Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Our Idiocracy

I am only half-way through reading the article on the Somali pirate that was recently brought to the US, but I have heard enough. All I can do is laugh at this unintentional joke, because to take it seriously is just impossible. I don’t even know where to begin… oh let me count the ways:

1) You can’t charge a pirate with treason: Similar to the Europeans who charged the pirates off their coast with Treason, the charges her are equally preposterous. A pirate has no loyalty, and no law… that’s why they call themselves pirates. So charging them with Treason is a farce, but that is not the point of the charge now is it. The point of the charge is to have an excuse to get rid of one more pirate.

2) Is your goal to reduce the number of pirates?: Assuming that the intent is to lessen the number of pirates, you have to ask if this is effective. Pirates most likely arise from desperation and a lack of oversight of a host nation. Occasionally there might be some pirates who just want to be pirates for the sake of being a badass. Whether its desperation or bloodlust, death or being flown to the US is not exactly a deterrent. In my books death by starvation is worse than death on the high seas in search of riches.

3) Isn’t he supposed to be punished? This kid (and we will get to his kid/adult status next) has just been flown to the US. I am sorry but this is a little bit like Elian Gonzales barrel ride to the US from Cuba. They both are here through a tragedy and they both find themselves in a situation much better than they left. The Somali kid is probably confused but also just as excited at this celebrity treatment he is receiving. I bet those prison overalls are a lot more comfy than his pirates outfit. Who knows, maybe if we tell every pirate in Somalia that “You had better stop misbehaving or we will fly you to the US and feed you three times a day!” we will have a lot less pirates, but I have my doubts.

4) What the hell are we going to do with him? So they already have this kids mother screaming to have him returned (understandably) because according to her he is just a sixteen year old who got wrapped up in the wrong crowd. Sixteen? I thought the news said he was “at least 18”, surely they must know right? Of course, the kid always travels with his birth certificate… of course they have no idea how old he is but they need him to be “at least 18” so they can legally fry (I mean try) his black a**. So we will bring this 16 year old kid (forgive me for believing the mother on this one) who speaks no English and has no legal representation to the US and we will make a show out of him for all of the Americans demanding revenge for this injustice in some part of the world they can’t even point out on a map.

I find this whole incident to be so upsetting. Is pirating wrong, yea. But I also think shooting three people who are drifting in the open sea with no food or water is also wrong. True these pirates had a hostage and guns, but they were on the verge of realizing their situation was hopeless. But they did not shoot these guys because it was right, they shot them because it was convenient… because they did not want to have to do what they have done now… bring a random Somali kid to the US for a farce trial. So Anthony, in all your wisdom, what should we have done? Well if you insist on doing something, reprimand him to his own Government. Wait, Somalia has no government? True but not true, they have no national government but there is local government and there are also neighbor states (Ethiopia, Eritrea) who could be coerced *cough* Cash *cough* into handling the case on behalf of the US since both of these governments have served as interim governments for Somalia. All I know is that I would have let the kid go before I stretch the law to extradite the guy. You must remember that we intervened in order to save an American life not punish or exterminate the life of the offenders.

Words of Wisdom: Pirates in Somalia will persist as long as it is beneficial for them to do so. Shooting them seems to be a reasonable deterrent, shipping them to the US, not so much. The real answer though is promoting a government in the country and alleviating some of the poverty that drives this desperation. If it was me, I would gladly hijack the oil tanker cruising off the coast of my country if the alternative was worrying about how I was going to eat for the rest of my life, and I think that until you change the options you are going to get people acting in the same way.


Blogger oogie said...

Let's see how quickly his friends back home will make a martyr out of him, leading to more pirate attacks.

11:57 AM  

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