French hostage killed during rescue off coast of Somalia

Many right wingers in the US seem to be itching for the gun-slinging ways of yesteryear when you could run in, shoot everything and everyone that moves and call it a day. Whatever happens, happens but you have the opportunity to beat your chest and feel macho because you had the military fire away. Besides, it wasn’t your family who was at risk, so why not? Following another recent private yacht hijacking and rescue, France sent in the commandos and this time, the yacht captain died during the rescue. Republicans may be delighted with this show of force (though it’s France, so they will dismiss it) but it hardly seems to be the the perfect model.

A French military operation to free a yacht hijacked by Somali pirates backfired yesterday when one of the hostages was killed, highlighting the perils facing US forces trying to free an American seaman being held captive in a parallel pirate standoff.

Despite the rescue of his four fellow hostages, including his three-year-old son, Florent Lemaçon was shot dead on board the Tanit during the raid by elite French forces. Two pirates also died, and three others were taken prisoner, said the French defence minister, Herve Morin.

Standing by the commando-style tactics, the French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s office confirmed “France’s determination not to give into blackmail, and to defeat the pirates”.

The negotiations had fallen apart so it’s not a judgment of the move which may very well have been necessary but simply to show that gun slinging does have repercussions. It’s fair to say taking a child through a potentially dangerous location has repercussions as well. As much as Joelle and I travel in offbeat locations, even as adults we never put ourselves at risk.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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