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We cannot show weakness against pirates and terrorists

By Scott Tibbs, April 15, 2009

"Every country will be treated the way it treats us. In the future, America will be the one mourning and crying. We will retaliate (for) the killings of our men." -- Somali pirate Abdullahi Lami, as quoted by the Associated Press

The audacity of the above statement is simply stunning. Here we have a murderous criminal loudly proclaiming victimhood and calling for vengeance because his allies were killed while holding someone hostage after a failed attempt to capture an American ship. The question is obvious: What did you think was going to happen? You attempted to take a ship that was not yours, by force, using threats of maiming and killing people on the ship. There are good reasons why pirates have traditionally been viewed as hostis humani generis, or enemies of mankind, and are thus subject to the laws of whatever nation captures and punishes them.

So what are we going to have next? Should serial killers claim victimhood and vow vengeance for the execution of Ted Bundy? Should any surviving Nazi war criminals claim victimhood and vow vengeance for the capture and execution of their fellow Nazis? Should the Bloods and Crips (and other gangs) claim victimhood and vow vengeance for gang members killed by police officers during a drug raid? Should animal abusers claim victimhood and vow vengeance for the trial and punishment of Michael Vick? Exactly who does Abdullahi Lami think he is, and why does he think that he should be above the law, allowed to steal, victimize and murder at will?

Obviously, Somali pirates have gotten out of control and the United States is going to have to take the lead in resolving the issue. But before we get into the solution, we should recall a chilling warning from Osama bin Laden in an August 1996 fatwa issued against the United States, a few years after the infamous Mogadishu Massacre and five years before September 11.

"But your most disgraceful case was in Somalia; where- after vigorous propaganda about the power of the USA and its post cold war leadership of the new world order- you moved tens of thousands of international force, including twenty eight thousands American solders into Somalia. However, when tens of your solders were killed in minor battles and one American Pilot was dragged in the streets of Mogadishu you left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you. Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and promising revenge , but these threats were merely a preparation for withdrawal. You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew; the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear."

We have been down this road before, when we decided to cut and run instead of facing down the warlords and terrorists who were responsible for the war crimes committed not only against American soldiers, but against the people of Somalia. Our weakness in the 1990's encouraged terrorists and made people like Osama bin Laden think the United States was a pushover. The ultimate result was the collapse of the World Trade Center, severe damage to the Pentagon, and 3000 lives extinguished in the worst act of terrorism ever committed on American soil.

The solution should be obvious. The Navy should be authorized to blow any pirate ship out of the water. We should make it very clear that this has gone on long enough and further acts of piracy against American ships will be dealt with using deadly force each and every time. If necessary, pirate bases should be bombed to the point that everything and everyone in them is obliterated. Pirates, warlords and terrorists respond to only one thing: violence. The reason piracy has gotten more bold is because the international community has been weak willed and the pirates have gotten away with their crimes.

That has to stop, we must make an example of these people and demonstrate that we will not be cowed by warlords, terrorists and pirates. If we show weakness now, we may well see the smoldering rubble of another skyscraper in New York City within the next decade.