The Competitive Enterprise Institute is a conservative think tank that regularly blasts out press releases condemning the Obama administration's various economic depredations, but today they demonstrate their intellectual consistency by wandering into the pirates debate:This? People PAY think tanks to come up with this as honest policy material?Congress Should Consider Empowering Private Action Against Thugs of the High Seas
Washington, D.C., April 9, 2009— News that Somali pirates had seized an American ship and, after being repelled, held her captain hostage drew a response from analysts at the Competitive Enterprise Institute: the United States should consider authorizing private parties to attack pirate ships under little used instruments called “letters of marque and reprisal.”
The letters, specifically authorized in the Article 1 section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, allow private parties to attack and seize the property of other parties that have committed violations of international law. Congress has the power to grant the letters. The United States made significant use of them during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 and never joined 19th Century treaties in which European nations forswore their use. The U.S. issued letters of marque to ships during the Spanish-American War of 1898; and a civilian operated airship, The Resolute, operated under a letter marque during World War II. The letters also have a long history prior to the establishment of the United States. Elizabethan-era explorer and adventurer Sir Francis Drake operated under a letter of marque.
This will not solve our Somali Pirate Problem. That's just ludicrous. Just what we need, more private contractors killing everything in sight. Gosh, I don't forsee anything possibly going wrong with ships full of heavily armed mercs bored out of their minds on a naval vessel for six weeks given blanket government permission to attack other ships in international water. Nope, that's not a recipe for disaster.
Geez. Isn't there some sort of international military organization that the US belongs to that might be able to help in a situation like this? And given the fact these pirate attacks have been going on for some time now, don't you think members of that organization might be out there in force stopping the pirates?