April 13, 2009

In Rescue of Captain, Navy Kills 3 Pirates - NYTimes.com

In Rescue of Captain, Navy Kills 3 Pirates - NYTimes.com

We in Vermont are very thankful for the safe rescue of Captain Phillips on Easter Sunday by America's finest.

This was made for TV reality ad exhibits the best of what we have learned in dealing with renegade terrorists, kidnappers and pirates. We'll never know all the details of the tightly coordinated efforts of the Navy, the work of the Navy Seals in particular, the FBI and other government agencies who pulled this off. But what we do know is that we can win tactically when the conditions are 'right.'

Strategically, dealing with the pirates presents a much bigger problem because they hold so many hostages and shippers are willing to pay to retrieve their crews, cargoes and ships. If the United Nations was worth its salt, it would mount a targeted strategic effort to focus the world's naval resources on the pirate entrepreneurs. Little hope for that from the feckless U.N. that consumed nearly as much time fussing over the language of a worthless 'condemnation of North Korea's missile launch.

Some of the TV talking heads mumbled yesterday about rebuilding the nation of Somalia in order to control the piracy. At best, wishful thinking, but in my view, utter nonsense!

I think convoys of ships escorted by armed naval forces offer the best near-term hope to thwart this scourge, at least for the few hundred miles of heavily traveled routes. Sinking a few of the pirate vessels on their way to a target would be a strong signal that their successful business model has some downside risk. If we can identify them as pirates, we can certainly track their ships via satellite and blowing a few out of the water may be a deterrent.

A WSJ editorial includes this thought:

"While praising the rescue, Mr. Obama added yesterday that "we must continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks, be prepared to interdict acts of piracy and ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes." But since the Navy can't stop every hijacking, some kind of military action against pirates on land may be needed. The Somali gangs operate openly in the port city of Eyl and claim "shares" in ships held for ransom. The willingness of the Saudis and Europeans to pay ransom is one reason the pirates have become so brazen.

Somali pirates are turning the high seas into a state of anarchy not seen in a century or more. They'll continue to terrorize innocents until what we call the "civilized world" demonstrates that they will suffer the same fate as the pirates who made the mistake of kidnapping Captain Phillips."

Meanwhile, creative minds, I'm certain, are working on a plan to target the shore-based pirate operations.
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