Sunday, January 08, 2006

Pirates! A History Lesson

Somali piracy is worst in world

I know I've written before (although even I can't find the link, it was in some BLOGMEAT post last year and it's too obscure to find) about the problem of Pirates on the High Seas.

As I recall, the earlier post was a tale of a couple of yachts sailing together in Indonesian waters, who were beset by pirates in small boats. (Indonesia, and the straits, there-in, having been the scourge of the seas for the past hundred years.) The yachts were both equipped with small arms, and between them they managed to provide mutually supportive fire and drove off the pirates with some apparent casualties. That is, casualties to the Pirates, not to the Yachters.

That was then; this is now.

Now, the entirely lawless non-state of Somalia is riding high on the misery of their Tsunami-decimated neighbors and the influx of international aid flowing to them by sea.

Rather than to accept that these mercy ships are bringing much-needed supplies to their brethren in a humanitarian effort, the blackguards (I've waited my whole life to use that word!) are preying upon their fellow citizens, once removed, by ambushing ships which would relieve the suffering in Somalia.

This is the style of predation which led to the "Blackhawk Down" situation under President Clinton's watch; there, American troops had been volunteered in an effort to ensure that international relief supplies were actually delivered to the starving populace. Due to a lack of mission support and true commitment to the goal, not only were supplies of food, medicine and clothing intercepted in a political situation which precluded the American mission from actually accomplishing its goals, but the under-supported American forces were attacked and decimated (literally) by forces of the Somalian warlords. America suffered one of its greatest defeats there, and it was not due to the lack of dedication by the brave warriors who had dedicated themselves to a worthy effort, but by the lack of dedication on the part of the politicians who set the goals.

This was probably one of the most telling events in the promulgation of terrorism in modern times, as the terrorist world subsequently decided that American troops and forces could be attacked safely, because the American forces had not the will to enforce civilized behavior by dint of our obvious strength.

This event was a direct precursor to the 9/11 attacks directly on America, and the loss of thousands of American lives, the undermining of the American economy to the extent of billions of dollars, and the current Jihad of Islamic Extremists against the American Extremists.

(Thank GOD that Al Gore didn't win the 2000 election, or John Kerry the 2004 election, lest these mongrels would be nipping at our homeland heels even yet!)

You can see that, as an indicator of attacks against Western Civilization, piracy is a non-insignificant matter both to America and to Civilization as a whole.

In this latest attack, pirates in small, open boats attempted to attack and, presumably, board and capture, a Cruise Ship in the Indian Ocean off the shores of Somalia. It seems reasonable to assume that the were Somalian "nationals", if such a term is applicable to an outlaw land which has had no national leadership for several years.

To our surprise, the cruise ship fought back. Admittedly, their weapons were non-lethal 'noise generators', and happily these were sufficient.

But what if they were NOT sufficient?
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Would the cruise ship have had the resources to resort to more lethal defenses? Do cruise ships carry large guns, as traders have historically found necessary to defend themselves against barbarians?

Barbarian: a useful word, denoting (among other things) 'non-civilized' persons. *

It is interesting also in that it suggests a connection to the Barbary Pirates.

The Barbary Pirates were predators in the Mediterranean Sea for a thousand years. In fact, they ruled that body of water even during the period when America, a fledging nation, was expanding its international trans-oceanic trade up to the 19th century. At first the American government was convinced that the best way to handle the pirates (who not only had captured American traders, but had even enslaved American seamen and held them for ransom) was to pay tribute. This did serve to emancipate a few sailors, now and then, but the pirates realized that America was just one more Paper Lion and continued their predations. The effect was that American trade, like that of other sea-faring nations, was constantly subject to pirate attacks until it became obvious that no amount of tribute had the effect of lessening the aggressive behavior of these Tripoli-based "insurgents".

(Do you now see the parallel?)

Finally, in 1801, America decided to discontinue tribute and instead invested its resources in a long and ongoing attack against the barbarian state of Tripoli; a kleptocracy, as is Somalia now a kleptocracy; albeit on a somewhat smaller scale so far.

This wasn't a "short, decisive war" (or "Short, victorious war" as it is often referred to).

Instead, " It was not until 1815 that naval victories ended tribute payments by the U.S., although some European nations continued annual payments until the 1830s."

But in the final act, American shipping was no longer subject to the 'Barbary-an' *(barbarian)* trepidations and, eventually, the whole world was able to free itself from this egregious and bloody battle to ensure safe world-wide trade among civilized nations.

Take a moment and scroll back.

Can you see the analogy between the Barbary Pirates and the Islamo-Fascist terrorism of our modern world? How has the world changed in the past 200 years?

The only changes are in the technology of defense, and the will to defend civilization against barbarism.

Civilized nations now have better weapons to defend itself against barbarians. A single US Naval flotilla could wipe out the Somalia Pirates. Better yet, a policy of arming civilian shipping against pirates could have the same effect at one tenth the cost.Free Image Hosting at
Will 'they' do it? Will civilized nations arm civilian traders (and cruise ships) sufficiently to defend themselves against "three men in a boat"?

Probably not yet. But this is what the world is coming to.

Liberals and liberal nations are determined to insist that it is 'ungentlemanly' (or words to that effect) for civilians to arm themselves in self-defense. In fact, they are loath to allow individuals to arm themselves in self-defense. But we are seeing today that this is necessary. Police cannot protect individuals; nations cannot protect groups; navies cannot protect ships of their own flag!

The time has come when steps must be taken.

Flag-carriers must be armed to defend themselves.

Individuals must be armed to defend themselves.

Those who would argue that civilian defense measures would inhibit the international (via the United Nations) drive to disarm everybody . . . will eventually become extremely uncomfortable living with their head in such an uncomfortably anal position. If the United Nations, individual nations, and local bodies finally are driven by circumstances to admit that they cannot protect their citizens, they will take such measures as are necessary to provide these citizens with the means to defend themselves, or at least ALLOW such self-protection.

It will happen. It is bound to happen, because the only alternative is to continue losing law-abiding citizens to such predations as is typified by the Somalia Pirates.

It won't happen soon, and a lot of good people will die before the politicians decide to get out of the way.

The politicians only need to be thumped resoundingly by the barbarians a few more times, and to find a viable 'exit strategy', to explain away the reasons why they haven't taken such actions before.

I do feel sorry, though, for the innocents who must suffer until they find the courage to do the right thing.

It's always the innocents who suffer from the sins of politicians, isn't it?

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