irates operating off Somalia's coast made a big mistake on Wednesday, said the New York Post in an editorial. They seized the first U.S.-flagged vessel boarded by pirates in nearly 200 years—and were promptly overpowered by the container ship's 20-man crew. Let's hope President Obama takes this outrage as justification for sending in the U.S. Navy, in force, to clean up these waters for good.
The four pirates, who are still holding the captain of the ship hostage in a lifeboat, are about to get a crash course in "asymmetric" warfare, said Joel Achenbach in The Washington Post. The U.S. Navy has more than 280 ships, and one of them—a destroyer, the USS Bainbridge—is in the area near the container ship, the Maersk Alabama. Nobody knows how this will play out, but I'm guessing the pirates will soon learn "there are better lines of work than raiding container ships."
Unfortunately, the Somali pirates have already learned plenty from the Navy's tactics, said Matthias Gebauer in Der Spiegel (via RealClearPolitics). U.S. and NATO ships currently patrol the waters off Kenya and near Somalia to protect merchant ships. But the attack on the Maersk Alabama occurred outside the patrol zone. With the bandits now traveling farther to find unprotected ships, it will take a wider naval coalition to make the waters safe again.
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