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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Bravo, Mr. President, Now How About Some Follow Through?

Usually I'm pretty critical of this president. Today I would like to applaud him. His action in authorizing the US Navy to use lethal force to rescue Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates, resulted in the rescue of a very brave man at the risk of the president being criticized by his supporters for committing an act of inexcusable violence against the poor Somalis who were simply trying to make a living.

Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to articulate the "Big Stick" policy. Since Teddy's time the idea of speaking softly while making sure you have a Louisville Slugger (a well known weapon of "ash" destruction") in your fist, worked quite effectively for a long time to protect Americans on the high seas - that is, until the modern tendency to political correctness overwhelmed our foreign policy good sense.

Already liberal American newspapers are setting up to criticize the Naval officer who, in a split second, made a life and death decision (for the pirates). Articles claiming that the pirates were out of ammunition cite relatives in Somalian pirate villages. A couple of pieces have been documenting the poverty in Somalia that has "driven" the pirates to piracy. The pirates even have a press secretary now and we can expect for him to declare the American actions an over-reaction. You can bet they'll claim the pirates were trying to surrender before it's all over and that the Navy didn't have to shoot them.

Am I suggesting that such claims will be lies?

In the words of Captain Jack Sparrow, "Uh, pirate!"

It's time for the United States to remember "...the shores of Tripoli". It's time to put an end to piracy. We have the technology. We have the firepower. We have the moral high ground.

Want to show some real world leadership, Mr. President. If the U.S. threatened to go after the pirate strongholds as they did with the Barbary pirates, I think you'd see the dozen ships and 200 crewmen being held by Somalis released. Paying them off has only made it worse. Their 'spokesman' stood before microphones and asked "Why don't they just pay the ransom?" as though he were talking about a customer that hadn't paid his electric bill.

The result of chicken-livered corporations and countries paying off these thugs is that they've created a burgeoning new industry in Somalia. It's become a game with the pirates. We catch you, you pay us.

Mr. President, please do something about this. I have little hope that you will, but ever once in a while you guys do surprise us.

Just one man's opinion.

Tom King

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