It's happened again and the law obviously needs to be changed.
NATO forces for the second time in a week have interdicted and thwarted pirates trying to take over freighters off the coast of Africa. And once again, after disarming them, the pirates have been released.
Apparently the concept of an attack one is an attack on all doesn't apply to piracy on the high seas. In both cases, the first involving Dutch NATO troops, the second Canadian, the pirates were released because the ships attacked were not flagged Dutch or Canadian nor were any nationals of those respective countries held hostage.
So the pirates were disarmed. In the first case, where hostages had been taken, the prisoners were released. But then, the pirates were allowed to go on their merry way.
Eighty vessels have been attacked so far this year. Scores of troops have been deployed and tons of money has been expended on this issue. It's time, now, to take assertive and effective action.
If you're going to deploy troops in the area to deal with the pirates, then let them be dealt with.
The NATO troops should be given the green light to incarcerate any pirates the encounter. And if necessary to take lethal action.
Ships should include additional crews. Trained private security forces to protect the crew and the assets.
And Congressman Ron Paul's suggestion that Letters of Marque and Reprisal be employed should be given seriously considered.
The concept is contained in the Constitution of the United States. It authorizes the Congress to issue the letters to, basically, permit bounty hunters to track down and capture pirates.
It's not the first time that the Texas Republican has suggested using this tactic. In 2001, just after the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Shanksville, PA, Paul introduced legislation that would have issued letters to capture those responsible. The bounty hunters would have been motivated by money to go after Osama bin Laden and his cronies.
This brilliant idea, like so many suggestions Paul has made, went nowhere. And while it may be too late now, to issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal for the September 11th attacks, it's a tactic that can still be used to fight piracy.
Whatever action is taken, the idea of spanking the hands of the pirates and then letting them go does nothing to deter them from attacking, boarding other ships and holding the crew hostage for ransom.
Better tactics need to be enacted before the pirates take this a step further, killing hostages or spiriting them onto Somalia where they would be out of the reach of any efforts to bring them home safely.
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