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Apr 13

Written by: Diana West
Monday, April 13, 2009 4:58 AM 

Success--no, victory! US captain rescued, three Somali pirates killed. But those Indian Ocean sea lanes remain unfree, with more than 200 hostages  seized from a flotilla's worth of hijacked ships in Somali hands to prove it. What next?

This, unfortunately, is where things will get interesting. In other words, Barack Obama did not morph over Easter weekend into a presidential avenger. Had Capt. Phillips' life not appeared to be in danger--Prez O's criterion for use of force, according to press reports--the ex-hostage and his captors presumably would still be floating along. In other words, the weekend window into White House thinking--"Obama Team Mulls Aims of Somali Extremists"--didn't exactly bespeak of executive urgency about the crisis. And now? Don't be too surprised if things go into some extremely weird directions, doubtless involving stacks of international law, maybe some UN blue helmets, and, of course, oodles of US support and aid, all of it kicked down a tar pit of incremental "nation building" in Somalia. Then again, we don't have any $$$, which could be a saving grace in this instance.

We sure do have "extremely, extremly well-trained" forces, however, as Vice Adml William Gortney, commander of US Naval Forces Central Command, called our wonderful Navy SEALs. Our hats are off to all US forces involved for a job extremely, extremly well done. As Gortney explained, "the United States policy is not to negotiate" with terrorists--a policy, as Michelle Malkin noted, that would have nice to hear enunciated, or, rather, reinstated by the current commander-in-chief. (Beginning in 2005, it was indeed Bush administration policy to negotiate with terrorists--or, at least have tea with them.)

Jarring reactions to the US victory abound, however, from the Wash Post Page One headline this morning, "Navy Kills 3 Pirates, Rescues Sea Captain"--the story exactly backward--to the London Telegraph's "US rescue threatens lives of other pirate hostages, say experts."

What next? "Failure to pay ransom theatens live of hostages, too...."

To be continued....



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