Thursday, April 16, 2009

Captain Freed from Pirates (But Are We Satisfied with the Outcome?)

The Obama Administration took the cool, calculated approach to freeing Capt. Richard Phillips of the Maersk-Alabama. This wasn't Jack Bauer. Or Mission Impossible. No shock and awe.

But look at the outcome:
  • The ship reached its destination with the entire crew, less their captain
  • The captain was freed unharmed
  • No ransom was paid
  • The pirates: 1 captured, 3 dead

Clearly the score is US 1, Pirates 0.

But somehow I suspect that many are not satisfied about the military approach. No going in with guns blazing. No retaliatory bombing of suspected pirate holdouts in Somalia. Rather, the military tried negotiations and then, when the opportunity presented itself, took out the 3 pirates simply and efficiently with just 3 shots.

I, for one, prefer the "think first, act deliberately" approach rather than the "act first -- just do something" approach.

But will the American public be satisfied with military success with a limited expenditure of adrenaline?

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