Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wishful Thinking Never Hurt (or Stopped) Anyone

The U.N.'s Maritime Safety Committee says members should "strongly discourage the carrying and use of firearms by seafarers for personal protection or for the protection of a ship.

As we all know or should know, piracy has been a maritime profession for centuries. For a long time, there have been those who would prefer to take what belongs to someone else, rather than honestly get their own. Although the Somali pirates have monopolized the news lately, they are not the first to clock in for this profession, nor will they be the last.

Whenever pirates have gone “to work,” they have done so using whatever violence they have at their disposal. Modern pirates are no different. Balancing risk, opportunity, and reward, they select those targets that will provide manageable resistance, if any. Those who are capable of defending themselves are left alone. That’s why pirates hijack cargo ships and not Navy destroyers.

There is an obvious (at least to me) point to be made here. This recent idea that we need to play nice with the ruthless is absolutely mind-boggling. I cannot think of any time in recorded history where evil has willingly laid down in submission simply because they were asked to. Evil only understands the language of force. Warm fuzzies, pristine doves, and world peace bumper stickers mean nothing to them. They know only force, and force must be met with decisive force.

This idea seems to be lost on the Maritime Safety Committee. They have struggled with these pirates for years, and can offer nothing but unarmed resistance. The pirates have predictably ignored such a limp-wristed approach and continue to terrorize, steal, and kill. To that, the U.N.’s Commission would offer protest and sincere cries of, “Please stop and play nice!” Good luck with that. It hasn’t worked so far, but maybe you’re not placing your hands on your hips with enough emphasis or your finger isn’t wagging fast enough.

Let’s look at the tale of two trips. The first time the Maersk Alabama encounters the pirates, it becomes international news for all the wrong reasons. The pirates had the upper hand and all the attention for about 4 days, until our US Navy gave them the opportunity to die for their cause on Easter Sunday.

The second time, the pirates were just as brash and violent. This time, the Maersk was protected by armed guards. The pirates never even came close. They used firearms and a “long range acoustical weapon,” although at least one report says the acoustical weapon did not work.

There does not seem to be any doubt as to whether the firearms worked. The cargo and crew of the Maersk Alabama are safe and continuing on their way. As for the pirates? They're still missing. But that was (or should have been) part of their risk/benefit calculation.

I guess it’s too simple to make sense. Arm your ships and stop the pirates. Hopefully, for their sake, the pirates stop before they die. But that is their decision to make.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. (Edmund Burke)

Keep your cries of peace and keep frantically waving your signs about. But until the evil of this world falls at your feet, fight back when attacked. That’s your God-given right.

You keep your wishful thinking. But as for me, I still believe, “You don’t mess with the U.S.”

1 comment:

Did it MY way said...

Very well said. When will the world wake up?