Sunday, April 5, 2009

Blind Legalism in Action

British naval vessels have been part of international counter-piracy forces patrolling off Somalia. During various operations they've captured a number of pirates. According to The Independent, they may have to free them. Why? That's right: legal issues.
Although the UK volunteered to lead the EU's first naval mission, officials have consistently warned ministers that its impact could be limited by the inability to prosecute captured pirates, who are therefore freed – potentially to resume their threat to shipping.
This is a prime example of what happens when blind legalism is allowed to control overseas military operations. Pirates, who by traditional and custom going back more than a couple thousand years, are subject to summary execution if captured, now might have to be set free. The power of the international naval forces  deployed off Somalia is more than sufficient to completely obliterate the piracy problem. If this were 1909 or even 1939 instead of 2009, a similar problem would have already been stamped out. Even though individual warships today are far more powerful & capable than anything existing a hundred years ago, their ability to respond to a threat has been crippled by legalistic-minded bureaucrats. In the words of shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague
"It will make a mockery of British efforts to combat Somali piracy if we have no effective system to deal with those captured by the Royal Navy, and pirates are simply let loose to attack again."
This is what the rights-for-terrorists crowd wants to do to U.S. military operations. Just say no.

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