Unless you've been in a coma for the last few days you're aware that an American Merchant Marine Captain was being held by pirates off the coast of Somalia.
He was freed in a Navy operation on Sunday. Captain Richard Phillips is now safe. I am much relieved.
Now let's address today's word: Pirates. I grew up when piracy was romanticized by film and famous actors like Errol Flynn. While they might have all been the good guys in movies, it turns out they're not nearly so sweet in real life.
The pirates from Somalia are an offshoot of the lawlessness and the warlord culture prevalent in the failed African nation. You might remember we attempted to deal with them in Mogadishu some time back and got our butts kicked out of town. We lost several soldiers, inspiring the very dark and unhappy film, Blackhawk Down.
For a look at the reason Somalia got the way it is, take a look here.
These people found a weak spot in the shipping lanes and exported their brand of violence and lawlessness to the high seas. For a while they kept within a hundred miles of their shoreline. This recent attack took place a couple more hundreds of miles out to sea. That's a big problem. If shipping cannot be assured of getting around them the choices become more costly and more risky.
Should ships stop transiting the horn of Africa altogether? Should shipping lines hire their own security staff, (this is my personal favorite) or should NATO Navies get tough and start blowing these bastards out of the water? (another favorite)
Sunday's action by the US Navy makes it clear we are not the folks you want to challenge on the High Seas. We ought not to be. We have spent billions on our Navy. I would have been happy to see more action on the mother ships and other pirates. Perhaps that will happen.
Unfortunately there a number of ships and close to 200 human hostages still being held in Somalia. These folks and the ships are in continuing peril. One wouldn't think it will get any better for them now.
When faced with the kind of ignorance, greed and outlawry of the Somalians we need to shut this crap down sooner rather than later. We've already waited too long in my opinion. This is clearly a case where focused and limited military action can make the world a better place and stop this acute regional criminality.
So...from my perspective; screw the damn pirates. Take what ever action necessary to remove them from the shipping lanes and bring some security and law back to the horn of Africa.
What's your opinion on Pirates?