Rules of Engagement in a “friendly” port were the cause of the Cole damage and casualties. The Zodiac was merely the means of delivery.
(”Rubber dinghies don’t kill ships, people do!”)
Free fire zones with a sufficient stand-off distance are the solution.
If the excrement does hit the fan in the Gulf, rules of engagement are what might cause us to lose a capital ship. With our glorious CIC, can you imagine that you are the captain of a US Navy ship under asymmetrical attack, having to call the DOJ and White House for permission to defend yourself?
I hope I am mistaken on this, and that someone with experience can set met straight, but it seems to me that America's military assets are now used more for agendas that are politically correct rather than for defense and the waging of war.