It's only fair to include the Somali pirates themselves in this competition, alongside someone who imagines them to be chimerical performers in a drama stage-managed from Washington. The pirates earn their spot for their petulant response to the rescue of the American captain yesterday. Implicit in their outraged threats of retaliation is some wounded sense of justice, as if the Navy SEALS weren't playing by the rules when they shot down the sea-borne criminals. Their statements could be boiled down to: "No fair! We'll get you!" Perhaps this attitude is understandable coming from a culture where raiding may be considered an acceptable way of making a living, like hostage taking is in Yemen, or from people who think they have no other alternative given the state of their country. But understanding it doesn't mean we have to tolerate it.
According to some alarmed reports, we've already seen their first attempt at reprisal in the form of mortar rounds fired at a plane carrying a U.S. Congressman as it departed from Mogadishu this afternoon. If that's what it was, then the pirates' landlubber brethren should be glad that they missed. Two can play at the retaliation game, after all, and one can only imagine the consequences if those clowns had actually killed a Congressman. Well, beside a bunch of American yahoos cheering, as if the burden of government had been materially lightened, the majority of us, I expect, would want the U.S. to clean up this Somali mess once and for all. There would probably be more support for cleaning house there than there is now for staying the course in Afghanistan. That wouldn't make it right for the U.S. to invade Somalia, but my point is to show what trouble the pirates could get their country into by raising the stakes in this game.