In praise of marksmanship 51

 We share Mark Steyn’s admiration of the SEALs:

Amid all the relief for the rescue of Captain Phillips, we shouldn’t overlook the SEALs’skill and economy:

The snipers could see two pirates peering out from the back of the enclosed lifeboat and the third pointing his assault rifle at Phillips. President Barack Obama had cleared them to shoot if the captain faced imminent threat of death.

When the order came to shoot, former SEALs said, the hard part was not the distance – about 75 feet, an easy range for an experienced sniper.

The biggest risk came from the many moving parts: the bobbing lifeboat, the rolling ship, hitting three targets simultaneously in darkness.

With deadly accuracy, the snipers fired their rifles in unison. They killed the pirates with exactly three shots.


It’s easy to take the performance of a professional military for granted, as we do every week in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere. But their technical skill has to improve almost in inverse proportion to the faintheartedness of offensive strategy from the political class. When you are, as with piracy and jihad and much else, essentially in permanent reactive mode, your reactions have to be brilliant, every time. Off the Somali coast, they were. But at some point we need a plan for the game.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, April 14, 2009

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