Somali Pirates vs. U.S. Navy
The Somali pirates are, at last report, in a lifeboat, holding a hostage, the captain of the Maersk Alabama. Here’s what they may not know: No American vessel has been attacked by pirates since 1804. In that time, the United States has developed into a somewhat more powerful nation. Today, the U.S. Navy has more than 280 ships, including 11 aircraft carriers and 53 nuclear attack submarines.
But the pirates need not worry about being attacked by an aircraft carrier or a submarine. No: They’re about to be attacked by a destroyer.
This is very likely also something the pirates do not know.
According to reports, the guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge and several other ships are headed to the scene.
Obviously, this would be an example of “asymmetric” warfare. This kind of thing is of grave concern at the Pentagon, which just this week canceled lots of orders for fighter jets and whatnot as it seeks to be more adaptive to asymmetric threats. Still, I’m not sure that I’d want to be on the small end of the asymmetry in this particular case. The pirates next time might want to pick on someone their own size.
We don’t know how this will play out and obvioulsy we hope that the captain of the Maersk Alabama is unharmed. For that matter, perhaps we could persuade the pirates that there are better lines of work than raiding container ships. If they really want to get rich, and maybe even get on the good side of the U.S. government, perhaps they should consider going into banking.