Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Barack and the Barbaric Pirates

Will the new CinC take the opportunity to make his place in history alongside Thomas Jefferson:
Last night the Indian Navy Ship Tabar struck a long overdue blow for freedom of the seas by sinking a pirate mother ship in the pirate-infested waters of the Gulf of Aden. At last, the pirates will know that the hijacking party has been crashed.

....Pirate hijackings are one of the oldest forms of naval warfare. The more civil term, privateer, was used by the Continental Congress to allow designated ships to attack any British ship during the revolution. The British allowed similar activities and the French attacked both sides. The tables turned after the revolution, as the United States became a world merchant sea power and began to confront the Barbary pirates based in North Africa, specifically Tripoli. These pirates had been terrorizing the Mediterranean basin for centuries and having learned that tribute and ransom could be collected, turned it into a business. Sound familiar?

Young America was drawn into this cyclone because it had no alternative. As resentment grew in Washington, Adams, Jefferson and the Congress, construction of new ships was authorized, which were available when Algiers declared war on the US for not paying tribute. After two wars in 1801-1805 and 1815, the United States obtained freedom of access in that area.

Why this diversion into history? History is starting to repeat itself, but with much higher risk levels. No one seems to know where the ransom money is going. Since Somalia has been a longstanding supporter of Islamic terrorist activity, it seems reasonable to assume that most of this money is going to expand terrorist attacks someplace.

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