Shortsighted Hubris

While Americans celebrate the successful rescue of Richard Phillips, the captain of the Maersk Alabama, I think it is also important to keep in mind what now has been set in motion.

As the Washington Post reports “U.S. military officials acknowledged Sunday that the killing of the three pirates could worsen the problem, an outcome that shipping companies have sought to avoid.”

“This could escalate violence in this part of the world, no question about it,” said Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of the Fifth Fleet.

When the Maersk Alabama was boarded by the Somali pirates, the closest naval ship was 300 nautical miles away.

“We simply do not have enough resources to cover all of those areas,” Gortney said.

In Somalia, the news of the rescue, which left three pirates dead, was met with anger. The NY Times reports that some there said “they would avenge the deaths of their colleagues by killing Americans in sea hijackings to come.”

“Every country will be treated the way it treats us,” Abdullahi Lami, one of the pirates holding a Greek ship anchored in the pirate den of Gaan, a central Somali town, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying in a telephone interview. “In the future, America will be the one mourning and crying.”

So while we cheer tonight, keep in mind that this outcome set our nation on a path that we do not yet know how it will end. I think a little less bravado and a little more reflection is warranted.


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  1. I could not have said what I am worried about, better.

    There`s a lot of bravado talk of the lefties coddling the pirates & blaming the US, which bothers me a lot.

    A comment like yours might elicit a “That`s a crock of shit” comment, on some blogs, & I believe that the danger in that, is calls for more escalation against the pirates, will turn out to equal many more deaths of hostages, something that, relatively speaking, has been quite low despite the violent nature of these situations.

    I am very happy that this particular situation was resolved with a minimal loss of life, & am sorry for the families of the young “pirates”, their sole support in many instances, I imagine.

    Child “Pirates”, simply pawns in the world they were born “marginalized”, into.

    If you read the LA Times article on the rebels in Darfur, you`ll see the reason why I quoted “marginalized.

    I hope many people see your essay.

    • dkmich on April 13, 2009 at 13:04

    We can and should reflect, but this is a lose/lose proposition in my opinion.  I think they should arm the people on board or abandon those waters.  Putting them out there without any protection whatsoever makes them sitting ducks.  If they are armed, they would be able to defend themselves and keep gummint out of it.  I understand there is precedent and existing protocol for armed ships in ports.    

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