November 29, 2008

Why is it so hard to fight pirates?

"[T]he bureaucratic and legal hurdles facing international institutions and national governments have so far defeated most efforts to deal with the nimble crews of pirates in speedboats, whose tactics have grown bolder as their profits have paid for better weapons and equipment."

Number of ships hijacked this year: 40.

Ransom collected so far: $25,000,000.

69 comments:

Chris said...

The glib obvious answer is that it is cheaper to pay the ransom than to pay for protection.

Michael_H said...

Bureaucratic and legal hurdles can be overcome by the skilled use of excellent weaponry.

Notice that no American-flagged ships have been captured? What right-thinking pirate would want his homeland skies abuzz with hellfire-armed drones, manned by AFers who want to play 'blast the pirates"?

Using weapons to fight bad guys usually works pretty well if your weapons are really good, effective and scary. Using bureaucrats and lawyers to fight pirates who come from a country with no government and no laws, not so good.

Richard Fagin said...

The other glib and obvious answer is all those legal and bureaucratic hurdles. The Wall St. Journal had an op-ed piece the other day about how pirates used to be summarily hanged (shot, drawn and quartered, etc.). By the end of the 19th century, piracy had been effectively eliminated. But now that we in the West are so much less barbaric because of our enlightened bureaucratic institutions, we've got pirates out the penzance.

At a certain point, one has to face the fact that legal protections for ordinary criminal suspects acting within defined jurisdictions do not work on the totally lawless.

Piracy is the Hamdan case writ large. We're enlightening ourselves to death.

Gahrie said...

I believe Letters of Marque are still legal, both under U.S. law and international law. The U.S. Constitution expressly gives Congress the power to issue them. Give organizations like Blackwater a Letter of Marque and the problem will be quickly solved.

Chris said...

Isn't there some (I can't speak for the empirical case) game theory notion that incentivizing the enforcers offers more bang for the buck than deterring the violators? Blowing them up might feel good, but I suspect things are a bit more complicated.

The Drill SGT said...

otice that no American-flagged ships have been captured?

of course there are no American flagged ships anymore. There are ships owned by Americans, Flagged in Liberia or Panama however.

The basic problems with pirates is that we are applying 21st century law enforcement approaches to old school problems.

1. we view these guys as fishermen until such time as they approach and fire on a freighter. At that point, there is a 10 min gap between revealing that they are pirates and when they sieze hostages. after that, we can't attack.

2. The spool up time on a an armed helo plus flight time means that unless a warship is literally within sight of the attack at the instant of the attack, a helo can't intervene in time to fend off the pirates before they get on board. and of course, if the fishermen see a warship on the horizon, they stay fishermen for another day.

3. they risk return ratio for these pirates is huge.

4. Somalia has no functioning government. Hasn't since before they ran us out in 1993.

5. Brits and others are explictly told NOT to kill pirates and NOT to take them captive. Captaives can get asylum.

How should we handle these pirates? The old fashion way.

a. Q ships. equip a few mid sized freighters with a polatoon of Marines and 2 50 cal MG. sink the pirate inflatables.

b. send in Seals to free crews.

c. Burn active pirate villages and all the fishing boats. I know that is heartless and inhumane, but until you change the risk reward ratio for these fishermen, you will see them increasingly turning to piracy.

American Liberal Elite said...

Yarr!

ricpic said...

Oy, mein son the pirate,
He makes out like a thief;
It got him off the welfare:
Mein Gott what a relief!

Chris said...

To TheDrillSGT:

Why don't we do it then? My limited experience with the US military officer corp is that they are very, very, smart. I have a feeling that there might be some reason why we aren't sending in special forces. (a. it might not be our problem; b. offering free security allows the shippers to game the system; c. we're busy)

john said...

Michael_H: How many "American-flagged" ships are there anyway? It seems many if not most shipowners choose to register them in Liberia or other convenient rubber stamp countries. I suppose I could google the answer to that, but am too lazy this morning.

In any case, I think the scenario of American Seals, Delta Forces, Blackwater, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Steven Seagal swooping down to blast the pirates is unrealistic in that most of the ships are privately owned.

Note this about the Biscaglia hijacking:

After getting the crew to a safe place, the men were unable to prevent the pirates from boarding and jumped overboard under fire, the statement said. The three men, two Britons and one Irishman, were rescued unharmed by a German military helicopter. Roughly 30 crew members were still on board the ship

There doesn't appear to be a lack of a helicopter that could get to a hijacked ship. These 3 were supplying "private security"?

john said...

Oh, and what the Sarge said, better than my post.

john said...

ALE: "Yarr!"

Is it another Talk Like a Pirate Day? Do ships still have yardarms?

Jack said...

Right-blogs are reporting this morning on Google Ads for terrorist training.

Chris said...

There doesn't appear to be a lack of a helicopter that could get to a hijacked ship. These 3 were supplying "private security"?

I think this pretty much supports my trivial but true first post. The hijackers have found a sweet spot and are gaming the system. From what I've heard (and I don't claim it is reliable), there is a certain understanding between the pirates and the pirated such that having your ship taken over by pirates is a bit like a private tariff. The pirates bring food and drink and obey certain transactional norms.

UWS guy said...

There's an article out there saying were actually encouraging the Sudanese pirates because they are the secular capitalist forces fighting militant Islam.

What better way to give them money with plausable denyability than letting them take their money from Saudi Arabian tankers?

Think of it as Iran contra of the high seas.

EDH said...

I think the answer to the pirate problem may be found in one of my favorite toys from the 1960s.

The Phantom Raider, by Ideal Toy Corporation.

An innocent freighter rapidly changes into a fully armed fighting warship (with the flip of a switch)!

I loved that toy. Although I think you'd have to sacrifice a lot of cargo space.

Will said...

Historically, pirates had no protection under international law or the law of the sea. The navies of the world were free to take, sink, or burn pirate vessels wherever encountered, and their crews were usually hanged.

This had the effect of discouraging piracy.

If the article is to be believed, there is sufficient legal framework to hammer the pirates, if countries have the political will to do so. Ideally, several nations should send cruisers or frigates into the area and patrol it heavily. They should also take a page out of the pirates' book and use small fast and heavily armed boats like Zodiacs to investigate all vessels leaving the ports.

PatCA said...

"At a certain point, one has to face the fact that legal protections for ordinary criminal suspects acting within defined jurisdictions do not work on the totally lawless."

We still haven't come to that point about Al Qaeda.

I wonder what the conversations between the pirates and their lawyers are like...

chickenlittle said...

It probably doesn't help to romanticize the pirate image.

Theo Boehm said...

Who cares? Piracy only adds a small extra overall cost to international shipping. The cost of eradicating them would, I think, far exceed leaving them alone. Plus, the pirates are out to make money, not inflict damage for political ends, like (dare I use the word?) "terrorists."

It's a problem for insurance companies and shipowners. There is also has almost no US-flagged shipping any longer, so it's really an issue for the Germans, Russians, Chinese, Singaporians, et al.

Of course nobody can deal with the pirates. Despite the developed world spending vast sums on the military, its actual use has become so entangled in every restriction and so much in a bad odor, no matter what the circumstances, that we might as well be building pyramids or some other similarly useful public project as spending all that money for pointless "security."

No, until the pirates show up in Boston Harbor, I'm not giving a damn, and neither should anyone else.

peter hoh said...

I think UWS guy is on to something.

In another variation on this story, someone wrote a news release: Somali Pirates in Discussions to Acquire Citigroup

Theo Boehm said...

A note to the literal-minded:

My above comment is intended to be bitterly ironic, so please don't show up attacking me for being a liberal wuss.

But I would have you perhaps meditate on the larger issue of what it means for a civilization to increasingly become so enervated and impotent that it cannot enforce the barest minimum of what formerly was considered necessary for the maintenance of civilized life.

SteveR said...

Mostly insurance companies will settle rather than fight and this seems like the same thing, the cost to protect all ships probably far exceeds the few they have to ransom.

In any case, action by the U.S. to properly discourage this activity, what with its lack of "due process" and resultant damage to our reputation around the world, that we seem to care so much about, makes it unlikely to happen.

garage mahal said...

One way to stop piracy would be stay out of that impoverished sovereign country's waters and stop plundering the few resources they have. I would start there.

john said...

Garage -

Yea, I just hate the way the imperialists are plundering Somalia. Joke, right?

I would start there. I would start by getting a map of the Indian Ocean.

Cedarford said...

Gahrie said...
I believe Letters of Marque are still legal, both under U.S. law and international law. The U.S. Constitution expressly gives Congress the power to issue them.


Letters of Marque are another obsolete section of the US Constitution, not cleaned up in a modern revision to that old document - among other archaic "legacies". Issuance of such letters was banned by the Teaty of Lisbon a century and a half ago.

***************
Drill Sargeant gave a good listing of the problems. And while we laugh at the idea Britain would be obligated to offer pirates asylum, the ACLU and other Jewish progressive groups have legally enshrined the idea that the US must offer sanctuary to terrorists..who face, as most terrorists do, the "danger of persecution" in their Home Country.

I disagree with 2 of 3 of Drill SGT's solutions, and agree with his 3rd, modified a bit:

a. Q ships. equip a few mid sized freighters with a polatoon of Marines and 2 50 cal MG. sink the pirate inflatables.

b. send in Seals to free crews.

c. Burn active pirate villages and all the fishing boats. I know that is heartless and inhumane, but until you change the risk reward ratio for these fishermen, you will see them increasingly turning to piracy.


a. The Gulf of Aden has thousands of vessels spread over 6,000 square miles - 45,000 square miles if you include the new range at which they took the oil tanker. Most traffic is unmolested. Putting Marines on 2 commercial ships might mean they were never attacked in the medley of targets Somalis can choose from. There is also good evidence that they have some "insiders" accessing the international shipping databases that know the shipping courses, cargos, port of origin, destination - from their intercepting certain flagged ships, of certain valuable cargo, at certain points they appear to know the ship will appear at a given time. Enough that there is reason to believe they would quickly detect then avoid any "trap". Maybe enough to fool the pirates once - but then become a useless ploy.

b. The problem with "Send in the SEALS" is they are not magic warriors. Elite troops, commandos die at about the same rate as normal troops do in closed quarter firefights. In the closed quarters of a ship where each passageway and space can be commanded by high explosives charges, RPGs and sweeping automatic weapons fire? You have a room-to-room closed quarters fighting, death trap, worse than Fallujah.
Hollywood might make such a rescue raid have a happy ending, but the reality is likely to be a pile of dead crew and dead SEALs or Royal Marines to kill a handful of entrenched pirates with automatic weapons and high explosives waiting...
You might be able to gas them out of interior spaces and pick them off "topside", but then you violate Geneva rules on war gases.

c. Despite the admiral of the 100 billion dollar American Navy saying that we cannot protect against a small band of illiterate Somalis in speedboats, we can..IF the laws are changed in the face of billions in extra shipping costs as the use of the Suez Canal becomes too risky (something the Arabs would NOT like, as well as the Euros)
Make a rule that every vessel leaving Somalia must be inspected at perhaps 2 ports and fitted with transponders. And any ship lacking such transponders would be sunk on sight with no rescue ops feasible for pirates left floating..One Tarawa-class helo ship fitted with Hell-fire equipped Blackhawks or hosting the Army's Apache gunship helos could sweep the Gulf of Aden of all unauthorized, (declared by lacking transponder defaulting to declared pirate) boats, sinking them on sight. Each helo could range over 200 sq miles and blast away with near-impunity. Or force the do-nothing Egyptians to pick up some of the force projection to defend their Suez revenues..

All this is quite doable from a military standpoint. The Royal Navy managed this without radio, radar, airpower, or automatic weapons a couple of centuries ago.
The main barrier is the human rights laws protecting terrorists and pirates - foisted on the world by well meaning Lefty euroweenies and progressive Jewish lawyers - that require fixing.
*****************

UWS guy said...
There's an article out there saying were actually encouraging the Sudanese pirates because they are the secular capitalist forces fighting militant Islam.


The Brit press is all over this. Apparantly, the US has helped the clans in the past because they opposed AQ. Just another chapter in the list of nasty "Freedom Lovers!!" the US has pushed on the "odious enemy of my odious enemy is my friend until they turn on us, too.." Well they did turn. So party over. Something the Left never quite grasps - preferring that we stay hypocritical rather than just whack former allies gone sour...
*********
Theo Boehm said...
Who cares? Piracy only adds a small extra overall cost to international shipping. The cost of eradicating them would, I think, far exceed leaving them alone.


No, the cost of going around Africa instead of through Suez is 600K to 1.4 million in extra fuel and operating costs. That is passed on to the public. Or higher insurance rates if ships dare the transit, also passed on. Cost of a few B-52s bombloads wiping out 6-8 fishing villages or the Navy sinking on sight any unauthorized vessel? Far cheaper. Blocked by our present unworkable modern laws that give pirates and terrorists human rights, sanctuary, endless due process...for now..
(I think the Indians are now educating the surviving Mumbai terrorists in how things play out when there isn't a terrorist rights lawyer within 500 miles of them..)

Synova said...

It's called...

... process.

Brad V said...

I don't know which Treaty of Lisbon you're referring to, Cedarford, that had anything to do with banning Letters of Marque.

The Declaration of Paris from 1859 had its signatories agree, in effect, to stop issuing them, but the U.S. did not sign. Arguably, the 1907 Hague Convention further solidified that stance into customary international law.

The U.S. Navy supposedly issued a Letter of Marque to a blimp over the Pacific to hunt submarines around World War II. Otherwise, Ron Paul introduced legislation in the house in both 2001 and 2007 to authorize issuance of Letters of Marque to private parties to pursue Osama bin Laden.

UNCLOS, the Law of the Sea Treaty (which the U.S. hasn't ratified, but might also be customary international law by this point) bars all except states or those authorized by states to attack pirates (changing the age-old 'enemies of all humanity' construct permitting anyone to kill and eliminate pirates on the high seas).

To me, the real question is whether a Letter of Marque was even intended initially to apply to non-state actors like the Somali pirates. In the late 18th and early 19th Century, Letters of Marque were granted to privateers typically to prey on shipping of another foreign state.

There are also the Geneva Conventions to throw into the mix, especially the issue of whether or not certain provisions like Common Article 3 would apply to some pirates.

Someone else mentioned staying out of Somali's waters and refraining from using their maritime resources as a way to stop piracy. Well, a good deal of these attacks occur in international waters, so that's a poor argument.

Hoosier Daddy said...

One way to stop piracy would be stay out of that impoverished sovereign country's waters and stop plundering the few resources they have. I would start there.

Garage, I can't tell if this is a joke or if you are really that stupid.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Burn active pirate villages and all the fishing boats. I know that is heartless and inhumane, but until you change the risk reward ratio for these fishermen, you will see them increasingly turning to piracy.

If Freder was here he'd say doing that would be in violation of what this country was founded on.

wait....

Theo Boehm said...

Please note my post above, "To the literal minded...."

As far as cost goes, I was thinking of the entire cost, not merely the relative cheapness of a few military strikes and a short-term show of force, which, realistically, is about all the US could do.

There are the easily-imagined costs of all sorts of international settlements involving killed and injured ship crews and "poor innocent Somali fishermen," the resettlement of refugees, extortionate "development" aid for "devasted" coastal areas, ongoing contributions to an international force to bring "order" so that aid could be delivered, etc., etc.

A few bombing raids and a couple of frigates is only the beginning.

It took the British Navy well over a century of relentless and expensive effort to bring piracy under control, starting in the late 17th century. Other navies made their contribution, for sure, but the British, seeing that expanding trade was their route to national wealth and influence at the time, bore most of the burden.

The United States is in no similar position, and, realistically is in no position to engage in the modern version of such a program. Those nations that do rely on free and cheap trade for their sustenance and national influence should bear the cost, and, in the end, the odium. Given what I understand about the overall volume and value of shipping, I still believe it is cheaper to avoid pirate-infested shipping routes than to attempt to do anything about it.

My own preference is for a way to enforce norms of behavior that have been regarded as necessary for thousands of years.

We seem, however, to have advanced far beyond such things.

Matt Eckert said...

Just do not express any glee at the pirates being murdered by those barbarian navies. They should be treated with due process as mandated by the Geneva Convention and read their Miranda Rights and get a phone call to get Lynn Stewart or Ramsey Clark on the line to start their appeal.

Millions for defense, not one cent for tribute.

Oh sorry, that is so old white manish. Nevermind.

peter hoh said...

The enemy of my enemy is my enemy.

Synova said...

The answer, actually, would be to have not f*cked up Somalia.

Bush I lacked resolve and vision (and didn't want to commit Clinton to anything) and Clinton pulled us out the minute any of our people died because, clearly, the lives of our people are far more important than the lives of people in Somalia.

The people there are stuck with whatever criminal strongman can hold power locally and compared to all the others, the pirates actually bring in money.

No matter how much the local people disapprove, they aren't going to do anything to risk the influx of money into the economy.

Ron said...

The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!

ricpic said...

...the lives of our people are far more important than the lives of people in Somalia.

Congratulations for inadvertently stumbling into the truth.

Synova said...

Abdelghafar Musa, a fighter with al-Shabab who claims to speak on behalf of all Islamic fighters in the Horn of Africa nation, said ships belonging to Muslim countries should not be seized.

Heh. Just the other ones.

Did you see that slide show at the link, Peter?

It gives the year for things *really* getting bad as 1991. And continuing from there.

I recall seeing news reports of how terrible it was and how many people were starving and dying and how we *must* do something to help. So we sent our military to distribute the food donations rotting on the docks. News reporters set up floodlights to film our forces arriving heroically on the beaches at night. No one seems to have stopped to realize that if there weren't people willing to violently prevent the distribution of food, there wouldn't have been a problem, at all.

And after Clinton pulled us out... not so much news anymore. Not so much call to "do something", to make us feel good about trying to help. After all... we had, and look where it got us. And it made no difference at all that the people starving weren't the ones shooting at us. We'd tried, and trying was enough to feel good about "doing something" even if we managed to do nothing at all for anyone.

Somehow we were no longer morally on the hook to do a blessed thing for those people. And what had changed? Not a thing. Nothing had changed at all.

But I guess we satisfied the *process*.

Synova said...

Congratulations for inadvertently stumbling into the truth.

Nothing *inadvertent* about it!

PatCA said...

"In any case, action by the U.S. to properly discourage this activity, what with its lack of "due process" and resultant damage to our reputation around the world, that we seem to care so much about, makes it unlikely to happen."

Okay, I'm not understanding that. Do you mean that it's our job to end piracy, or are you being ironic?

Perhaps we should find out what George Clooney thinks, and then follow his advice, to do the right thing and finally make the leftists of the world happy. He draws that exquisite difference between Darfur and Iraq with such ease, while I cannot seem to figure out why we should have thrown the Iraqis under the bus and not the Darfurians.

Synova said...

The difference between Darfur and Iraq is that we "did something" in Iraq and people like Clooney think that we can "do something" without it actually involving force.

It would be the same in Burma or anywhere else.

If bad men with guns weren't effing up those countries then there wouldn't be a problem. But we're supposed to "do something" that doesn't involve using force against the bad men with guns.

So long as the "doing something" exists in potential and not actuality, people like Clooney can be all for "doing something." Just as soon as "doing something" exists in actuality, it becomes clear that it's not a very happy thing and force and the military are involved when what George and his buddies were actually envisioning had sugar plum fairies.

And then it becomes... Where are my sugar plum fairies! I ordered sugar plum fairies!

Freder Frederson said...

Make a rule that every vessel leaving Somalia must be inspected at perhaps 2 ports and fitted with transponders. And any ship lacking such transponders would be sunk on sight with no rescue ops feasible for pirates left floating..One Tarawa-class helo ship fitted with Hell-fire equipped Blackhawks or hosting the Army's Apache gunship helos could sweep the Gulf of Aden of all unauthorized, (declared by lacking transponder defaulting to declared pirate) boats, sinking them on sight. Each helo could range over 200 sq miles and blast away with near-impunity. Or force the do-nothing Egyptians to pick up some of the force projection to defend their Suez revenues..

Gee, let's make a rule. And exactly who is going to supply these transponders? Who is going to pay for these naval patrols?

There is no government in Somalia. That is the problem. We let the Ethiopians invade because it look like the first chance that Somalia had to have any kind of government in twenty years was a little too hard line Islamist. Now the Ethiopians are leaving and anarchy reigns.

You people think the solution to everything is to blow shit up and torture people, don't you?

(I think the Indians are now educating the surviving Mumbai terrorists in how things play out when there isn't a terrorist rights lawyer within 500 miles of them..)

And yes Cedarford, these methods are proving to be incredibly effective in reducing the incidence of terrorism in India, aren't they?

Synova said...

(Because people starving to death where we can't see them and aren't involved isn't torture.)

Hoosier Daddy said...

We let the Ethiopians invade because it look like the first chance that Somalia had to have any kind of government in twenty years was a little too hard line Islamist.

Whose we?

You people think the solution to everything is to blow shit up and torture people, don't you?

There is something wrong with blowing up pirates?

Freder Frederson said...

If bad men with guns weren't effing up those countries then there wouldn't be a problem. But we're supposed to "do something" that doesn't involve using force against the bad men with guns.

The suggestions presented here seem to involve mass punishment of everyone who lives on the coast of Somalia. The Drill SGT suggests burning all "active pirate villages", how he plans to identify such villages is beyond me. Cedarford has got this crazy scheme to blow up any boat that doesn't have a transponder.

Nobody has bothered to explain where the military forces to accomplish all this are going to come from. Our military is tapped out. Our soldiers already have three, four, or even more tours in Iraq and Afghanistan under their belt. Do you want them deployed for the duration of the war on terror and now pirates? God knows Cedarford doesn't trust anybody but Americans (and white, non-Jewish, Americans at that) to get it right.

Freder Frederson said...

There is something wrong with blowing up pirates?

Blowing up pirates is fine. Blowing up a tanker loaded with $700 million worth of oil because there are a handful of pirates on it is quite problematic. It would make quite a mess.

Flattening a town of poor fishermen on the coast of Somalia and killing hundreds of people even if you are certain that there are a handful of pirates among them is nothing but cold blooded murder.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hey Freder, do you have any suggestions other than whining because some people suggest eliminating pirates? Cause it certainly seems like the first damn thing you want to do either with Islamic terrorists or pirates is to throw your hands up and claim defeat.

Nobody has bothered to explain where the military forces to accomplish all this are going to come from. Our military is tapped out.

This may come as a shock to you but we aren't the only nation with a navy. Hell as far as I'm concerned, as long as they aren't our ships being hijacked, fuck em. Perhaps the rest of the international community can step up for a change.

How about that?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Blowing up pirates is fine. Blowing up a tanker loaded with $700 million worth of oil because there are a handful of pirates on it is quite problematic. It would make quite a mess.

I don't think anyone is advocating blowing up an oil tanker. Quit projecting.

Freder Frederson said...

Cause it certainly seems like the first damn thing you want to do either with Islamic terrorists or pirates is to throw your hands up and claim defeat.

Far from it. You are the whiners who claim defeat. Bedwetters like you, Cedarford and Pogo think the only way to fight terrorists is to throw all our humanity, sense of decency and justice out the window and become just like them. You are so afraid you want the U.S. to become a terrorist nation in order to fight terrorism.

I don't think we can be defeated by Somalian pirates or Al Qaeda. Automatically seeking a military solution, or thinking that the only solution is military, is shortsighted and stupid.

Stopping the piracy will take stepped up patrols (and sorry we are not going to be bombing Somali villages) and doing something to end the political anarchy in Somalia.

PatCA said...

"Hey Freder, do you have any suggestions other than whining because some people suggest eliminating pirates?"

The left functions as the Church Lady of Politics, so I would not hold my breath for, say, a plan to solve the problem.

Freder Frederson said...

The left functions as the Church Lady of Politics, so I would not hold my breath for, say, a plan to solve the problem.

Yeah, you guys have brilliant plans. They are all so sensible, logical and practical.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Bedwetters like you, Cedarford and Pogo think the only way to fight terrorists is to throw all our humanity, sense of decency and justice out the window and become just like them.

Bedwetters. That's funny. Maybe you can tell me how exactly we defeated the nazis because that's pretty much who we're up against again. Yes Freder, I don't see you calling guys like Achmadenejad or the countless Muslims nazis who think Jews are monkeys and pigs and think they should be wiped out. I'm sure its because you think it would be culturally insensitive.

I don't think we can be defeated by Somalian pirates or Al Qaeda. Automatically seeking a military solution, or thinking that the only solution is military, is shortsighted and stupid.

In other words you have nothing to offer.

Stopping the piracy will take stepped up patrols (and sorry we are not going to be bombing Somali villages) and doing something to end the political anarchy in Somalia.

Yeah that worked out so well when Clinton tried it. How about letting me know how those other UN operations are working out in Congo or Darfur or oh never mind.

The Drill SGT said...

I normally don't bother responding to Freder, it's normally pointless, but I can't resist this one.

The Drill SGT suggests burning all "active pirate villages", how he plans to identify such villages is beyond me.

1. We have satellites, and UAVs and magic boxes called VCRs. You have a ship pirated? you run video in reverse to back plot where the boats come from, or watch where they go after the attack.

2. Having megaton tankers parked off shore of a fishing village is a clear giveaway.

3. Wait till they pay the ransom, and the freighter departs.

4. send an Apache in at midnight and hose down the empty boats with 20mm.

Trooper York said...

I once met this broad that worked as a pirate at the show at Treasure Island in Vegas. She was in her costume at the bar in between shows.

I asked her to shiver my timber.

She was not amused.

Trooper York said...

She wasn't a Somali though.

She was from Detroit.

Theo Boehm said...

(The following excerpt is for those who don't believe in military force, and prefer police methods when dealing with unpleasant sorts of people, such as mad bombers and pirates. You may see how Her Majesty's Navy...er...Constabulary handled these things 140 or so years ago. A model for the ages, I should think.)

CHORUS OF PIRATES AND POLICE

We/You triumph now, for well we trow
Your/Our mortal career's cut short;
No pirate band will take its stand
At the Central Criminal Court.

SERGEANT. To gain a brief advantage you've contrived,
But your proud triumph will not be long-lived.

PIRATE KING. Don't say you are orphans, for we know that game.

SERGEANT. On your allegiance we've a stronger claim
We charge you yield, we charge you yield,
In Queen Victoria's name!

PIRATE KING. (baffled) You do?

POLICE. We do!
We charge you yield,
In Queen Victoria's name!

(Pirates kneel, Police stand over them triumphantly.)

PIRATE KING. We yield at once, with humbled mien,
Because, with all our faults, we love our Queen.

POLICE. Yes, yes, with all their faults, they love their Queen.

ALL. Yes, yes, with all their faults, they love their Queen.

(Police, holding Pirates by the collar, take out handkerchiefs and weep.)

MAJOR GEN. Away with them, and place them at the bar!

rhhardin said...

My plan involves crocodiles.

Ron said...

Not just to be vain enough to refer to my own link(!) but earlier I link to the news the Russians are coming to -- gosh, I get use this phrase! -- "lower the boom" on those scurvy dogs!

Trooper York said...

Everybody hated Derek Bell when he was traded to Pittsbugh and moved onto a houseboat. He signed a multi-million dollar free agent contract and really sucked.

Some sportswriter called him the only "True Pirate," because he lived on the water and he stole his money.

Trooper York said...

He wasn't a Somali though.

He was from Florida.

PatCA said...

Of course, if we put them out of business we'll have to bail them out.

Richard Fagin said...

It only took about 50 comments for someone to finally pick up the Gilbert & Sullivan reference. Thank you, Theo.

Cedarford said...

Memo to Freder - Our Navy is not "tapped out". In fact, they have so little to do that DOD is pulling squiddies off subs and boats to spell Marines guarding your "possiby innocent armed insurgents" we captured.

One Tarawa class helo assault vessel, two Frigates to affix and remove cheap IFF transponders, lots of ammo, end of problem.

DrillSGT on Freder soiling his panties on suggesting we come in hard and hot on pirate villages - LOL!
1. We have satellites, and UAVs and magic boxes called VCRs. You have a ship pirated? you run video in reverse to back plot where the boats come from, or watch where they go after the attack.

2. Having megaton tankers parked off shore of a fishing village is a clear giveaway.

3. Wait till they pay the ransom, and the freighter departs.

4. send an Apache in at midnight and hose down the empty boats with 20mm.


Poor Freder would be crying..."but...sob...but you're talking about innocent fishermen's boats as well as destroying alleged pirate boats before (sob) they have even had a trial! Blub, blub, sniff....You monsters. You make me ashamed to be an American...All you can think of is killing pirates and blowing up their boats. But..but..pirates have feelings, you know! They have rights!"

I'd add step 5.

Step 5 - "If step 4 does not correct pirate behavior, Substitute B-52 with full load of 500-lb bombs, for Apache gunship."

Matt Eckert said...

Why can't we just pave over all of Somalia.

I hear Ethiopia needs parking.

Michael Ryan said...

Yup, nothing says "Naughty, nuaghty! Must not do that!" like a formation of B-52's.

Skyler said...

Synova: "Bush I lacked resolve and vision (and didn't want to commit Clinton to anything) and Clinton pulled us out the minute any of our people died because, clearly, the lives of our people are far more important than the lives of people in Somalia."

Bush pulled out before any people died because the very silly purpose of sending food to the desert had been completed. Clinton sent the army in after the Marines left.

Freder: "You people think the solution to everything is to blow shit up and torture people, don't you?"

No. There's no need for torture. But blowing up the cities that support piracy certainly has a lot of good benefits.

Matt Eckert: "Why can't we just pave over all of Somalia."

Asphalt is very expensive. Turning Somalia into glass is much more cost effective. The same goes for northern Pakistan, Iran, etc. The sooner the world is rid of Muslim terrorists and the Muslims that don't fight against them, the better the world will be.

PatCA said...

Wouldn't it be better if we starved out the terrorists by, say, producing our own energy rather than paying them jillions for theirs?

Just a thought.

Synova said...

Stopping the piracy will take stepped up patrols (and sorry we are not going to be bombing Somali villages) and doing something to end the political anarchy in Somalia.

Freder... I'd love to know what you think "doing something" means.

How does one end the political anarchy in Somalia? Ask nice? There's a reason that there is political anarchy in Somalia and it can't be fixed without *imposing* order. I realize that there are a whole lot of people out there with George Clooney-ish notions about magical sugar plum fairies, but the fact is that *force* requires *force.*

Order requires ensuring security and that requires fighting those who want to keep their little corner of turf under their control.

Otherwise we can go through the *process* and talk and wring our hands and fuss and eventually someone will expand their little corner of Somali turf and impose control and security (this was what the taliban was trying to do in Afghanistan when they prevented girls from any sort of schooling, women from seeing any medical person, and women from going outside of the home without a male escort) and impose order and government and maybe they won't kill everyone trying to do it (like the government in Burma) and then, eventually, it won't be a problem anymore.

And the people who suffer won't have suffered by our hand, so it's all good.

And maybe that's what we should do. Maybe that's the best choice to make.

But don't pretend there is a "doing something" that doesn't involve imposing order against the will of armed men.

Theo Boehm said...

Ah, but Synova, Gilbert & Sullivan provided a model of "doing something," as I mentioned above.

What the police were doing in Penzance is about all we could expect anyone to do in the real world today.

Plus, the music's better.

And, who knows, perhaps the pirates WILL surrender at the merest mention of Queen Victoria.

Michael_H said...

Want to bring about peaceful change in Somalia?

Easy. Just revoke the medallions on about two-thirds of the taxis in Minneapolis. The message will get to the motherland in about a nanosecond.

Stop hijacking ships and we'll stop hijacking taxi medallions.