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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A wake up call from the high seas

This just in: Robert Gates, the secretary of defense and the former president of Texas A&M, said on Tuesday, according to U.S. News & World Report, that for the most part, U.S. intelligence is not yet good enough to pursue pirates in Somali.
That’s right! The pirates are smarter than we are. Which, in all honesty, isn’t surprising.
The world was taken aback, accompanied by giggles and just plan amazement, when word got out about pirate attacks in the Philippines. They were taking tankers. They were taking cruise ships. And they were taking captives!
It was a flashback to the 18th century in which pirates were like Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow and the captives were the evil British, a theme all too recurrent in American culture. Except this time, the pirates were all over CNN, not the Disney Channel.
The newscasters themselves had difficulty maintaining straight faces as they described the small boats full of pirated men carrying guns commandeering, for lack of a better time to use the phrase, modern day vessels.
Now, in 2009, according to World News, the number of pirate attacks have jumped up nearly two times their original rate, and as of this week, a Somali teen is facing the first U.S. pirate charges in over a century. The headlines from the Associated Press, the Guardian and New York Magazine read, “Pirate arrives in NYC,” “Somali Pirate expected in court,” and “Mum pleads for Pirate.” I swear, this stuff is better than the movies. Pirates of the Caribbean obviously have nothing on these Malaysian thieves of the sea. And as a country – heck, as a world population – neither do we.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world again. Well, maybe parrot-eat-parrot, but either way, I think it’s about time. Here we are, worried about terrorists attacks, cancer and that missile North Korea fired -all, of course, no laughing matters. But, when it comes to pirates, it seems to be only those who are getting attacked who don’t think it isn’t a little humorous. People have forgotten the good old days of sea-fearing, sea-faring adventures that had you on the edge of your seat.
Even from the legends of sea monsters, Titanic, u-boats, the Bermuda triangle and “Jaws,” we have come to underestimate the power of no land ahoy, which is a little less than smart on our part.
It’s about time we finally take a couple lessons from history and remind ourselves that it has always been when a people feel as though they have conquered a particular area of life – be that victory, monetary, transportation or natural over-confidence – that the worst always comes.
Remember: Troy wasn’t ruined in a day. The Greeks plotted, they planned and they perspired in that horse for quite a while. Over-confidence leads to fatality is the lesson Troy beacons to the world, for where there is over-confidence, there is a slacking on the part of those who worked so hard to achieve that.
Our seas aren’t safe, this we now blatantly realize. Neither are our skies, subways or any man-made method for conquering this world.
Gates is right, our intelligence hasn’t yet reached the level required to put an end to the piracy. That would require a recall on our part of our imaginary lands where life is safe, where people don’t do wrong, where happiness is unalienable.
How easy it is to forget that freedom, whatever form it takes, is never free.

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