What senator stood up to more than 90 countries, successfully defending U.S. sovereignty before the Supreme Court? Answer.

Please use the PayPal button above to donate to The US Report.

Subscribe with Kindle

Search the US Report. 


Please visit The US Report bookstore!

Need a speaker for your next event? Contact us.

 

__________

 The US Report, an indie publisher, features stories about politics, public figures and government. Learn more about The US Report  and the credentials of our contributorsHelp us keep TUSR online; use the PayPal link in the right column.

__________

Monday
Apr132009

Pirates vow revenge after Obama passed age-old test for US presidents

Shipping containers at the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group based in Copenhagen, Denmark.[Photo from corporate website press gallery.]With the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips on Easter Sunday, pirates are vowing revenge on both the US and France for the deaths of comrades who were holding Phillips hostage. Piracy is nothing new—by now most are aware US presidents have faced issues with rogues on the high seas dating to Thomas Jefferson’s struggles with the Barbary pirates. Some experts translate history in a manner that can be confusing. One line of thinking suggests The Barbary Wars had nothing to do with religion, but were actually about trade. Regardless of the pirates’ faith, Jefferson would have acted.

But Jefferson had a wakeup call like the one the current US president may soon have. As in many other parts of the world, pirates off the coast of Somalia are often Islamic. Christopher Hitchens, in the essay ‘Jefferson versus the Muslim Pirates’ at City-Journal, recounts what Jefferson heard when he and John Adams met with Tripoli’s ambassador to London in 1785. Hitchens recounts: “When they inquired by what right the Barbary states preyed upon American shipping, enslaving both crews and passengers, America’s two foremost envoys were informed that “it was written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon whoever they could find and to make Slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

Hitchens points out one aspect of piracy many historians have ignored: between 1530-1780, approximately 1.5 million Europeans and Americans were enslaved in Islamic North Africa. In the US, the only history taught about slavery relates to trans-Atlantic slavery in America. Schools rarely include discussion of slavery practiced by a number of countries before America was a nation and long after American president Abraham Lincoln freed US slaves. Slavery never was and is not entirely the white man's burden; it is a human global burden and the practice existed in domiciles of all skin colors.

President Barack Obama basically passed his first pirates-in-your-face test by approving a Pentagon request to use force. Had he not done that, he probably could have kissed a second term goodbye. Most Americans see no logic in these ships traversing hostile waters unarmed anyway. International regulations discourage vessels arming themselves even as military experts call for armed security detachments.

Capt. Phillips was in charge of the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama container ship. The New York Times said the vessel was headed to Mombasa with “food and other agricultural materials for the World Food Program, a United Nations agency, and other clients, including the United States Agency for International Development.” The A.P. Moller-Maersk Group describes itself on the corporate website as a worldwide organization with about 120,000 employees and offices in around 130 countries – with global headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark. In addition to owning one of the world’s largest shipping companies, Maersk is also involved in a wide range of activities within the energy, shipbuilding, retail and manufacturing industries.

According to the US government, in FY 2008, USAID allocated Somalia more than $319 million in assistance through international and local nongovernmental organizations and United Nations agencies. US AID said, “This funding comprises $25.7 million in development assistance, an estimated $274.2 million in food aid and humanitarian assistance. In addition, the Department of State also provided $20 million to vulnerable communities in Somalia as well as Somali refugees in the Horn of Africa."

Civil unrest in Somalia has created a human crisis of gargantuan proportions. The CIA World Fact Book said as of 2007, there were 1.1 million refugees and internally displaced individuals because of the civil war dating to 1988, a war that is a “clan-based competition for resources." What will Obama do now that the US has taken direct action to free a ship? How will the world react to the use of force?

And significantly, why are we feeding people who refuse to abide by trade agreements and who often simply want America to disappear? It was in Somalia that the bodies of American pilots and 18 US soldiers were killed when a mission to capture a Somali warlord went awry. Most will remember the film 'Black Hawk Down,' and the desecration of the pilots' bodies by the Somali people. Yet we send aid that is hijacked and held for additional ransom.

What’s curious is US establishment media’s diluted criticism of piracy. Some outlets have suggested the pirates aren’t complete rogues, since they usually don’t kill their hostages and only beat the hostages occasionally. Not killing hostages is a no-brainer—the pirates are after ransom money. But for pirates to hijack a ship carrying aid to starving populations is a reprehensible act.

Somalia has resources that could be developed if clan warfare ceased. Hopefully now that Obama’s actions resulting in the rescue of the pirates'  hostage Capt. Phillips  have reassured Americans we won’t take a knee when it comes to pirates, other nations will come together to restore order on the high seas. Piracy is not a new issue, and if history is a guide, the only tactic that has ever worked is a show of force.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

« Congress' nightmare: CAGW Pig Book reveals federal spendthrifts | Main | Rasmussen poll on capitalism vs. socialism raises more questions than it answers »

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Source
    One of the top ten most popular stories at the US Report: an interview military analyst and author W. Thomas Smith, Jr.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>