Monday, December 29, 2008

Kommander Kerry to Hold Hearings on Somali Piracy

Reporting for doody

Good grief, here we go with the revisionist history of John Kerry's 14-week stint in Vietnam all over again. This AP writer slobbers over this guy as if he were the most decorated veteran to return from Southeast Asia. Still, with the focus of the story being Somali piracy, it's even more disturbing to see Kerry ready to hold hearings rather than take decisive action. It's a good thing this tower of jelly isn't Secretary of State, although it's bad enough he'll be chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
As a young Navy swift boat commander in Vietnam, Sen. John Kerry was no stranger to the perils of hot pursuit in combat.

He was awarded a Silver Star for beaching his boat after a rocket attack and racing ashore to chase down and kill a Viet Cong fighter armed with a rocket launcher.

Nearly 40 years later, as incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry favors using hot pursuit against pirates in the waters off Somalia, but urges a cautious approach before U.S officials consider sending American forces to chase them ashore. Kerry plans committee hearings next year looking at the problems posed by piracy.

The Massachusetts Democrat, who was on President-elect Barack Obama's short list to be secretary of state, said a hot pursuit policy on Somalia's coastline is "long overdue." But he warns against any "haphazard, sloppy" military missions.

"You gotta know what you're getting into and where you're going and under what circumstances," Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, said in a recent telephone interview with The Associated Press. "I mean, if you send five police officers raging into the center of Mogadishu, you are asking for trouble. You gotta be smart."

Responding to the growing problem of piracy in Somali waters, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously earlier this month to authorize nations to conduct land and air attacks on pirate bases.

The resolution could set the stage for increased American military action in Somalia, a chaotic country where a U.S. peacekeeping mission in 1992-93 ended with a humiliating withdrawal of troops after a deadly clash in Mogadishu. The movie "Black Hawk Down" portrayed the ill-fated operation.

The senator said he was mindful of the dangers of hot pursuit cases, particularly given his Vietnam experience and his work as a longtime member of the Foreign Relations panel.

"If you've just got one patrol boat and it chases guys in and people go ashore without enough firepower, without knowing what they're up against, you can get into a lot of trouble," Kerry said.

He knows hot pursuit cases can be ripe for controversy. As the Democratic nominee during the 2004 presidential race, Kerry was accused by some former swift boat veterans of lying about the Silver Star he won as a result of the onshore confrontation in South Vietnam's Mekong Delta.
Where was Kerry's criticism of the Somalia incursion back in 1993? I don't recall any criticism from him back then over the botched efforts of Bill Clinton and the late Les Aspin. But now Kerry would rather hold hearings and pay lip service to the problem rather than suggest decisive action. This vacillating exercise will do nothing to stem the problem but rather will embolden the pirates. Perhaps Kerry would like to sit down with them and sweet talk them with some of his legendary nuanced dialogue.

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