We are receiving reports that the United States Navy has killed three pirates and rescued Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama (see Fox News report here). Navy SEAL snipers reportedly shot and killed all of the pirates holding Phillips and then brought him back aboard his ship.
President Obama has done the right thing. The next right thing that he should do is to go on television and announce that any piracy inflicted upon an American flagged vessel will receive precisely the same treatment.
How do we determine that this is the right thing to do? Pacifists will not be pleased. And indeed, there is a place for pacifism of a sort. Had First Baptist Church of Farmersville organized an armed band to sail out to the Somali coast and execute the pirates, then we would have done wrong. But government stands in a different role than do individual believers. Those who do evil are to be afraid of the government, "for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who practices wrath on the one who practices evil." (Romans 13:4b) The purpose for which God has ordained government to bear this sword of warfare and capital punishment is for "the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right." (1 Peter 2:14b)
Did the United States of America have authority in this matter? Yes, for the Maersk Alabama is an American flagged vessel.
Were the captain and crew of the Maersk Alabama people "who do right" who are worthy of governmental "praise" and protection? Yes. They were doing their jobs. Incidentally, the Alabama was carrying 400 containers of food as relief supplies destined for Mombasa, Kenya. That's a pretty noble purpose, but any person pursuing any worthy line of work would be equally worthy of the praise and protection of the government.
Were the pirates "evildoers" worthy of meeting the governmental "sword" of "punishment" as they did? Yes. They are thieves and extortionists and murderers.
So, President Obama did exactly the right thing, and having done good, he deserves praise just as much as he owes it to innocents and those who do good under his domain.