I'm pretty sure that Captain Richard Phillips feels the same way. Yup, it's a big distraction, all right, to be floating around on life boat in the Indian Ocean as a hostage to some pirate thugs.
Yes, a big, annoying, distraction to Obama. It's the ADD Presidency – everything's a distraction. He should be thankful that the crew did what Americans do – stand up to bullies, and that the Captain demonstrated the kind of servant leadership that he did.
Otherwise, this would have completely and thoroughly Carterized his administration. Of course, it may yet do so.
It's doubly annoying for Obama; there's no obvious way to vote 'present' on this one. He might actually have to make, you know, decisions or something.
Still, the best part of the article is the bit from “presidential historian” Thomas Alan Schwartz:
“ 'We don't want to go back there,' said presidential historian Thomas Alan Schwartz, a professor at Vanderbilt University. 'This may be one of those points where Obama is going to have to cash in some of his international chips and get the U.N. to go in there.'
'Somebody needs to go into Somalia and govern the place,' he said.”
Perhaps I'll include Mr. Schwartz in the 2009 Mixed Nut Awards competition. The idea that Obama has any chips to cash in, or that the UN either can or will send anybody, is so stultifyingly stupid that it deserves special recognition. Good luck lining up those volunteers to go govern Somalia.
In the first case, Obama went to Europe hat in hand begging for troops for Afghanistan. He got a handful of trainers. In the second case, there's a significant chunk of the UN that is more than happy to have Somalia continue to demonstrate the weakness of the West. Some of those folks have Security Council veto power. Additionally, the UN has no troops to send that aren't American, Canadian, or British.
The obvious answer – increase the costs to the pirates – requires a more manly response than the administration wold like. That would involve some simple, straight forward action, like unleashing hunter killer teams to strike the pirates on the ground, predator stikes, etc. If you want to show that you're really serious, recommission the battleship Iowa, park it 20 miles off of Mogidishu harbor, and drop 16 inch shells on anything that moves.
Nothing says you mean business like 2,000 lbs of high explosive every couple of minutes. Here's a video of the Wisconsin firing the 16 inch cannon:.