed. ‘I have no arguments with anything officers are doing in Iraq,’ he said. ‘My problem is with the Pentagon and our political leadership. ‘At some point there are no good military solutions. The military solutions were up front. With each passing day, the solution set has narrowed. So you get yourself in a corner. You’re going to have to bite the bullet sometime, and you are going to reap a whirlwind of negative publicity. ‘All of our focus is on temporary, tactics and procedures: how to stop IEDs, for example. This is a war, and there ought to be a strategy. If there is one I haven’t heard it. It’d be like WWII where you launched planes out into the Pacific and hope they run into the enemy.’ you might even say some in the leadership find him …. annoying. Sometimes the truth does that.

  2. Unless their is some greater goal then robbing ships, how is this terrorism? I think its ridiculous to label anything and everything terrorism…

  3. It depends on whether their goal is simple theft, or discouraging ships from passing through the pirate-infested waters. By doing nasty things to the ships’ crews regularly, one could discourage companies from operating in the areas. That would be terrorism. Especially if they made special efforts to get the media involved. It’s hard to tell from a single incident. It would be interesting to know whether it was their own idea to commit this piracy, or whether someone else was paying them to do it.