The rescue of American sea captain Richard Phillips was "a blip of good news from the Indian Ocean," said Fred C. Ikle in The Washington Post, "but it remains a scandal that Somali pirates continue to routinely defeat the world's naval powers." It's time to end the "demonstration of cowardice" that fuels piracy—the routine payment of huge ransoms to free seized ships—and start arming the crews of merchant vessels so they can fight back.
Many ship owners—including some with vessels that sail the pirate-infested waters off East Africa—don't want to arm their crews, said Keith Bradsher in The New York Times. Doing so could invite attacks by people looking to steal the guns—and the pirates, more experienced fighters, would enter any encounter with superior firepower. And nobody wants a firefight aboard a gasoline tanker— one of the pirates' favorite targets.
The happy ending in this case showed that the U.S. Navy has a role to play in ending the "state of anarchy" the pirates have created on the high seas, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. It is to President Obama's credit that he authorized the use of deadly force, which allowed Navy SEALs to shoot and kill three of Phillips' kidnappers and arrest the fourth. "But since the Navy can't stop every hijacking, some kind of military action against pirates on land may be needed."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Rise of the machines
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 10 things you need to know today: October 20, 2014
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
Blades of glory: America's love affair with lawns
- It's time to kill school picture day
Subscribe to the Week