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The War Nerd / December 1, 2008

Well, now we know my pals the Somali pirates are loyal War Nerd readers. At the end of my column saluting them for taking on a supertanker, I suggested they go for a cruise ship next:

“Today that supertanker, tomorrow the cruise ships! All those overfed retirees have relatives who’ll pay big to see their crumbly old folks back in Arizona! Just a word to the wise, just a hint for next time! You can’t miss’em, big white ships that smell like buffet tables and used Depends!”

Well, they gave it the old Somali college try, according to a story in today’s Telegraph.

A couple of Somali pirate boats, those fast open boats they use for boarding, zoomed toward the Oceana Nautica and fired a few shots at it by way of saying, “Hi! Why not take a break ashore in our new Hostage-Cave Hilton?”

The liner outran them, apparently, so it didn’t even get a chance to use the wonderful hi-tech defense system the article mentions:

“When threatened, some liners possess long-range acoustic devices (LRAD), which emit high frequency noise, to deter potential attackers.”

Oooo, scary! Loud noises! Got those pirates on the running, begging for mercy: “Please, don’t aim loud noises at me!” Come on, for God’s sake. Somali pirates probably don’t have that great hearing to begin with, not after a lifetime of firing heavy weapons from the backs of pickup trucks. And they’re not sensitive plants, either, because in a place like that the sensitive types get planted early. You think they’re going to be deterred by a Brit recording? Benny Hill screeching, “Ooo, you wicked poi-ruts, go stick yer fingers in yer ears and go ting-a-ling-a-loo!”

I have a better defense system to suggest to the cruise lines. It’s called the LRHLD, or “long range hot lead dispenser,” also known as a heavy machine gun. I would love, totally love, the job of Secretary of Defense on one of these love boats, sunning on deck and drinking whatever those tropical drinks are called and every few days getting the call, “Oh Gary, pirates off the stern!” I’d sigh and moan and waddle over to the machine gun and turn the barrel a few degrees and watch the little splashes get closer and closer to the speedboat until I got full Halo 3 points for it, then go back to the serious work of tanning. I hereby volunteer for this hazardous duty. You think my pals the pirates would grudge me a little sun time on the deck, a little easy money? I don’t; they’re pros, just like me. They know what time it is.

So you bring the machine gun, I’ll bring the sociopathy and the trigger finger, and we’ll meet up in the Gulf of Aden.

Or if you don’t like the machine gun idea, I can also yell real loud and I do a mean Benny Hill.

Gary Brecher is the author of the War Nerd. Send your comments to brecher@exiledonline.com.

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62 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Alok  |  December 1st, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Too late Gary, there are already security companies with bigger dudes, and greater levels of sociopathy all set to start “escorting” ships across the pirate troubled waters.

    Of course the Indian Navy will now keep its guns pointed towards Pakistan for awhile bring to a premature end what was probably going to be a glorious area of Indo-Somali cat-and-mouse on the house seas…

    Oh well, maybe this time we’ll actually get to see a war in the deserts instead of an artillery jack off..

  • 2. Alok  |  December 1st, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Correction : high seas

  • 3. Lame  |  December 1st, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article587152.ece

    2005. Cruise ship. Somalis. Over 300 passengers. About five seconds of Google was needed…

  • 4. Nestor  |  December 1st, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    I imagine the quality of the pirates hospitality would be sharply reduced if they had that many hostages

  • 5. Yul Brynner  |  December 1st, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    How exactly does a cruise ship outrun a speedboat?

  • 6. Paul  |  December 1st, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    the heavy machine gun needs to be fitted with a video cam so we can get some material for youtube.

  • 7. Nihil  |  December 1st, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Have the similarities between Gary Brecher’s writing and Spider Jerusalem’s ever been pointed out? Well, now they have.

  • 8. robotslave  |  December 1st, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    How exactly does a cruise ship outrun a speedboat?

    There are two answers to this question: 1) they’re not speedboats (they’re open boats fitted with the biggest outboard motors available), and 2) the cruise ship didn’t outrun them, it outranged them.

    A modern cruise ship can do better than 30 knots. It takes a good long while to get up to that speed from the usual cruising velocity, but these days, any captain moving something big past the coast Somalia is going to be damn sure the girl is up to top speed before she gets into the red zone.

    Your little open boat with the outboard has already traveled a long way from shore by the time Al-Bluebeard spots the target, and those outboard motors aren’t exactly models of efficiency when you rev them up to top speed. Al-Bluebeard is going to be looking at a gap of 10 nautical miles and a closing speed well south of 10kt, quickly reaching his fuel supply’s point of no return.

    The “speedboat” can go faster than the cruise ship, sure, but it can’t do it for long.

  • 9. Daath  |  December 1st, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    LRAD puts out something like 140 dB scream, so it’s not exactly a joke, but meh. Some earplugs and it’s quite tolerable. I’m rooting for some genetically manipulated orcas myself, maybe held in tanks or on leash prior to action. Just think of those seven tonnes of sleek murder working at the Somalis. Bliss.

  • 10. Snidely Wachovia  |  December 1st, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Sigh, I wish I was Somalian.

  • 11. John  |  December 1st, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Seabourn_Spirit

    Cruise ship armed with sonic weaponry defeats Somalian pirates.

    The Somalis will not have an easy time beating a cruise ship, on account of the ship’s size, range, and professional security details.

    If I were a pirate, I’d use some rocket barrages and maybe a couple of guys on jetskis with packs of C4 to sink the ship and capture the survivors for ransom. They’re the valuable part, screw the material goods, and they’d be a whole lot easier to catch if they were struggling to swim rather than quartered on-deck.

  • 12. John  |  December 1st, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    Actually, screw that. Just take out the propulsion system with a few packs of explosives and work it as a siege at sea. It’s not like military intervension will be a big problem.

  • 13. aleke  |  December 1st, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    I think they’re avoiding killing hostages, may be it’s an honor thing, maybe it’s professionalism, maybe they’re just wary of attracting nationalist fury from the hostages’ countries. I think either one of those would explain the gourmet chefs they have for the hostages.

    Sinking a cruise ship will kill more people than they’d like to try, I think. But then again so is just outright capturing such a large cruise ship. Maybe they’re just trying to scare off the cruise ships… They seem to never carefully plan an attack on them, like they do with other ships.

  • 14. John Smith  |  December 1st, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    #7: Spider Jerusalem and Doonesbury’s Uncle Duke both owe much to Hunter S. Thompson, as do all the exile writers. I figured all the writers and readers knew this so well that no one ever had to point it out, but since you mention Jerusalem and Brecher without mentioning the others, I’m not so sure. And of course, there’s also Mencken.

    #11: Sinking the ship and ransoming the survivors is a terrifyingly plausible idea. Mines instead of rockets, maybe?

  • 15. doctor k  |  December 1st, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    nautical mines are a bit more difficult to acquire than rpgs and explosives, I’d think. but if they start getting serious amounts of cash from this racket, I’d be interested to know which “capital investments” they’d make

  • 16. az  |  December 2nd, 2008 at 2:16 am

    @5, 8: The problem for boarding is not only the speed, but also the wake any sizeable vessel creates at higher speed. A quick estimate for the Seabourn Spirit at 16knots shows that the ship shifts about 51 m^3 water per second.

    @Brecher: Apparently shipowners are against arming up their ships with deadly weapons, as this will considerably up the ante.

  • 17. Health IT Nerd  |  December 2nd, 2008 at 2:22 am

    they have chefs because it’s good business. Neither the boyeeez or the ship owners want an escalation. It’s the piracy equivalent of an acceptable level of violence

  • 18. LB  |  December 2nd, 2008 at 2:23 am

    Sink the ship and you have to waste time fecking about looking for survivors, picking up survivors, then transporting them to land, etc etc. A whole lot of pain in the arse really.
    Sea siege? Even if you take out the ships engines your ships have to feck off to refuel at some point, and the nearest foreign navies will start sending ships out and if you do not have control of that ship they will blow you out of the eater.

  • 19. Nestor  |  December 2nd, 2008 at 4:30 am

    Public opinion isn’t really all that pushed about an oil tanker or a transport ship, fishing boats do cause some static when the fishermen have families in western countries. Taking a cruise ship would totally end whatever “Robin Hood” image and sympathy these guys have going for them.

    Of course it’s a mystery whether they actually care about that, there are probably a lot of free agents floating around

  • 20. zealot  |  December 2nd, 2008 at 5:03 am

    i was always puzzled why alqaeda or anyone else never blows up cruise ships. they’re such easy, high value targets.
    fnally i figured out that pirates, and the ease with which they get the ransomes, must be the answer. i think there must be a behind-the scene deal, some kind of annual payoff that the cruise industry big boys pay to guys like alqaeda or pirate top-shots for being left allone. good, steady source of funding, and something that no one will ever want to talk about in public. even governments don’t say anything, ’cause they know they can’t provide effective protection, and they don’t want to be on the wrong side of the industry & its campaign donations. and of course all those floating corpses wouldn’t look good. so a ‘failed’ attack like this one, or the one in 2005, would be just someone trying to renegotiate the rates, or new guys trying to enter the game.

  • 21. zealot  |  December 2nd, 2008 at 5:10 am

    could be a good model for milking airline industry, but going bankrupt as they are, they probably couldn’t afford it. or mybe that’s one of the things sending them into bankruptcy, besides fuel-rates? somehow i find it hard to believe that no serious follow up on 9-11 is just because security guys are so good.

  • 22. marketfrankford  |  December 2nd, 2008 at 10:56 am

    @zealot:
    “i was always puzzled why alqaeda or anyone else never blows up cruise ships. they’re such easy, high value targets.”

    Dude, considering that pretty much everybody involved in hijacking the Achille Lauro walked out of it one piece, that is a very good question.

  • 23. enthusiast  |  December 2nd, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    I think that cruise ships are pretty difficult targets. Most of them used to have security as tight as, or tighter than an airport in order to board, in my experience as a kid. Today it’s probably even tighter.

    And intercepting a ship the size of a cruise ship is very difficult, as has been explained in the earlier comments.

  • 24. Leper  |  December 2nd, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Maybe al qaeda and other groups don’t see cruise ships as high profile targets for spreading terror via the media? Compared to various previous attacks (eg New York, London, Mumbai) a cruise liner attack won’t be as accessible by the media and civilian reporters. The sooner the media loses interest in the attacks, the less its impact and effectiveness.

    Alternatively, maybe they don’t possess the capabilities to train or prepare for such attacks?

  • 25. Nestor  |  December 2nd, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Or maybe groups of single middle eastern guys in their 20s are a real rare demographic on cruise ships, as in “stick out like a sore thumb” rare

  • 26. LA Confidential Pantload  |  December 2nd, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Who the fuck would want to go on a cruise off Somalia?

  • 27. yabadabadoo  |  December 2nd, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    This is funny as shit. Nerd is dead on. I mean Rreally – WTF? Right?

  • 28. Teejay  |  December 2nd, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    “I think that cruise ships are pretty difficult targets. Most of them used to have security as tight as, or tighter than an airport in order to board, in my experience as a kid. Today it’s probably even tighter.”

    Lol. Do you really think the securities can fight off the somali pirates once they get on board the cruise? These guys (pirates) are battle harden and probably mastered fighting with RPG’s and AK 47s since they were 12.

  • 29. Grimgrin  |  December 2nd, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    A Cruise ship is the worst possible target for these people. A container ship is crewed by professionals, and carries insurance. You grab it, they pay, the shipping rate goes up. No big deal. Hell you get people us the entire readership of the War nerd column cheering you on.

    Lets go over why a cruise ship is a bad idea.

    There’s as many as 3000 people to take care of. How do you keep that many under control? I mean yes, you have guns and they don’t, but seriously taking over a freighter crewed by six or seven and a floating city is an entirely different proposition.

    What’s more it’s a proposition that attracts the wrong sort of attention. Cargo is easy, cargo is a business proposition. This is wall to wall interviews with weeping family on CNN, media blitz and enormous pressure on whatever government happens to be responsible to get them out.

    Now maybe you’ll be lucky and grab a cruise ship full of Japanese or Canadians or Belgians. More likely you’ve just grabbed a boatload full of American civilians. Now Lets say everything goes well. Cool heads prevail and you get a nice ransom for letting the cruise ship go. Fine. Except for not fine, not fucking fine at all.

    The Iranians grabbed 52 Americans, and there are still people in the states who want to see the country reduced to rubble. Ask Castro about that shit. America holds a grudge. Now it has a grudge against you. And you don’t have oil, or a superpower backing you.

    Taking a cruise ship would be the pirates version of invading Iraq. Lots of dick waving and fireworks at the start, and no end in sight to the misery it would bring long term.

  • 30. John  |  December 3rd, 2008 at 12:30 am

    “The Iranians grabbed 52 Americans, and there are still people in the states who want to see the country reduced to rubble.”

    Yeah, but we didn’t fucking do it, did we?

    That really can’t serve as a warning to anyone. “Don’t mess with our citizens or we’ll think badly of you for decades to come.”

    I think most pirate gangs would be what we’d call “individualists.” Seize your profit there and then and don’t worry about what the next gang of pirates will go through because of it.

    The fact that the boyeeez have already been engaging cruise ships pretty much shows that they’re willing to engage cruise ships, and if not for hostages, then what were they looking for? We don’t exactly transport military hardware or industrial goods to loot on those things.

  • 31. zealot  |  December 3rd, 2008 at 2:09 am

    @enthusiast-i’m not talking about taking over the ship, or sneaking a bomb onto it (btw, Nestor they wouldn’t stick out like sore thumb as cabin crew members) just ramming a boat-bomb into it
    @leper-you don’t need a lot of training to ram a speadboat into the side of a ship & it’s been done before. a lot of floating dead bodies and a paralyzed luxury industry-that’s a high value target, im sure. media thing would be a much better argument against, but considering how a cruise-goers are loaded with all kinds of cameras, you can be sure quite a few survivors will provide footage. just make sure you leave some survivors (don’t sink all the life-rafts). and you can have your own boat stick arround with a camera and make their own little documentary. they don’t even have to split before navy arrives, nowadays you can download it via satelite and do a last stand. you think media wouldn’t air it? and allso your argument is kind of canceled out by Grimgrin’s argument of wall-too-wall interviews with the weeping families. and the survivors, if you left any. @Grimgrin weeping families are exactly the footage they would want. they don’t exacly do it for your aplause. as for the differences between taking over a cargo/v/cruise, you’re spot on (someone here said they hate ‘spot on’- well, spotonspotonspoton). which is why i’m talking of threatening to blow the ship up from the outside. frankly, just a threat of a sustained RPG barrage would do to get them to pay up.
    @John – SPOT ON!

  • 32. zealot  |  December 3rd, 2008 at 3:00 am

    the real weak point of my idea is whether these groups can credbly enforce the deal, at least on their turf. if they aren’t, then there is no point to agree to any deals, and other factors are responsible for lack of attacks. if they are, than only a really strong new player would dare to try anything. or an old one, trying for a new deal.

  • 33. Mar C  |  December 3rd, 2008 at 4:44 am

    Erm…isn’t there like an international treaty against civilian ships carrying heavy weapons or something?

    Not to mention international cruises arriving to a foreign port: “Oh don’t mind the big guns Mr. Marshall Sir, it’s just for the pirates, not for fuckin’ invadeing your country or anything, na-ah!”

  • 34. Mar C  |  December 3rd, 2008 at 5:09 am

    “How exactly does a cruise ship outrun a speedboat?”

    I’m pretty sure it started by the captain yelling: Full speed ahead!

  • 35. fajensen  |  December 3rd, 2008 at 6:43 am

    There is also the fact that the Pirates are the Fed-Ex of Africa!

    Say you got a deck load of containers with “machine parts” or “scrap metal” from one of the former Yugoslav countries, Ukraine or maybe former Czechoslovakia that you really need to deliver to some place like 1980’s South Africa or maybe Zimbabwe. The kinds of cargo and destination that could cause a lot of grief with customs.

    What do you do?

    First, you get an end-user certificate from a friendly embassy, the kind that understands the needs of private enterprise, like maybe Dubai or Turkey.

    Then you plod along the Suez on your trade circuit. At the assigned spot, the crew is sent below deck, pirates board and nick all the “machine parts”. The insurance pays and the real pay ticks into your Belgian number account as well. Everyone is happy except Lloyds.

    My wife’s father and brother were both sailors on small coasters.

    They were always robbed pretty much in the same place in the same manner. Especially when waiting for port entry to Aden.

  • 36. Linoleum Blownapart  |  December 3rd, 2008 at 10:10 am

    The supertanker had a crew of 25. That’s why it’s an ideal target.

    A cruise ship is great theatre, but I would think it’s too much of a pain in the ass.

  • 37. Barack Hussein Odrama  |  December 3rd, 2008 at 10:16 am

    The Indian navy’s “mother-ship” killer frigate Tabar has nukes.
    Zap the Khat fields 😆
    Hard to aim if there is any withdrawal from
    that stuff?

  • 38. Erik B.  |  December 3rd, 2008 at 11:20 am

    C’mon! The cruise ship-hijack is old hat.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2005/nov/06/travelnews.uknews.theobserver

    I don’t understand the problem: you mount a .50 caliber machinegun on the poop and steam up and down the Somali coastline, burning fireworks, playing loud music etc.

    When the poor suckers take the bait, hey! Party time! You throw back the tarp, fire up the barbecue. Line up guys and gels, five dollars a pop, free beer and popcorn if you buy a hundred rounds, hit a pirate for a free frank, sink the boat and you take home the sweepstake.

    Book me a ticket, already!

  • 39. Erik B.  |  December 3rd, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Oops! Maybe I should’ve read the entire article before I posted.

  • 40. Grimgrin  |  December 3rd, 2008 at 11:29 am

    John: No. But let me direct you to “The War Nobody Watched” By Gary Brecher. Just because the Americans didn’t blast Iran themselves didn’t mean they didn’t get any payback.

    Zealot: The Somali pirates would have to be crazy to go in for that kind of fun. Right now people have a good expectation of walking away if they’re taken hostage. If the pirates start blowing shit up and murdering hostages three things happen. One is that the crews of those freighters start being a lot less likely to just play along, and that means all kinds of headaches. Two is that officially or unofficially they’ll start arming themselves. Three it might just piss off the major players enough to start following the pirates home and shelling their ports.

    Mar C: Lets face it, these pirates are operating out of speedboats. You don’t exactly need heavy artillery to ruin their day. Your heavy machine gun of choice will do the job quite nicely. I’d be kind of interested to see what a M2 or DShK would do to your average Somali Pirate boat actually.

  • 41. zealot  |  December 3rd, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    @Grimgrin- good point with the blowback for pirates.

    still, the chases happen. as John pointed out, that proves some kind of intent. assuming these guys aren’t stupid, they must be getting something out of it. remember, my extortion idea, as far as pirates go, doesn’t rely on actually blowing a cruise ship up, but on delivering a credible threat that you could.

    then again, maybe there is no ongoing deal, with regular payments. they can just go on a chase like this and then call the shipping line saying: ‘pay up or next time we’ll try harder to get within RPG range, see what that does to your sales/stock’. no hostages to worry about, not much blowback potential, and you don’t have to even make sure you have exclusive rights to the turf, ’cause it’s a one-off for you. i think the shipping line wouldn’t dare to call your bluff. especially that they could threaten to just lob a few RPG rounds, or even just shoot the ship up with a heavy mashine gun without actually killing anyone (i’m sure everyone is holed up under the deck in situation like this). that’s enough to kill the sales/stock.

    so anyway blowback & bluff would explain why the pirates don’t sink cruiseships, even though they chase them. but why don’t the terrorists?

    a group like alqaeda actually wants retaliation, cause it allows them to engage the enemy on their turf & on their conditions . they don’t care about blowback brought on their civvies, as it drives recruitment. and they have proven thay can do maritime attacks (cole & linbourg)
    so they wouldn’t mind doing it, i think, and they very well could.
    at the same time i just remembered that there already exist a model for a kind of alqaeda insurance policy- the sauds, with whom al-q supposedly has a serious grudge, regularly pay good money to islamic charities which are fronts for financing al-q. as a result, there have not been any serious attacks against the saud.
    so it would be interesting to see who else these charities get money from.

  • 42. Merc  |  December 3rd, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    *sigh* – it’s very, very simple. What you do is you have 4 Somali pirate boats chase the cruise ship, and radio their buddies further down the coast to intercept. This actually requires teamwork. The other 6 Somali pirate boats should wait in between the coast and the potential path of the boat – in such a manner so that they can actually intercept it, in other words get to the spot that the cruise ship is about to arrive, before the cruise ship arrives. Armed with RPGs, they should make a couple of holes in the cruise ship, not actually killing anyone, but ensuring that the captain slows down to “boarding speed”.

    Now in reference to the machine guns everyone keeps on talking about. You guys are so WWI. What you do as a Somali pirate to counter that, is you have a sniper, (sniper rifles now on sale in Ukraine in all shapes and sizes, just name the price,) and use the sniper rifle to take out Brecher, and any other machine gun volunteers. He’s a professional, I’m sure he will understand.

    Now as for armament: you generally want to have four men per boat. One armed with either a sniper’s rifle (if it’s one of the four pursuing boats) or an RPG (if it’s one of the six ambushing boats). The rest are armed with AK-47s, and whatever else you pirates have. Grenades are highly recommended. And of course you need radios, to ensure that the six ambushing boats are in place and hit the cruise ship’s nose with their RPGs.

    As for security teams, bring them on. Should you see a security team, I recommend a good old dynamite trick, that’s when you have enough dynamite to puncture a hole in the ship so that the ship sinks. The job of security teams is to get the passengers to safety, so if they have a choice between surrendering and saving the passengers, or having the ship sunk, they’ll be forced to surrender, even if they can kill all 40 pirates.

  • 43. Grimgrin  |  December 3rd, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Merc: Right, because dudes who can bullseye a machine gunner on a moving platform from a moving platform on the fucking ocean while being shot at are just a dime a dozen on the horn. Bear in mind the maximum effective range of a M2 or a DShK is over 2 kilometers. You’d need someone who makes a marine corps sniper look like an Iraqi conscript to pull that shit off.

  • 44. Amos  |  December 4th, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Yeah that sniper idea must be the droolingest stupid thing ever. Imbecile, it’s almost impossible to strike a small figure crouching behind a machine gun at a mile distance from a rocking, bucking, moving platform, especially at the same time that figure is dispensing high-power volumes of fire downrange at you, at a vastly higher rate than you are capable of and from a stable platform. Seriously WTF?

    Sniper rifle vs heavy machine gun in a game of chicken on the open seas. Pure idiocy.

    Also, this whole idea that Somali gunmen are some kind of super-human killing machines.. no dude they are just skinny jerkoffs with no training, little organization and no respect for their own safety. That only goes so far against real soldiers, as the U.S rangers proved in Mogadishu when they killed 800 or more Somalis in exchange for 18 of their own. Organized, trained soldiers annihilate ignorant tribesmen, that’s been true since the time of the Romans.

  • 45. Merc  |  December 5th, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Hey It’s Amos and Andy, err Grimgrin. They’ve never fought a war, never seen combat, but sure know how to nitpick. The US Marines use live ammunition in their training. The Somalis not only use live ammunition, but also get shot at during their “training”. If you grow up in an area like Somalia, what you do us wake up, shoot, eat, shoot, crap, shoot, and shoot some more. Somalia produces much better recruits then the United States for snipership, and much, much better “training grounds”. It’s really common sense to know that people living in a perpetual state of warfare make better snipers then people who think that James Bond actually exists.

    Furthermore the cruiseship cannot change its trajectory, in the same manner that a pirate boat can. Bear in mind that the sniper needs to hit the machine-gunner before the machine-gunner hits him, which need not be on the sniper’s first shot. Some snipers can make a shot “on the run” which means that they have so much control of their body that their hands don’t shake while they are running. Here the sniper is stationary, but in a boat, it’s a similar scenario.

    Amos – if you want to, we can do it. A sniper’s rifle vs. a machine gun, is when the sniper’s rifle will generally win. My only request is that we use live ammunation, because you understand, the Earth has too many idiots as it is, and unlike Grimgrin who at least gets the concept that if the sniper has superior training he can pull it off, you seem to fail to even get that.

    Also, a rocking, buckling platform? Have you seen a Somali pirate boat? You should at least study one before your next post, because those things go fast, and a higher speed means less rocking. Also, a machine gun trying to hit a pirate boat that can change its trajectory at any time, is going to have a lot tougher time hitting anything, then a sniper who knows where the victim will be next, because the cruiseship will be going full speed ahead, same speed, same direction = easy to hit. Machine gun was invented to take out the people charging it and in the area around it. On the open seas, with super-manuevrable pirate boats, I’d rather be the sniper then a moving target.

    Then you go on and demonstarte your idiocy by claiming that the US Rangers performed stellarly at Mogadishu. Do you at least read the War Nerd? You know, reading comprehension? Being able to re-apply it? Mogadishu, just as most of Clinton’s Foreign Policy, was a loss for the US. 18 US Rangers for 800 Somalis, is a great trade for the Somalis. Right now there are too many Somalis in Mogadishu, so when 800 out of a million get killed, the Somalis go – “meh”. But the 18 rangers, that ensured that the US will leave Somalia. And it provided a free training grounds for the up and coming Somalis against some of the best forces in the field, showing the Somalis that US Elites aren’t invincible. That’s a huge morale bonus. The 800+ Somalis that were killed, were either “Green” or people who recently passed the “Green” stage, not battle-hardened Somali warriors, so don’t give yourself too much credit. 800 Somalis, they pump out that much two weeks and it takes a lot longer to train a single US Ranger.

    Your average Somali gunman – probably isn’t that good. However if you take into account that almost every male in Mogadishu is a Somali Gunmen, and you take one percent of that – the truly good gunment, you still have thousands. It’s much easier to produce great soldiers if your country’s in a state of anarchy.

    And Amos – just to debunk your Roman theory – what about the Huns? You may want to change that last line to “trained soldiers annihilate and/or bribe ignorant tribesmen”. Of course I could also bring in the Mongols. Shall I keep going? One last thing Amos. Don’t call me dude. I don’t like people who don’t know jack shit about modern warfare, calling me dude. And read Brecher’s book, you might actually learn something.

  • 46. Amos  |  December 5th, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    Trained soldiers annihilate ignorant tribesmen. You’re an stupid fuck who knows nothing, dude.

  • 47. John Thomas  |  December 5th, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Maybe the Russians or some other pig-neanderthal hybrid will have one of their ships full of klystrons hijacked on its way to Iran. At that point, I’d expect a nice nuanced response, like flattening random villages along the coast until they hit the place where the pirates’ sperm receptacles reside.

    Now there’s a war we can all enjoy.

    P.S. Did you know Somalian is the Amharic word that for asswipe?

  • 48. Amos  |  December 6th, 2008 at 12:57 am

    Oh come on John, haven’t you heard? The Somalis are supermen, which is why their little country is a giant military power that dominates half the globe.

    In fact, I hear the U.s navy is mothballing the Aegis cruisers in favor of leaky speedboats packed with illiterate 17-year-olds doped up on Khat, and I hear the US army is discontinuing it’s basic program of fitness, combined maneuver and marksmanship training in favor of firing wildly from the hip until your AK jams then running to hide behind a brick wall, rusty car or woman while yelling to your leader on your cheap Chinese mobile phone until the other side triangulates the signal and drops a Jdam on him.

  • 49. Baltimoron  |  December 6th, 2008 at 8:20 am

    My hunch is that the Somali pirates who shot at this cruise ship did it (as they say) “for the lulz.”

    Taking a cruiseliner hostage would be a logistical nightmare–if not an impossibility–for a band of swashbuckling skinnies. Before taking into account the huge numbers of passengers, the pirates would have to deal with the 900-odd sailors making up the crew complement of the ships that companies like Carnival put to sea. I’ll grant that the crewmembers who aren’t security are supposed to be unarmed (and are likely lightly armed in reality), but the Somali groups simply lack the boats, manpower, and space required to hold a floating city hostage no matter how vulnerable it is.

    None of that, of course, is going to stop a drug-addled teenager in a speedboat from emptying a magazine in the general direction of a cruise ship. Kids + select-fire weapons = fun even without the influence of stimulants or fast vehicles.

    As an aside, one of the bigger cruise lines apparently hires Gurkha security goons for its ships. I’d love to know what they’re armed with given the diverse sets of laws they have to (hypothetically) abide by due to the number of ports in which their vessels drop anchor. I’d also love to see a Gurkha v. Somali khatfreak battle royal one of these days.

  • 50. Merc  |  December 7th, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Amos – in a debate the object to counter the argument of your opponent, not to show off your rather moronic insults. I’ve talked about the Huns and Mongols, and I can also mention how the Ignorant Tribesmen burned Rome, which, last time I checked was supposed to have a well-trained army. Your counter-argument of calling me a “stupid fuck” simply shows that your IQ is below Bush’s, even after you divide his by 2. Go to a Mental Retardation School or something.

    And in Somalia the ignorant tribesmen either become knowledgeble very, very quickly, or die very, very quickly. Before the Battle of Stalingrad, the troops didn’t know much about urban warfare. But at Stalingrad, they learned very, very fast. You’d be surprised how quickly soldiers learn when put to the test.

    But Amos, learn? He’d be on the dead list very, very fast. To qoute the Exile “Hey they wired the trailer parks, ain’t that something…” Why am I not surprised that scum like you actually think Nathan Bedford Forrest a hero?

  • 51. Merc  |  December 7th, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    John Thomas – what do you have against the Russians? They’ve done pretty darn well in Georgia, and for that earned my respect. Let’s not forget that the Georgian Army cost $1 billion to train and equip, and they were trained by companies whose tactics never failed before. Second Chechen War, now the South Ossetian War, something tells me these guys don’t mess around.

    Plus a ship carrying Russian made tanks was already captured. The Russians sent a single shio – I don’t think they are the ones going around invading other countries on a whim. With Georgia – let’s not forget that it was Georgia who attacked first. As for calling any race neanderthal – you simply show yourself as a joke.

    Also, if the Russians were transporting anything to Iran, any intelligent person who knows geography would realize that the Russians would be using the Caspian Sea. Here’s a hint neanderthal: no Somali Pirates are present in the Caspian Sea. So your dream won’t come true, that makes me, very, very indifferent.

  • 52. Amos  |  December 7th, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Merc, you don’t know shit about anything, the reason I didn’t much bother with your ‘arguments’ are that they are teenage bullshit from somebody who is almost completely historically illiterate. I’ve learnt from long experience that reasoning with your species of internet tard is pointless. Statistical outliers do not make a trend, Rome declined as a political entity, was never destroyed, and saw it’s power devolve more through civil war than outside attack, towards rival centers such as Constantinople, mostly lead by renegades from within the original empire.

    The fact that you are a tard is demonstrated by the fact that you’ve now moved on to lauding the super genius of the inhabitants of the world’s most degenerate, poverty-stricken shit hole, calling me a Klan supporter and assuming I’m an American (I’m not) who lives in a trailer park (I don’t). See, this is exactly why people avoid conversation with dumbfucks like you, you have literally nothing intelligent to add.

    Shut the fuck up, dude. I say that as a formality. I know you won’t shut the fuck up. Ever. You’re kind don’t, can’t. And the dumber you are, the louder you are.

  • 53. Merc  |  December 8th, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Amos. So hilarious how you deny that you’re American and a moron, but your own cursing shows that you’re a pathetic moron. Shut the Fuck Up? Would any self-respecting European ever say that? And then repeat it?

    Only an idiot would call what the Somali doing super-genius. Your basic reading comprehension failure again proves that you’re a Palin supporter. Somalis: Intelligent in warfare/street smarts? Yes. Super-Gutsy? Yes. Super-Genius? Not really.

    You are just a pathetic slob, sitting in front of the computer, degrading the Somalis, because you are jealous of what they can do, and what your broke ass that’s a miserable failure in life cannot do, probably jerking off to random women because you cannot get any.

    Also, do you know that Constantinople was the capital of the Roman Empire? How is a capital a rival center you pathetic moron? Arguing history with you is like talking common sense with Bush. Neither has the basic facts.

    And history proves, constantly, that in battle soldiers either learn or die. That’s really the only two options. And the World’s most degenerate, poverty stricken shithole would produce constant war, that’s also a fact of life.

    And the Mongols aren’t a statistical outlier you dolt. They’re years of evolution of ignorant tribesmen as you call them, or damn experienced fighters as I call them, that took over China, and had death not intervened with one of their leaders, would have probably taken over Europe. Ignorant tribes produce war, which enables the tribesmen to gain experience, which in turn (Amos is lost by this point) ensures that they become good fighters. What does US Marine training simulate? Oh yeah, war. For Somalis it ain’t a simulation, it’s a fact of life. Ergo, they’re good at it. Or do you think it’s “Operation Cakewalk” to hijack an oil tanker?

    And Amos – you are such a great punching bag, that even though I’m not supposed to make fun of the mentally ill, in your case, I will make an exception. And try using words other then “fuck” next time. Can you at least do that?

  • 54. Amos  |  December 8th, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    I didn’t even read your bullshit, idiot. I’m taking my own advice.

  • 55. Merc  |  December 9th, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Good to know. You fail at reading comprehension too much to understand it, moron. Damn I wish your mom knew what a condom was, it’s people like you who actually enabled Bush to get into office. I don’t give a shit about Republicans or Democrats, but basic competence would’ve helped the both of you.

    Incompetent Leaders make Al Qaeda thrive, thank God Russians have a government intelligent enough to handle Georgia from making that incident another World War, as the Bush Administration would likely have done.

  • 56. Amos  |  December 10th, 2008 at 6:14 am

    haha didn’t read it!

    Ah, it’s petty I know, but funny to think with a few childish taunts I can drive a little virgin on the other side of the planet almost mad with rage.

  • 57. Merc  |  December 11th, 2008 at 10:56 am

    “Haha didn’t read it”? And I’m the child? Ahh, the virgin taunt. That’s so very manly of you. It’s wrong, but good try. Mad with rage? What kind of an idiot would be mad with rage over Internet Comments? *Remembers Amos* – oh right.

  • 58. cynic  |  December 13th, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Earplugs? Meh.

    Bose noise canceling headsets. Just the thing :-)

  • 59. bugger  |  December 13th, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    #20 ~ “i was always puzzled why alqaeda or anyone else never blows up cruise ships. they’re such easy, high value targets.”

    Cruise ships have a lot of Israeli owners. They regularly use the passengers for bioweapons experiments.

  • 60. Militant Cannibal  |  December 13th, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Placing military weapons on civilian ships is a nightmare of buerocracy in any civilized country. But perhaps it work for Liberia registred vessels?

    And quite often, the victim ships crew don’t even detect the pirate speedboats before they are onboard.

    In my opinion, military escorts is the way to operate. Civilan ships can never outgun pirates, and pirates can never outgun serious navies.

  • 61. dove  |  December 15th, 2008 at 1:02 am

    while u girls are fighting the indian navy just arrested 23 pirates who this time just surrendered instead of threatening to sink the destroyer. I hope the pirates are handed over to some country who is not so careful about human rights.

  • 62. Prince AJ  |  April 26th, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    My name is Prince AJ, please how can i travel to U.S?


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