May 23, 2007: The Somali pirates are at it again,
and now the UN is playing the "humanitarian disaster" angle to try and get some
serious efforts going to shut down the pirates for good. The problem is that
international law regarding "enemies of all mankind" (i.e., pirates") will
certainly clash with "human rights." No one wants to go in an shut the pirates
down for good.
The UN is saying that food aid for a million
Somalis is at risk unless the pirates are eliminated. But that requires more
than just additional naval patrols off the Somali coast. It means going to the
ports and villages the pirates are operating out of, and capturing or killing
the pirates. This would involve ground combat and lots of (mostly Somali)
In the old days, the warships would board a few
local ships, question the captains about where the pirates were coming from,
then go bombard the offending villages and ports. The survivors of that would
heed the lesson and sin no more. Such direct action is no longer acceptable,
but more politically correct solutions take longer (if they work at all), and
in the meantime, the food won't be getting through.
To further complicate matters, some of the pirate
groups claim to be "coast guards," preventing illegal fishing and the the
dumping of toxic waste. In both these cases, the pirates will allow such
activity for a suitable fee, but that's not what they will tell journalists.
So, in the end, we will discover that most
politicians find it more acceptable to let some people starve, than to have
their sailors accused of "excessive violence."