CNN and other US media outlets are all hepped up. They're frothing over some idiots in a boat trying to hijack a cruise ship. They want to pretend it's Al-Qaeda's newest plan of attack.
But while we get to see frame after frame of videos by the passengers, we're not told very much actual factuals about why these pirates are there in the first place. (Hint: It has to do with naked greed and moral cowardice, and not just on the pirate's part.)
More after the jump. (Also at Mercury Rising.)
The US media's all atwitter over some idiots in a small boat. They want to make them into the latest version of Al-Qaeda.
-- Pirates have been in those waters long before 9/11. Furthermore, as the CNN article mentions (but only at the very end), Somalia doesn't have a central government, much less a navy, and hasn't since 1991. The pirates have had a free hand for the better part of two decades. (So have the world's fishing vessels, which have taken advantage of the lack of governmental environmental oversight to essentially strip-mine Somalia's fisheries.)
-- Granted, the pirate boat is speedy and maneuverable. But it's also vulnerable. And since pirates aren't suicide bombers, they're not particularly interested in dying. (Making other people die is probably another story.) Their rocket launchers didn't do much at all to the cruise ship. But return rocket fire would have sent these bozos and their boat to the bottom. Hell, the cruise ship wouldn't have needed to score a direct hit: The wake from a near miss would have been enough to swamp the boat. And assuming the fishing fleets haven't already crashed the local shark population, that would have been all the punishment needed in those waters.
Of course, the real solution is for the UN to go back into Somalia. But since they don't have any oil to speak of (and because the world's fishing industry likes having a wide-open playground), nobody will -- Clinton was forced to pull out the US troops that GHW Bush put there because the Congressional Republicans and their media allies made the mother of all political stinks about two-dozen-odd American deaths. (Nowadays, we typically get that many dead troops in less than two weeks in Iraq.)
But until that happens, all cruise ships plying those waters should start carrying their own small rocket launchers -- or perhaps a couple of four-inch guns mounted discreetly fore and aft. That would at least deal with the stupider pirates. (Too bad no one wants to do anything about the land-based warlord pirates, or the ones raping Somalia's offshore bounty so we can have cheap fish sticks.)