self-righteous thuggery.

The Somali pirates are good and ticked off about the forced demise of their comrades.

That article ticks me off, especially the last paragraph, which details the pirates’ peculiar definition of the word “aggression”:

“The killing of our boys was aggression, and the U.S. will see what they get from their operation,” he said.

Oh, so climbing up onto other people’s ships hundreds of nautical miles out in international waters, taking the crews captive, threatening them with death, and extorting millions of dollars are not “aggression”?

The pirates now threaten to kill any American or French merchant sailors they happen to find on newly hijacked ships.  It is my fervent hope that the U.S.Navy picks up that particular gauntlet and blows away every pirate skiff they encounter while patrolling international waters.  Bullying unarmed merchant ships is one thing, but now they’re calling out the varsity team for a game of contact sport.  Let’s just wait and see how that goes, shall we?

43 thoughts on “self-righteous thuggery.

  1. perlhaqr says:

    Yeah, I don’t see this ending well.

    Maybe Stingray’s Letter of Marque just got a probability boost, though. 😀

  2. theflatwhite says:

    It’s kinda like killing the dog of a Navy SEAL, war veteran, and former POW. One word: don’t.

    The life insurance rates for these guys must be through the roof.

  3. RickR says:

    Ant, meet Boot.

  4. MarkHB says:

    That is just utterly, unspeakably stupid. Whilst I admire and am profoundly moved by the virtuoso sharpshooting display the SEALs put on, I’m not so thrilled by it that I want to see lots, lots more.

    At the risk of sounding a bit like a bleeding heart, this idiocy is liable to lead to a lot of dead seamen and a lot of dead 16-year-old kids with AKs before the bastards who’re sending them out get the bill. To bad we can’t just lob a couple of JDAMs where it’s do the most good and spare the horrible grinding in the middle.

  5. jimbob86 says:

    As I said at JayG’s, there was a time when other countries sought to put the Stars & Stripes on their ships, because it said to everyone, “Don’t screw with this ship, or else.” Now, Old Glory is seen of more as “Kick Me” sign than as something to be respected. Times have changed, and not for the better.

  6. Gregg says:

    My first thought was: “We know what ports they are headquartered out of? Why are the B-52s not in the air yet?”

    Remember the reason that the Marines carry those funny looking pigstickers. Those are not from the “Halls of Montezuma”.

    Seriously, why are we not carpet bombing that coastline? How else are we supposed to give them the message that screwing with us is a BAD idea?

  7. emdfl says:

    I keep wondering when the shipping companies are going to give Xe(formerly Blackwater) a call and ask for a price quote to take out a bunch of troublemakers in a small, dis-organized country…

  8. perlhaqr says:

    Gregg: So, basically, you just don’t care how many 4 year olds you blow up?

    Part of being “the good guys” is not killing innocents.

  9. […] Quote of the Day – Pirates Edition II Bullying unarmed merchant ships is one thing, but now they’re calling out the varsity team for a game of contact sport.  Let’s just wait and see how that goes, shall we? – Marko […]

  10. William the Coroner says:

    Perlhaqr–

    If the innocents are so unfortunate as to live in the path of danger, that’s bad, but that is the risk you run. There were plenty of innocents in Hamburg and Dresden, but there was plenty of war materiel, too. Rapid, overwhelmingly brutal force will ultimately result in fewer innocent deaths in the long run. Hate to say it, but the former Soviet Union had the best plan for dealing with people who couldn’t play nice.

  11. mts says:

    Picking off pirates at sea without hitting the warlords on land who are sending them out is like trapping alligators without draining the swamp. It’ll be about as successful as our war on drugs. They have enough spare Somali teens floating around to keep us armpit deep in dinghy pirates.

    I say, cut off the qat shipments. They’re addicted to this narcotic. It’s worse than cigarettes to a chain smoker. Let them know there’s no more qat coming in until they kill off the people sending out pirates, and if piracy comes from Somalia again, the qat is gone for good, and they will make it happen as soon as qat withdrawal sets in, and they realize that they’re out, for real, no bluffing. In a country even as dysfunctional as Somalia, the qat deliveries continue like clockwork, without interference from anyone.

  12. Marko says:

    You lament the ineffective nature of the War on (Some) Drugs, and then you propose starting one in a country that’s been in anarchy for almost twenty years?

  13. Tam says:

    MarkHB,

    At the risk of sounding a bit like a bleeding heart, this idiocy is liable to lead to a lot of dead seamen and a lot of dead 16-year-old kids with AKs before the bastards who’re sending them out get the bill.

    I don’t think this is like the Somme or Verdun, where there is some Haig or Falkenhayn at home to be JDAM’ed. If anything, this mess is caused by a more or less total lack of adult supervision in the world’s second most notorious arms bazaar.

    P.J. O’Rourke described flying over Mogadishu and looking down at all the buildings without roofs and realizing it was like a giant game of CLUE, except the answer was “Everybody. With an AK-47.

  14. staghounds says:

    The men in little boats are the problem.

    We have the perfect tool to eliminate the men in little boats.

    Why is everyone so eager to kill people who aren’t doing anything? And so eager to get drawn into yet another of these wars we can lose?

    AGAIN.

    Don’t you remember the last time we went after the Somali send-out men? Their 16 year olds chased the US Army home.

  15. I don’t know if the pirates threatening lives is going to change the armed response of the Merchants or the Navies, but I bet it’ll encourage some to start planning to repel boarders and coming up with ideas.

    I’m waiting to hear about a boat of pirates pulling alongside a freighter and then getting hit with something very heavy dropped over the side, or getting soaked with a few hundred gallons of diesel followed with a flare.

  16. Farm.Dad says:

    I must really be heartless because i don’t have any problem with littering the landscape with dead 16 year olds who were pointing firearms at others . Be it in Mogadishu or Chicago . They are not misguided children they are in fact adolescent predators who’s death will lower the worlds carbon footprint . That has to be a good thing doesn’t it ?

  17. Scott says:

    My only quarrel with this
    ———————————————————–
    Bullying unarmed merchant ships is one thing, but now they’re calling out the varsity team for a game of contact sport. Let’s just wait and see how that goes, shall we?
    ————————————————————-

    is that our new coach handicaps us, going into the game.

  18. Matt G says:

    “Don’t you remember the last time we went after the Somali send-out men? Their 16 year olds chased the US Army home.”

    Uh, Staghounds?

    That was a Seeeekrit Skwirrel operation, with little-to-no support.

  19. blocksworld says:

    MarkHB, dude, what happened?

    Pirates point their AK’s at you, you shoot them. You don’t card them first.

    “16-year-old” isn’t some universal badge of innocence. Even if they’re conscripts, you defend yourself. Period.

    There’s nowhere to go when you’re at sea. And when they’re pointing an RPG at your 6km streamer spool *filled* with kerosene (essentially), you damn well better be ready to fight, because a ship is the last place you want a fire *all over the decks*, and THEN armed lunatics (or 16-year-olds, same thing) climbing over the side.

    The command crews of these ships are responsible for a whole buncha lives. Letting PIRATES get close to them is an utter failure of responsibility one level or another.

    -E

  20. perlhaqr says:

    William: It’s true, if we just killed every last human on the entire continent, Africa would be a fuck of a lot quieter. And hey, why stop there? This could be a great way to solve our little “problem” in the Middle East as well.

    Of course, it would also make us genocidal madmen, but hey, what’s a little genocide when it saves the effort of just shooting only the people who are attacking you?

    *headshake* Yeah, you’re right, destroying entire cities is how we did it 60 years ago. And hell, it’s how Ghengis Khan did it, too! And what’s wrong with following the example of a barbarian horse lord? Or, as you mention, Joseph Stalin?

    And are you seriously making an analogy between some raggedy ass Somali village and Hamburg in terms of “capacity for offensive warmaking”? It’s like comparing a Honda Elite 50 to a GSXR 1000.

  21. Mike says:

    I fully subscribe to the idea that allowing criminals to go unchallenged just gets you more criminals. I also think serious, violent, offensive action is warranted.

    But understand a war against pirates will be a long, dirty one with a high risk of mission creep, and a high possibility of generating the same response in the U.S. the Iraq did. Also, do not dismiss the possibility that China, North Korea, Iran et. al. will join in helping the Somalis.

    Here’s and article from “Foreign Policy” which points out the pirates are not simple bandits, but a relatively sophisticated criminal enterprise.

    http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/04/10/are_the_pirates_getting_tips

    Going after them will be a long series of measure versus counter measure; it will not be cheap or easy, and going in eyes closed is a recipe for disaster.

  22. MarkHB says:

    I fear I may be unclear. As lamentable as it is, a 16-year old with an AK is still a man with a gun, and if they’re doing bad things then yes, it’s better that they get popped than an innocent seaman. I’m saying it’s a damned shame that the bastards handing said sprogs those AK aren’t in that Haig that Tam mentioned so we *could* just toss a JDAM in and decapitate the whole frakkin’ mess.

    Because it’s those motherless scum who will have the blood of those kids on their hands when they get another display of superb shooting from the Varisty.

  23. teqjack says:

    Remember, merchant cargo ships are “gun-free zones.” Because at a lot of the ports they use, if local officials notice a firearm consequences range from jail time for a crew member and delaying departure to seizure of the ship. But hey, banning firearms makes everyone safer, right?

  24. Zendo Deb says:

    The navies of the world aren’t really going to be able to do much except push the problem around a very big ocean.

    There are (something like) 15 ships in the greater Red Sea/Gulf of Aden area. 24 will be on station if every nation sends every ship they have committed. (That can be a bigger IF than you realize.) There are just too many merchant ships and too much ocean. Convoys would help, but that would a real feat, since there isn’t an overriding authority. (In WWII, convoys from the US to UK were set up that way from the start.)

    As long as they are getting multimillion dollar paydays, I don’t see this industry closing down on its own.

    Really the only thing that might work is self-defense. Don’t expect to see that anytime soon. Too many countries forbid ships with any arms in their ports. Of course if they suddenly were getting no shipments, they might change their tune.

    It is too much like Pizza Hut and delivery-guys defending themselves. The shipping companies don’t want people armed. How many armed people on a ship would it take before mutiny was the new piracy? (Those guys aren’t paid all that well – not at the bottom of the pay scale. Not even on US flagged ships and forget about foreign-flagged vessels.) Actually mounting shipboard weapons – that only point outward – might work, but then try to get clearance into those ports. (What would DHS say about a heavily armed merchantman calling on the Port of NY?)

    The moral of the story is don’t travel by ship in those parts of the world. Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, South China Sea, and if you are in small boats – Venezuela)

  25. Tam says:

    MarkHB,

    I’m saying it’s a damned shame that the bastards handing said sprogs those AK aren’t in that Haig that Tam mentioned…

    Er, that’s “Haig”, as in “Douglas” and not “Hague”, as in “Ineffectual Bureaucracy of Wankers”.

    I think they’re only being “handed” AK’s in the sense that I was “handed” a six pack of beer today after forking over some cash. Except my ID was probably scrutinized harder.

  26. MarkHB says:

    Tam,

    Well, you see my point. A decap strike would be a lot preferable. Cheaper too

    Ho hum. Sick, sad world.

  27. Tam says:

    Yes, but what do you decapitate when the Hydra has not a dozen heads, but none?

    That’s the puzzler…

    I don’t pretend to have an answer other than “Make it an unattractive line of work for overadrenalized and undersupervised adolescents.

  28. Gregg says:

    Perlhaqr,
    Oddly enough I am well aware of the consequences of the actions that I have suggested. I am also well aware that the problem will not abate until and unless it is made sufficiently unpalatable. No, it’s not pretty, no it’s not nice, and it will eliminate a lot of less than bright people. If I lived anywhere near that coast I would already be 30-40 miles inland with my wife, children and any possessions I could carry.

    It is not smart to walk up to the biggest kid in the schoolyard and kick him in the shins, and then threaten to kick him in the balls after he breaks your fool nose.

    Actions have consequences, and we did not initiate the aggression.

    Oh, and as you did not like my suggestion, which has been effective historically, at least the historical analogues have been reasonably effective, what do you suggest?

    Oh, and yes I do realize that nothing has ever completely wiped out piracy. However, pirates have, during various times, become a lot more circumspect and discriminating about what shiiping they prey on.

  29. staghounds says:

    Matt G, I didn’t know Gothic Serpent was a secret! Somebody should have told the UN and the President.

    And you have pretty high standards. I would consider a US Army division, a US Navy fleet, several battalions of US Marines, and more battalions of foreign soldiers as neither no, nor little, support.

    The only thing these pirates can do is capture, or threaten to destroy, the ships. The only way they can do that is to physically get to the ships, in little boats, over the open sea, in reasonably pleasant weather, travelling and visible for MILES.

    Tailor made for a gun crew. Or two sailors with a pile of rockets.

    If we don’t want to put the sailors aboard the ships, use helicopters or slow airplanes. Drones for targeting, and rockets from our own ships, would work too- even a very slow missile would have time to get there before the pirates closed with their prey.

    (We should have been doing this years ago of course- another failed policy of the Bush Administration.)

    ANY Western fleet can easily, cheaply, and safely destroy the pirates at their work. What difference does it make who sends them out?

    There will always be warlords, just as there will always be stupid/heroic young men.

    Kill the actual dangerous enemies. Once the skiffs start becoming spurlos versenkt, the remaining 16 year olds will stop pirating.

    And if they don’t, we have more sailors, 50 cal ammunition, and rockets than they have skiffs and delinquents.

    This is a sailor’s dream. Don’t #%^ it up trying to make it a bigger problem than it is.

  30. Gregg says:

    Staghounds,
    Dude, the pirates will basically make a game out of it. Too many can slip through the cracks and survive. Either we support arming all of the merchantmen or we talk to the pirates in a language that they understand.

  31. perlhaqr says:

    Oh, and as you did not like my suggestion, which has been effective historically, at least the historical analogues have been reasonably effective, what do you suggest?

    Arming the merchantmen ships. I’ve got absolutely no problem blowing actual bad guys straight to Davy Jones’ Locker.

    It is not smart to walk up to the biggest kid in the schoolyard and kick him in the shins, and then threaten to kick him in the balls after he breaks your fool nose.

    I suppose especially so if he’s likely to pull out an M2 and hose your entire class down.

    Let’s take it to that scale, though. Father in a station wagon, wife and 4 kids in there with him. Cuts off a biker on the freeway. Biker gives him the finger. Father follows him off the next off ramp and into a parking lot. Father kicks the biker in the shins, gets his nose broken. Father kicks the biker in the balls, and gets back in his car, which the biker promptly sets on fire, killing the father, the wife, and the 4 kids.

    After action report: who is the bad guy?

  32. Warthog says:

    Here’s the difference. The GFW countries won’t allow and ARMED SHIP into port…..The ship IS allowed to have armed personnel aboard, they just won’t be able to leave. That’s the difference, you’re not going to be able to mount a couple of Bushmaster cannons on the bridgewings although that would be a hell of a video on YouTube, but the individual crewmembers can be armed or the ship can carry armed security contractors.

    There is actually a discussion on this at the US Naval Institute blog.

    The historical precedent for dealing with piracy was established during the Roman Empire. Hang them.

  33. Don Meaker says:

    Actually, during the Roman Empire, they were crucified.

    According to the Geneva Convention, to gain PoW status combatants had to follow the Geneva Convention, have a chain of command, had to wear a uniform, and had to avoid harm to non-combatants. Those who hid from combat among non-combatants are not protected. By hiding in a protected structure (hospital, school, or church) combatants do not derive protected structure, but rather succeed in withdrawing protected status from the protected structure. The rules were written this way to give an enemy no legitimate reason to hide among non-combatants or in a protected structure.

    That the terrorists don’t follow the Geneva Convention means that they are not protected. By hiding behind their women, they make their women legal targets.

  34. jimbob86 says:

    “Yes, but what do you decapitate when the Hydra has not a dozen heads, but none?”

    Mehbee…. a better analogy would be: “You take your Vorpal Sword and cut off the black pudding’s ……….what, exactly?”

  35. jeff says:

    Don’t you remember the last time we went after the Somali send-out men? Their 16 year olds chased the US Army home.

    Hmmm. Try looking again. Less than 100 men wiped out somewhere between 1000 and 3000 armed combatants, and completed their mission. Those 16 year old boys scared away our political leaders. The US Army was chased nowhere.

  36. Gregg says:

    Perlhaqr,
    The father in your analogy would be the bad guy. He initiated the aggression and then kept pushing.

    The problem is, not only are the pirates themselves bad guys, but the people who send them out, encourage them, equip them etc… are just as bad.

    In fact, your solution does nothing to alter the root of the problem. All it does is deal with the symptoms. It’s the difference between antibiotics and immunization. Eliminate the problem before it becomes a problem.

  37. perlhaqr says:

    So, if the “guys who send out the pirates” remove Geneva Convention protected status from the non-combatants by hiding among them, does that mean the innocent who you are going to bomb would have the legal right thereafter to arclight DC? After all, the “guys who send out the planes” are hiding among noncombatants there…

  38. Mikee says:

    perlhaqr, your moral equivalence makes me wonder exactly what better idea you might have than destroying those intent on the mayhem?

    Historically, for the last 30 years the US has gone to extreme lengths to minimize and avoid collateral damage. Your moral equivalence arguments, which I reject, puts criminal thugs operating outside the rules of civilized societies on an equal moral footing with the US sailors being attacked, and the military forces who are protecting them. This is BS.

    A more realistic equivalence would hold if the US military just showed up on the Somali coast and started hijacking the international food aid being delivered there to keep the populace from starving, and the local youths tried to stop it. I don’t see this happening. I see the Somalis, desperate though they may be, asking to be destroyed by their illegal and uncivilized actions in their skiffs and in their ports and in their headquarters. If their families are killed as those who cause the problems are eliminated, that is the fault of the pirates, not those who are stopping them.

    This fault of yours, equating protective violence (US military actions) with predatory violence (Somali pirates) is a common logical fallacy of those who argue against the human right of self defense. Such equivalence is incorrect logically and ethically and under the rules of war.

    Continue thinking the way you do if you so desire, but your opinion is wrong.

  39. perlhaqr says:

    perlhaqr, your moral equivalence makes me wonder exactly what better idea you might have than destroying those intent on the mayhem?

    What part of “kill the fucking pirates” was too complicated for you to get?

    You’re welcome to reject my moral equivalence arguments. I don’t really care.

    Here’s a hint, if the biker in my analogy had just shot the father, he’d have still been in the bounds of ethical behaviour. When he started killing people who hadn’t attacked him, he went too far.

    Seriously, what the fuck, are you incapable of grasping how this plays out? Would you find it acceptable for the DEA to blow up your house because it was next to a meth lab? Or would you want them to be a little more selective?

    This fault of yours, equating protective violence (US military actions) with predatory violence (Somali pirates) is a common logical fallacy of those who argue against the human right of self defense. Such equivalence is incorrect logically and ethically and under the rules of war.

    Oh my lord, this is comedy gold. Yeah, I’m about as opposed to self-defence as Tam, Marko, or Chris Byrne.

    There is one of us who has trouble distinguishing between protective violence and predatory violence, but buddy, it’s you, not me.

    Here, I’ll try and make this really simple.

    KILLING PIRATES == GOOD

    KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE NEAR PIRATES == BAD

    Once you go from “killing pirates” to “killing everyone who lives near a pirate”, you have gone from protective violence to predatory violence. No matter whose flag you’re wearing on your uniform.

  40. Gregg says:

    Perlhaqr,
    What you appear to be unable to grasp is that the pirates do not have your moral code. They do not operate under the same moral or ethical assumptions that you do. In fact, some of them perceive your unwillingness to take out those around them as weakness. Let that sink in a minute. It’s messed up. However, that is the reality we are dealing with.

    You appear to be arguing from a stance of moral certitude that is not shared by the pirates, and you appear to be unwilling to flex a bit when considering those who do not share your moral certitude.

  41. Marko says:

    I’m with perlhaqr on this one, Gregg.

    You can’t live by somebody else’s moral code, only your own. If our moral code makes us a little less effective in the “Kill Them All” department, that’s okay. That’s why we are not them.

  42. Tam says:

    They do not operate under the same moral or ethical assumptions that you do.

    99.44% of my fellow monkeys on this rock don’t live by the same moral code I do.

    They should hit their knees every night and thank their walking-upright god that I don’t live by theirs.

  43. perlhaqr says:

    Unable to grasp? Are you kidding me?

    Guy, my entire moral code revolves around the Non Aggression Principle–run out to the stops and turned up to eleven–which, in short, can be summed up as “If they ain’t tried to steal your car or break your arm, leave ’em the fuck alone. And if they have, shoot ’em in the damned face.”

    I’m perfectly aware that pirates don’t share my moral code. It is literally impossible to have my moral code and be a pirate. But neither does 99% of the population of this country, judging by November 4th’s election results. So I’m kinda used to it by now.

    Frankly, I don’t give a flying fuck if they “think I’m weak” for being unwilling to kill innocent people. Because it doesn’t matter in the slightest what they think of me. As an utterly practical matter, they have to come out and play to do their job. The bad guys are required, by the very nature of their job, to expose themselves as bad guys, in order to capture a vessel. If they’re just sitting on land, not attacking passing ships? Problem solved. If they come out on the water, and try to board a vessel? SHOOT THEM. I cannot make this more plain.

    Given that the bad guys will do the job of sorting themselves out of the general populace for us, it is morally incumbent upon us to not hurt innocent people when it is trivial for us to do so.

    And to address another point I’ve seen brought up lately, yeah, they have a practically infinite supply of 16 year olds to do the job right now, but even if the 16 year olds were too stupid to stop signing up when they started dying 100% of the time, eventually the warlords will run out of boats to send them out on.

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