A U.S. Navy operation succeeded in rescuing Richard Phillips, the captain of the Maersk Alabama, a freighter whose crew fought back against Somali pirates. Phillips now joins Chesley Sullenberger as a hero of our times.
Phillips led a heroic resistance on the Maersk Alabama, who failed to capture the ship but kidnapped its captain instead. Negotiations over his release broke down yesterday, and today, the Navy freed him, killing three of the four pirates who held him.
It's an excellent outcome for opponents of piracy: Up until the Alabama incident, Somali pirates have held the crown of postcapitalist cool, fighting the tide of globalization on the high seas. Cargo-ship crews just rolled over for them, waiting to be ransomed. Now that the merchants are giving way to the marines and the pirates are turning tail, they just don't seem that hip anymore. Somali pirates: so over.