Saturday, April 11, 2009

On Piracy

Some of my favorite stories from youth revolve around the pirates who plied the waters of the U.S. east coast and Caribbean. Creatures like Blackbeard, Calico Jack, Henry Morgan, and Anne Bonny. Romantic figures who knew that if they were caught, they'd swing from a yardarm. And the men who chased them.

The U.S. Marines have some experience chasing pirates. Their battle hymn remembers it, that whole "shores of Tripoli" thing.

The British Navy fought piracy, too. With wooden ships, black powder cannnon, and swords, they chased pirates across the world in the 18th century.

Today, we're engaged with a spate of piracy in a lawless part of the world. Somalia has long been a sore spot on the ass of the world. It sits alongside a vital trade route and piracy flourishes there. We're now embroiled in a pirate drama that plays out every day in those waters near the Gulf of Aden.

Some say that piracy flourishes when government fails. That because the Somali government has failed to provide basic necessities for it's people, the people have turned to harvesting the easy riches that sail past their shores.

I say bullshit. Somali pirates exist because international law has become a sham. No one pays any attention to international law except for a few of the world's practicing democracies. The United States government might try a few Marines for the regrettable killing of a couple of Iraqi civilians, but by-and-large, international law is sneered at by the vast majority of the world's population.

We live in an age where the President of the United States can order that a missile fly through any window of any building in the world. We live in a world where the ships of the nations can be tracked as they move about the surface of the great seas, yet we're held hostage by a group of criminals in speedboats. It's ludicrous, it's disgusting, and it's the state of the world's contempt for international law.

Yeah, Somalia is a failed state, but there are lots of failed states who don't turn to criminality to feed themselves. Pirates in Somalia have taken piracy to a whole new level by the increasing demand for ransom. This morning, they hold an American shipping captain and are demanding ransom.

Kill them all, I say, and hang them from a gibbet.


Anonymous said...

You'll get little to no disagreement from me. Sure, we (the civilized world) could try to understand their motivations for organized plunder and empathize with the squalid conditions they live in, but you know where that will get us? That's right, the exact same place we are today, namely, being held hostage by a bunch of barbarians.

One other thing: don't most Somalis praise Allah? Why is it that so many of the world's ills are caused by people connected to that religion/social system?

be603 said...

All I got is two words and a question.

"Stephen Decatur" and "Where's the Enterprise."

Cybrludite said...

Two more words: JDAM Arclight.

But then, I'm of the "oderint dum metuant" school of foreign policy