What is this “justice” that war-loving Americans speak of?

Much of America’s self-image as a “city on a hill” comes from our love of justice.  We see this clearly in the righteousness we bring to foreign affairs.

 “The Audacity of Rope — Crush all the Pirates — Now“, Ralph Peters, New York Post, 14 April 2009 — Excerpt:

Attack their harbors with land, sea and air power. Kill pirates, sink their vessels (including those dual-use fishing boats) and wreck their support infrastructure.  The clans behind the pirates must feel sufficient pain to rein in their young thugs.  The price for piracy should be stunning.  And we don’t need to stay to rebuild Somalia. End the fix-it fetish now.  We need to leave while their boats are still burning down to the waterline.

Pirates in the Gulf of Aden”, Herschel Smith writing at The Captain’s Journal, 1 October 2008 — Excerpt:

“This is easy.  We tell the LOAC and ROE lawyers that they’re special and that they should go to their rooms and write high-sounding platitudes about compassion in war so that they’re out of the way, we land the Marines on the ship, and we kill every last pirate.  Then we hunt down his domiciles in Somali and destroy them, and then we find his financiers and buyers and kill them.”

“Kill them all” is the advice of the usual suspects, since giving psychopathic advice is a career asset for America’s geopolitical experts.  God only knows what the rest of the world thinks when reading these things.  Perhaps they note that folks like Ralph Peters and Herschel Smith are silent when trawlers rape — almost sterilize — Somalia’s fishing grounds.  No call for our navy to take action then, as they believe the goddess of Justice sleeps quietly.

But when Somalia fishermen-turned-pirates demand ransom for some sailors — gravel in the machinery of western commerce — then let fly our bombers!   Let Somalia’s mud huts, their wives and children, feel our wraith.

I recommend that every American pray on New’s Year Eve that God show mercy — not justice — to America.  For we have too often used our power neither wisely nor justly.

For more information from the FM site

Reference pages about other topics appear on the right side menu bar, including the Naval warfare and strategy reference page.

Posts on the FM site about pirates:

  1. All about Pirates!, 12 December 2008
  2. More about pirates: why we no longer “hang them high”, 5 January 2009
  3. A Piracy SitRep, 12 May 2009
  4. What is this “justice” that war-loving Americans speak of?, 31 December 2009
  5. More about those pirate demons in Somalia, 2 January 2009
  6. The real pirates sailing the seas, in whom we have no interest and from which we will suffer massive damage, 4 January 2010
  7. New research about pirates!, 3 March 2010

Afterword

Please share your comments by posting below.  Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 word max), civil and relevant to this post.  Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

43 thoughts on “What is this “justice” that war-loving Americans speak of?

  1. Perhaps they note that folks like Ralph Peters and Herschel Smith are silent when trawlers rape — almost sterilize — Somalia’s fishing grounds.

    I can’t really back this up, but I am getting the sense that disparate insurgent groups are asserting various environmental issues as part of their ideology.
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    FM reply: Yep, I’ll bet you cannot substantially back this up. Perhaps some research would help. You might visit Somalia and congratulate them on their sophisticated info ops and investigate their former fishing grounds. Or you might rephrase this as “disparate western nations wreck environment of 3rd world nations, sparking creation of insurgent groups.” Now that would be easy to support. After visiting Somalia, you could visit the mines of Papua New Guinea.

  2. I hate to say it, but in THIS case the “kill em all” crowd is probably right, actually. Too bad there are some wee problems with this…
    The root problem with piracy is it is a business. As long as ship owners pay ransom, piracy will continue. And its highly profitable, with ship ransoms reportedly in the million-dollar range.

    But it is never in the interest of an individual ship owner to say “go to hell, we’ll have the USMC storm the boat…”. Rather it is in the interest of everyone else for this to happen, because it would destroy the business of piracy, and in the long run, everyone benefits in ransom demands are only responded to with high velocity lead.

    However, there is a second problem: almost none of the ships are US flagged (and after the Maersk Alabama (wikipedia), most sensible pirates will avoid US flagged ships.).

    Thanks to the flags-of-convenience, almost all of the hijacked vessels are things like Liberian or various other countries. It would be, umm, undiplomatic for the US Marines to go charging in onto a foreign flagged vessel without the vessel owner’s permission, and individual vessel owners do NOT benefit from sending in the marines: dead crew are not worth it.
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    FM reply: You seem to have totally missed the point of this post. Which, of course, is the point of my post.

  3. “I hate to say it, but in THIS case the “kill em all” crowd is probably right, actually. Too bad there are some wee problems with this … The root problem with piracy is it is a business.”

    What in the name of God are you talking about? The Somalis turned to piracy, because the Japanese wiped out their fishing grounds. What would you have them do, quietly starve to death? Is that a good “business” decision?

    The Somalis have been raped by the world, that is the reason for the piracy, not economics!
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    FM reply: That’s the significance of this, our blindness to any sense of justice. Worse, we love force, seen in our eagerness to unleash the dogs of war on the primative Somalia people.

  4. Its not just a minor irritant, but a significant one, both because it disrupts the suez canal route andit sets a dangerous precident for piracy beyond somalia.

    Having ships sail around Africa (which is happening) is a big cost to society. Having shipping service reduced to much of the rest of eastern africa is a real problem. Having the model be “You can seize a ship, negotiate for a month or two, and sail away with a multimillion dollar payday” is dangerous.

    And we have fought two wars in the past specifically over the issue of piracy, and other countries (Britain, Netherlands) have as well. Because piracy is, and always has been, a business, and changing the response from “talk and bribe” to “Shoot” disrupts the business model, and without the business model, there is no piracy.

    You don’t need to bomb the huts, you don’t need to bomb the docks, but you DO need to be willing to storm the captured boats and, if some hostages die, some hostages die. Otherwise, the situation will continue as long as there are ocean-side failed states. So unfortunatly the war-mongers are right for once: the answer to piracy is force. And the fishing trawler issue is in many ways a side issue: its a token excuse for the pirates to continue their piracy.

    It only costs $250K or so to outfit a piracy expedition (NPR, behind the business plan of pirates, inc), with a return on investment in the multi-million-dollar range. Do you think fishing has the same ROI for the investor (which can be a 100% ROI)? Or the same payday for the participants?
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    FM reply: More war-mongering fantasy. Wet dreams for couch potatoes watching their libery flow away. Americans do so love force, at least against folks who cannot strike back.

    ‘Having ships sail around Africa (which is happening) is a big cost to society.”
    Do you have any evidence that this is happening? Or is this just more blood-thirsty fantasy excuses?

    “And the fishing trawler issue is in many ways a side issue: its a token excuse for the pirates to continue their piracy.”
    Are you using the Force here? Or just more blood-drenched imagination? Bomb, bomb, bomb — it’s shows that we’re men!

    “Do you think fishing has the same ROI for the investor (which can be a 100% ROI)? Or the same payday for the participants?”
    So that’s why fishermen around the world are turning to piracy! But wait — why did the Somali fisherman wait until after western justice — destroying their fishing grounds — to become prirate?

  5. “Do you think fishing has the same ROI for the investor (which can be a 100% ROI)? Or the same payday for the participants?”

    Do you think people like to kill other people, kidnap them, hold them for ransom? Do you think, people just wake up one day, look at their nice house, their well fed family, and say “Gosh, i think I will get in a rowboat with a machine gun, and risk my life, and my familys well being, and the fate of my soul before the Lord, so that I can get a bettor ROI?”

    Why aren’t you a pirate, then? You seem to have a good grasp of the fundamentals.

    Could it be, that they wake up instead, and look around their hole in the ground, and see their starving mother, wife and children, and resolve to do whatever terrible deed is necessary, to feed them, since the world seems to be filled with people who think that piracy is an economic problem at heart?

    If piracy is such a problem, why no aid then, for the Somalis, who fish has been stolen fro them? Whose only means of feeding their familes has been taken away?

    Heartless.

  6. I agree. Not with you FM, but a previous poster that: “So unfortunately the war-mongers are right for once: the answer to piracy is force.”

    Don’t wring your hands too much about how much the Somalis are “victims”. Mostly we ALL are to some extent or another. The solution to Piracy is to meet force with force. Yes, sometimes it IS as simple as that. Unfortunately over-intrusive governments, CYA bureaucrats and chicken-ass ship owners completely focused on profits result in a situation where the ship crews aren’t armed. Simply arming the ship crews would stop piracy, the same way arming pilots would of stopped 911.

    Will that happen? Not likely. The cluster-f… continues.

    Government marine forces could take out the pirates too. So why hasn’t that happened. Probably because the pirates haven’t cost Goldman Sacks any money yet.
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    FM reply: More evidence supporting the point of my post. It’s fun — and sad — that the clueless folks posting these comments are oblivious to this. But even our friends have never said that self-awareness is a typical American trait.

  7. We tried the aid approach to Somalia before, it got a lot of our folks killed in the process. There is no up side in Somalia, if you can not form an official government to protect your interests, you will get raped. Looks like some of you think that anybody here in the US who is homeless and jobless is justified to take a hostage for ransom. Sometimes force is the only logical answer.
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    FM reply: What are you talking about? Can you provide any evidence for this?

  8. God’s bodkin, man, much better: use every man after his desert, and who shall scape whipping? Use them after your own honor and dignity — the less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty?

  9. “We tried the aid approach to Somalia before, it got a lot of our folks killed in the process. There is no up side in Somalia, if you can not form an official government to protect your interests, you will get raped. Looks like some of you think that anybody here in the US who is homeless and jobless is justified to take a hostage for ransom. Sometimes force is the only logical answer.”

    People who are starving to death, are, indeed, justified in using force to rectify that situation.

  10. Pirates today, wielders of biological death tommorow. Not all the Somalis will die quietly. The world is way smaller than some people think.

    Very interesting, no one suggests the obvious solution..STOP FISHING AROUND SOMALIA. Oh no, that would be a bad precedent against property rights, dear me! The rich got to stick together.

    The mighty nation states of the world have no monopoly on intelligence, willpower, will to live. Any one of them can be toppled by an aggresive, creative usurper, who, by the way, would be entirerly justified in the usurping.
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    FM reply: You must be kidding. “Pirates today, wielders of biological death tommorow.” Or watching far too much TV. But a winner for most absurd comment of the thread.

  11. Seems to me that the bigger point here, as with so many cases, is that we seem to possess no ability to really solve problems.
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    FM reply: Rather we have the ability to solve problems, but choose not to do so.

  12. FM reply: “Yep, I’ll bet you cannot substantially back this up. Perhaps some research would help. You might visit Somalia and congratulate them on their sophisticated info ops and investigate their former fishing grounds. Or you might rephrase this as “disparate western nations wreck environment of 3rd world nations, sparking creation of insurgent groups.” Now that would be easy to support. After visiting Somalia, you could visit the mines of Papua New Guinea.

    No need to insult me. This is really a pretty scattered topic right now. If you’re interested, consider the role that Uranium mining has in the Tuareg insurrection there. See, eg. Niger’s Uranium Industry Threatened by Rebels – The Jamestown Foundation (31 December 2009)

    Do you really want me to dig up stuff on the role that environmental degradation plays with respect to MEND and the insurrection on the Niger delta? That topic is pretty well known, but I could Google up a few cites on point if you insist.
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    FM reply: I was not denying the existence of environmental destruction, but the implication (which you might not have intended, but was picked up by others in subsequent comments) that insurgents are using environmental damage as an excuse — instead of the causality running in the other way (wrecked ecosystems sparking insurgency).

  13. Fabuis wrote: “But when Somalia fishermen-turned-pirates demand ransom for some sailors — gravel in the machinery of western commerce — then let fly our bombers!

    There may be prudential reasons not to use military force on the Somali pirates, but I have a hard time seeing it as an outrage. If one attacks other people’s ships, and holds their sailors to ransom, one really ought to expect some sort of consequences. This may or may not be “justice”, but historically it has frequently been the way of things.

    Actually decisions about this sort of thing tend to get made on a cost/benfit basis. At present, the pirates are a nuisance, but probably not enough of one to warrant a major military campaign. If they manage to make a sufficient nuisance of themselves, they’ll likely be cleaned out, maunderings about fishing grounds, justice, and environmental damage notwithstanding.
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    FM reply: Another volunteer demonstrating our cluelessness about these things. No outrage about developed nations raping 3rd world nations — just move along, no need to take action, its just business. But let them grab a ship for ransom, then we become like the evil emperor Palpatine. Let the blood flow!

    How do you think this will play out in the 21st century? Let’s hope the people of the developing world — who greatly outnumber us, and control both area and resources that dwarf ours — don’t give us the same kind of justice we’ve shown them.

  14. The Death of a Myth“, Killology Research Group {no date, perhaps 1999} — Opening:

    “The lure of a sterile, distant, “clean” airpower victory seems to be embedded in the human psyche. Many politicians, and a certain breed of warrior, are deeply troubled by the prospect of face-to-face confrontation. And, while they want desperately to inflict their will upon their opponent, they strive to find some way to do so without having to physically confront that opponent, and without having to personally witness the effects of their actions.”

  15. FM can I just say, again, that I really enjoy the style in which you do this? You head directly to the heart of the issue like a freaking heat-seeking missile and explode, blasting it to smithereens. And damn the hurt feelings.

    Maya Angelou said, “When people tell you who they are, listen to them.” The Ralph Peters and Herschel Smiths of the world have been telling everyone in earshot, for years, about their bloodthirst. But if you point this out you’re “too shrill”, “not serious”. When a guy point blank tells you, “I just wanna kill some Iraqis/Somalis/Ragheads”, you can’t take him seriously can you? That’s too simplistic isn’t it?

    Actually no, it is not necessarily too simplistic at all.

  16. I buy the “desperate fishermen turn to piracy” argument. I have yet to find any people who like their children to starve.

    A more interesting question is how to reverse the process.

    1) a rebuilding of the fishing stock takes time. Years. So alternative incomes for the population along Somalia’s coast line are a requirement for successfully stopping piracy. No alternatives and the economic motivation is unchanged.

    2) just as with drug smuggling a number of Somali locals have no doubt discovered that large sums can be made from piracy. I doubt they will quite no matter what initiatives are implimented for the economic improvement of the coastal population.

    So how to stop that small group with the help of the locals. Maybe an insurance fee for all passing ships. The fee to be pay out monthly to coastal villages. Any ransoms for captured ships are then deducted before payment. That should give an incentive to help law inforcement.
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    FM reply: Diseases are best and most often cured by prevention (e.g., public health measures). If the developed nations enforced basic norms of justice among ourselves, we might find the world is a far better place. And perhaps in the future as well, when today’s emerging nations are the top dogs. Otherwise they might treat us as we’ve treated them.

  17. FM, I tried to find the 3rd and 4th chapters in your pirates series, to read your proposed ways to deal with piracy, but unsuccessfully. Can you provide the links?
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    FM reply: I lost interest and never wrote them. Writing about solutions that we’ll never adopt is akin to science fiction. They’re not difficult to write. No doubt you could do so just as easily and well.

  18. I wish “The Death of a Myth” had at least mentioned the requisite acceptance of increased friendly casualties for the sake of decreased (often enemy) civilian casualties.

  19. FM reply: “Another volunteer demonstrating our cluelessness about these things. No outrage about developed nations raping 3rd world nations

    So you want to seize, say, Chinese ships fishing in Somali waters? And even if you managed to stop other nations from fishing there, what do you suppose these pirates will do then? Go into the fishing business? Or maybe enroll in some night courses and start working toward a teaching degree, perhaps.
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    FM reply: I am sad to see your inability to understand the concept of justice. Let’s hope when the current emerging nations run the world, they have a bit more self-understanding.

    “So you want to seize, say, Chinese ships fishing in Somali waters?”

    What a wonderful excuse for total inaction! We have international cooperation on a thousand other matters, from protecting whales to trade finance — but protecting 3rd world nations apparently is too trivial for you. You express outrage at the Somalia’s actions in violation of international law after the developed nation’s total disregard of Somalia’s rights. I wonder if our descendents will curse folks like you when it’s our turn to go under the wheel.

    “Go into the fishing business?”

    Despite the certainty with which you make such WAGs, the odds suggest that they mightl turn to legal pursuits when some become available. After all, they were fishermen before their fisheries were destroyed. Perhaps we could ask them.

  20. Speaking as a commissioned contemporary of Ralph Peters, I might say he’s been quite liberal with other peoples’ blood consistently over the last 25 years. Had he ever been on the bullet end of a shooting match, he might have become less bloodthirsty, more thoughtful. But he’s a neo-con, and neo-cons are always more skillful at keeping out of harm’s way while shouting mighty threats from the bunker. The thing to do is roust them from their bunkers, put weapons in their hands, and give them the opportunity to put their policies into effect.

    Like the opportunity Theoden gave Wormtongue to fight for the Mark after Theoden, with Gandalf’s help, recovers his wits and his will that Wormtongue had stolen on behalf of Saruman.

    Well, we all know Wormtongue’s decision.

  21. Is it justified , to steal to feed your starving children , from someone who has food to spare ? ( The foreign trawlers .)
    Should you respect someone else’s laws , when they dont respect yours ? ( US opposition to an Islamic Somalia led to covert ops and “Ethiopian aid ” , destroying a promising judge-ocracy )
    Does justice not involve trial ? How do you know the boy tending the boat engine ,is a volunteer or even knows the mission ?
    If justice does not involve trial , how do you know you have the right man ( especially from 15,000 feet , and all the men have beards and wear turbans ), how do you know you have the right house , why do you assume his parents/siblings / children who also live there , agree with piracy ? Do you have control over every action of your fathers or adult sons ?

  22. FM, depends on what part you want me to prove. About the last time we tried “Aiding” Somalia, I was there and saw first hand that it did not work, if the warlords are willing to use force to control the “Aid”, and you do not respond it is all a waste of time. After the administration change we didn’t really even try anymore. About not having a formal government, I think history bears that out with plenty of proof. On my comment about the earlier posts, I will just saying that although I will not say I would not resort to crime if my family was hungry, that still does not make it justified.
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    FM reply: Thank you for the additional detail. There is a large body of knowledge, gained through bitter experience, on how to provide aid to 3rd world nations. Success requires scale and planning. The 1993-95 “aid” (mostly food) probably cost less than the accompanying military ops then — and less than the naval ops now protecting shipping. This is the standard war-monger nonsense. Small poorly concieved and run “aid” programs (very appropriate that you use quotes for aid in this context), whose failure provides legitimacy for military ops. As we’ve seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, the script results in military ops who cost many times more than any reasonable development progrms.

    From your comment #7: ” some of you think that anybody here in the US who is homeless and jobless is justified to take a hostage for ransom”

    I notice you don’t give a quote to support this assertion, which is either nuts or just b.s. Try re-reading the post, slowly.

  23. If you look at the history of Somalia on Wikipedia , this is no endemic basketcase. Here there was some of the earliest civilisation , earliest writing , and possibly the first domestication of the camel . Developed ports serving Africa , Arabia ,India and Europe ; a crossroads of the continents , seatrade , rich merchants , a hub of trade . Accepting Islam from its earliest days from the first followers given asylum .

    And then wars and empire builders destroy , mortal blows dealt by WW2 . Attempts to rebuild the successful Islamic state , allowing safe trade to flourish again, were hampered by the West .

  24. See also the history of Ethiopia , the Ethiopian Empire which lasted 1000 years , resisted colonisation , and contained Yemen and part of Somalia.
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    FM note: Wikipedia is a good starting point for this. I suggest Somali maritime history.

  25. Spyman said: “On my comment about the earlier posts, I will just saying that although I will not say I would not resort to crime if my family was hungry, that still does not make it justified.”

    Of course it’s justified, it’s just not legal. The central issue here is morality. Which is the highest moral choice: to watch my children starve or risk my life to steal your Rolex watch? As a father (and most likely a grandfather in the next few years) I know which I’d choose, I note that you’d choose the same. I’d even argue that watching my children starve strikes me as highly immoral.

    By the way I’m not trying to pick a fight, your post seemed to lend itself to my point the best.
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    FM reply: I have zero interest in these academic demonstrations of the false choice logical error. My point was not about some “angels dance on the head of a pin” question about what you would do in some theoretical situation, but our disinterest in real injustices to real live people in the third world — and our love of killing them if their resulting actions limit our profits. We show less interest in them then in polar bears and whales.

    On this new year eve I recommend that God shows us mercy, not justice.

  26. From a European point of view: It is known for years that mainly Asian and European trawlers have destroyed the economic base of the Somalian fishermen, who then turned into pirates to feed their families.

    Therefore, militray intervention would have been usefull years ago, when a few sunk/conficated trawlers would have an real impact, esp. when the owners of these ships live in countries with intact legal systems. The trawlers were breaking (international) law, which could not be enforced by Somalian government. But back then, the price of crude was not of course ecffected.

    The disturbing aspect for me is, that many citizens obviously have no problems to spend their military force without analysing the underlying problem and then complaining that other people see them as the bad guy :-(

    My wish: Better performance in the new year!

  27. “Don’t wring your hands too much about how much the Somalis are “victims.”

    I don’t. Not thinking about Somalia’s victim-ness. I want a clear conscience for myself. I don’t want to feel like an opressor. “Use them after your own honor and dignity.”

  28. FM wrote: “After all, they were fishermen before their fisheries were destroyed.

    Were they now? Or were they just bandits looking for a score? Somalia is full of those. This bunch found it at sea. Whatever these fellows were before they hoisted the Jolly Roger, they’re pirates now, and they’ll die before they go back to working for a living, if in fact they ever did that.
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    FM reply: Thank you for frankly displaying your ignorance about this subject. Since you’re probably not alone in this respect, the next post will discuss how Somalia’s fishermen were treated by the developed nations.

    “they’re pirates now, and they’ll die before they go back to working for a living”

    Do you have any evidence for saying this, or is this just delusional nonsense you’re making up?

  29. FM note: Today’s post, More about those pirate demons in Somalia, gives excerpts from the articles Rune cites here. My thanks to him for these excellent links!
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    @BGS comment #34:

    1. How Somalia’s Fishermen Became Pirates“, Time, 18 April 2009
    2. You are being lied to about pirates“, Johann Hari, op-ed in The Independent, 5 January 2009 — “Some are clearly just gangsters. But others are trying to stop illegal dumping and trawling”
    3. Somali Pirates Tell Their Side: They Want Only Money“, New York Times, 1 October 2008 — A telephone interview with the pirates’ spokesman, Sugule Ali.

    I guess it’s up to you now to link me some evidence that Somalis are bound to be theiving scoundrels through their genetic make-up, which seems to be the mad-cap theory you are arguing.

  30. FM reply: “I have zero interest in these academic demonstrations of the false choice logical error. My point was not about some “angels dance on the head of a pin” question about what you would do in some theoretical situation, but our disinterest in real injustices to real live people in the third world — and our love of killing them if their resulting actions limit our profits. We show less interest in them then in polar bears and whales.

    I don’t know about you but I need to put myself in the other guys place in order to render a judgement. I suspect many others do too. In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re both headed in the same direction.
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    FM reply: Discussing imaginary situations is IMO nothing but a way to avoid grappling with the real-world injustice done by the developed nations to 3rd world peoples like those in Somalia. We are doing real things to real people, which I believe deserves some attention.

  31. Rune wrote: “I guess it’s up to you now to link me some evidence that Somalis are bound to be theiving scoundrels through their genetic make-up, which seems to be the mad-cap theory you are arguing.”

    I have made no such argument. What I argue is that whatever these fellows did before, they are pirates now, and not likely to go back to an honest trade if indeed they ever had one. Perhaps some them did earn a living as fishermen (Or not) but I should be very surprised if the kind of ransom money being paid out did not attract some people who were simply pirates from the get go. Also, given the huge rewards and fairly low risks (So far), I should be very surprised if large numbers of pirates abandon their trade, regardless of what does or does not happen with respect to fishing rights. Somalis have no more genetic predisposition to being “theiving scoundrels” than anyone else, but our catch and release practices, combined the willingness of naive Westerners to make excuses for this sort of thing, create some rather perverse incentives.
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    FM reply: Your apparent ignorance about the origins of Somalia piracy inclines readers to treat your comments as delusional nonsense. Why should anyone treat seriously your confident predictions about the behavior of the Somalia pirates — about which you obviously know almost nothing. If you would like to learn something about the subject before your comment again, read the links Rune provided (I gave excerpts in today’s post More about those pirate demons in Somalia).

  32. FM offers: “…our disinterest in real injustices to real live people in the third world — and our love of killing them if their resulting actions limit our profits. We show less interest in them then in polar bears and whales.

    I avoided reading this Post as I was afraid it would be a further indictment of our Society. (I don’t need much convincing)
    But these comments are certainly instructive. Many tell me that some do not even know or can concieve of an idea like “justice”
    It is that foreign and unknown.

    The entire foray into Iraq and Afghan reflect a uniquely (for this time period)American view that we as a country can just do damn well do whatevr we want for any reason whenever we want to—-and we will hang whatever rich justification on it for as long as we can—and then configure another One when needed.

    “Pirates?”, goodness so simple—-blast ’em….they are criminals! We are the Arbitrageur of All things good….we are that “shining city on the hill”….THE EYES of ALL PEOPLE ARE UPON US (is the rest of Winthrop’s exhortation)

    Sorry. We forgot that last part of the exhortation—the part about the responsibility to others and a community prescription to err on the side of prudence, justice and reasonableness. Sorry. Seems to me as if it has been a very long time since we were, in actions, in the world, a shining city on the hill. But—have no doubt that the world’s eyes have been and are upon us and do SEE what we have become.

    If you cannot see that, it is because you simply have chosen to avoid looking deeply at our collective actions in the World.
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    FM note: Our actions during and after WWII IMO were among the most noble and far-sighted in all history. Solon of Athens would be proud of us, his distant descendents. We can again climb to that level, and the rewards for doing so would be great.

  33. WW II? Absolutely one of America’s finest actions And Euros STILL recall that. But that was over 50 yrs ago. I would marvel at your (FM) hope for a ressurgence of such a Natl orientation. We can wish!
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    FM reply: Fifty years is only 2 generations, a moment in history. Having faith costs nothing, although it’s not always easy.

  34. FM On comment #7, I was speaking more to the comments than your original post and since it was strictly my view, I neither have additional evidence nor felt any was needed other than the reference to the above comments.
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    FM reply: Thank you for the additional color on this, but I believe your original comment was clearly stated.

    “I neither have additional evidence nor felt any was needed other than the reference to the above comments.”

    A direct reference to one of the comments IMO is needed, as I dont’ see anything supporting your statement in #7 that “some of you think that anybody here in the US who is homeless and jobless is justified to take a hostage for ransom.” The closest I see are two statements describing why some in Somalia became pirates, and suggesting that a wider range of tools be used to fix the problem — beyond just force. As in comment #5:

    “If piracy is such a problem, why no aid then, for the Somalis, who fish has been stolen from them?”

    This could be another step continuing our great post-WWII project of moving the world from “might makes right” to one in which law and justice play a role. We could show Somalia that wrongs can be met by something other than force (i.e., piracy). Instead folks advocating a purely military response have proven the Somalia pirates to be right. Force is all that counts. They use force, we use force. Eventually somebody will use some form of WMD’s (perhaps somebody realling pissed off when we bomb their village). Perhaps then American’s mad hawks will reply with nukes, making Herman Kahn’s nightmares a reality.

    I suggest that we try another path.

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