One of Obama’s great strengths as a campaigner was his message discipline. But one of the skills needed by an executive is the ability to multitask, prioritize, and make decisions. In other words, he needs to know when to address the unexpected and deviate from the message he would otherwise prefer to be giving. Otherwise, he risks looking as lost as Bush did during the infamous “Pet Goat” reading on 9-11. The piracy problem has been thrust in Obama’s face when the Somali pirates boldly attacked a US-flagged vessel, something that has not taken place in centuries. While I’m disinclined for the US to get involved in the various disorderly parts of the globe, I do make an exception for international waters; open sea lanes worldwide are important for our prestige and that of our navy and the eradication of pirates everywhere is an important necessity for global commerce. Nearly everything imported everywhere travels by sea, and oil flows through the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea and should not be subject to the whims of primitive Somalis.
It looks both callous and weak for Obama to say nothing for several days after an American is taken hostage by the Somalis. When asked on Friday, Obama responded, “Guys, we’re talking about housing right now.” This is characteristic of his annoyance at the press for interjecting issues he’d rather not think about, such as his early annoyance when asked about his deviation from his own lobbyist policy in January. The backstory that Obama’ has been hand-wringing over legal niceties is doubly worrisome. Navy SEALs should be swimming underneath the boat to rescue the captain and targets should be identified on the shore for naval aviation. This is the perfect time for a brutal, primitive raid. We don’t need to be on the ground nation-building in Somalia; we can simply kill a great many of the pirates and their supporters and destroy their boats until the problem becomes a little more manageable.