Bring on the Pirate-Tax

Bret Stephens [Why Don't We Hang Pirates Anymore?] - ......What about international law? Article 110 of the U.N.'s Law of the Sea Convention -- ratified by most nations, but not by the U.S. -- enjoins naval ships from simply firing on suspected pirates. Instead, they are required first to send over a boarding party to inquire of the pirates whether they are, in fact, pirates. A recent U.N. Security Council resolution allows foreign navies to pursue pirates into Somali waters -- provided Somalia's tottering government agrees -- but the resolution expires next week. As for the idea of laying waste, Stephen Decatur-like, to the pirate's prospering capital port city of Eyl, this too would require U.N. authorization. Yesterday, a shippers' organization asked NATO to blockade the Somali coast. NATO promptly declined.

Then there is the problem of what to do with captured pirates. No international body similar to the old Admiralty Courts is currently empowered to try pirates and imprison them. The British foreign office recently produced a legal opinion warning Royal Navy ships not to take pirates captive, lest they seek asylum in the U.K. or otherwise face repatriation in jurisdictions where they might be dealt with harshly, in violation of the British Human Rights Act.

In March 2006, the U.S. Navy took 11 pirates prisoner, six of whom were injured. Not wanting to set a precedent for trying pirates in U.S. courts, the State Department turned to Kenya to do the job. The injured spent weeks aboard the USS Nassau, enjoying First World medical care.

All this legal exquisiteness stands in contrast to what was once a more robust attitude. Pirates, said Cicero, were hostis humani generis -- enemies of the human race -- to be dealt with accordingly by their captors. Tellingly, Cicero's notion of piracy vanished in the Middle Ages; its recovery traces the recovery of the West itself.

By the 18th century, pirates knew exactly where they stood in relation to the law. A legal dictionary of the day spelled it out: "A piracy attempted on the Ocean, if the Pirates are overcome, the Takers may immediately inflict a Punishment by hanging them up at the Main-yard End; though this is understood where no legal judgment may be obtained."

Mark Steyn [Our Reprimitivized Future] - ......Once upon a time we killed and captured pirates. Today, it’s all more complicated. The attorney general, Eric Holder, has declined to say whether the kidnappers of the American captain will be “brought to justice” by the U.S. “I’m not sure exactly what would happen next,” declares the chief law-enforcement official of the world’s superpower. But some things we can say for certain. Obviously, if the United States Navy hanged some eyepatched peglegged blackguard from the yardarm or made him walk the plank, pious senators would rise to denounce an America that no longer lived up to its highest ideals, and the network talking-heads would argue that Plankgate was recruiting more and more young men to the pirates’ cause, and judges would rule that pirates were entitled to the protections of the U.S. constitution and that their peglegs had to be replaced by high-tech prosthetic limbs at taxpayer expense.

MK - I'm sure some of you have seen the odd movie where some fellow gets the crap kicked out of him and when it's done and he's lying on the floor spitting out blood & teeth he dares to insult his attacker by calling him a 'pussy'. Naturally this earns him another few kicks. Now the pirates over in Somalia feel the same way, that the western world is just a bunch of 'pussies', except that we haven't even kicked them to the curb. Sure America and the French have given them pause, but I fear that will only be temporary. You see in both cases, the armed forces had to kill the pirates, they weren't just captured and not posing a danger.

That will not be enough to deter them, if captured the pirates should be hanged, you can't read them rights and offer them fair trials, lawyers, welfare and all that crap, hang em' high or two in the back of the head and overboard. You let them out, they'll be back at it again soon, pirating and thieving. However you know that not enough in the western world have the stomach for this. No politician will call for this or order this and even worse, any politician who does this will be turfed out of office by the weaklings who vote. Enough of us want some sort of trial for them, enough of us believe that some injustice must have been committed against the pirates for them to 'pirate'. Enough of us see a social-justice angle in this, that inevitably costs the taxpayer in some way or some poor bastard his life.

There are only two options here for the western world, you either grow a pair and do what must be done which isn't going to happen any time soon; so you bring a pirate-tax into effect. I'm sure it's already happening to some extent, after all those millions already given to the pirates has to come from somewhere, it ain't food stamps and freaking instant noodles or something folks. Someone's paying and I just don't see business wearing the cost and not passing it along to us. The voting public that lacks the stomach should be made aware of this, show them that there is a price for having no stomach and for hindering those who do have it. Put the pirate-tax on goods that are brought to us by sea.

Let them pay for a while and sooner or later when the pirates keep pirating, when they remain unresponsive to UN resolutions, scoldings and warning letters from our various leaders, when social justice and political correctness is actually costing money, I have a feeling westerners will develop a certain nostalgia for the old ways of dealing with old evils. Image sourced, with thanks from here.

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