Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Somali Coast Guard

The pirates holding a Ukrainian ship full of tanks and other weapons, surrounded by US warships, have explained that they aren't actually sea bandits, but a sort of irregular Coast Guard.  Sure.  Whatever, guys.  

But, even as the Russians take their time steaming in, the pirates are still holding out for a ransom -- $20 million cash, currently the rough value of the American economy.  You have to admire their entreprenuerial spirit.

Per the Times, Western powers are calling for the Navy to "storm the ship."  This is stupid, and we hope the Navy doesn't waste its time, or potentially the lives of its sailors, in any such commando operation.  Yes, we know that the hostages are human beings, and that their lives are valuable.  But so are the lives of the people who will be killed by those tanks, whether they wind up in Kenya or in the Sudan.  And if the tanks were intended for the latter, it is entirely possible that these hostages were abetting an illegal shipment of arms in the first place.

The tanks need to wind up underwater anyway, and the pirates need to learn a lesson.  So sink the ship, and rescue anybody who gets off.  Then give them their choice:  Gitmo, a Russian prison, or walking the plank.

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