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Boundaries

There are many differences between Liberals and Conservatives, and frankly sometimes these differences are important to the health of Society. Traditionally, Conservatives speak for the rights of the majority and for mainstream values, while Liberals stand up for minority opinions and positions of social outcasts; both voices matter in a functioning civilization, especially in a leading culture in the world. There is, however, a limit to the range of opinions which may be held without cost. After a certain point, assuming certain things incurs a cost, even a penalty, and to some degree represents a growing threat to the society making the assumption. The present piracy problem off the coast of Somalia is an example where certain boundaries have been crossed, and conditions have changed under which effective measures may be utilized. In short, pirates are terrorists and should not be confused with common criminals, nor treated as such.

In yesterday's discussion, some readers chose to describe the Somali pirates in distinctly gentle tones, trying to get readers to consider the lack of economic opportunity in Somalia, or the oppressive conditions in that part of the world which could induce young men to follow illicit courses of enterprise. These readers chose to portray the pirates as criminals, deserving of some punishment certainly, but also as individuals to be considered in the light of their circumstances. This is an argument seen commonly in sociology classrooms, as well as various opinion pieces on news channels. America, after all, is expected to be more restrained in the use of our force, and more considerate of the conditions and rationale of our enemies.

As you may have guessed, I regard these as specious arguments. While studying environmental influences in a life decision may be valid and useful in a forensic sense, the salient question is what to do to punish unacceptable acts and prevent their recurrence. To that question, the most effective strategy in history has been to bring overwhelming force against the perpetrator, to completely eradicate any group which acts in a manner outside tolerable boundaries. Therefore, boundaries need to be discussed here.

Suppose someone robs a business, and in that crime takes hostages. Clearly, this situation has escalated beyond common criminal behavior. Also, the situation has a series of thresholds. Weapons and their type, whether anyone has been injured, and whether anyone has been killed all factor into the way that authorities address the situation. That a crime has been committed is not in dispute; the question is the way the situation is addressed. A domestic dispute where a man holds his wife hostage with a handgun is dangerous, but on a much different level from a hostage situation involving a group of radicals using automatic weapons and bombs, who have already killed a hostage as a sign of their determination. When certain events happen, the situation irrevocably changes.

With that in mind, let's consider the way the Royal Navy dealt with pirates. Summary execution, folks. The British, you may recall, are quite the paragon for order and respecting rights, and a long history of long court cases, but where pirates were concerned, the Brits wouldn't mess about for a moment, it was get a rope and hang 'em high. That's even more striking when you consider what it did for future pirates considering surrender - why surrender if you'd be executed, anyway? The British hated piracy so much that they established a fierce rule for such acts. Regardless of what you may have seen in 'Pirates of the Caribbean', pirates were considered the worst of the worst; even the Americans at the start of the Nineteenth Century regarded piracy as an evil to be obliterated; remember that line in the Marine Hym about the 'shores of Tripoli'? That's when President Jefferson sent them into Libya to rout out the pirates there. Even though relations between the U.S. and the U.K. were not nearly comfortable after the War of 1812, by 1823 American and British navies were cooperating in sweeps of Caribbean and Atlantic waters to find and destroy nests of pirates. It was that important to both nations, and it should be so today.

- continued -

The argument has been made that the pirates from Somalia are just trying to survive their economic conditions. That argument ignores history - many places in the world and throughout the ages have endured deprivation and suffered from want, but their people did not turn to violent crime to support themselves. Chinese immigrants throughout history, for example, have been remarkable for both their industry and their ability to conform to local conditions. No less can be said for the Jews, who despite persecution for more than a thousand years in almost every nation where they settled, have flourished and grown everywhere. The same for Italians, the Irish, the Russians, et cetera - you don't hear many pirates named O'Reilly or Battaglia, hmm? Come to that, the historical model for pirates is often men who have some education, ambition, and experience as sailors. Since Somalia does not have a navy or coast guard and no universities to speak of, the strongest likelihood is that the bozos carrying out these attacks are recruited by men from other parts of Africa who see the region as an enterprise zone of sorts. So, we see from this a need to address two levels of pirate activity, those who commit the direct attacks and those who plan and support them.

It comes down to making them choose life or death. That is, whenever a pirate attacks a vessel and crew, armed forces respond in force, killing anyone who resists. Those who wish to surrender will be given the opportunity to give up the identity and location of their sponsors. Refusal to do so will result in immediate execution, those few who agree will be given life sentences. The locations of the "mother ships" will be reconnoitered, and once confirmed will be destroyed without delay. Planners and organizers will be hunted down by Marines and confronted - those who resist will be killed, those who surrender will be given trial by military tribunal.

Sound harsh? That's the idea. Piracy was nearly extirpated in the 19th century, because the message was made very clear that any pirate anywhere would be hunted down and killed, period. Make it that undesirable and no one will even think about it.

Pirates do not have civil rights. Pirates do not have a right to counsel, or a trial by jury or a plea bargain. Each and every one of them chose to commit violence on the open sea, and so brings upon himself the full fury of any authority with the backbone to defend its flag.


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Comments (56)

Come to that, the histor... (Below threshold)
wolfwalker:

Come to that, the historical model for pirates is often men who have some education, ambition, and experience as sailors.

Not true. The historical model for pirate leaders is "men who have some education, ambition, and experience as sailors." The historical model for the average before-the-mast pirate is lower-class men with little education, usually stranded far from home with no resources and no saleable skills, save perhaps some sailing experience. Piracy was and still is a hard, brutal way of life, and most pirates lived only a handful of years. Add to that the mandatory death penalty for pirates, and you can see why no sane man would become a pirate unless he had no other choices left.

That being said, I agree that pirates must be exterminated, root and branch. No matter what they once were, or what they might have become, when they take up piracy they become rabid animals. Killing a pirate is an act of mercy as much as it is protection of the public good.

DJ,I don't disagre... (Below threshold)
jmc:

DJ,

I don't disagree that the pirates should be punished. I might even accept the case for hanging. However, I think when most of us are speaking of conditions in Somalia we are saying that the problem is not going to go away (No matter how many we arrest or execute) until the underlying causes are dealt with...

So by all means try and punish anyone caught commiting piracy, you have my full support on that policy. But if we don't address the root causes I think three pirates will take the place of every one we eliminate.

So when will Obama come out... (Below threshold)
hermie:

So when will Obama come out and apologize to the pirates for our 'arrogance', and pledge to prosecute the crew?

That's just it, jmc. The r... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

That's just it, jmc. The root cause of piracy, more than anything else, is that the pirates think they can get away with it. Job one - change their mind that they can survive it, let alone profit.

DJ, have to agree with you ... (Below threshold)
JC Hammer:

DJ, have to agree with you on that. Execute each and every one of them they catch. Sooner or later those idiots will get the message, or by process of elimination they will disappear.

Traditionally, Conservat... (Below threshold)

Traditionally, Conservatives speak for the rights of the majority and for mainstream values, while Liberals stand up for minority opinions and positions of social outcasts;...
Only partly true. Liberals historically stand for employees/consumers v. employers/producers; the former not the latter are the majority. You must be thinking social values.
BTW, the definitions in principle of the groups and their roles is not to be confused with who it actually helps or how sincere the attention, etc.

jmc,We didn't "add... (Below threshold)
kbiel Author Profile Page:

jmc,

We didn't "address the root causes," or even study them, in past centuries and yet piracy was nearly eliminated.

I truly feel compassion for the average, non-criminal Somali, but Somalia is still a sovereign nation. The UN and Bill Clinton proved, disastrously, that we can not reform a nation while pretending that they are still sovereign. Our choices are, take care of the problem of piracy the way the nations have always done it, invade Somalia and completely take over, or ignore it and watch the problem fester. I prefer the first option because I can not see any national interest in the second and the third option will only invite more piracy off of Somalia and elsewhere.

jmc, you liberals have the ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

jmc, you liberals have the same excuse to stay away from killing terrorists, "we will just make more". Even if your argument was correct, they would eventually run out of volunteers.

Why do Mexicans flood across the border? Because they know we really don't enforce our laws. ww

DJ, you missed mentioning L... (Below threshold)
epador:

DJ, you missed mentioning Letters of Marque and "legalized" piracy on the high seas.

DJ,"In short, pira... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

DJ,

"In short, pirates are terrorists and should not be confused with common criminals, nor treated as such."

Ah, so this is just a continuation of the semantic game that was started up on another thread yesterday. Look DJ, you're overdoing this one. Nobody ever compared these pirates to "common criminals," or "bad check writers" as you tried to assert yesterday. I think it was jim who you took issue with...but all he did was call them criminals. Period. And, since they have committed crimes, these pirates are indeed criminals.

"America, after all, is expected to be more restrained in the use of our force, and more considerate of the conditions and rationale of our enemies."

It's not about that at all. The point that some people were trying to make is that the problem will not be solved by a purely military reaction. I tend to agree with people who think that a political/economic solution has to be a part of the overall plan here. This isn't about being "nicer"; it's about doing more than sending in warships and blowing people up. It might be important to figure out exactly where these pirates are coming from, where they are being trained, how they are being recruited, and if they have support from local populations (and why they may have support). If the problem is only addressed with weaponry, the underlying socio-political factors will still be festering.

"Suppose someone robs a business, and in that crime takes hostages. Clearly, this situation has escalated beyond common criminal behavior."

You are certainly stuck on the term "criminal" for some reason or another. Anyway. To go along with your analogy, the business that has been robbed, in this case, is situated within a city that has an incredibly high crime rate, little governance, plenty of corruption, and high poverty rates. It's a bad situation. Shooting the hostage takers will, of course, solve the immediate problem, but won't do a damn thing to address the issues that are affecting people's lives all around.

This isn't about explaining away what the pirates have done, or freeing them from punishment. It's about taking a closer look at what is actually going on there, who is involved, how and why it is continuing. Of course military force/protection has to be a part of the solution, but I think that other issues should be addressed as well. Anyone who commits an act of piracy should be punished to the full extent of international law--and anyone who attempts to take a ship by violence and/or force should be confronted with full military force.

But there is more to the overall issue than just that...and I think that's what some folks are arguing.

"The argument has been made that the pirates from Somalia are just trying to survive their economic conditions. That argument ignores history - many places in the world and throughout the ages have endured deprivation and suffered from want, but their people did not turn to violent crime to support themselves."

That's not really what was being said, but I suppose you have your way of interpreting things. To address your argument: of course many places and people have "endured deprivation" and managed to avoid turning to piracy. But, it's also very easy to turn your simply argument around and make the claim that many people who have endured deprivation HAVE turned to crime--but that really accomplishes nothing. Anyone can come up with a bunch of irrelevant examples that don't really prove anything. That's just an exercise in generalities that really has little to do with the issue at hand, which happens to be the case of Somalia.

"Since Somalia does not have a navy or coast guard and no universities to speak of, the strongest likelihood is that the bozos carrying out these attacks are recruited by men from other parts of Africa who see the region as an enterprise zone of sorts."

Really? Or did you just make that up?

I know that many of your readers love to hear the "blow em all up" rationale, but seriously. Counter-terrorism and/or anti-piracy has to be about more than just gunships, otherwise the underlying conditions will never be addressed. This isn't just some "liberal" talking point, it's pretty standard thinking here in the 21st century. But then, you are having a hard time getting past the days of 19th century pirates so...

Willie,"Why do Mex... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Willie,

"Why do Mexicans flood across the border? Because they know we really don't enforce our laws. ww"

Well, our crappy immigration system is certainly part of it. But only part. People come here for all kinds of reasons, and one of the big ones is a lack of economic opportunity back in their communities. That is the case in many parts of Mexico, especially the highly marginalized regions. But overall there are a multitude of reasons why people come here...and putting up a big wall will make it more difficult, but certainly wont' do a thing about the poverty and economic desperation that impels people to travel thousands of miles in search of work.

It's important to remember that there are many many reasons why people come here, and they range from people who are seeking work to people who are running drugs. We can't just pretend that it's one easy solution, and that all immigrants do what they do for the same reason. They don't.

If we avoid the complexities of reality, we're only going to end up with half-assed solutions to these kinds of socio-political problems.

2 cents.

"Pirates do not have civil ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

"Pirates do not have civil rights. Pirates do not have a right to counsel, or a trial by jury or a plea bargain. Each and every one of them chose to commit violence on the open sea, and so brings upon himself the full fury of any authority with the backbone to defend its flag. "


But but pirates come from poor disadvantaged families. They were abused as children. THey weren't able to get out of the govt controlled schools and get a decent education. They didn't receive proper health care. We should love them, take them into our bosum, nurture them, treat them with kindness, show them there is a kindler, gentler way.

Either that or we can shoot them on the spot.

I vote for option B. But then I am not a liberal.


The two "sides" to this dis... (Below threshold)
epador:

The two "sides" to this discussion so far are not mutually exclusive. In fact, to be effective, you need attention to any "preventable" underlying causes as well as rapid and brutal response to all acts of illegal piracy.

Piracy and Privateering, however, are old concepts. As the US is as of yet not legally constrained from issuing Letters of Marque, and such use has been considered even in the last decade as a response to the GWOT, we ought to include this facet of "piracy" when considering the problem.

jmc, you either missed my p... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

jmc, you either missed my point or I wasn't clear. The point is, if you don't enforce laws, people will exploit the law being ignored. Millions of mexicans exploited the deficiency. DJ is correct, if we did nothing about the piracy or went about it half assed, it will only worsen. We should enforce the laws quickly and efficiently. We can debate socio-economic causes and such in a later post, but in this post, you either go after pirates aggresively or you ignore the situation while it worsens. You do know the ship they pirated is full of food for their nation? ww

Well written argument. The ... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Well written argument. The main distinction I see is that Conservatives see reasoned absolute boundaries placed on the extremes of human behavior, and Liberals see an endless list of exceptions without consequence.

I tend to favor the economical words of Ulysses S. Grant, who said, "Kill 'em. Kill 'em all." (Fort Pillow, Tennessee, 1863)

150 years later, it still sometimes rings true. There has to be a line some damned place, beyond which something is just flat unacceptable to civilized society. Piracy, terrorism against innocents, child predation, serial murder, rape, murder of a child, genocide and a number of other crimes should not occasion 20 years of hand-wringing, agonizing retrials and endless appeals.

Where there is no doubt, justice should be as swift as the Constitution originally intended, with massive, terminal consequences for violating the rules of civilization.

I found this video today t... (Below threshold)
dancingnancie:

I found this video today that provides short video segments that show how different media outlets around the world are covering the story about pirates taking a U.S. ship captain hostage. Definitely worth a look:

http://www.newsy.com/videos/pirates_big_money_on_the_high_seas/

Every time piracy raised it... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Every time piracy raised its ugly head in recorded history, it was beaten down when nations SUMMARILY EXECUTED those so engaged. The Romans didn't tolerate it, the Greeks didn't, Jefferson didn't. But today we evidently have a bunch of unemployed lawyers who need the work. Suddenly these 'disadvantaged' folks need our understanding and compassion. Okay, you believe that, post your home address so that I can do a home invasion robbery to make up for the beating to my 401k. I'll let you lecture me while I rip you off.

ryan a: "Ah, so this is ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

ryan a: "Ah, so this is just a continuation of the semantic game that was started up on another thread yesterday."

No, you and your hippy buddies were so busy impressing yourselves that you ignored the facts of history, economics, and global dynamics. This was a brief exposition of those forces, and as usual you could not comprehend the information, so you gave up and went back to flinging rhetorical feces.

Well, at least that is what you do best ...


"Nobody ever compared these pirates to "common criminals," or "bad check writers" as you tried to assert yesterday."

In effect, that's exactly the argument your side was making. Those poor fishermen could not find anyway to make money, except to become pirates. That ignores, as we tried to show you, the way other poor countries have dealt with their situation, the conditions extant in the region, and the historical practice of piracy in the South Atlantic. It was your argument, more than a little lame for you to pretend it was not.


"The point that some people were trying to make is that the problem will not be solved by a purely military reaction."

And again, you are wrong. History has shown that piracy can, and has, been effectively ended in regions of the whole precisely the exclusive and unrestrained use of military force. This is a rare situation where there is no political fallout whatsoever, these pirates have the support of no government, they are parasites under the most generous of descriptions, and if the navies are allowed to seek them out and destroy them in every place they hide, it will end the practice in the main. You just cannot accept that a situation exists where the military is the best solution.


"I tend to agree with people who think that a political/economic solution has to be a part of the overall plan here."

OK, setting aside for a moment that you are wrong, have you considered just how your plan would be put into action? Look at the US, see how hard it is to set up a way to improve employment and infrastructure HERE, where conditions are far more optimal? And let's not forget that a big part of the problem in Somalia is that the government is so corrupt that they make the Mafia look like choir boys. And those crooks would have control of any aid sent in. We already lose at least half of the food, medicine, and supplies that come in to these crooks. People in the UN have been trying to build up infrastructure for years, but with no real success.


"the underlying socio-political factors will still be festering."

Sorry but that presumes the 'socio=political' factors is vital to the question. You have not established that claim with real support, and I do not see that the claim is material to the solution here. Again, pirates have been wiped out in the past without worrying about such concerns.


"a closer look at what is actually going on there"

Exactly. And sometimes that means not over-thinking and missing the obvious.


Me: "Since Somalia does not have a navy or coast guard and no universities to speak of, the strongest likelihood is that the bozos carrying out these attacks are recruited by men from other parts of Africa who see the region as an enterprise zone of sorts."

Moron: "Really? Or did you just make that up?"

Yes, really. You really don't like some facts, apparently.

Until International Law is ... (Below threshold)
Wordygirl:

Until International Law is changed to permit merchant marine ships to carry appropriate weapons of self-defense, piracy will continue to grow. They know their victims are essentially helpless, and now they know the US will send hostage negotiators rather than troops.

Ryan A, quit trying to be i... (Below threshold)
Ryan:

Ryan A, quit trying to be intelligent here, it doesn't work. Go bang your head against a brick wall for fun, it's the same thing. When you start talking about socio-political factors of crime, these people blankly stare and start to drool. Peridoically they might snap out and shout "Gays, it's the gays!"

In all honesty, though, as far as our military goes, the navy is under-utilized as fuck and itching for a fight. The navy hasn't done a god damned thing since Korea.

We should either make the job of the US Navy to end piratism, or get rid of the US Navy altogether.

"We're definitely sendin... (Below threshold)
Ryan:

"We're definitely sending more ships down to the area," a defense official told Reuters. He said one of the ships would be the USS Halyburton, a guided missile frigate that has two helicopters on board.

Oh my god, we really have a USS Halyburton?

First I would like to say, ... (Below threshold)
jim:

First I would like to say, AGAIN, that I think the people who commit acts of piracy should be punished. And the punishments should be harsh, because a) they deserve them, and b) that is more likely to discourage future piracy.

So is that clear?

So, that hopefully being clear, I do not see that there is any reason why we cannot have both a) harsh punishments for those who choose to commit acts of piracy, and b) change the conditions which can cause people to choose piracy as an alternative to their own hard lives.

Do you see what I'm saying?

There is not any reason why we can't do BOTH. Punish those who commit the crimes, AND remove the benefit of the crimes. This can be done through both removing the carrot (having piracy be the best way to feed oneself and one's family) AND applying the stick (harsh and even deadly punishment).

Is there anything about that which is not clear? If so, please let me know.

There is not any reason ... (Below threshold)
wolfwalker:

There is not any reason why we can't do BOTH.

Well, actually, yes there is. Killing pirates is relatively easy and cheap. Rebuilding the disaster-with-borders called Somalia is not. Consider the difficulty we had defeating the guerillas in Iraq, a country with a long history of stability (albeit much of it under military dictators) and a functioning modern society with a solid economic base to build on. Somalia has none of those things, and hasn't had them in decades. A campaign to pacify and rebuild Somalia would be far more expensive. Frankly, the political will to do that doesn't exist today, and most likely never will. Given today's world economy, the financing to do it doesn't exist either.

Nor is there any assurance that it would work. More and more experts, both inside and outside Africa, are coming to the conclusion that Western "foreign aid," run by well-meaning but totally inept aid agencies and NGOs, has done nothing to ameliorate the problems there. On the contrary, foreign aid is now a large part of Africa's problems.

Jim admits we should be "ha... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Jim admits we should be "harsh". Let's be clear here, jim. I say we kill them. Yes, that's harsh.

Can you agree we should kill pirates, yes or no?

No more waffles, I've had breakfast.

"Ryan" appears to be Ryan A... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

"Ryan" appears to be Ryan A giving himself support he won't get from any real people.

After all, Ryan A's snotty comment hardly constitutes intelligence, "Ryan"'s derision of our military matches Ryan A's abysmal lack of geopolitical realpolitik, and the tone from either of them is not unlike Sean Penn's delusional media persona.

And by the way, you moron, the USS Halyburton (FFG-40) is an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate. It's named for Pharmacist's Mate Second Class William Halyburton. Halyburton won the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism at Okinawa, where he died.

The citation reads as follows:

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with a Marine Rifle Company in the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, during action against the enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryūkyū Chain on May 10, 1945. Undaunted by the deadly accuracy of Japanese counterfire as his unit pushed the attack through a strategically important draw and up the hill into an open fireswept field where the Company advance squad was suddenly pinned down under a terrific concentration of mortar, machinegun, and sniper fire with resultant severe casualties. Moving steadily forward despite the enemy's merciless barrage, he reached the wounded Marine who lay farthest away and was rendering first aid when his patient was struck for the second time by a Japanese bullet. Instantly placing himself in the direct line of fire, he shielded the fallen fighter with his own body and staunchly continued his ministrations although constantly menaced by the slashing fury of shrapnel and bullets falling at his sides. Alert, determined, and completely unselfish in his concern for the helpless Marine, he persevered in his efforts until he himself sustained mortal wounds and collapsed, heroically sacrificing himself that his comrade might live. By his outstanding valor and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of tremendous odds, Petty Officer Halyburton sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country."

http://www.homeofheroes.com/moh/citations_1940_wwii/halyburton.html


As usual, libs live through their imagination and cannot remember real heroes.


DJ, if you remember the lef... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

DJ, if you remember the left does not like or want the military, you can understand their insensitivity towards them. ww

So, we should kill pirates ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

So, we should kill pirates we catch. Agreed. What about the hostages? Do we kill them too?

The Somali pirates now claim they're headed to the scene with more than 50 hostages they are holding for ransom. So do we kill all of them in order to kill the pirates, or what?

One word, mantis.<... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

One word, mantis.

sniper

Don't be a wuss.

DJ:"No, you and yo... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

DJ:

"No, you and your hippy buddies were so busy impressing yourselves that you ignored the facts of history, economics, and global dynamics. This was a brief exposition of those forces, and as usual you could not comprehend the information, so you gave up and went back to flinging rhetorical feces."

Ya, that's it DJ. Your argument is so complex and nuanced that I can't understand it. Just keep telling yourself that.

"In effect, that's exactly the argument your side was making. Those poor fishermen could not find anyway to make money, except to become pirates."

Wrong. That's your half assed interpretation of what people were suggesting. Big difference.

"And again, you are wrong. History has shown that piracy can, and has, been effectively ended in regions of the whole precisely the exclusive and unrestrained use of military force."

Well, I don't really think that Jefferson's plan from the 1800s will really work in this case. History can certainly be informative, but it's not as if we can simply staple past solutions onto present situations and expect the same result. The situation in Somalia is drastically different than the piracy that Jefferson was dealing with.

"This is a rare situation where there is no political fallout whatsoever, these pirates have the support of no government, they are parasites under the most generous of descriptions, and if the navies are allowed to seek them out and destroy them in every place they hide, it will end the practice in the main."

Taking out the pirates in the open water will certainly take care of piracy on one level. But it certainly won't solve the international issues that are plaguing Somalia--and this has more to do with European and Asian nations than the US directly, at least from what I know. The US has just found itself caught in the middle of this situation. Of course we should use the navy to protect and defend all of our ships and citizens--there is no question about that.

But there is more that would need to be done to address the larger issues behind all this--and that would require the cooperation and interest of international companies that exploit and utilize Somali waters--mostly European and Asian companies from what I know.

"OK, setting aside for a moment that you are wrong, have you considered just how your plan would be put into action?"

[I suggested that a political/economic solution has to be part of the problem] Well, that's the big problem. Does anyone care to address the deeper issues, or will they be content with just shooting pirates and pretending that solves everything?

For a good overview of the situation, read this article by Christopher Jasparro, Associate Professor, National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College.

"Sorry but that presumes the 'socio=political' factors is vital to the question. You have not established that claim with real support, and I do not see that the claim is material to the solution here. Again, pirates have been wiped out in the past without worrying about such concerns."

Ha. Are you serious? You dont' think that those issues are a serious part of the problem??? REALLY? Corruption is rampant in Somalia--you already alluded to that. And that's a HUGE socio-political factor. Also, unlicensed international companies are exploiting Somali waters with impunity. That's another socio-political factor. Allegations of toxic dumping that is wreaking havoc on the Somali coastline...more of the same. There are tons of socio-political and environmental factors involved here that necessitate something more than a "shoot em up" mentality, IMO.

"Again, pirates have been wiped out in the past without worrying about such concerns."

Sure, if you look at history through an oversimplified lens.


Willie:"DJ is corr... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Willie:

"DJ is correct, if we did nothing about the piracy or went about it half assed, it will only worsen. We should enforce the laws quickly and efficiently."

I agree with you. Piracy should not be tolerated. At the same time, international laws should be upheld when it comes to Somali waters--meaning that European and Asian companies should not be allowed to continue illegally and unfairly over-exploiting Somali resources. But then, that would mean that the UN would actually have to give a damn about improving the overall situation in Somalia. And things aren't going to get much better as long as the nation is in the dire political and social condition that it's in. Enforcing the rule of law, of course, won't hurt.

Yeah ryan a, keep blaming e... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Yeah ryan a, keep blaming everyone but the Somalis for ruing their country.

That's worked out so well up to now, right?

[ rolls eyes ]

Find pirates.
Kill pirates.
End piracy.

No touchy-feely necessary.

One word, mantis.... (Below threshold)
mantis:
One word, mantis.

sniper

Don't be a wuss.

Several words, DJ.

Multiple pirates, multiple boats, dozens of unseen hostages. Sniper fire = loads of dead hostages in retaliation.

Is that the outcome you're looking for?

Well, actually, yes ther... (Below threshold)
jim:

Well, actually, yes there is. Killing pirates is relatively easy and cheap. Rebuilding the disaster-with-borders called Somalia is not.

Actively rebuilding it would take money. Getting our allies to back off fishing in the technically international waters near the Somali coast, which took all the fish that the Somalis depended on for their economy and pushed many of them to piracy, would not cost us a dime.

But whatev. I'm done.

mantis, you are completely ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

mantis, you are completely clueless.

Uhhhh, dj, do you really wa... (Below threshold)
wolfwalker:

Uhhhh, dj, do you really want to try long-range sniping from the deck of a moving ship, against targets on another moving ship, or a small boat?

As much as it pains me to s... (Below threshold)
max:

As much as it pains me to say it, I agree with you on this one DJ. The best way to deal with piracy on the high seas is swift, decisive, and merciless retaliation.

Kill 'em all.

mantis, you are complete... (Below threshold)
mantis:

mantis, you are completely clueless.

Yet of the two of us, I'm the only one considering the reality of the tactics you advocate. Who's the clueless one?

Btw, "you're dumb" is just about the lamest argument ever. If it was "you're dumb because...," you might have something, but as it stands your defense is basically the equivalent of "Fuck you, that's why." Weak sauce.

No mantis, you are 'comeple... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

No mantis, you are 'comepletely clueless' in actual fact. You pretend that your sophomoric dip into Sociology somehow proves a more elevated approach, but instead all you have done is demonstrate poor judgment, focusing on non-salient flotsam and ignoring the core components of the problem.

Like Jim, you imagine that just because the 19th Century solution has been abandoned that it must mean it won't work now. The truth is that every time absolute force has been used to eradicate piracy in an area, it always works. You dancing around some esoteric psycho-babble does not make you any less a liar.

Wolfwalker, you're right to... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Wolfwalker, you're right to some extant. I was thinking about some of the more, hmm, modern options, like using Predators to find and take out mother ships then demanding the immediate surrender of the pirates. The forces then take out known enemies as long as it takes. These are not trained men with courage and a good cause we're fighting here, confronted with force, determination and dead bodies of their collagues, they will fold.

My point is that cowering in fear and pulling back our forces is what the pirates want, and therefore what we absolutely do not do.

I have, hmm, some knowledge of how the Soviets used to deal with these kinds of people. Hostages are released as soon as their captors realize that holding them puts themselves in immediate risk of death or torture after capture. I'm not saying we do what the Russians used to do, but I know what works.

The infrastructure problems in Somalia are real, by the way, speaking to ryan a, but they are separate from the issue of piracy, and the two cannot be allowed to be connected through such acts. The only appropriate response is the one proven method - overwhelming fury.

No mantis, you are 'come... (Below threshold)
mantis:

No mantis, you are 'comepletely clueless' in actual fact. You pretend that your sophomoric dip into Sociology somehow proves a more elevated approach, but instead all you have done is demonstrate poor judgment, focusing on non-salient flotsam and ignoring the core components of the problem.

I understand you consider the hostages being taken by pirates to be mere "flotsam," but many of us don't take such a callous view of innocent human lives.

As usual mantis, you seem u... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

As usual mantis, you seem unable to comment on my posts w/o lying about what I really said.

I guess when you cannot support your own contentions, vapid insolence is all you have left.

The non-salient flotsam is this babbling you cling to, that listening to lectures from properly-educated socialists on our obligations to spend billions of tax dollars on governments which despise our core principles will result in a social improvement which will - eventually - do something which has never happened before when we throw money at problems, and somehow create a functioning infrastructure which will eventually create a stable economy producing jobs, lifting the self-esteem of the area young men to the point that they decide not to become pirates anymore. By that time, of course, countless victims will be dead and deprived by such pirates, but we can take comfort in that people such as yourself will find a way to say it's our fault, which in a way would be true - because we would be at fault if we were ever so foolish as to give serious attention to this leftist drivel, which has been tried and failed for decades around the world, not least because the true cause of evil is not capitalism or allowing men to make their life choices and face the consequences of those choices.

A squad of SEALs does more good in a month than the entire U.S. Congress does in their collective careers, but they face an implacable enemy in the lockstep fascism of modern progressive dogma.

The non-salient flotsam ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

The non-salient flotsam is this babbling you cling to, that listening to lectures from properly-educated socialists on our obligations to spend billions of tax dollars on governments which despise our core principles will result in a social improvement which will - eventually - do something which has never happened before when we throw money at problems, and somehow create a functioning infrastructure which will eventually create a stable economy producing jobs, lifting the self-esteem of the area young men to the point that they decide not to become pirates anymore.

What the hell are you talking about? I was talking about hostages and the implications of the tactics you espouse, not economic conditions or solutions.

You are losing it, pal.

No, you are trying to dodge... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

No, you are trying to dodge your posts' focus.

After all, you've been saying all along that the issue is as much social and economic as anything else. That's not at all true, so I am hardly surprised that you back off when you get challenged.

In this discussion mantis, you have been as gutless as you have been dishonest.

As to tactics mantis, your ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

As to tactics mantis, your bullshit just won't change its smell just because you try to shift gears.

Kill all the pirates you find, and the rest will quit.

That's how you win, and anything else is just cowardice or playing politics with people's lives.

WTF are you talking about? ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

WTF are you talking about? I have not said "all along" that the issue is social and economic. In fact I haven't written anything at all to that effect.

It's not hard, morons, as all of my comments are right here on this page. The fact that now two of you choose to blatantly lie about what I'm saying when the evidence is right in front of your face is revealing.

Yes mantis, what you wrote ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Yes mantis, what you wrote is right there in print, and the context is obvious.

Not much good it does you to pretend otherwise now.

Yes mantis, what you wro... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Yes mantis, what you wrote is right there in print, and the context is obvious.

Quote it, then, moron. What did I write?

Again mantis, context</b... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Again mantis, context. Anyone reading through the thread will know not only your words, but your intent.

Sucks.
For.
You.
Boyo.

Again mantis, context. A... (Below threshold)
mantist:

Again mantis, context. Anyone reading through the thread will know not only your words, but your intent.

Then tell me how you divined from the context that I wasn't talking about how the hostages fit into the whole "kill all the pirates" plan, but rather economic and social causes, which I never addressed at all.

This should be good.

By the way, don't think I d... (Below threshold)
mantis:

By the way, don't think I didn't notice that you were posting under "Jesus" and then changed all the posts to "DJ Drummond." Messianic complex, much?


[ some people moonlight as Elvis mantis, I work for the Boss as needed. It's not like I confuse myself with an insect - DJ ]

After all, you've bee... (Below threshold)
mantis:

After all, you've been saying all along that the issue is as much social and economic as anything else.
43. Posted by DJ Drummond | April 10, 2009 5:07 PM

Where have I been saying that all along, Jesus?

Translation of mantis for n... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Translation of mantis for non-hysteriacs: "Waaaaah"

Translation of DJ/Jesus for... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Translation of DJ/Jesus for those who don't want to read the whole thread: "I just make shit up and when called on it, I wave my hands around and proclaim victory!" Next I'll probably start deleting comments.

Here's the thing, whine-boy... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Here's the thing, whine-boy:

As I said - and you agreed until you thought it through - everything is right there in print. My post, all the comments, your little snide inferences carefully plugged into insincere concern for the hostage(s). Once your facade broke, so did your nerve.

Too bad, so sad, for you anyway.

There is no reason to repeat what is already laid out for anyone to read. It's not going to end well for you this time, mantis. Sometimes you can be reasonable, even insightful, but you overplayed your hand and got burned like an Obama-bow, boyo.

As I said, sucks for you.

As I said - and you agre... (Below threshold)
mantis:

As I said - and you agreed until you thought it through - everything is right there in print.

Yes, indeed. Here's my first comment:

So, we should kill pirates we catch. Agreed. What about the hostages? Do we kill them too?

The Somali pirates now claim they're headed to the scene with more than 50 hostages they are holding for ransom. So do we kill all of them in order to kill the pirates, or what?

No mention of social or economic conditions there. You're response was "sniper fire" and an insult. I pointed out how poorly you thought that one through, and you responded with more insults. Since then you've done the same thing, only adding a bunch of bullshit about what I've written, inventing an argument I never made, and then when called on it claiming it's all there in the context. Of course you can't point out how you could have possibly inferred what you claimed from my comments, so now you just dance around in victory telling me how "There is no reason to repeat what is already laid out for anyone to read." Translation: "I don't know what the hell I'm talking about." Then you tell me it won't end well for me. ::Shudder::

keep going, mantis. At som... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

keep going, mantis. At some point you may realize you are making my case for me ... ahhh probably not, you have missed every tree in the forest so far, haven't you?




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