Now Kill All The Pirates

With the rescue of American Richard Phillips from the hands of pirates yesterday, there was a blip of good news from the Indian Ocean, but it remains a scandal that Somali pirates continue to routinely defeat the world’s naval powers. And worse than this ongoing demonstration of cowardice is the financing of terrorists that results from the huge ransom payments these pirates are allowed to collect.

It is naive to assume that the millions paid annually in ransom to pirates merely enables them to purchase villas and fancy automobiles. Somalia is a country without government, where anarchy is being exploited by terrorist organizations. Although the threat that pirates pose to commercial ships is increasingly known, little is being done to combat it. And we must consider the bigger picture: Terrorists are far more brutal than pirates and can easily force pirates — petty thieves in comparison — to share their ransom money.

We already know that Somalia is an ideal fortress and headquarters for global terrorist activity. The United States has learned the painful lesson that Somalia is not an easy place for our military to establish law and order; two of our interventions there became embarrassing defeats — in 1993 and more recently in support of Ethiopian forces.

So why do we keep rewarding Somali pirates? How is this march of folly possible?

Read the rest from Fred Iklé, a distinguished scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is the author of “Annihilation From Within” and “Every War Must End.”

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