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April 15th, 2009
10:11 AM ET

Congressman came under fire in Somalia

Rep. Donald Payne speaks to CNN's Kiran Chetry about coming under fire on his trip to Somalia.
Rep. Donald Payne speaks to CNN's Kiran Chetry about coming under fire on his trip to Somalia.

There are new developments today in the waters off of the coast of Somalia. Another U.S. ship, the Liberty Sun, was attacked by pirates. This time, the pirates were unsuccessful.

Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) is the first American member of the government to visit the country in a decade. His plane came under attack as he left Mogadishu earlier this week. Congressman Payne joined Kiran Chetry on CNN’s American Morning on Wednesday.

Kiran Chetry: You witnessed firsthand what a dangerous place and region this is. Why did you go?

Rep. Donald Payne: I've been dealing with that area for the last 20 years. And I had worked during the past two or three years trying to help them form a new government. They had a government I met with three or four times in Nairobi. They were meeting outside of Somalia, called a transitional federal government. They were not strong enough to maintain themselves. There was another group called the I.C.U., the Islamic Courts Union now called the Alliance that then took over a bit. It’s a complicated story but the U.S. suggested that Ethiopia intrude to bring peace, although Ethiopia is hostile to Somalia so that was really the wrong peacekeepers.

Chetry: You said this trip was largely successful. What about being fired on? What happened?

Payne: Well I think there’s certainly a group, the al Shabab, who may be the closest link to al Qaeda. They do not want to see this government work. That's what it's all about. I think the fact that I went there, that there were no problems during the day. We went around to the various places, met with women's groups, the prime minister, the cabinet people. I believe this was desperation. They don't want to see this new two-month government succeed. I assured President Sheikh Sharif that we would want to engage. They have a plan that they feel they can deal with piracy on the ground, on the land, rather than in the sea, which makes it very difficult. So they will be coming up with a plan in a couple of weeks and will submit it to our government and myself.

Chetry: The good news is that you guys didn't even know you were fired upon until you were safely in Kenya. The engine noise drowned that out. Thank goodness you guys are safe. Did the leaders you talked to have a handle on how dangerous this is and did they understand the urgency with which the international community wants them to do something?

Payne: No question about it. They think its going to prevent Somalia from moving forward. They know it's a dark mark on their country. They want to see it end. But, you see, the pirates have money with the cartels and the groups that support them. Al Shabab gets money from extremists who are anti-U.S. The government are the ones with no funds. So they said it's very difficult even though they're going to go forward anyway. But they're the ones that need the support.

Chetry: Would they support Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who said he hasn't ruled out perhaps attacking within Somalia. Would the government support that, an outside country like the United States launching attacks to cut down piracy?

Payne: I think if we supported the new government, had them form their own police, they have no police, they have no military. They know what to do. They know the terrain. I think it would make a lot more sense to give them the resources to see if they can do it themselves. If that fails, then we can bring in troops. I think it would, at this time, be a mistake to send in troops to try to weed out these terrorists.

Filed under: Piracy • Politics
soundoff (177 Responses)
  1. golfrick007

    Thay just said some small boat was taken by the pirates. Why cant they stay out of this area to stay out of harms way?

    April 18, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  2. Ed, Ed, and Eddie

    To all of you who want to bomb, blast and decimate – do you burn down your house if you find a roach? Perhaps you burn down your neighbor's house believing that's where the roaches came from? Given your apparent intelligence level, you probably do.
    Try using your minds instead of testosterone and think about the consequences of exuberant violence and destruction.
    Seems the GOP has the same solution for every problem – death and destruction. When you can get more creative than that, maybe you'll get elected. Until then, let those who can think responsibly and come up with creative solutions rule – in other words get out of the way, you're gumming up the works.

    April 16, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  3. JB Cal

    If there is a racial divide Bob I'm sure you've done your part to maintain it. My guess is that you don't really know any blacks much less had a real conversation with any. My advice to you, pull your head out and get some fresh air.

    April 16, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  4. Eric

    I say we kill these pirates on the open seas. They are no better than bank robbers on boats. It is not a Muslim thing, its a rule of law thing. No one reports in the US about a bank robbery like: "Christian robs bank". They are just criminals.
    If they break the law and use force, then use force back at them.

    Also, if they do want aid shipments so they can eat, stop the shipments.
    Let them starve. There are plenty of hungry people in the USA that could use the food aid.

    April 16, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  5. Ryan

    After reading these messages I am disgusted.
    I can not believe how selfish most of you are.
    Maybe some of these people are right saying the USA is a bunch of selfish, greedy jerks.
    I bet most of you would just sit back and watch someone get mugged or killed on the street of NY without doing anything only because it was not your problem.
    Grow a conscious America, people are dying out in this world and need our help. Just because it is not happening here does not mean it shouldnt be stopped.

    April 16, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  6. Kansas Veteran

    I say let France and the USA put a aircraft carrier off the coast along with support ships and let it be known that aircraft with orders to kill will intercept and destroy any and all craft that are considered a threat to commercial shipping . Any other nations that wish to participate are more than welcome. Captured pirates will be given a fair trial on board the naval ship that hauls them out of the water before a Captains mast, and then in the tradition of international maritine law, executed.

    April 16, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  7. Frank D. Woodruff

    As of late there has been an increase of pirate activity along the coast of Somalia, Africa. Our Government sit's around wringing their hands as to what to do. They say we can't arm our ships because of the chance of blowing up a ship that's full of oil or gas. What about frieghters. The ocean is to vast to patrol it all and the excuses go on and on. There seems to be no imagination in our government. So I'll give them a little hint as to what I would do.

    Get an empty tanker and fill it's tanks with water so the ship will look loaded to the water line. Then arm that ship with Marines that should stay below deck. Even put large guns under cover on the ship that will reach out an touch them so to speak. Let that ship cruise Somalia lets say thirty miles out or more as bait to suck in the pirates. If the pirates take the bait and fire on this tanker that would give the tanker a right to fire back. Then they could open fire back with all they had. Take no prisoners.
    The word would slowly get out then and the pirates would then have the fear put in them as they would no longer have any idea as to whom to attack.

    Let them not only to use tankers but Cargo ships. But they must look the innocent part of a civilian ship. Piracy will end after a few pirates are lost. Don't turn them over to any local Government, they would just be turned loose.

    If this is not done then you had better get used to the idea of loseing more ships at sea and even the loss of more lives. Yes, it's Harsh, but that's all these people under stand, remember their desperate. It's not hard to remember back when a helicopter went down in a fire fight and our dead troops were dragged thru their town's in the dust.
    I don't want to hear this business of " well, that's not ethical or even it's against International Law". All I want to hear is "let's get it done NOW". Throw the bait out and let's see if we get a nibble.

    Where is the gut's and imagination of our Government.

    April 16, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  8. Pam

    Maybe it is time to look into the toxic wastes that our government (and others) are dumping in the ocean that are washing up on Somalian shorelines, polluting their environment.
    I do not condone the piracy but this issue is affecting the welfare of these people to the point that piracy is now the only way to survive!

    April 16, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  9. sbrown

    Get a bunch of navy seals, target their mother ship put sugar in the gas tank, poke holes in the hull and wreck the rest of their equipment

    do it once a month

    April 16, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  10. David

    Mujahid Osama-

    Somali marines? Somebody has been seriously drinking some Al-Qaeda Kool-Aid, but then again, what do I expect from someone who calls himself "Mujahid Osama?"

    Why don't you just go ahead and admit it- these guys are criminals, wanting money they haven't worked for and haven't earned by illegally seizing vessels. Stop glamorizing them as freedom fighters and show them for the cowards they are. Actually, I hope they keep attacking US ships, because the pirates make excellent target practice for our Navy Seals.

    April 16, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  11. Saiid Barca

    Why are we so proud of snipping 16 year old pirates? That should be an embarrassement – All we had to do is give them American Cheese and the captain will be released. Obama should forget about external affairs while in power and focus on the 95% of degenerate republican americans who attended those tea parties, and put some sense into those Sean-Rush-Levin-Mal educated listeners. By the way, Obama is helping you in getting a better education by investing in schools-So wake up and smell the hammus.

    April 16, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  12. Mo

    I'm ashamed to have most of you called "Americans"... USAF member and I would not want to see any country including ours deal with what is happening in Somalia. The only reason no one wants to deal with that country if "BLACKHAWK DOWN".... We need to deal with these Pirates and any one else that put us in Danger as a Country! We are all american... ! Not BLACK / WHITE / ASIAN / MEXICAN! If you were BORN & RAISED in this Great Country then you will understand this Fighting amongst ourselves will have to stop if we are going to fix our Problems and then Deal with another Country's issues!
    To make any comment about the COLOR of someone skin and then think Whites have more than other RACES in this country is BULL! But, then that just proves my BELIEF this is what caused out problems... NOT the GOVERNMENT.... it US AS A WHOLE!!!!!


    April 16, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  13. Chris Temple

    SHOCK! A Democrat who doesn't want to fight.

    Those pirates, they just need to know that they are loved. We can send them gifts, maybe a few Obama/GM Hybrids, a health care plan, and give them a college education, that's all they need, that's all they want. Really, it's our fault for being so greedy for the last eight years.

    April 16, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  14. gramps1941

    I wonder why CNN bothers to inform us our comments will be moderated. Obviously the moderator is either not reading posts or his(her)goal is to let the idiots reign. Is it CNN's policy to continue to post the racist, the ignorant, the juvenile to fill up this thread with all of the silly stuff. The serious comment on this thread is probably limited to some 10 percent of the posts.

    Many of you have no idea who the Representative (not Senator) is. Neither do I. I just know somehow he got put on a committee that allows him to travel to various countries. (Funny, I thought foreigh affairs was the business of the Secty of State and the Executive branch) Quite frankly, congressmen(women) have been taking these taxpayer funded trips for years and IMO they should all be severely curtailed.

    The Somalia question is not going to be solved by stand off bombing, nuclear attack or any other military action that is 'safe' for us and bad for them. It will take some in country dirty work (Thats what combat is, Dirty work) and it will cost casualties. We cannot be forced to run by the ugly pictures of US or other Countries soldiers being dragged through the streets. If any attack is made, it must be carried out until the bad guys (Pirates, insurgents whatever) are ALL dead, not just dispersed.

    Another option is to place a total embargo on the entire region, divert cargo vessels to a course that takes them much further away from Somalia and post some serious naval presence in the area around the Horn where this is not possible. Any pirate attack to be met with overwhelming force and not too much attention paid to a 'capture'.
    Such an embargo could conceivably be put in place without disturbing the small area of Somalia that is under somesort of control. These pirate strongholds are a long long way from Mogadishu.

    Lastly. and i know this is a waste of time. IF you dont have anything constructive or at least intellectually honest to contribute,go post on a different site that caters to the uninformed, and apparently unemployed.

    April 16, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  15. PK California

    I doubt very much if troops will be sent to Somelia. My guess it would be undercover to locate the pirates' headquarters. The pirates cannnot be identified because they don't wear uniforms and look like everyone else. Apparently the leaders are recruiting kids to do the dirty work while they get the money from ransom. It's said it all goes to feed the area. I doubt that! But, for the short term, security should be allowed for ships in that area, similar to marshals on airplanes, and the UN must become actively involved because it's an International problem. This is not a BLACK issue. These people who are holding hostages just happen to be BLACK! All heads of conutries are concerned. The cost of shipping would be outlandish if they had to sail in safe waters.

    April 16, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  16. Teddy Teddy

    Here's another congressman who wants to waste our money. Payne wants us to send them money so they'll get rid of the bad guys. Well why didn't he ask them to get rid of the bad guys first before we send them money? America does not have very good reputation in most islamic countries. These poeple hate us and all the civilized infidels. Wake up, stop meddling around. You have done enough to ruin our own country. America is in financial mess. We are not the policemen of the world. Leave that to UN. What a idiot! No wonder so many people hate Americans.

    April 16, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  17. Kevin

    Stay out of Africa is all I want to say. The Caucasian world has done so much infrastructural and cultural damage to Africa, that it now acts out in self destruction. What Africans in Africa need to do is revolt enmass against their current corrupt governments and start a fresh. Kick out all foreigners, who come from European countries as well as the Americas.

    April 16, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  18. Peter K

    Situations like this require a lot of thinking first, followed by determined action. There's a lot of people out there who want to get right to the second part.

    April 16, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  19. gramps1941

    I am dissapointed but not suprised by Rep Payne's remarks. So, I guess his solution is to send more money to the so called Government that is so weak it has to meet in Kenya? The only way I support expending any more money in Somalia is the cost of deploying a couple of Marine Divisions to land at the pirates capital city (In the middle of nowhere by the way, with one road (track) in and out to capture the area, destroy any of the pirates beautiful new homes, destroy or remove all of their new cars, boats, etc, remove any surviving pirates to a country that requires capital punishment for piracy, and a few bulldozers to finish the job. And I wonder how much of a campaign contribution the Honorable Rep will receive for this little bit of 'advice'?

    April 16, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  20. irony

    What if....
    What if we (the United States) are behind all of this.
    What if the CIA etc. is creating this chaos around the world so that we can profit from it.
    There is no point to building all these super sophisticated F22 and subs and tanks and seals if we don't have a reason to use them after all?
    I hope this is not true.

    April 16, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  21. MLawson

    I live in Newark, NJ, where Payne is from, and emailed him and the Governor (of NJ) to let him know how sorry I was that he was shot at; but even more disappointed that he USED TAXPAYERS $$$ TO GO ON THIS TRIP TO ACCOMPLISH NOTHING THAT WILL BENEFIT THE PEOPLE OF HIS DISTRICT. It is time for our elected officials to focus on the jobs, education and health care reform, and other quality of life issues that we need instead of gallivanting all over the globe. Somalia has nothing to offer my city. Nothing we can trade with them. No jobs for our citizens. We have crime, joblessness, illiteracy. Mr.Payne stay home and take care of our house.

    April 16, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  22. Steve (Iowa)

    That's right, let's just arm them to the teeth so they can fight the extreamists themselves! Then they can turn on us like every other mideast nation has. Whoever thinks that arming the government of Somalia will solve the problem has had their head buried in the sand for too long!! These THUGS should NOT be given arms!! The only reason this has been suggested is because it would allow the MIC to fill their coffers with more of the taxpayer's money. Come on you ignorant SOB's in Washington, stop funding these other country's wars!!

    April 16, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  23. Aaron

    I think we just need to pull all our assets out of the area and show everyone what a good 50 – 60 years of nuclear research can really do and just turn the whole place into a glass field.

    Besides .. no matter what we do, what president we have, and what aid we give to other countries we're always the 'bad' guy .. so I say if we're the 'bad' guys then we should act like it. It might not be the 'right' thing to do, but then 'right' and 'wrong' are matters of perspective.

    April 16, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  24. Shadysider

    Does Payne really have no idea about the political and social situation in Somalia? It appears not. The best way to deal with the pirates is to allow the crew of these ships to be armed and defend themselves. Apparently a law needs to be passed to allow them to do this, as foolsh as that sounds, so pass the law and allow them to carry weapons. The U.S. government and our tax dollars should not pay for protection of private enterprise. Either they arm and protect themselves, or their company should hire military contractors on their own dime for protection. That being said, I was impressed with how the French dealt with their recent pirate episode and used it to 'fry bigger fish.'

    April 16, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  25. mujahid osama

    Somalia has been used as a dumping ground for hazardous waste starting in the early 1990s, and continuing through the civil war there," and "European companies found it to be very cheap to get rid of the waste, costing as little as $2.50 a tonne, where waste disposal costs in Europe are something like $1000 a tonne."
    European and american companies have been accused by Somali pirates(somali marines), as well as by the United Nations Environmental Programme, of dumping toxic waste containers off of the coast of Somalia.
    The problem of overfishing and illegal fishing in Somali waters, is a very serious one, and does affect the livelihoods of people inside Somalia […] the dumping of toxic waste on Somalia’s shores is a very serious issue, which will continue to affect people in Somalia long after the war has ended, and piracy is resolved
    Somali pirates (somali marines) have attacked dozens of vessels by protecting their sea.with a fraction of those attacks resulting in a successful hijacking. In 2008 there were 111 attacks which included 42 successful hijackings.[45] Most of these attacks occur in the Gulf of Aden but the Somali marines have been increasing their range and have started attacking ships as far south as off the coast of Kenya in the Indian Ocean. sooner or later we they will this war againt u.s and europeans who dumping toxic in their sea. the new strategy of somali marines will be implemented within few weeks to come. one of the new strategy is beheading nationalities of u.s.a and europeans. becouse they deserve it. they killing our childrens with toxic waste.

    April 16, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  26. MichaelB

    We don't need troops in Somolia. Just park some destroyers off the coast and sink anything that leaves port. It'd take about a week for the problem to go away.

    April 16, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  27. Anne in NJ

    Gavin- as a New Jersey resident I hardly believe that you can call NJ a "failed state." You have obviously never paid a visit to the Garden State or you would be aware of the many, many reasons people choose to live here, people from all over the US and the world. What a stupid, ignorant, ill-informed, ridiculous statement to make-shame on you.

    April 16, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  28. palmpear

    The senator is right. We should not establish a troop presence on the ground. However, we should send an AWACS and carrier to track all vessels and strafe the boats launched from motherships with helos or green giants. Any land based attacks should be via shadows and Mk 45 with rocket assist projectiles.

    April 16, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  29. tguy

    Why are black politicians only interested in Africa?
    This guy is a fool. Give this two month old group of corrupt tools to handle the problem? Like they will you dumbass. Millions and millions of dollars, all they want is a cut.
    Don't send troops, sent missles. Stop being world correct, lead.

    April 16, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  30. Sylvester Fordoms

    I trained at The Basic School, (TBS) Quantico, VA (1989) with 3 military officers from Somolia (a Major and 2 Lieutenants). We laughed, cursed, and ate many a MRE with these men as we trained them to defend their country and government. Yet, less than 5 years later, we watch their government to collapse, various warlords take power, and then for more almost 1 1/2 decades our US Government says there is nothing we can do. BS... I have wondered for years the fate of these men and the role my Government has played.

    Sylvester Fordoms
    Former Captain, USMC

    April 16, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  31. Thomas

    At the present time we do not need to send troops into Solmalia like we did when we lost a Blackhawk and they made a movie about U.S. soldiers dying. Yes something needs to be done and the first step would be to sink the pirate motherships that travel these waters waiting to take over a ship.

    April 16, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  32. Deryk Houston

    The UN should deal with this. But first the UN needs to be completely torn apart and rebuilt. I do not trust America and neither does the rest of the world. Something smells about America's involvement. "One" country should not be "setting up" other governments in other countries for their own interests. I thought Obama said he was for real change in how America goes about it's business around the world. I don't see any evidence yet that this is the case.

    April 16, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  33. sanjosemike


    Another failed Muslim State.


    April 16, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  34. Schoolboy

    "What do u call as such? another gossip into other countries affairs,let SOMALIAN`S RULE SOMALIA AND AMERICANS TO RULE AMERICA.If you dont want any of a USA vessel to be attacked then do that by watching them out of that occean as you just did,BUT live somalia alone,DO U WANT TO AVE ANOTHER " BLACK HAWK DOWN `HAHAHAHAHAHAHA (How your soldiers run for their life HUH.If Somalia is invaded AMERICAN IS GOING TO LOOSE EVERY ASPECT OF ITS WAR IN ALL COUNTRIES,if you want war then North Korea is wating for one ,Attack them if you can and live a poor country whom you know it cant defend itself."

    April 16, 2009 at 10:06 am |
  35. Starcruiser

    There's nothing in Samalia a 100 mg Hydrogen bomb wouldn't take care of in a heartbeat....It's time we start making the world a better place for future generations....

    April 16, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  36. bernie

    With our technology it's a mistake to send troops in anywhere! You win wars when a countries cities, infrastructure and means of transportation are reduced to rubble like Dresden and Hiroshima after World War two, not by negotiation with anyone. It's the main reason we haven't won a war since, with the exception of that tiny island in the Caribbean called Grenada.

    April 16, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  37. Blame the Clintonistas

    Once again we are forced to deal with problems that the Clinton administration should've dealt with. He backed down from Somalia, backed down from chasing terrorists, backed down from chasing Bin Laden.
    The Democratic response of saying " Stop or I'll say Stop again" won't cut it. Nor will their other favorite solution.....throwing money (our money) at the problem

    April 16, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  38. Adam

    Somalia is a death trap. It is a lawless country and to send troops there would be sending them there to die. This is a good place for cruise missles.....hit them from far off and don't give them a target to hit back on.The reason ships aren't armed is because of the ports they travel into don't allow armed vessels into their ports. Easily corrected. Don't go. After a few weeks of NO commercial traffic of supplies they will reconsider this option. Next arm the ships. These pirates are coming out in speed boats......once one comes in sight you destroy it long before it even gets close. They are armed with ak-47's and RPG's and a couple well placed 50 cals will keep them far enough away that they would be of very little use.

    April 16, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  39. Julio P

    You know what's really funny...these guys are pirates...and are demanding equal treatment??? they say have been aggravated and think they should be respected...

    I think that we've been very easy on them, an example must be set here...

    April 16, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  40. Brian

    What is a country without a central government? I would argue that without a binding force there is no country. Forget about trying to build a new government out of the ashes of the old one and simply let anyone who wants Somalia take it. As long as the "invader" integrates the existing population into their society, who cares if Somalia continues to exist as a separate country. The borders of these countries have been re-written a thousand times, yet we act as if they are unchangeable.

    April 16, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  41. Brett from Oriskany,VA

    History has shown us that Somali's are a very tenacious and aggressive people when faced by those who would infringe on their sovereignty, We already had one war with a nation like that(Vietnam) and are now mired in the "Graveyard of Empires", Afghanistan. Somali's have already shown us their style.(Blackhawk Down). Naval blockade forces drawn from the concerned nations of the world would do a far better job of containing pirates than land operations. Trouble is our Navy doesn't have the resources and we'd to form some kind of coalition with equal participation.Anyway,as long as America unquestioningly supports the imperialist policies of Israel, she can never have any credibility in the Muslim world.

    April 16, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  42. Andrew

    I applaud CNN for covering something more than Michelle Obama's J Crew sweater and the Obama puppy. However, had the Clinton administration dealt with Somalia with the proper amount of force, we wouldn't be having this problem right now. Using the Navy to deal with Pirates threatening American ships is a start but if we plan on doing anything more with that country, it will require boots on the ground, something we're running short on right now.

    April 16, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  43. Eric

    This is a job for the French Foreign Legion, and other special ops groups, to take down their networks on land. We do not need to send our troop there. On the sea, just arm the sailors or add 1 or 2 special ops and then just keep sending back pirate ships with dead bodies hanging from the masts; they'll get the picture, and we'll see how fast this piracy will stop.

    April 16, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  44. Fed

    Over the centuries, the only way piracy has been sucessfully dealt with has been through military action. Today is no different. This is an international problem and countries other than the US need to step up. At least the French are not afraid to make the difficult decision.

    April 16, 2009 at 8:42 am |
  45. bill

    I agree, it would be a mistake to send ground troops to Somalia but we should go after the pirates by:

    1. Using aircraft, like gunships to patrol this vast space.
    Several could cover a wide area.
    2. Put Blackwater guards on ships. They have the experience
    know when to use force.
    3. Find the pirates locations on shore and eliminate them-warn
    others to leave the area or face the consequences.
    4. You don't talk to these guys-you eliminate them.

    April 16, 2009 at 8:41 am |
  46. Sick of It

    Another idiot congressman, he says let the Somali they have no police or military we need to give them the resources. Sounds like another plan to throw money at an islmic fascist regime waiting to happen. STOP giving aid to people that hate the US while our own people need help. Put a coalition of ships off shore and everytime they see terrorists (aka pirates) launch from shore blow them out of the water. You can bet the number of attacks will drop rapidly.

    April 16, 2009 at 8:36 am |
  47. Wendy

    You know what EMILY YSAIS – we stayed out of "Europes Problem" during World War II...the US got dragged into war kicking and screaming the whole way. Guess what!!! We found out what a monster Hitler was when we found the camps that "didnt exist".

    What happens in the world is the worlds problem. If you want to live with blinders on and continue to be self-centered, fine, but if you think that things like Piracy, world-wide AIDS epidemics, Iran and North Korea having Nukes are not the US's problem, then maybe you need to go back to school, study some more and grow up.

    One Nuke detonated in any country any where will impact the US and the World.

    Bottom are wrong when you state "we do not need to get involved." Ask yourself this...what if the French had the same attitude that you have during the American Revolution? You might very well be singing God Save the Queen instead of the Star Spangled Banner.

    April 16, 2009 at 8:33 am |
  48. Wendy

    Dear J.Crobuzon – your democrat stupidity is showing....did you just arrive on the planet? Somolia has had problems for a few decades now. I believe that your boy Clinton sent in our military and we left with a lot of dead soliders and our tails set firmly between our legs. that a Democrat is back in office, you dems are running around accusing the Repbilicans of everything that you just did over the past 8 years.

    The more things change...the more they stay the same.

    April 16, 2009 at 8:26 am |
  49. Kenny

    Wouldn't it be easier to let the merchant ships arm themselves against the pirates? Or how about using routes that take them farther from land, and therfore farther from the pirate's reach. At one time we put Marines in mail trucks to end hijacking of those vehicles – why not put a few on merchant ships for awhile. We couldn't put them on all the ships, but the pirates wouldn't know which had them and which didn't. This is similar to the way we do Air Marshalls.

    April 16, 2009 at 8:26 am |
  50. Wendy

    Black Hawk Down anyone??? I vividly remember the last time our country was in that country. We do not need to go back. Since Europe just stated along with Russia and China that the US needs to realize that Europe runs the world now, then let them deal with it.

    April 16, 2009 at 8:23 am |
  51. MFinNJ

    To Brian:

    You really shouldn't SHOUT and also proof read your comments before submitting them. The reason? CHRISTS should be Christ's. BETER should be better. And YOUR should be you're. Why not take it up a level?

    April 16, 2009 at 8:23 am |
  52. John Marhsall

    I noticed Clinton is doing the PC thing with this. Sanctions, freezing assets, propping up a goverment ect. Sheesh go knock the hell out of those bozo's, get the job done and go home. A few weeks compared to yrs. Here we go again.

    April 16, 2009 at 7:30 am |
  53. Jeff of Peoria

    If weasals like this would let the military do their jobs then I say send them but he's part of the same bunch that held us up before. Either send the military and let them DO WHAT THEY DO and then finish it or just bomb them.

    Why does this guy keep getting elected? OOPS we have our Blagoyavich and now Ray Burris.

    April 16, 2009 at 7:06 am |
  54. Roman

    I think it is something the United States needs to stay out off. We have been in there before, and for what? It seems the same problem exists, we did not change anything except to lose American Lives. Like everyone said, We need to stay out. What needs to happen is to have all the countries that have Merchant Ships sailing by the Area where the pirates are is to have some kind of Corridor established by the Countries Navies, to provide a safe corridor for passage and if the pirates get blown away, let it be by our choosing, and not by sending troops into Somalia. The corridor should be a coordinated effort and not just the U.S. Navy alone. The UN needs to take responsibility on the ground in Somalia, and not the U.S, alone like always. Muslim countries should be the ones forming the UN troops deployed in the Region. If they need U.S, U.K, French involvement it should be in at their Headquarters. The U.S. is stretched enough without being thrown into the mix. We have enough Navy assets already in the area that can be deployed for a week or two at a time to assist with corridor. But other countries need to step up... I am done....

    April 16, 2009 at 6:39 am |
  55. Phil, Heidelberg, Germany

    It's strange how all the African-Americans try their utmost best to ensure the Somali Government (African-Somalis) gets all the cash they need to try to run a government. When the day comes, the Muslim terrorists will dictate to any form of Government what and when they will do whatever they decide. Give that Government any money, and the next day it will be in the hands of the African-Muslim extremists. Saudi ships are protected by these same pirates. I don't see any warships from the African-Arab Countries? Could it be that they are exempt from participation from the Muslim Brothers? You can't help any country that can't help itself. If it isn't the Muslims, then the War Lords are in control. The U.S. found that out when they went ashore to help the African-Somalis and lost their ass. The African-American Payne was told to stay out, and what did he do, use our taxpaying dollars and went anyway. Did Nancy give him the US One for his flight? Another idiot dolling out taxpayers money with her uncalled for trips. Impeach all 545 members of Congress and the House and elect new ones with the instructions that they do away with that illegal social retirement plan and all of them go on Social Security. The watch them protect our Social Security.

    Are we supposed to support all governments of the world with our hard-earned money? Forget it idiots!!!!!! Attack them like they attack us and do it now. They have already declared that they will slaughter any American or French crew members they capture. Do we wait until they actually do it? Yeah, why not, we have the dumbest politicians in the world. Look in the dictionary for the "IMPEACH"!!!!!

    April 16, 2009 at 6:24 am |
  56. DR

    Flippant commentary of the arrogant and ignorant. That is what I am reading here. Ladies and gentlemen, America has been in the business of assisting other countries since FDR and WWII, and sometimes we have failed, but we have succeeded more. The soldiers go in when all other options for peacve fail. The senator is trying to work out a peaceful solution before armed conflict is the only solution left.
    To the one's who posted about wishing ill on the senator, I do hope you are trying (and failing miserably, by the way) to be comedians. To wish death on someone is a serious thing, especially if you have ever witnessed it or were forced to defend yourself to that conclusion. My advice: Unless you are willing to do the deed yourself, leave the comedy to the professionals, the same way you leave defending your country and communities to the professionals.

    April 16, 2009 at 6:06 am |
  57. Jayson

    The chances of any government dealing with the pirate problem are slim to none. The only semi-successful governments that have existed in Somalia in the recent past were ones who that ruled through extreme brutality and who quite frankly didn't have the best interests of their citizens as a basis of their governments. Perhaps someday after the cycle of bloodshed has run its course the people of Somalia will put aside their small and petty differences and come together to build up a country that takes their childrens future into account. More likely then not things will continue unless their is outside intervention. However seeing as how the Europeans have embraced a philosophy of minimal spending on their militaries and since we are embraced in conflicts of our own there is little chance anything of any lasting effect will come about in the forseeably near future.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:54 am |
  58. Dee

    As much as I hate to say it, because I'm neither Republican or Democract because those are just titles for BS, but if Rumsfield was at the helm, this conversation would be over and we would be discussing where the mass burial of these pirates in Somali should be. Also try taking a page from the Isreali play book and see how they respond if they are attacked, they know how to deal with terrorist. The U.S. needs to show some SAC, because the longer we wait the more people are at risk and the more powerful these rouge nations think they are because we can't decide which force to use. Blow them out of the water and lets get on with the business of the day. The equation is simple. GET OFF OF THE POT ...U.S.A.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:52 am |
  59. David Manning

    lay out decoy ships for the pirates to attack, well arm them/etc, sit back wait for the pirates to turn up, provoke them to open fire, then in return use over whelming firepower kill as many as possible, then take prisoners, leave the rest to float to shore as a example.

    Rinse and repeat till they get the message.

    Going into Somalia is folly.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:15 am |
  60. Ralph Cramden

    A little early for happy hour. What the...are you talking about?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 am |
  61. Shane

    It seems this particular Statesman does not know about the failed campaign during the Clinton Administration. It has not changed, and its not going to change.

    These are warlords that are bent on controlling the entire country. the last thing we need to do is send troops there AGAIN! the last time that happened, Good Ol Slick Willy would not let us use our AC-130H Spectre Gunships to support the troops that were already there and they god chewed up, (Black Hawk Down).

    Do you really thin its changed? Heck no! They understand nothing except the Way of the Gun. Its as simple as that. The ones that have the most guns wins. They have no Air Force, so if we ARE going to do this right, then do it right. Send a Sub, nuke it and be done with it.

    I hate saing things like that, but there is no reason to send out troops over there to get chewed up in another no-end conflict.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:07 am |
  62. Doc

    Elmina: Do you have any education at all on oil rich countries?..............I thought not

    April 16, 2009 at 4:30 am |
  63. Doc

    The Congressman is right about one thing..........No U.S. Troops at this time.

    April 16, 2009 at 4:28 am |
  64. Doos

    Why use troops when we have million dollar missiles than can extinguish pirate villages without risking any soldiers?

    April 16, 2009 at 3:44 am |
  65. Robert

    In terms of a long term cost-benefit analysis the most effective method of dealing with piracy in Somalia is to stand up a government that is able to project sovereign power (definition- a monopoly over the legitimate use of violence) in order to create a negative relationship to the conduct of piracy as a business venture for Somali men. From there reconstruction missions can handle picking up the pieces. But here's the cool catch... who said it had to be American troops dying on the beaches? It was a mistake to allow the Ethiopians to send an occupying force considering the history of conflict with the Ogaden Region dating back to the '60s and Siad Barre's Greater Somalia ambitions. However, the African Union is willing, but unable to pay for deploying enough troops to handle the task at hand.

    We could feasibly pay the treasure and Africans can pay the blood. Another factor to consider is that the range of piracy has now turned it into a situation where it destabilizes the security of the entire northwestern rim of the Indian Ocean Basin. Two rising powers in the Indian Ocean Basin are India and China (through the ports in Pakistan and Bangladesh). Maybe it would be in the interests of the United States to try to convince India to take the lead in dealing with the costs in blood of piracy elimination.

    If the situation on the ground in Somalia remains unchanged then the motivators for piracy as a business venture and model will remain unchanged, and the use of maritime security forces to combat the problem at sea will not be enough to meet the problem, and it will remain a static, and possibly generational problem. Piracy can not be eliminated from the sea, it can only be dealt with on land, where it is easier to contain. This is at least what a year and half worth of studying the ins and outs of why this problem exists, how it is fueled, and examining different methods of combating it has told me.

    April 16, 2009 at 2:56 am |
  66. Pop Reality

    Why doesn't CNN right about the all the "pirate" ships from Europe and Asia that have been illegally fishing in Somalia's territorial waters for decades.

    Now Somalis start capturing some people for ransom – making them pay taxes and back taxes with interest and CNN is shouting from the rooftops about "piracy".

    Fact is that area will always be a Somali jurisdiction and given the Somali daring ways – we'll have these episodes for quite sometime. The world should colonize Somalia again and turn them into civilized 21st century people.

    April 16, 2009 at 2:42 am |
  67. Battle

    Elmina, you are a true clown if you believe that.

    April 16, 2009 at 1:29 am |
  68. Tia

    We as Americans cannot ignore what goes on around us anymore. Of course no one wants the US to interviene in every little spat that occurs, however, ignoring the situation is turning a blind eye to a festering sore that will one day inevitable affect the US. Terrorists form alliances (based on their common hatred of Americans) and next thing you know, BAM! Another Sept. 11, or USS Cole incident. After all, it was the US's idea to help (the Ethiopians) destroy their foundation and government! What'd we expect would happen?

    April 16, 2009 at 1:13 am |
  69. bh

    What is wrong with most of you painfully ignorant people? You are wished death upon a public servant for doing his job.

    Shame on you.

    April 16, 2009 at 1:07 am |
  70. J.V.Hodgson

    You cannot have a police force without a government to pay them.
    The somalian's Have neither a government or the basic skills to train a police force, and no money to do either.
    The pirates are there because there is no government and there is no economy and the pirates are the only real source of cash. And Oh by the way remember the Pirates always steal food... I wonder why?
    Get real Mr. Payne, Your idea comes no where near a solutiony that can succeed in the next 20 years. SO do what:-
    1) Food aid.
    2) A UN backed International Military force ( including Ethiopia) to monitor ports and license any boat capable of going to sea with more than 4 people.
    3) Yes attack key locations identified as Piracy bases/communications centres.
    4) Pass an international law preventing payment of ransom. Worth getting killed for a guarantee of no money and risking your life?
    5) For the insurance companies, it is cheaper to put a couple of "Sea marshalls"With RPG's " on the major shipping likely targets.
    6) Meantime a number of Old style PT boats are more effective than "cruisers" whose best use is to convoy Wartime style the really valuable target ships.
    Then maybe you can talk about real government and a police force and back out the UN forces.If Somalia becomes a theocracy , that's life as well.

    April 16, 2009 at 1:06 am |
  71. Larry

    I think the UN should petition all the surrounding countries that these ships have ports of call in to allow armed security teams aboard to repel potential pirate attacks. Right now the only reason these ships are taken is the pirates know for certain none of them are protected by highly trained operators. If the ports would allow security teams on board (they do not leave the ships armed) the number of raids would plummet almost overnight. There are several companies ready to go: USSA Protective Operations Group, Blackwater (Xe), Triple Canopy, the list goes on. Once pirates start meeting resistance and their numbers are dwindling they may think twice about their choice of business.

    April 16, 2009 at 12:38 am |
  72. jb

    to all of you out there., the only people benefitting from the "tax cuts" from obama is the people who don't pay taxes. yes i pay a lot of taxes and get nothing in return. no free medical, no decent write offs, no usable tax breaks. nothing. when bush gave us all a nice check, you still hated him. (because gore lost. seriously, who wanted gore to be president excpt the libs anyway?) obama says we got a tax cut, but hey my mailbox is empty. what gives? i might get a few buck per paycheck extra? great. what a deal! you idiots are soooo snowed!!

    April 16, 2009 at 12:37 am |
  73. marlies

    it's disgusting. little babies are dying in this country every day from starvation and all we think about is spending money on weapons because of a couple of people who are crazy and in desperate need for money. SICK. DISGUSTING. STOP IT. NOBODY SHOULD CARE. WE HAVE OTHER SH+++ TO WORRY ABOUT!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 16, 2009 at 12:24 am |
  74. jb

    elmina, why don't you keep your lame muslim extremist views to yourself. if america wanted they could do just that, take the oil. but when the wimp arabs wanted sadam out of the region, who did they call? your damn right, the good old USA. why don't you comment about the child marriages, or the public stonings, or the honor killings that goes on with your people and culture. no you arabs only care about your precious oil. well the day will come when that oil will be worthless and the arabs will be back in the deserts with their camels, which by the way was exactly where they were until america helped them tap the oil. what will your excuse be then?

    April 16, 2009 at 12:24 am |
  75. jb

    this area is controlled by al queda. more blacks converted to muslims. who cares? just fly in and bomb the crap out of the place. and whats with the black caucas sticking their noses into cuba and now somalia. what do they think they are doing? because they have a black president they can do what they want? they didn't give a rats ass when clinton or bush was in charge. we need to create a white caucus and go around sticking are noses out... oh wait, sharpton and the black caucus would protest the racist use of the name white caucus. of course the guilty whites would agree, because they were responsible for all the racism in the past. in 2012 i am voting for anybody who has the chance to beat obama. dem, rep, ind, it doesnt matter. kick him to the curb. then we can put back all the policies he changed. get rid of every wack job lib in the government, and finally i will be able to sleep at night.

    April 16, 2009 at 12:13 am |
  76. Jackie in Dallas

    I will repeat what I said earlier...Rep. Payne was doing his JOB! He is on the Congressional Committee for African Affairs. He was on a State Department approved trip, and was advised of the dangers. How many times will it take you neo-con bozos to understand that? There is nothing sneaky or underhanded about him being there. His travel plans were made long before the pirates took the American ship captain hostage. And part of his job is to talk with the current government. It is as simple as that. Grow up.

    April 16, 2009 at 12:09 am |
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