Wednesday, February 23, 2011

They didn't ask me...

How To End The Threat of High Seas Piracy
The Lifeguard has previously commented on the need to take a stand against hostis humani generis. High seas piracy threatens the world order (as merchant vessels are the targets of these vermin), and simply must be stopped in order to preserve the credibility of seafaring nations.

Not only do the pirates--mostly Somali--operate with impunity, there is no disadvantage to surrender. Indeed, being brought to a First World nation to stand trial is a decided improvement on the lives of these men and women. Add to the equation the short sentences meted out by the courts, capture and incarceration is an acceptable risk to the pirates. Even the recent 33 year sentence imposed by a US Court is merely a slap on the wrist for people who have no running water, no electricity, and no cable TV.

And, while it is true that the recent murder of four Americans is an anomaly in the business of high seas piracy, it is the harbinger of things to come. Sadly, four innocent lives were lost as a consequence of a failure of the nations to act decisively among acts of terrorism in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

True, warnings have been given, both by pirates and the United States, relative to the dangers of sailing in these waters. However, if there is to be communion among nations, there must be an assurance of safe passage for all mariners.

Certainly, the presence of the twenty-four hour media makes such action difficult. Bombing villages and sinking pirate vessels yields collateral damage, which most countries (including the Chinese) are unwilling to accept. Sending soldiers is unpalatable, since it will likely lead to lengthy involvement by the invaders, along with other monetary and public relations costs. And, yet, something must be done, with all due dispatch.

First, the remaining pirates that seized S/V Quest must not be brought to the United States to stand trial. Instead, a military tribunal must be convened at sea, and the pirates hanged.

Second, any vessel suspected of being operated by pirates must be destroyed. The United States (and the navies of other countries operating in the region) must cooperate to sink (or permanently disable) these boats. While there is a risk of sinking a fishing vessel or coaster, the likelihood is small. Vessels engaged in legitimate commerce do not run when ordered to stop and be boarded. Those that do run should be sunk. (Any survivors can be interrogated and tried at sea.)

Finally, small teams of special operators should be tasked with attacking land-based hideouts; and, given impunity to drain the figurative swamp. The Lifeguard imagines that in short order, the instances of piracy will decrease significantly.

As for the pirate shown above, The Lifeguard intends a lengthy period of interrogation involving restraints and other "tools." And while it is true that this could be construed as "torture," The Lifeguard believes it is necessary.

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