Advocating on Behalf of the American Military and Defense on the War on Terror

Somali pirates off the coast of Africa are increasing emboldened in snatching innocent men, women and children from the high seas. The are held for ransom, and then murdered if the money doesn't come through fast enough.


If you want to stop this barbarity, the solution is simple enough. Do as the Russians do and simply kill one Pirate family member for every hostage death. But hey, that's just the compassionate conservative coming out of me.

Cliff May at at National Review Online has another take.

"..Maj. Gen. Tom Wilkerson, USMC (ret.), is CEO of the U.S. Naval Institute. He told me he believes it is high time for a new approach. The U.S., along with a coalition of the willing, he says, could and should increase the risks of piracy and lower the rewards. That means taking the offensive: killing pirates at sea, in the harbors where they dock their vessels (and those they seize), and in what are now their safe havens and homes in the coastal areas of the northern Somali province of Puntland.

“Anytime you give your enemies places where they can rest and regroup, where they can’t be attacked, you cede the initiative to them,” Wilkerson said. “This doesn’t require putting boots on the ground. We have demonstrated that we have the technology” for both surveillance and remote attacks.

Would taking the war to the pirates be a violation of international law, as some proponents of inaction and appeasement claim? Wilkerson said it would not: “Two UN resolutions, 1851 and 1897, allow hot pursuit” at sea, into port, and onto land.

Other measures could be implemented as well. There could be expanded and coordinated naval patrols in the area, drawing from all nations whose ships, cargoes, and crews are threatened. Under current law, insurance companies are actually incentivized to pay ransom. New legislation could be introduced to encourage shipping companies to defend their vessels and crews with less fear of being sued for “violating the rights” of brigands. An international tribunal could be set up to prosecute captured pirates. Somali nationals could be trained as a constabulary force to prevent piracy, once suppressed, from being reestablished.

“The point is you have to decide on a goal and a strategy to achieve it,” Wilkerson argues. “But if we don’t do something there will be more opportunities for innocent deaths like we saw last week.”