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Should Somali Pirates Be Treated As Enemy Combatants?

Recently off the coast of Somalia a U.S. cargo ship was boarded by Somali pirates and her captain was taken hostage. After several days of negotiating and waiting U.S. Navy Seals were able to kill three of the four pirates holding the captain hostage and capture the fourth, freeing the captain who had sacrificed his own freedom to protect his crew. During this time negotiators had spoken with the Somali elders who had refused to discuss the option of taking the pirates into custody to stand trial for their crimes. With this clear lack of willingness to hold Somali pirates accountable by their own leaders should the U.S. consider their actions condoned by the Somali people and therefore treat them like other enemy aggressors who would be met with deadly force? Should acts of piracy not condemned by governments that harbor pirates be considered acts of military aggression and therefore open to full military response?

Some within Washington and elsewhere around the world say that these acts of piracy should be met with overwhelming deadly force. Should America adopt a policy of maximum response to any acts of piracy against American ships in international or foreign waters? It seems that the Somali leaders are unwilling to act in the interests of the large international community as they have allowed pirates to attack not only American ships but ships from around the world as well. Currently Somali pirates hold hostages from nations throughout Europe and North America. This being the case, what logical reasoning could there be for not treating them as enemy forces?

Under current practices, commercial ships are not allowed to keep heavy artillery on board for repelling boarders. What impact might the changing of that policy have had on the attacking of the Maersk Alabama that led to the capture of her captain and subsequent standoff with the pirates? If they had heavy weapons on that ship capable of blowing the pirate boats out of the water, would they have been attacked? It is possible that if we armed the boats going through those waters or sent them in with armed escorts we could put the Somali pirates out of business in relatively quick fashion.

Going forward American and other international leaders need to consider new possibilities in dealing with the problem of piracy on the waters near the horn of Africa. With the leaders in Somalia clearly unwilling to address the problem or even allow the pirates to be taken into custody it is up to those being attacked to take matters into their own hands. The pirates have now vowed to kill American and French nationals if they should be captured in retaliation for the killing of the criminal pirates that were threatening the lives of American and French hostages. Perhaps an international coalition of military ships and planes could patrol the affected areas destroying all boats carrying armed pirates.

Maybe itís time to actually declare war on the pirates openly and bring the full weight of an international coalition of military forces to bear on these lawless thieves and murderers. Clearly anyone in those waters who is heavily armed and approaching commercial and private boats is looking for confrontation. Perhaps they should get the confrontation they seek on a level that they are not prepared to fend off. If they donít want to die for being pirates they shouldnít attack ships without provocation and if their leaders donít want them being killed they should find a way to stop their activities. If they want to wage war on the ships near their coast they should be treated like warring enemies and the ships should be able to return fire on them. In the past pirates were repelled with deadly force and hung for their crimes if captured. Perhaps there was wisdom in the old way of doing things. At the very least ships in the region should be modified to have lethal boarder repelling measures such as razor wire and spikes along the hulls with the capacity to be electrified if needed to repel boarding pirates in a manner that assures they will not be attempting to capture another vessel at any point in the future. At some point the risk would outweigh the gains and they would stop trying to attack our ships.

The Realist - Patriot at Large | Give your feedback on this article. | Click icon to Digg this article








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