The real story of the rescue of Capt. Phillips

President Obama’s search for a 21st century solution to an 18th century problem almost cost Capt. Phillips his life.

While Barack Obama is basking in praise for his “decisive” handling of the Somali pirate attack on a merchant ship in the India Ocean, reliable military sources close to the scene are painting a much different picture of the incident – accusing the president of employing restrictive rules of engagement that actually hampered the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips and extended the drama at sea for days.

Multiple opportunities to free the captain of the Maersk Alabama from three young pirates were missed, these sources say – all because a Navy SEAL team was not immediately ordered to the scene and then forced to operate under strict, non-lethal rules of engagement.

They say the response duty office at the Pentagon was initially unwilling to grant an order to use lethal force to rescue Phillips. They also report the White House refused to authorize deployment of a Navy SEAL team to the location for 36 hours, despite the recommendation of the on-scene commander.

The White House also turned down two rescue plans offered up by the Seal commander on the scene and the captain of the USS Bainbridge.

The SEAL team operated under rules of engagement that required them to do nothing unless the hostage’s life was in “imminent’ danger.

A friend with associates in the SEALs confirms this account. His assessment of President Obama’s response to this crisis is D-minus. It’s not an F because Capt. Phillips survived.

The 18th century solution is the only one that works. They take your ship, you kill them. Trying to reason with these guys shows them you’ve got no teabags — or maybe that you’ve got teabags where your balls should be.

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