Wednesday, December 30, 2009

And pirates, too

A helicopter fired warning shots toward a suspected pirate skiff, where six Somali men sat among assault rifles, grappling hooks and an aluminum ladder. But before it could be boarded by sailors from a nearby warship, the men threw all the gear overboard.

With little evidence to convict them, the would-be pirates were let go, along with their boat and enough fuel to get to Somalia. Nothing was done to prevent the men from rearming and trying again.

The high-seas encounter last week illustrates how the multinational naval force deployed a year ago to try to stem piracy has had limited success. Experts say the attacks won't stop unless pirate havens inside Somalia are eliminated.

But that goal remains elusive. The U.N.-backed Somali government can barely hold a section of the capital, let alone go after onshore pirate havens. Foreign governments are reluctant to deploy ground forces.

Why do we treat terrorists and pirates like motorists pulled over for a traffic stop, with full Miranda rights and due process? It's ridiculous that they can't be convicted if they throw their gear overboard.

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