Hostages taken. Citizens of a country taken by persons from another country. Held at gunpoint.
Rescued by force by a country acting to protect its citizens (sadly, with the loss of one of the hostages.)
The government of Barack Obama? The government of the only superpower in the world?
A French hostage and two pirates died Friday in a rescue operation off Somalia, the French president’s office in Paris said Friday.
Four hostages, including a child, were freed from the hijacked yacht after almost a week of captivity, Nicolas Sarkozy’s office said.
The French military decided to move in when pirates refused their offers and increased threats against the hostages, it said.
A defense ministry source told CNN the pirates were threatening to execute their captives.
The four adults and a child had been held aboard their yacht, the Tanit, since it was seized in the Gulf of Aden on Saturday, the president’s statement said.
CNN Jim Bitterman in Paris reported the French military came under fire as they attacked Tanit using Zodiac motorized rubber rafts.
Meanwhile, an American citizen, Captain Richard Phillips, sits in a lifeboat surrounded by four Somali pirates. Obama sends FBI negotiators to try to win his release. Not the US Special Forces. Not the most powerful military the world has ever seen.
Obama votes present in this international crisis.
The French act.
What’s wrong with this picture?
UPDATE: The Guardian pronounces the French rescue a “backfire”. Despite the fact that the French offered a ransom or even a French officer in exchange for the family and child involved and were rebuffed by the pirates. (link via Memeorandum.)