Monday, April 13, 2009

Time to go After Pirates

Early on in our history as a nation President Jefferson sent the fleet to take care of the Pirates. Time to do it again.

U.S. Navy snipers fatally shot three pirates holding an American cargo-ship captain hostage after seeing that one of the pirates "had an AK-47 leveled at the captain's back," a military official said Sunday.

U.S. forces moved to rescue Phillips after seeing him in imminent danger on the lifeboat, Gortney said. A fourth pirate was negotiating Phillips' fate aboard the nearby USS Bainbridge.

"While working through the negotiations process tonight, the on-scene commander from the Bainbridge made the decision that the captain's life was in immediate danger, and the three pirates were killed," Gortney said. "The pirate who surrendered earlier today is being treated humanely; his counterparts who continued to fight paid with their lives."

The three pirates, who were armed with AK-47 rifles, were killed by shooters who were aboard the Bainbridge, Gortney said.

The on-scene commander gave the shooters approval to open fire after seeing that "one of the pirates had an AK-47 leveled at the captain's back," Gortney said.

Seas in the area were getting rough at the time of the rescue, Gortney said, and the Bainbridge was towing the lifeboat presumably to calmer waters with a towline about 82 feet long.

A senior defense official told CNN that each pirate was shot in the head.

After the shooting, special operations personnel shimmied along the tow rope to ensure the pirates were dead and freed Phillips, the official said.

The official added that the pirates had become increasingly agitated over the past day, and negotiations were not going well.

It's time to go after the Pirates because other innocent people will suffer because of the rescue.
A great cry of anger, coupled with vows of vengeance, rose up from the pirate lairs hidden around the Horn of Africa after Capt. Richard Phillips' rescue.

"Our friends should have done more to kill the captain before they were killed. This will be a good lesson for us," Jamac Habeb, a 30-year-old pirate, told The Associated Press in the port of Eyl, a Somali pirate hub.

"From now on, if we capture foreign ships and their respective countries try to attack us, we will kill [the hostages]."

Somali pirates generally treat their hostages well to ensure they get their ransom. Some warned that would change after the U.S. Navy killed three Somali pirates and Friday’s French commando raid on a captured yacht killed two others.

"The French and the Americans will regret starting this killing," a pirate called Hussein told Reuters. "We shall do something to anyone we see as French or American from now on."

Some fear the pirates might retaliate against the more than 200 international mariners they hold.

In Harardhere, a major Somali pirate stronghold, residents gathered in the streets worrying about attacks by foreign navies.

This article in the Washington Post makes an effective argument for crushing the Somalis. The must be an operation with International support that seeks to destroy the Pirates while saving as many hostages, that are still being held.
With the rescue of American Richard Phillips from the hands of pirates yesterday, there was a blip of good news from the Indian Ocean, but it remains a scandal that Somali pirates continue to routinely defeat the world's naval powers. And worse than this ongoing demonstration of cowardice is the financing of terrorists that results from the huge ransom payments these pirates are allowed to collect.

It is naive to assume that the millions paid annually in ransom to pirates merely enables them to purchase villas and fancy automobiles. Somalia is a country without government, where anarchy is being exploited by terrorist organizations. Although the threat that pirates pose to commercial ships is increasingly known, little is being done to combat it. And we must consider the bigger picture: Terrorists are far more brutal than pirates and can easily force pirates -- petty thieves in comparison -- to share their ransom money.

We already know that Somalia is an ideal fortress and headquarters for global terrorist activity. The United States has learned the painful lesson that Somalia is not an easy place for our military to establish law and order; two of our interventions there became embarrassing defeats -- in 1993 and more recently in support of Ethiopian forces.

So why do we keep rewarding Somali pirates? How is this march of folly possible?