1. The USS Pueblo -- A US Navy intelligence ship captured by the North Koreans on January 23, 1968, in what the United States insisted was international waters off the coast of North Korea.
2. The S.S. Mayaguez -- An American merchant ship seized by the Khmer Rouge Communists in international waters off the coast of Cambodia on May 12, 1975.
3. The Achille Lauro -- An Italian cruise ship sailing the Mediterranean hijacked on October 7, 1985, by four heavily armed Palestinian terrorists.
The first thing you spot in the article is that all three presidents acted, they did something. Secondly, the Presidents who had the moral character and understanding of human nature responded correctly with the doctrine "PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH." So in detail Jeffry Lord lays out President Ronald Reagan's response to the PLO's terrorist attack on the Achille Lauro:
Finally, in 1985, there was the tale of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. Sailing off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt, to Port Said, it was taken over by four terrorists from the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Making demands for the release of 50 terrorists held by Israel, the group sought out American passengers. They elected one, an elderly, wheelchair-bound American Jew named Leon Klinghoffer. They shot him dead, in his chair, then threw Klinghoffer, still in his chair, into the sea.
Ronald Reagan was furious. By the time the U.S. could react, the Egyptians were already involved, and the terrorists were not only back on land -- Egyptian soil -- but had been ushered to an airport and a getaway plane that would fly them to Tunisia and freedom.
In an instant Reagan decided this would not stand. Flying back to Washington on Air Force One, Reagan demanded to know what was possible for him to do, turning to a young Marine Lieutenant Colonel named Oliver North to coordinate his options. Options in hand, the President acted. From the decks of the aircraft carrier Saratoga, F-14 Tomcats launched, ordered to divert the Egyptian charter plane carrying the terrorists not to Tunisia but to a NATO air base in Sicily. They were ordered not to shoot, but rather "persuade" by whatever airborne means other than shooting down the plane, which, of course, carried others than the terrorists. Shortly afterwards the word was flashed to the White House: the plane had been "acquired" by the F-14's. The Americans instructed the pilot to accompany them to Signolla, Italy, the site of the NATO base. They did. The Italians objected -- they didn't want this problem in their lap. They began scrambling F-104's from the Italian air force to keep the America jets and their captured prey out of Italy. Arguments ensued. The President picked up the phone and called the President of Italy. He got what he wanted, saying he was prepared to just do it -- land the planes at the base -- regardless. The plane landed, bad guys in hand. "Good enough" snapped Reagan.
The four terrorists went to jail, although the mastermind, Abu Abbas, got away. To Iraq, where he died during the American invasion. But even without his capture in 1985, the point was made. Said Reagan's Secretary of State George Shultz later: "Terrorists and their sponsor states [read, the Soviet Union] were now on notice that the United States would and could take action and that the rule of law could apply to them."
This policy of Reagan's, the same principle invoked by Ford and disregarded by LBJ, was by 1985 known as "peace through strength." As former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher would say at Reagan's funeral, it was a policy that enabled him to win the Cold War "without firing a shot."
LBJ, and later Jimmy Carter, never understood the importance of this principle. They lost their presidencies because of it.
Now, it's Barack Obama's turn to face a hijacking at sea.
Remember, it is judgment that matters, and President Obama lacks all necessary judgment.