Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pirates Ahoy!! Our Readers Weigh In!!

I know, Somali pirates are probably a far cry from the swashbuckling privateers we've come to romanticize in the movies, as the media seems to be in constant need of reminding us. Like I really believe that there still are wooden ships captained by cockney, one-eyed, eye patched captains afloat on the seven seas. I'm sure there's still lots of Rum, Sodomy and The Lash that goes on with these Somali thieves, but any swashbuckling is most likely done by a 14 year old armed with a machete or semi-automatic weapon of some sort - and I doubt the kid has too many snappy one-liners to charm the ladies with.
Over on the corner on NRO, mention was made of an old provision in the Constitution called "Letters of Marque". Quoting a paper published by some wonks over at the CEI;

"The letters, specifically authorized in the Article 1 section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, allow private parties to attack and seize the property of other parties that have committed violations of international law. Congress has the power to grant the letters called 'letters of marque'."

Sounds nice, but as one reader noted, problematic;

"...letters of Marque were outlawed by a treaty quite a long time ago. Secondly, I have never heard of any criminal that was stopped by slapping him upside the head with a letter."

Another reader - a former navy man - points out that a provision in Naval Law won't help much either ;

"There is a provision in Naval Law that allows for the making of one whole by the seizure of property of the offender - which must be no more nor less than the damages suffered . Not too much hope there seeing as Somalia doesn't have any real government and first we'd have to prove they had anything to do with it.
Also, what damages were suffered? In this case that is pretty hard to assess."

As we go to print (isn't that a quaint term?) the Captain of the American vessel is still being held captive by the Somali pirates.

The return of weak-kneed American diplomacy abroad has led to this problem. Emboldened by the thought of a punishment no more severe than a conference room in some snooty European hotel to explain what ancient piece of American foreign policy forced them to resort to such action, terrorists, criminals, jay-walkers, squeegee dudes, and yes, even freakin' pirates feel free to run amok with no fear of reprisal.

My favorite response came from a reader who was perplexed at what the big problem was;

" A few well armed trained men aboard the ships would do a great deal to destroy the pirates revenue base. Keeping a few F-22 Raptors, or some such thing, in the air over the Gulf of Aden might prove an even better solution. At mach 2 nothing in the general area is all that far away, and high enough the planes aren't even visible. Nothing would necessarily be more than a few minutes away from air support and a short burst of 20mm fire would likely send what ever was left of a pirate boat to either the beach or the bottom very quickly. For that matter a couple of US 688 subs with Tomahawk missiles. Surface in the midst of a piracy attempt and let the pirates get away. Track that boat back to its mother ship, track the mothership back to port, erase the port."

I am proud to say that we at the Straight Hype (all three of us - thanks Claire and Paul!) have just about the smartest readership in the world...and as some of you may have noticed - I'm not the only one who thinks so!



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A great execution by our navy, a masterful procedure by President Obama, who had enough sense to keep quiet and not say "Bring em on."