It has been over two hundred years since President Jefferson sent U.S. Navy ships to the Mediterranean to deal with the perenniel threat of pirates disrupting international trade. And yet, it all sounds familiar. Pirates off the coast of Africa. An American ship attacked. A captain held hostage. U. S. warships dispatched to the area. A Bainbridge sailing into the thick of things, this time to the rescue.
Then, however, Jefferson also sent U.S. Marines overland to attack the pirates' backers in Tripoli, a strategy that ultimately helped lead the way to a treaty and the end of piracy against American shipping. In a recent commentary for CNN, Retired Major General Tom Wilkerson recommended the "Jefferson model", and says the better answer is to "Take on the pirates where they are . . . attack them at their home bases." Is Jefferson's example the right one to follow? Or, is the daring rescue by U. S. Navy Seals that left three pirates dead enough to protect America's interests? What do you think?