Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Millions for defense, not a cent for tribute

Kohelet was right; there's nothing new under the sun. Remember the Barbary pirates? From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli (the second came first but don't tell that to a Marine)? Muslim-controlled piratical states in North Africa preyed on American and British shipping, seizing ships and their crews and holding them for ransom. Their entire economies were built around piracy; they had no other parnasa [means of support]. Red-blooded Americans thundered, "Millions for defense; not a cent for tribute!" President Jefferson dispatched the fledgling U.S. Navy and, along with the much stronger British Navy, taught the pirates and their governments a lesson they did not soon forget. Civilization had no more trouble from Barbary pirates - until now. The venue changed just a little; instead of North Africa the pirates operate from Somalia, that failed state on the Horn of Africa astride the world's major shipping lanes. The pirates are still Muslim, the economy of the towns from which they operate is completely dependent on piracy, and there are indications that some of the ransom money finds its way to Islamic fascists. Nobody knows how much was paid out in ransom by shipping companies, but insurance premiums are going through the roof, and shippers are sending their ships on a long and costly detour around the Cape of Good Hope to avoid the Somali pirates. The pirates have become so brazen as to threaten cruise ships, and cruise companies are avoiding the area. The response of the civilized world? Not what it was in Jefferson's time! Western governments regard it as a private matter between shipping companies and pirates, and are suggesting that shippers hire private security to deal with the pirates.

Protecting the West's strategic shipping lanes (through which most of our oil flows) is not a job for mercenaries such as Blackwater. This is just the latest front in the broader war against Islamic fascism. An attack on American shipping, or even on foreign ships with cargoes bound for America, is an attack on America and must be treated as such. We need to dispatch our Navy to neutralize the pirates by any means necessary. And we and the European Union need to send an expeditonary force to occupy enough of Somalia so that the pirates will not be able to use it as a base. People are saying that we don't know what to do with pirates that we capture. If I am not mistaken, international law has long provided that any country may capture, try and execute pirates. If crewmen can cut the ropes that pirates use to board ships and send the pirates to the sharks, fine (see Ex. 22:1). Otherwise, capture them, bring them ashore and speedily try them. If found guilty, hang them from the yardarm of the ship they attempted to seize, with the TV cameras rolling for maximum deterrence. People will say that we lack the wherewithal; our military is already stretched thin between Iraq and Afghanistan. But we've fought wars on multiple fronts before; World War II comes to mind. And our present predicament presents us with an opportunity to reverse the economic downturn. We have plenty of unused industrial capacity in the "rust belt," from which American manufacturing jobs were long since exported to Red China. Renovate the factories and retool them . Put Americans to work manufacturing tanks, planes, ships, aircraft carriers, everything a superpower needs to project power wherever and whenever necessary. This will put millions of Americans to work and modernize our deterrent. And while we're building new aircraft carriers, why not sell one of the old ones to Israel and train the Israelis to take off and land from it? Israeli flyboys are sure to be quick studies, and America could use a strong, reliable ally in that dangerous part of the world.

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Blogger The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

Unfortunately what often makes sense in theory fails the test in real life.

The American and British navies cannot just sail to the Horn of Africa and destroy the pirates. It takes time and effort to find them and during that time the pirates would likely grab all the hostages they could. In the 1800's the American and British navies could sink the pirate ships, hostages and all and then report back home about a job well-done. Nowadays, the same CNN reporters who are telling us about the pirates will emphasize American brutality if any hostages are killed.

And Heaven help us if the pirates are Muslim. Then the EU will step in to oppose American efforts as well.

Plus, as reassured as you are about him, you now have a president who's very worried about what the world thinks of him and, by extension, America. Better to give inspirational speeches about how bad piracy is than to do something about it and risk a PR backlash.

Wed Dec 24, 10:38:00 AM EST  

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