I recently read an article that appeared in one of the nations “leading” newspapers that explored the situation with piracy off the African coast. The jest of the article focus on the growing problem and the lack of a solution to it.
The article talked about how back during the early 19th century this young nation took up the resolve to put an end to the scourge and sent its young Navy and Marines to do the job. Our Navy, along with the forces of Britain and France, finally brought and end the practice there of seizing and holding for ransom trading vessels and their crew.
The article went on to say that today times were different and that there wasn’t much that the Navies of the world could do but look on… and the vessels owners and insurers keep paying…
I say that is wrong. There are things we can and should do. First is to make the hard choice that we will act. This is something that America has not been very willing to do, for violence isn’t something that we relish. We’d rather shake a big stick then actually crack someone over the head with it. We’d much rather negotiate. Sometimes, however, head cracking speaks a lot louder than words.
Second is that we must send the message that piracy is gonna be a very dangerous game for the pirates to play. These aren’t the streets of one of our local cities and we have to forget that bit about “profiling” people and take the position that if it looks like a duck and it acts like a duck chances are pretty damn good that, off the coast of Africa, it’s a duck. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating blowing every small boat with an outboard motor and three are four guys on board out of the water; what I’m saying is that they are worth the look… and if they are – then blow them out of the water.
We have the technology via aircraft and satellite surveillance to fairly well pinpoint the ships and small craft that are being used for these purposes. Give fair warning to the population that if you are out there, and you act like it, we are gonna put our eyes on you. And if you look the part, well, you should’ve stayed home that day. Sorry.
Say something to the effect “Look guys, if we see a boat that resembles a “mothership” and its towing a bunch of smaller boats out hundreds of miles from shore, we are gonna make artificial reefs out of them.” That’s fairly clear.
Third, this is an area of the world that money talks quite well. Information is everything when you want to get things done. Enough said on that.
Forth, as we proved today, we’ve got some very good special forces that can be brought to bare here. As I mentioned to a fellow in a conversation on Twitter, sometimes the best solution to a problem of this nature is a couple of well placed .308 rounds. And it should be noted that our Navy Seals are just the folks that can make Joe Pirate feel unsafe 24/7 when used correctly just a couple of good times.
Fifth, it wouldn’t hurt a thing to throw some bait in the water and see if we can’t chum up a few incidents with some undercover vessels. Some real live bait and switch. They might not be so prone to board a small yacht or other similar vessel after finding a few of their brethren have mistakenly boarded a craft operated and manned by military personnel.
The main thing is this – are we finally getting fed up with this situation or not?
If we are it’s time we really took action instead of cruising back and forth hoping to scare away the bad guys, then doing little or nothing when they strike. Prevention is always the best defense, and to do that properly sometimes you have to be offensive.
Burying our head in the sand like the writer suggests won’t put and end to this problem, it will only make it worse. Piracy is a crime, and crime shouldn’t pay.