Here’s a piece I published on the Defense Media Network about increasingly violent events in East Africa.
With the sad news of the murder of four Americans by Somali pirates off the coast of Africa, the United States and the international community once again have to realize that ignoring the situation in East Africa is not a viable or productive option. For decades, the lawlessness of the area has allowed piracy to become the de facto career choice for young men desperate for money and to do the unthinkable to those who unfortunately come within range of their coastal waters. Commercial shipping interests and private sailing vessels have been equal targets of opportunity and despite the successful U.S. Navy operations in 2009 that rescued the skipper and crew of the Maersk Alabama and increased U.S. presence in these dangerous waters this situation continues to go on without interruption.
Now that four American civilians have been murdered, two of whom were doing Christian missionary work, there will be new calls for dealing with the situation in Somalia and East Africa. I’m certainly in the column of people that wants to give full license and opportunity to Navy SEAL teams and other elite U.S. military units to do what they need to do take out these unwanted elements, but there also has to be an element of common sense applied to our actions.
The murdered crew of four from the sailing yacht Quest were warned by multiple parties to stay clear of the East Africa area given the almost constant acts of piracy that occur there. For whatever their reason, be it spiritual given the missionary work they were doing, or practical given it may have been a shorter route to their intended destination(s) they chose to go into the ultimate of danger zones. They unfortunately paid the ultimate price for that choice. All of us can shake our heads at that decision, but in the end it was theirs and theirs alone.
Read the rest of Rich Cooper’s piece on the Defense Media Network.