Bob Ainsworth had two opportunities to save British yacht

#1
Bob Ainsworth 'had two opportunities to save British yacht couple'

Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, had two opportunities to order Royal Marines to intervene to rescue the British couple kidnapped by Somali pirates, it has been reported.

By Aislinn Laing
Published: 8:00AM GMT 12 Dec 2009

On both occasions, Mr Ainsworth declined to issue the order to the commandos, who were on standby to launch an assault on the gang who had captured Paul Chandler, 59, and his wife Rachel, 55, it was claimed.
But Mr Ainsworth, advised that the elite squad did not have the "capability" to deal with the hostage situation, did not issue to command. Instead, the marines watched as the terrified pair, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, were taken from their yacht onto the kidnappers' boat and then a nearby mothership.

The disclosure has prompted calls for Mr Ainsworth to make a full statement to Parliament. It comes nearly three weeks after the couple last made contact through a video clip broadcast on Channel 4 News in which they said they felt their kidnappers were “losing patience”.
The pair were shown being held at gunpoint as they pleaded for the British Government to talk to the gang about paying a ransom.
The Chandlers were sailing from the Seychelles to Tanzania in their yacht, the Lynn Rival, when they were approached by armed pirates in a small boat 1,000 miles from Somalia on October 23.
More
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wor...portunities-to-save-British-yacht-couple.html
 
#2
This is a problem that seems endemic across western nations, the ability afforded by live video feeds and instantaneous communications has humstrung the chain of command. We have politicians making military decisions, Generals in higher formation making decisions that would normally be in the hands of Corporals and and a pervasive blanket of hesitation caused by stopping to consider every single angle, political, media and military.

There seems to be very little scope for local decision making
 
#3
A good indication of the curse of modern communications. We would never have had an empire if our explorers and military commanders had always had to ask permission from Whitehall before they did anything.
I can't imagine Worthless being bold about anything. But you never know waht goes on behind the curtains in suburbia.
 
#4
Edited, apologies to those who lost replies in the edit.

Trooper, it's Current Affairs, not the Naafi Bar, leave the purple language at the door please.
 
#5
Wave rider carrys 2 20mm phalanx guns and 2 30mm Bmarc guns both quite capable of blowiing a pirate boat into very small pieces
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
Repost - I'm no friend of Labour but, if Ainsworth was advised that the Royal Marines did not have the capability for a rescue, what was he supposed to do?
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
tropper66 said:
Wave rider carrys 2 20mm phalanx guns and 2 30mm Bmarc guns both quite capable of blowiing a pirate boat into very small pieces
And not doing the hostages any good either.
 
#8
FORMER_FYRDMAN said:
Repost - I'm no friend of Labour but, if Ainsworth was advised that the Royal Marines did not have the capability for a rescue, what was he supposed to do?
Depends on what EXACTLY he was advised, shurely...???

Seems to me to be a catch-all and thus meaningless word in this context. A word deployed that tells us of political excuse not military incapability.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
whitecity said:
FORMER_FYRDMAN said:
Repost - I'm no friend of Labour but, if Ainsworth was advised that the Royal Marines did not have the capability for a rescue, what was he supposed to do?
Depends on what EXACTLY he was advised, shurely...???

Seems to me to be a catch-all and thus meaningless word in this context. A word deployed that tells us of political excuse not military incapability.
Anyone with an ounce of political /military savvy would have known that saying Royal lacked the capability was giving Ainsworth a legitimate out. If anyone should be gripped, it's the individual who gave that advice - they should at least be made to explain the basis for it.

The caveat should be made that this is a newspaper report and the Labour spin machine is entirely capable of turning 'Englands expects..." into "Lacks the capability."
 
#10
If you read the piece there is a contradiction and it seems that once again the MOD cant get the story straight. Did Ainsworth give the go or did the commander on the ground say he did not have the capability. and what was the timeline from the arrival of the Wave Ruler untill the pirates got the hostages back to the Kotar Wajar. look to me that somone did not have the guts to order the shooting up of a pirate ship
 
#11
FORMER_FYRDMAN said:
whitecity said:
FORMER_FYRDMAN said:
Repost - I'm no friend of Labour but, if Ainsworth was advised that the Royal Marines did not have the capability for a rescue, what was he supposed to do?
Depends on what EXACTLY he was advised, shurely...???

Seems to me to be a catch-all and thus meaningless word in this context. A word deployed that tells us of political excuse not military incapability.
Anyone with an ounce of political /military savvy would have known that saying Royal lacked the capability was giving Ainsworth a legitimate out. If anyone should be gripped, it's the individual who gave that advice - they should at least be made to explain the basis for it.

The caveat should be made that this is a newspaper report and the Labour spin machine is entirely capable of turning 'Englands expects..." into "Lacks the capability."
What's the point of sending RN/RFA ships and RM personnel into the area if they "don't have the capability" to actually do very much at all? Remember a previous incident where an RN escort failed to prevent a hijacking with similar excuses?

It seems to me HMG hopes to gain political influence in certain places by making resources available to the international effort, but is then unwilling to actually use them when called upon. Moreover, it's using a lack of military capability as an excuse. What sort of message does that send out to allies and enemies alike?
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#12
whitecity said:
FORMER_FYRDMAN said:
whitecity said:
FORMER_FYRDMAN said:
Repost - I'm no friend of Labour but, if Ainsworth was advised that the Royal Marines did not have the capability for a rescue, what was he supposed to do?
Depends on what EXACTLY he was advised, shurely...???

Seems to me to be a catch-all and thus meaningless word in this context. A word deployed that tells us of political excuse not military incapability.
Anyone with an ounce of political /military savvy would have known that saying Royal lacked the capability was giving Ainsworth a legitimate out. If anyone should be gripped, it's the individual who gave that advice - they should at least be made to explain the basis for it.

The caveat should be made that this is a newspaper report and the Labour spin machine is entirely capable of turning 'Englands expects..." into "Lacks the capability."
What's the point of sending RN/RFA ships and RM personnel into the area if they "don't have the capability" to actually do very much at all? Remember a previous incident where an RN escort failed to prevent a hijacking with similar excuses?

It seems to me HMG hopes to gain political influence in certain places by making resources available to the international effort, but is then unwilling to actually use them when called upon. Moreover, it's using a lack of military capability as an excuse. What sort of message does that send out to allies and enemies alike?
I don't disagree with you. What I'm saying is that, if a politician, particularly one with no military experience, is told that the capability is lacking to execute a given course of action, he'd be brave/foolhardy or both to disregard that and give the go ahead. Either they've never served and should take advice or they should go with their gut instinct and disregard the professionals - we can't have it both ways.
 
#13
The commander at the scene is always the man to bet his career on his decisions, it goes with the job.

Everyone is well versed with RoE these days and going outside the chain of command or flying by the seat of the pants may well be frowned upon.

But it is well worth remembering that England's greatest military hero, a man revered by the Royal Navy was prone to disobeying foolish orders and both advocated and practiced close action against the enemy as his SOP.

Iron men in wooden ships, good. Wooden men in iron ships bad!

B
 
#14
FORMER_FYRDMAN said:
I don't disagree with you. What I'm saying is that, if a politician, particularly one with no military experience, is told that the capability is lacking to execute a given course of action, he'd be brave/foolhardy or both to disregard that and give the go ahead. Either they've never served and should take advice or they should go with their gut instinct and disregard the professionals - we can't have it both ways.
And if the question seeking advice is couched in the terms of 'can you guarantee success?', then what do you expect as an answer?

Politicians have a very cute way of getting the answer that they want rather than the answer which is most appropriate.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
bakerlite said:
The commander at the scene is always the man to bet his career on his decisions, it goes with the job.

Everyone is well versed with RoE these days and going outside the chain of command or flying by the seat of the pants may well be frowned upon.

But it is well worth remembering that England's greatest military hero, a man revered by the Royal Navy was prone to disobeying foolish orders and both advocated and practiced close action against the enemy as his SOP.

Iron men in wooden ships, good. Wooden men in iron ships bad!

B
Yes, but Nelson didn't suffer from the attentions of ambulance chasing lawyers and mis-placed concerns for the yoooman rights of pirate scum. Much of his career was spent under governments as bad as Brown's however.
 
#16
FORMER_FYRDMAN said:
I don't disagree with you. What I'm saying is that, if a politician, particularly one with no military experience, is told that the capability is lacking to execute a given course of action, he'd be brave/foolhardy or both to disregard that and give the go ahead. Either they've never served and should take advice or they should go with their gut instinct and disregard the professionals - we can't have it both ways.
I don't like Ainworth but I agree with you, If he had ordered a raid and it went pear shaped doubtless he would have got the blame for sending the booties to their death and/or killing the hostages.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
whitecity said:
FORMER_FYRDMAN said:
I don't disagree with you. What I'm saying is that, if a politician, particularly one with no military experience, is told that the capability is lacking to execute a given course of action, he'd be brave/foolhardy or both to disregard that and give the go ahead. Either they've never served and should take advice or they should go with their gut instinct and disregard the professionals - we can't have it both ways.
And if the question seeking advice is couched in the terms of 'can you guarantee success?', then what do you expect as an answer?

Politicians have a very cute way of getting the answer that they want rather than the answer which is most appropriate.
Then the correct answer was: 'Minister, success is as certain as Gordon Brown's place in history as a great economist."
 
#18
tropper66 said:
Wave rider carrys 2 20mm phalanx guns and 2 30mm Bmarc guns both quite capable of blowiing a pirate boat into very small pieces
Already been done by the Indian Navy:

India 'sinks Somali pirate ship'

BBC News 19 Nov 2008 said:
An Indian navy warship has destroyed a suspected Somali pirate vessel after it came under attack in the Gulf of Aden. INS Tabar sank the pirate "mother ship" after it failed to stop for investigation and opened fire instead, an Indian navy statement said...
Then, whoops!:

Pirate ship sunk by Indian navy was hijacked Thai trawler

Guardian 26 Nov 2008" said:
The Indian navy today defended its sinking of a ship in the Gulf of Aden despite official confirmation that it was not a pirate vessel but a hijacked Thai fishing boat. The International Maritime Bureau said that what the Indian navy described as a pirate "mothership" was the Ekawat Nava 5, which had been seized by pirates off Yemen on November 18. Its crew were kidnapped at gunpoint and tied up... The only surviving sailor in the crew of 15, a Cambodian who spent six days adrift, is recovering in a hospital in Yemen. There is no word on any of the other crew.
When will people realise that hostage rescue isn't just a case of having superior firepower?
 
#19
meridian said:
This is a problem that seems endemic across western nations, the ability afforded by live video feeds and instantaneous communications has humstrung the chain of command. We have politicians making military decisions, Generals in higher formation making decisions that would normally be in the hands of Corporals and and a pervasive blanket of hesitation caused by stopping to consider every single angle, political, media and military.

There seems to be very little scope for local decision making
My bold. Arguably the most apposite post on this site for a very long time. The corollary is - why does a commander on the spot refer the matter 'up the chain'?

In the instance referred to, the reason for referring 'up the chain' is probably that orders have been given not to embarrass 'Bottler' Brown in any way whatsoever.
 
#20
FORMER_FYRDMAN said:
Then the correct answer was: 'Minister, success is as certain as Gordon Brown's place in history as a great economist."
Any answer that unequivocably (and publically if possible) places the decision soley upon the shoulders of the civil master is the correct one.

'Minister. We can do it. We should do it. It is our legal and moral responsibility to do it. But the nature of the mission means we cannot guarantee no loss of life or harm to prestige. There will always be risks involved. Your call minister.'
 

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