Monday, March 30, 2009

Say it Ain't SO!

Nobody ever said that Somalian Pirates were brilliant, and an article in the UK’s Daily Express today shows that they are pretty certainly anything but bright. After spying what they thought would be a likely target to plunder, they raised the mizzen mast, hoisted the ‘Skull and Crossbones,’ and took after what turned out to be the FGS Spessart. This vessel is part of the NATO forces in the region sent there specifically to find and eliminate Somali Pirates.

A pursuit followed, and a good time was had by all but the Somalis. When it was said and done, several nations had a chance to send their forces with the chase and the pirates were duly apprehended.

Several things come to mind. First and foremost, do Somali Pirates get and/or read newspapers? The fact that there were ships in the area that were crammed to the poop deck with armed sailors, cannons and commandos is old news. The fact that they had nothing to do but fish or chase and catch Somali Pirates is also old news. This was a catastrophic lack of planning on the part of the pirates, but it speaks well of NATO. After all, while the UN has allowed tens of thousands of Africans to die in Dakar while they watch, and Tibet has been stomped into oblivion under Chinese boots, NATO knows what to do with armed forces. In 1996, the UN sat on their collective hands while Rwanda exploded into genocide. After at least a couple of decades of mouthing meaningless threats, forming committees while the innocent perish, and berating the US for actually following through with its threats, the UN still has done nothing. NATO, on the other hand, had finally seen enough oil and trade goods ransomed by the poorest people in east Africa to take decisive steps.

Do not take this the wrong way. I am, by no means, voicing support for piracy. The trade lanes that go by Somalia are very important, and the need to protect trade on the high seas has been an international priority since the first dug-out carried flint and mammoth tusks to trade with a neighboring tribe. I can only speculate why the rampant piracy in the South China Sea has not received a similar response, but I suspect that it has to do with the Chinese Navy and the fact that the Chinese consistently deny that there is a real problem there. The Chinese also consistently maintain that Tibet is much happier now that their history, temples and way of life have been permanently destroyed. But, I guess that the Red Sea is far enough away from China and Southeast Asia that they care about piracy.

The other thing that strikes me is that now there are a group of pirates that are being held on a ship until they can be tried. Now, I guess that holding people on board a ship is somehow a lot different than holding them in a pen in Cuba. I must also suppose that those people are being treated with the best medicine, being fed the best Muslim foods, being given new copies of the Koran, and are not in any way being interrogated except over afternoon tea with a polite game of “Truth or Dare.” Is it really impertinent of me to say that there is a measure of hypocrisy here when NATO forces detain and try international criminals but the US is castigated for doing the same thing? Maybe instead of Guantanamo Bay the US should have just put out a few boats and held terrorists in the cargo bays? Where is the clamoring that these international terrorists should be held in a sovereign nation’s jails somewhere and given all the rights and privileges of that nation’s citizens? Does the international community really believe that those that take and ransom an oil tanker are worthy of this treatment where those that pirated airliners and killed thousands of Americans with them are not? Those that kill the innocent and attack American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan should be given the same rights as Americans while Somali Pirates are subject to this treatment based on the fact that they threatened commerce?

I applaud NATO for ridding the east coast of Africa these scum, and I support their right to hold them, try them and imprison them. At some point I would ask that our nation be given the same consideration as NATO. Arrrrrrr…..matey…….

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