US Ships in Distant Waters

The two carrier groups we are most interested in are up in the Persian Gulf, sending warplanes into Iraq and generally showing off to any interested Iranians in the area. Meanwhile, further south, other elements of the US Fifth Fleet are chasing pirates.

The Norfolk-based amphibious ship Carter Hall fired on pirates off the coast of Somalia as they overtook took over a Danish cargo ship, a Navy official said Wednesday.

The Carter Hall fired several warning shots over the Danish vessel Danica White on Saturday and then destroyed three skiffs used by the pirates, said the Navy official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the matter.

Pirates Near Somalia

The waters off of Somalia are often referred to as “pirate infested.” We’re not posting this because we take great issue with firing on pirates — in fact, the Danes probably wish the firing had begun earlier — but because of the possibilities it points up: the plausible deniability always being sought in games of armed chicken. “We weren’t attacking the Iranian navy, we are after pirates….”

Speaking of Iran…the big guys of the Fifth Fleet, the carriers and the support ships up in the Gulf are quite aware of how the tables of warfare are turning. As on land, small, suprise, fast attacks –asymmetric warfare– are what is feared.

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