Random Thoughts (Political Edition)

Blackout89

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I'll say something else. The pirates have loads of RPGs. Hitting a 14 foot dingy will take a lot of training (and I don't think they have the time to do that). Hitting a 300 foot cargo ship with an RPG is comparatively easy at similar ranges.
While this is completely true, pirates?terrorists. Just being able to hit a ship with an RPG doesn't help them. Pirates don't gain anything by just causing damage to a ship, they either have to take the ship or the crew to get money for ransom.
If you make boarding a ship an incredible dangerous endeavour, by mounting guns on deck or hireing mercs to guard the ship, chances are that pirates back off or at least leave guarded ships alone.
 

tigger

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FUUUUUUUU .... how did I never hear about that? I'll have to give that a try.

Problem with arming them is that they aren't trained military personell. It'll lead to innocent people being killed for getting too close to a merchant ship, and it'll raise the stakes, making the situation more dangerous for the seamen themselves.
It's definitely possible that this will only lead to escalation. When the US Navy Seals killed those 3 pirates (last year?) their leader vowed to start killing Americans.

Normally what I hear people advocating isn't arming civilians exactly, but hiring mercenaries. Which usually have some training, at least. Or sticking soldiers from the ship's country of register on board. But both those options still leave a lot of problems to be resolved.

I've got to say though, if I was in charge of a shipping company that is tasked with transporting valuable merchendise through potentially pirate-infested waters, I would probably hire mercenaries to guard the ship. At least in the current situation
But there are plenty of hurdles to that as well. Civilian ships don't have the sovereignty that warships do. Many nations don't allow armed merchant ships in their waters or ports, and some countries won't let ships flying their flags go armed.

Furthermore, the ship owner is liable for the actions of his crew on the high seas. If mercenaries "accidentally" shoot up a fishing boat or something, the ship owner is held liable.
 

Plissken

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Be more specific.

Is "a stupid idea, has cost the US taxpayer untold billions, has taken over twenty years, doesn't work, probably never will" specific enough?
 

hajj

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But there are plenty of hurdles to that as well. Civilian ships don't have the sovereignty that warships do. Many nations don't allow armed merchant ships in their waters or ports, and some countries won't let ships flying their flags go armed.

Furthermore, the ship owner is liable for the actions of his crew on the high seas. If mercenaries "accidentally" shoot up a fishing boat or something, the ship owner is held liable.
Yemen and Djibouti both give permission to go armed through their waters (for a fee of course), but while this solves the problem in the Gulf of Aden, it does not solve the problem further south off the coasts of Kenya and Tanzania. Maritime law is rather complicated in where you are potentially liable, it can be in the flag state, in the country where the owner is situated, in the country where the charterer is settled and in any of the countries where the cargo is going to or coming from, plus the country in whose waters an incident occurs, but all we know is that you are safe from prosecution in somalia.
 

nomix

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While this is completely true, pirates?terrorists. Just being able to hit a ship with an RPG doesn't help them. Pirates don't gain anything by just causing damage to a ship, they either have to take the ship or the crew to get money for ransom.
If you make boarding a ship an incredible dangerous endeavour, by mounting guns on deck or hireing mercs to guard the ship, chances are that pirates back off or at least leave guarded ships alone.
Try to hit them and see what happens.
 

tigger

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Yemen and Djibouti both give permission to go armed through their waters (for a fee of course), but while this solves the problem in the Gulf of Aden, it does not solve the problem further south off the coasts of Kenya and Tanzania. Maritime law is rather complicated in where you are potentially liable, it can be in the flag state, in the country where the owner is situated, in the country where the charterer is settled and in any of the countries where the cargo is going to or coming from, plus the country in whose waters an incident occurs, but all we know is that you are safe from prosecution in somalia.
Exactly what I was getting at. Arming merchant vessels is not nearly as simple as it would seem.
 

Blind_Io

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It's probably easier than you think. With contanerized transport it would be easy to make a trick container with a flip-down side and place it above the rail. A flip of a switch and the side drops down revealing a machine gun or small deck gun. Put one on each side and staff it with mercenaries or military when in hostile waters.

After a couple of ambushes like that the pirates might reconsider going after "helpless" merchant vessels.

It's been done before to lure u-boats to the surface. They were called Q-ships.
 

nomix

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When Churchill announced that all merchant ships were to be armed, if I'm not mistaken, Hitler announced that all merchant shipping were to be targeted regardless of anything.

Correct me if my recolection of history is faulty.
 

hajj

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Exactly what I was getting at. Arming merchant vessels is not nearly as simple as it would seem.
Ohh I think I forgot the country of origin of the crew in my previous post. Arming a merchant vessel opens the possibility to be liable in a multitude of countries, but only some would pursue such actions, also a US vessel will only be liable in fewer countries, so it could make sense.
 

Blind_Io

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When Churchill announced that all merchant ships were to be armed, if I'm not mistaken, Hitler announced that all merchant shipping were to be targeted regardless of anything.

Correct me if my recolection of history is faulty.
They were already targeting merchant shipping.
 

nomix

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They were already targeting merchant shipping.
Well, yeah, I'm a little confused about it. But I think I remember some sort of shift after Churchill armed the merchant ships. Targeting all merchant ships for sinking didn't happen until sometime during 1940, however. I don't remember, though, so I'll shut my clapper.
 

SpitfireMK461

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On a different note...

This government truly knows no bounds when it comes to stupidity. I legitimately feel angry about this, even though it actually affects me in no way.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/16/alcohol.caffeine.drinks/index.html?hpt=T2


Senator: FDA to ban caffeinated alcohol drinks

(CNN) -- The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to ban caffeinated alcohol drinks, Sen. Charles Schumer said Tuesday.

The FDA, which has been reviewing the drinks since last year, declined to comment on the report. Spokeswoman Siobhan Delancey said the matter was still under review.

But Schumer, in a statement issued to the media, said the FDA will rule that caffeine is an unsafe additive to alcoholic beverages, effectively banning them from the U.S. market.

"Let these rulings serve as a warning to anyone who tried to peddle dangerous and toxic brews to our children. Do it and we will shut you down," Schumer, D-New York, said in the statement.
 

nomix

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Isn't the drinking age in the US 21? Who in their right mind would call a 21-year-old a.. CHILD?
 

Interrobang

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I sort of get why they banned this kind of Alcohol here for UNDER 18 YEAR OLDS ... but for 21+ grown ups? I don?t even see the difference this will make. You want the taste, you buy redbull and vodka ... if you have to buy both seperatly or in one bottle ... I don?t see how that makes a difference in a county where all alcohol is illegal untill age 21 ...
 

nomix

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I guess I'm most worried about certain types of beer that does indeed contain caffene. Those aren't really aimed at youths at all. Most youths will end puke if they taste those sorts of beer.
 

Blind_Io

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I sort of understand it. Mixing depressants (alcohol) with stimulants (caffeine) can cause some major health problems down the road (which is your choice), but it also increased the risk of death when combined. The body is being torn in two different directions, but the effect is seriously impaired judgment but without the loss of consciousness that keeps you from drinking yourself to death.

I can see where they are coming from, but it's still nannying.

Here in Utah the latest things are a drug called "Spice" that can be purchased at any 7-11 and gives a high similar to marijuana. Another one hit the stores this week that is being marketed as a bath salt but when snorted gives a high similar to cocaine.
 

SpitfireMK461

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^ It is a pointless endeavor aimed at Four Loko, which is not a new type of drink. Rum and coke has been around for who knows how long, and don't forget about Jaeger bombs and Sparks. It is an unwarranted hissyfit over a story about college freshman drinking too much (which included not only Four Lokos but also various liquors). Not to mention those kids were under aged and it was illegal for them to drink in the first place.

Let's get stories of actual adults having problems and then we'll talk.
 
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Firecat

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PBS edited a joke Tina Fey made about Palin and women "like her". It was during a speech for an award she won. Video and details in the link...

http://popwatch.ew.com/2010/11/16/pbs-edits-tina-fey-sarah-palin/

Text of what she said...

"And, you know, politics aside, the success of Sarah Palin and women like her is good for all women ? except, of course, those who will end up, you know, like, paying for their own rape kit ?n? stuff. But for everybody else, it?s a win-win. Unless you?re a gay woman who wants to marry your partner of 20 years ? whatever. But for most women, the success of conservative women is good for all of us. Unless you believe in evolution. You know what? Actually, I take it back. The whole thing?s a disaster.?
I thought it was kinda funny
 
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Cobol74

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When Churchill announced that all merchant ships were to be armed, if I'm not mistaken, Hitler announced that all merchant shipping were to be targeted regardless of anything.

Correct me if my recolection of history is faulty.
The first ship sunk in WWII by a U-boat was a liner the Athenia stuffed full of non combatants, women and children - do youu think it really mattered to Hitler? He was going to sink any and all shipping. Later in the war
he considered an order to U-Boat crews instructing them to machine gun all survivors, it was Donitz who persuaded him it would hurt U-Boat crew's morale.


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

So that was a charade by Hitler.

One thing there are Naval units steaming up and down being ineffective, should just bring them home and save some money.
 
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