Is it me, or do all of the Mission Impossible details of the Captain Richard Phillips pirate rescue have you mouthing the words "Jessica Lynch" tonight?
Three sniper bullets, fired at distance, at night, simultaneously felling three pirates on a bobbing boat -- one of whom was targeted through a portal window? It strains the suspension of disbelief.
Seriously: NYT's breathless retelling reads like a script for an episode of 24:
At dusk, a single tracer bullet was seen fired from the lifeboat. The intent was unclear, but it ratcheted up the tension and Seal snipers at the stern rail of the Bainbridge fixed night-vision scopes to their high-powered rifles, getting ready for action.
What they saw was the head and shoulders of two of the pirates emerging from the rear hatch of the lifeboat. Through the window of the front hatch they saw the third pirate, pointing his AK-47 at the back of Captain Phillips, who was seen to be tied up.
That was it: the provocation that fulfilled the president's order to act only if the captain's life was in imminent danger, and the opportunity of having clear shots at each captor. The order was given. Senior defense officials, themselves marveling at the skill of the snipers, said each took a target and fired one shot.